It would be tough to out-do the origin story of Semra Haksever’s company: “I was hiking Mount Batur in Bali with some friends a few years ago,” the London-based candlemaker says as she sits down to chat with me, “…and I had known for a while that I needed a professional change in my life. So I told myself, by the time you get to the top this volcano, you’re going to know what to do next.” And lo, Mama Moon Candles was born.
Prior to candle-making, Haksever was a fashion stylist. “I was in the business for 11 years, and I just completely, utterly didn’t like it anymore. I was worn out. I was used to getting good money, but I felt so drained and unhappy. I wasn’t there for my own needs. So many of the women I would work with – these wonderful, powerful women with beautiful bodies – they would have so many insecurities and I ended up feeling like their therapist as well, which is very exhausting. It was time to move on.”
The more we talk, the more the dots connect. It makes sense that styling, a profession whose success hinges on a degree of intimacy and trust between client and stylist, would be one of Haksever’s fortes. She’s warm and personable in a way that’s completely unstudied. She also gives off major Patti Smith vibes (one of her personal fashionable and creative inspirations). It makes sense that, before Mama Moon, she was also one-half of a comedy duo with her best friend, “we had this immersive comedy tour that we would do in the summers. [A person] would come on our bus for ten minutes [for our routine]. It was just so fun. And that is one of the most important things for me, making people feel good.”
The feel-good factor is what has run through all of Haksever’s vocations. No matter what the medium, her goal is to make others feel better by establishing a connection, by offering an experience – and Mama Moon is simply a new creative platform for her to continue that work. “I come from a family of women who were sensitive to energies,” she says, “and I had always been very into the importance of ritual and manifesting. I had a feeling that candle making was what I wanted to do, and when you’re motivated for something – you can make it happen.”
But where do you even begin with candle making? “Well, in my flat,” she says with a laugh, “it was a lot of trial and error. A lot of alchemy.” Haksever simply did her homework, reading up on the craft and learning about the benefits of different herbs and scents from various wiccan and shamanistic traditions. When she prepares a batch, she explains, it’s very important to first set her intentions and manifest a positive energy. “My sources are very eclectic. In the beginning, I simply devoured every text I could get my hands on, and now making new [scents] feels very instinctive.”
Today, Mama Moon can even be found across the pond from its London headquarters, in WTG's very own hometown. I wanted to give the candles a whiff for myself, so I headed down to the ultimate esoteric, Parisian chill-zone (be still my heart), Glowing Café. I went for the sandalwood candle. The packaging was lush, and detail-oriented; pulling it out of its velvet pouch was akin to that feeling of cracking open a new Moleskin journal – the feeling of starting another, personal ritual.
“If I had to give advice to a beginner about manifesting [his or her desires], or in making rituals a part of their life, I would just say follow your instincts and have good intentions,” she says, “you can’t ‘mess up’ when you have an open-mind and good intentions. Draw from your surroundings, as well. Create a space for good energy, and try spending more time thinking about the strong, natural forces around you.” For Haksever, that meant focusing on the moon – something most of us ignore almost every day, but also reminds us of our place in a larger, cyclical context. “You feel your place in nature. You feel your needs and instincts in relation to something bigger than yourself, and that’s both humbling and empowering.”
We've chosen 3 of Haksever's candles, and accompanied them with shoppable looks that we feel compliment their purpose:
Frankincense and myrrh have been used in religious ceremonies and magic rituals for 4000 years, Haksever explained to me. The Egyptians offered frankincense as a gift to the gods. Its scent inspires knowledge, strength and transformation. Myrrh is supposed to stimulate spiritual awareness, help to connect you to your spirit guides and serve as a powerful tool for divination. "The combination of these legendary ancient scents will cast out negative energy and activate cosmic spiritual vibrations."
Focus and Clarity
Haksever says that cedarwood guides and protects. It also increases positive thoughts, self-control and courage. Jasmine helps boost confidence and can inspire the release of emotions and thoughts that are inhibiting your personal growth. Smelling the aroma, she says, will "help you visualize yourself poised, calm and in control of your life."
Finally, Haksever says that the scent of orange brings harmony and self-awareness. It is associated with positive thinking, which helps when visualizing your goals. Geranium is refreshing and calming at the same time, it stimulates inner peace, clears negative energy and helps to strengthen psychic abilities.
All images by Jakob Zuyten. Special thanks to Glowing Café.