Our Exclusive Interview With Raya Khatib of Qamar Wa Shams
Founded by Raya Khatib, Qamar wa Shams is an aromatherapy space that aims to awaken your memories & emotions, support inner healing and amplify your wellbeing.
What inspired you to start Qamar wa Shams?
Having bipolar disorder inspired me to seek unconventional therapies. As an 11 year old I used to make candles & loved it!
I asked the spirit of Pachamama if I was meant to start a candle business. The answer came to me when I had my first plant medicine session. The message I received was “if a candle flame can help you feel alive again imagine what it can do to your brothers & sisters around the globe”
Tell us the story behind the name?
I always struggled with balance, whether in terms of mania & depression or between being feminine or masculine.
My fascination & connection to the moon made it easy for me to use the magic of the moon & sun to represent the divine feminine & divine masculine. Qamar comes before Shams to solidify the knowledge that in order for the masculine collection to heal & become divine the feminine must rise first to guide & nurture the masculine.
What makes a candle organic?
We use 100% Soybeans, our wax is biodegradable & burns with zero petro soot. We use 100% cotton wicks & premium fragrance oils that are paraben & phthalate free. We have learned that essential oils are not very effective in candles so we developed aromatherapy products.
What is the benefit of an all-cotton wick?
All- Cotton wicks are toxin-free wicks that contain no lead, zinc, or other heavy metals which are very detrimental to one’s health.
Where do you seek inspiration for your candles?
I am a human design type manifesto & get my ideas from divine sources, I am always guided on what products to conceptualize & create to serve the collective.
How do you pick your candle fragrance?
My process is slightly unconventional as I mostly go with my intuition when it comes to bringing new scents into our workshop. I also keep in mind how the scent makes me feel & if it feels like something that would come out of our workshop!
What is your creative process?
I’m connected to the etheric world & I listen & then channel whatever is meant to come through. When it came time to prepare for Valentine’s Day, I remember just waking up & channel 14 designs for love candles that did not exist before that morning.
What is your favorite candle scent?
I love all my babies but I do have favorites. In the summer I love Bahama Berries, Coconut & Cream & Musky Vanilla. Come winter I love our Tahitian Vanilla & Champaka scents.
You also have essential oils, what is the best way to use them? How are you using aromatherapy in Qamar WA Shams?
I love putting a few drops of cedarwood & rubbing my palms together then inhaling before bed. To start the day I like to spray our new floral blend to set the tone for the unfolding of the day. I also use our essential oils in diffusers. I have currently created 8 new aromatherapy products that will be available soon.
How do scented candles promote inner healing?
Candle therapy is very understated, the flame itself is a tool in my opinion. Going through my journey into my shadow – unwanted, hidden, & suppressed parts of myself was challenging. I was comforted by the aliveness of the candle flame, I felt like I was heard, seen, & held by a living being that consumes oxygen. Also, The glow of candles is an excellent substitute for artificial lights in the evening helping to quiet the mind.
Scented candles stimulate feelings of mental & physical well-being as well as the limbic system; the part of the brain that is home to our memory & emotions. According to a study conducted by Scientia Pharmaceutica, “The sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, & working capacity”.
What feelings do you want your candles/scents to evoke?
Each scent has its own personality, our oils can stimulate calm such as our French Lavender candle, can also stimulate & reinvigorate the mind like our fresh Lemongrass Verbena. This is because we associate smells with certain memories & situations, like our Jasmine candle which reminds me of summer nights & the nostalgia of my grandma’s jasmine
What does your typical day look like?
My days are never the same, I do like to schedule my days but some days I end up working on something else entirely if my intuition intervenes. I enjoy being in the receptive mode before acting on impulses. I run a business so I also work on budgeting, accounting, inventory sales & production. I also do sourcing of raw materials which is a big job as getting premium material is usually imported from abroad.
Where can we buy Qamar wa Shams products?
All of our products are available via our website qamarwashams.com We do participate in markets & pop-ups so check out our Instagram account for future events.
What does the future hold for Qamar wa Shams?
I believe that anything is possible so in the future I see Qamar Wa Shams expand regionally & globally, our products are not merely products, they are tools to help people expand, heal & dream. I am always dreaming up new products that will cater to children and adults who wish to tap into their inner child & live from the heart. I believe that my purpose here is to help people through their darkest days & help them celebrate when they rise up from the ashes.