Probably since the first candle was lit by an early Egyptian (or Roman, depending on how picky you want to be about what makes a “candle”) candles have been a part of ritual and magic. The ancient peoples considered the flame a live entity and the light and warmth it shed energy which added to the energy of the people, or the spellcaster, to take their prayers to the rulers of the universe.
Yes, I worded that bit rather carefully. For you see, candles are equally a part of Christian ritual, Pagan ritual, Buddist and Hindu meditation and many other belief systems.
As a Pagan myself, I believe that the candle lends it’s own energy, the energy of the flame, the light energy, the heat energy, and increases the power of spellwork or ritual. The ritual or spell, the anointing of a candle with scented oils, the color of a candle, the chant that is spoken while I hold it in my hands and focus on my intentions all this and more direct the energy towards the purpose I have in mind. Because the candle continues to burn even when ritual or prayer is done, it serves as a reminder and a signal that I am still thinking of my purpose, even if I don’t spend all day repeating some chant or prayer!
Candle magic can be very elaborate, or very simple. Candles can be the focus and main part of a spell, or a tool to reinforce other spell focuses.
The simplest candle spell, one you will hear Pagans and even non-pagans often use is simply to say to someone who is suffering; “I am burning a candle for you.”
What that means, is that I am thinking of you; yes, but more than that. I have lit a candle for you. For instance; if you are sick, I probably chose a green candle for healing energy. I held it in my hands and thought about you and how much I wish you to be healed. I prayed to The Goddess to send healing energy to you. And then I lit this candle and put it on my altar, or any place in my home where it is safe and I will see it now and then. I allow it to burn until it burns itself out. Each time I pass that candle as I go about my day, I look at it and think of you and send you healing energy with my thoughts. The candle reminds me, the candle focuses my thoughts and energies, and adds it’s own energy. Those thoughts and that energy goes forth into the universe, and the universe sends it to you as healing energy.
If you were sad or down, I might burn a pink candle for you and send you loving thoughts, or perhaps yellow for sunnier days. If your life is in a state of chaos, I would probably chose blue or purple, colors of serenity and peace.
If you are under some sort of attack, I would burn a black candle for you. Far from meaning negativity or “bad” things, black is the color that absorbs all other colors. Thus, it absorbs all of the negativity being directed towards you and releases it through the burning flame back into the nothingness that it came from. Black also stands for knowledge for the same reason – it absorbs all and the mind that absorbs all it perceives becomes wise.
Often runes or symbols are carved into a candle to focus the intent even more specifically. A dollar sign carved into a green candle focuses the energies on bringing money and abundance. If I were burning that black candle of protection for myself, I would carve a pentagram into it, the symbol of the Goddess, for I believe she protects me. A symbol should be meaningful to you, specifically. If a four leaf clover means good luck to you and you want to draw good luck, then feel free to carve that symbol into a green or yellow candle (or any other color that seems right) and burn it to bring good luck.
Candles are cleansing and can be used to cleanse and realign the vibrations in your home, or an area of your home. I have my studio in my house and now and then I have so much work, so many ideas, I feel overwhelmed. The result is I tend to do nothing – go off and play video games maybe! When I notice myself feeling that way, I get a bright yellow candle, a color of happiness and abundance to me. Lit in my studio, the flames consume all the worry and insecurities that keep me from pursuing my dreams. The flickering flame helps me to focus and to remember that an abundance is a good thing! Soon, my mind will calm down, and I can chose the most important project (like maybe an article on candles…) and get down to work.
Friendly as they are, candles also demand respect. Candle flames are, yes indeedy, FIRE. Take care where you set a candle, and what you set it on. This doesn’t mean you have to go buy an expensive holder, I’ve burned many a candle on the saucers of my dish set, but have a care. Just be sensible. Burning a candle near a curtain blowing around a window is a bad idea and it doesn’t take a genius to see that.
If you have cats it is best to consider how they behave around candles. Many of my cats would never get near one – but Pearl will stick her face in it (many the singed whiskers she has had), and has also gleefully and purposefully knocked a burning candle down off the top of a bookcase! (I was sitting a few feet away – watching and thinking she wasn’t REALLY going to knock it completely OFF was she? OH NO)
Never leave a candle burning and leave the house, or go to sleep. Shit happens and you probably don’t want to send the massive amount of energy your burning house would generate!
There are quite a few books written on candle magic, and many more general spellbooks also contain candle spells if you wish to do more research or learn more specific spells.
Meanwhile…I’ll have a candle burning for you.
You can send a card with a burning candle and a message to someone to tell them you are burning a candle for them here.
About the Author
Artist, writer and webdesigner, Summer Fey Foovay’s articles, clipart, and ecards can be found at Demented-Pixie.com