By: Lynn Reed
A true definition of a candle is as follows– they are usually molded or dipped mass of wax or tallow containing a wick that may be burned to give light, heat, or scent. They are also used for celebrations purposes, something resembling a candle in shape, or used as a sulfur candle for fumigating.
Im going to touch on something a lot of people wonder about. There is so much information on a multitude of things except candles. I thought I would write a little about what I have always heard all my life about the candles. Plus, some of the other meanings that most have not heard about before.
The candle flame represents the light in the darkness of life, mostly your individual life. Im not sure how many have heard of the saying ” What happens at night, will come to light”? This may make sense now about the candle flame representation. The illumination is the symbol of the truth. Lit in times of death, they signify the light in the next world. They represent peace and calmness. Candles are used to summon gods, and to honor them. Purification and cleansing are closely related. Festive in nature. They are used to ward off evil spirits. As long as your candle continues to burn, your rights are working, sometimes stronger or weaker than intended. For Samhain, candles were carried from eleven till midnight. If the candle went out it was an evil omen. If it didn’t, it meant one year free from witchcraft attacks.
If you’re curious about incorporating witchcraft into your spiritual practice and magickal rights, candle magick is a term that some who practice would rather use. It is a good introduction because it’s so simple and inexpensive. All you need is a candle, something to light it with, and an intention or purpose. If you happen to have herbs, you can powder up your herbs to add to your candle and intention.
Candle magick is also a form of alchemy in which all the elements are represented. You have the flame, air to feed it, melted wax represents the water, and solid wax for the earth. If you add powdered herbs, the herbs can also represent the earth or even crystal pebbles in the bottom once you melt it down to remold it. Other than the basic elements, you can use whatever colors, herbs, oils, crystals you want that will suit your intentions and rights workings. You can do candle magick with any type of candle, as long as your intention is there, keep in mind though, the color of the candle has and properties have to match your intentions. I do not purchase scented candles. If a smell has to be added, I add a drop or two of essential oil to the candle wax after I have melted it down and use a tree twig to mix it with.
Candle magick can be made to your specific desire. Everyone has a different practice and a different path, not a lot of diverts from the true practices, but some things are tweaked for other desired intentions, That is as it should be. Pick and choose what you want to incorporate and pull from other practicings if you wish, but do it as close to the authentic, ancient, and ancestorial ways as possible.
This is known more along the lines of being an eclectic witch. You can start by putting your candle on a cleansed dining room table or clean and purify your Altar and go to it at the same time every night to meditate on your intentions until the candle has quit burning or the wick is gone. For the nights the candle is burning observe how the flame is burning. Never blow out the candle. Pinch the wick or use a bell snuffer to put the flame out. You could blow out your intention, and I have also heard that you are blowing away the gods or spirits you have called upon.
When I try to solve a problem, sometimes I’ll put just a dab of witches protection salt on my white or black candle. Cinnamon is used for purification and protection. Yellow candles are for focus and intellect. You can buy a ritual candle for just a few dollars. Metaphysical shops sell little candles for rituals in a large selection of colors for cheap. So it is really easy and quick to just get a candle, add your intended purpose of its job, and add any other ingredients. The strongest works come from hand made items. Even just melting down the wax and reshaping or molding it is better than just as is when bought. It is the quickest and easiest magic to perform. Most of the time, when you purchase a ritual candle from the metaphysical shops, the intent is almost already added because each candle color has its purpose to work with. They each have their properties. Some of their properties are closely related, such as red and pink for love and self-love. You simply call out what part the targeted purpose is.
You can add on meanings by engraving symbols, runes, sigils, or even a name and a birthday on the side of the candle. Working rights are all about adding unique meanings to things. It makes much more sense while you’re doing it, as well as pinpointing your intended target.
If you’re looking to use candles for your working rights, take some time considering your plans in advance. Put some thought into what you want to draw in. Then go shopping with a clear mindset allowing your intuition to guide you to what you need at that moment and pay attention to what pulls you to it.
You need to consider all the characteristics of the candle. “Think about your intentions and your target and if it will fit, and how you can best symbolize that in the candle. What smell should you add? If any? How long do you want it to burn for? Do you want to shape or form it into a silhouette, do you want a female or male candle? Do you want a penis or vagina as a representation of a male or female? do you want a vehicle formed to represent a car wreck or a mechanics job? A blue eye candle help bring forth sights or strengthen sights? There are so many things you can use candle magic for. If you want to buy a spell candle with an intention already set, buy them from an actual witch, wizard, sorcerer, magician, or apothecary that “knows their stuff.”
You will hear, or see results coming to the surface fairly quickly. Candle magick is fast-working and plays no games, and is intense, so be sure that this is what you want and by all means, be prepared for the outcome. An example of a witch using candle magick —It was believed that witches would use holy candles to put a curse on individuals. When the witches would do this, it was talked of that they would say “the Paternoster”, and drop the holy candle in a man’s steps that they hated, and say “hath done his feet rotten off.”
Candles have been used as a LIGHT source for celebrations for more than 5,000 years. Candles played an important role in religious ceremonies. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights which is homes in on the lighting of candles goes back to 165 B.C. There are Biblical sources to candles, and Emperor Constantine has also been documented to have called for the candle usage during an Easter (Ostar) service in the 4th century.
The Colonial women made America’s first design of candlemaking. They found out that boiling the grayish-green colored berries from a bayberry bush created a sweet-smelling wax and it has a clean burn when used. Although, getting the wax from the bayberries was extremely time consuming and tedious. As a result, the bayberry candles quickly disappeared.
Ancient people would stare into the candle flames and it would reveal mysterious things. By staring into a flame, you can go into an altered state of mind and see the gods, the future, what will happen, who it is going to happen to, or someone you’re supposed to be with or do some workings with. You could receive answers to things that need some resolution, today, doing this is called meditation, and having sights.
Around the third century the Egyptians would use lamps, and candles, in a magic ritual for getting answers from dreams. During ancient times, a person would go to a cave, sit facing south, and stared into a flame, once he saw a god, that person would lay down in the cave and sleep, expecting the god to come to him in his dreams with the answers he was looking for.
Most Western cultures relied on candles created from animal fat called tallow. A huge improvement came during the middle ages was to use of beeswax to make candles. It was introduced in Europe by a traveler. Beeswax wasn’t like animal tallow, beeswax burned pure and clean, it didn’t make a smoky flame. A very sweet smell came from the beeswax instead of a nauseating decaying, odor of tallow. Beeswax candles started being used at church ceremonies, the beeswax candles were expensive, and if you are not rich, you could not afford to burn them in your home.
When the fourth century came around, both candles and lamps were both part of Christian rituals. It was not until the ending of the Middle Ages and the twelfth-century candles that were placed on church altars. The Catholic Church used the consecrated holy candles in rituals of blessings, cleansing away the sins, and in exorcisms.
The whaling industry, late in the 18th century, brought the first large change in candlemaking since the Middle Ages when crystallizing sperm whale oil made a wax, (called spermaceti), became available in large quantities. Like beeswax, the spermaceti wax did not give off an odor when burned and would give off a much brighter flame. It was harder than tallow or beeswax. In return, it wouldn’t soften or bend from the summer heat. Historically, it has been documented that the first “standard candles” were made from spermaceti wax.
Candles became a common household item for Europeans, by the 13th century, candle making had become a booming craft in England and France. The chandlers- candle makers, would go from home to home to make candles from the fat saved for them to make candles with. They would make and sell their handmade candles from small candle shops.
Historical evidence has been found that many early civilizations made wicked candles using waxes made from plants and insects. Some of the first Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes. They rolled rice paper to make the wick. Sometimes they made their wax from a naturally found growing insect combined with seeds. In Japan, candles were made from wax extracted from tree nuts. In India, candle wax was made by boiling cinnamon tree fruit.
The ancient Egyptians used candles as early as 300 BC. Even though their candles didn’t have a wick, they used plant reeds instead. The reeds were soaked in tallow for days. The original use of candles started with the ancient Egyptians. Originally, they would wrap old frayed cloth material that was no longer useful as clothing material. They would wrap it around a large stick and dip it in tallow for several hours at a time to soak the material to get it to burn for a longer period. The cloth didn’t burn as much. Then would mount them on the walls to light their way through the castles and pyramids.
Ancient Romans are given credit for creating the first wicked candle. Before that, dipping rolled papyrus repeatedly in melted tallow or beeswax. They were also used to help travelers at night to see passing by, for religious ceremonies, and rituals.
Later on, the Egyptians and Romans made candles from sheep and cow tallow. Tallow was melted into a liquid form and poured over flax, hemp, or cotton fibers, which was used as a wick. Tallow was always available and could be made in large quantities. They would melt tallow, and candles were made by dipping wicks in it to form tapered candles. These tallow candles dripped and smoked, they had a horrible smell. They also gave off very little light and burned fast. Poor people in the early 1800s made candles from the tallow that was collected during the annual autumn slaughter. Cows, sheep, pigs, and goats contributed to the 400 candles, which was the average every household needed a year to keep the lights on. Sheep tallow was everyone’s favorite because the smell was not as bad as the others.
During the witch-hunts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the ones of unruly questions. Handbooks, such as the Malleus Maleficarum, recommended holy candles as among those consecrated objects that were used for protecting yourself from any injuries caused by witches. Farmers would use holy candles to protect their livestock from danger and curses cast by witch rite workings.
There used to be candles made from human fat and thought to hold property of human life’s energy, and used in the Black Mass of the 17th century, as well as other black magic rituals. The Petit Albert, an 18th-century grimoire, says a “Magic Candle” that was made from human tallow would tell you where the buried treasure was at that would bring great wealth. The one hunting for the treasure took the candle into caves or very dark places. When the candle started sparkling brightly and hissed, the treasure was available. The closer they got to the treasure, the stronger the candle burned. When you were right there at the treasure, the candle would go out. Treasure hunters were advised to carry along lanterns with consecrated candles not only for light but to conjure the spirits of dead men who were said to guard the buried treasure. The spirits were summoned in the name of God and promised anything to help them find “a place of untroubled rest.”
At the turn of the 19th century, Francis Barrett, author of The Magus (1801), wrote that candles made of “some saturnine things, such as a man’s fat and marrow, the fat of a black cat, or the brains of a crow or raven. They are extinguished in the mouth of a man lately dead. It would bring great horror and fear upon the spectators about as often as it shone alone.
In folklore, candles have a strong association with the dead. Perhaps dating back to old Jewish customs, later adopted by Christians, of lighting candles for the dying and dead. A lit candle placed by the bedside of a dying person is believed to frighten away demons. One Jewish custom calls for keeping a lit candle for a week in the room where a person died to purify the air. In American folklore, a candle burning in an empty room will cause the death of a relative. Superstitions about candles hold that a guttering candle means someone in the house is about to die, and a candle that burns blue means a ghost is nearby.