Candles are a part of virtually every faith and have been for thousands of years. In witchcraft, they have long played an important role as powerful, versatile magickal tools. In spells and rituals, they may be used either on their own or in conjunction with other implements and ingredients. Whether used magickally or in day-to-day life, candles emit beneficial calming and soothing energies.
Goddess and God candles and/or illuminator candles are commonly placed on an altar. These are typically white or natural beeswax pillar candles, although other colours may be used to represent God and Goddess. Also, glass-jarred prayer candles made from a beeswax-blend or soy wax are equally suitable for this purpose. These candles are not usually inscribed but they should be blessed with Moon Water and/or dressed with olive oil prior to use.
The element of fire is usually represented with a candle. A candle of any colour that corresponds with your magickal intentions is acceptable. In addition, the smoke from an extinguished candle may also represent the element of air, although other tools such as incense or feathers are more commonly used. Learn more about the Elements.
Candles often represent colours in spells and rituals. Every colour has its own individual magickal properties and spiritual meanings. If your spell calls for a candle but you don’t have one in the colour required, you can substitute a natural beeswax candle or a white candle instead and incorporate a colour in a different way. You could also dress your candle with an essential oil that has the properties of the colour instead. Learn more about Colours.
Candles are very effective for divination by scrying. Prior to spellcasting, candle scrying will often help you clarify your intentions as well as revealing the possible magickal outcome of your spell, thereby guiding and enhancing your magick.
In spellwork, candles transfer and release magickal intentions into the universe as well as helping you keep your focus. It is important to always use one candle per single intention. For example, if you are working a spell to attract both prosperity and abundance, use two candles.
When working a spell with a candle, always use a fresh candle. Otherwise, you risk clouding your magick with the intentions of your previous spellwork. However, your Goddess & God, illuminator, fire element, and scrying candles may be reused until they burn out.
Most spells that call for a candle will require that it be allowed to burn until it extinguishes on its own. Therefore, shorter and/or narrower candles that will self-extinguish within 2 to 3 hours, such as chime candles or tealights, are customarily used for spellwork. Candles should not be blown out as this uses the element of air to overcome the element of fire, which is considered disrespectful. As such, a candle snuffer should be used to extinguish your candles if you do not want or need them to burn out on their own.
Candles are typically dressed prior to use, although it’s not mandatory. Sometimes, dressing a candle is a part of the spell. If not, the simplest way is to select an essential oil or carrier oil that corresponds with your magickal intentions, put a drop of it on your finger, and then run your finger along the base of the candle. Alternatively, you can apply one or two drops of the oil to your palms and roll the candle in between your hands for a few seconds. If you are dressing a tealight or other container candle, rub a drop of oil over the surface of the candle, working your way from the rim to the wick. Learn more about Essential Oils and Carrier Oils.
BEESWAX: This is a natural wax produced by honey bees (Apis). Beeswax helps multiple energies work together more effectively. Also, it is said that prayers and spells spoken over burning beeswax candles are taken directly to the ears of deities, making the magick being worked even more powerful. Beeswax candles are readily available at retailers such as Pagan shops, craft stores, and even online candle vendors. Better yet, you can easily make your own candles with pure beeswax sheets and cotton wicks.
SOY WAX: This is a vegetable wax that is made from soybean oil. It melts at lower temperatures than other waxes and as such, it is usually made into container candles such tealights or in glass jars. Soy wax candles are typically less expensive than beeswax candles and are also an eco-conscious alternative.
PARAFFIN WAX: This wax is derived from petroleum (crude oil) waste products. Although it is ecologically responsible to make use of these waste products, some studies show that petroleum wax produces airborne soot and vapours that are toxic and/or carcinogenic when inhaled, particularly if one has respiratory conditions. Other studies dispute those findings. As such, the use of paraffin candles should be avoided or, at the very least, used with caution, in a well-ventilated area. Using paraffin wax candles may not only be harmful to your and your personal environment but can also negatively impact your desired magickal results.
WAX BLENDS: For the best possible magickal outcomes, candles made from eco-friendly natural waxes are best. However, these may be cost-prohibitive so wax blends are a good alternative. Preferable blends include beeswax-soy or beeswax-vegetable oil. However, read labels carefully because some manufacturers will blend a natural wax with cheaper synthetic waxes and other compounds to keep fabrication costs down. As such, lower quality blends may not only be harmful to you and your personal environment but can also negatively impact your desired magickal results.
PALM WAX: This wax is made from palm oil, which comes from oil palms (Elaeis guineensis), has gained some popularity as a natural choice in recent years. However, candles made from palm wax should not be used in magick due to the negative social and environmental impact of producing palm oil.
SCENTED WAX: Regardless of the type of wax you choose to work with during spellwork, your candles should be unscented. In an effort to keep manufacturing costs lower, some companies will use artificial scents rather than essential oils, which may cause harmful vapours. Even if natural essential oils are used to scent your candles, their magickal properties simply may not correspond to your intentions. So, for the best magickal outcome, use an unscented candle and dress it with an appropriate essential oil, if needed.
CANDLE HOLDER: Because safety is essential during rituals and spellcasting, candle holders are used to keep candles stable. For magickal purposes, candle holders should be made of a non-flammable natural material such as metal, glass, stone, or clay.
CANDLE SNUFFER: An implement used to safely extinguish candles as candles are not usually blown out unless a spell or ritual specifically calls for it.
SCISSORS: Used to snip candle wicks. Although plain to ornate candle wick snippers can be found, a small inexpensive pair of manicure scissors works well for this purpose but use them for working magick only.