What is the purpose/function of candles/fire during ceremonies and specifically when we receive the "touch of light?" Thank you.
Light from candles, especially during meditation, can help to keep the mind aware and keep it from wandering into the subconscious state. If you meditate in total darkness, it can be somewhat reminiscent of the sleep state.
Light used to give a blessing, such as the “touch of light” in the Festival of Light, is symbolic of the inner light that is seen in deepening states of meditation. The touch of light at the point between the eyebrows, the Christ Consciousness center in the body, is given to help awaken that center.
Light from fire is generally for purification and burning away of the desires and attachments that keep us from achieving deeper states of inner freedom. The fire ceremony is used as a means of symbolically doing this. By offering our attachments and desires into the fire, we use an outer act to help us affirm the inner resolve to let go of the things that are holding us back spiritually.