This page is a general overview of the practice of candle magick and not a fully comprehensive guide. No doubt thousands of books have been written in detail on this topic, which I cannot do on a simple webpage. This page is to give the new witch a simple start into the practice, but much more research and practice will be needed. I highly recommend The Enchanted Candle by Lady Rhea to continue to study further.
Candles are the most common and widely used tools in magick. This practice is so common that you probably don’t realize that you have been practicing rituals with candles since you were one year old and had your first candle on a cake. This ceremony of celebrating your first year of life, or your first revolution around the sun, is life and magick at its most basic, and the candles on the cake grow year by year as you make a wish and blow them out. What can be more magickal than this? Many cultures and religions use candles to mark holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah, usually without the full knowledge of the magic a simple candle can bring.
For the practicing witch, candles are arguably an essential tool in practice, no matter which magickal path that you follow. The purpose of the candle is to set your intent, release it out into the universe through the element of fire, and have it return down to earth where your intention can then be realized. This candle can be a symbol of thanks to a spirit, or deity, that has helped you in the past, a request for help in a specific area of your life, or as a motivational tool to get something done, etc. Many of us have a particular deity that we call on in times of need, and a candle can be a drawing light for them to you.
All aspects of the candle are essential when beginning your ritual, but if you haven’t the means to do anything elaborate, a simple white candle will always do. I have boxes of white votive and chime candles if I feel the need for a spur-of-the-moment ritual and don’t have the specific color that I would normally use. Ritual candles can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but keep in mind that the more effort you put into your practice, the more you will get back in return. You will get out of it what you put into it. The color of your candle should be chosen based on what you’re trying to accomplish. These colors have much to do with the feelings that they are known to invoke in people in general, as well as how they pertain to certain aspects of astrology. If a candle is for a specific person, you might want to use the color that corresponds to their astrological sign. If you don’t know their sign, you can use white, or any color that makes you think of them. When researching zodiacal colors, it was no surprise whatsoever to find that every single book/website I referenced had a different color chart. We aren’t talking about actual science here, so do whatever feels right for you. My first go-to was The Golden Dawn, which uses a full-color spectrum, but is not the easiest thing to use with primary candle colors, so I combined its chart with two other sources that had the most corresponding information.
- Aries – Red
- Taurus – Orange
- Gemini – Yellow
- Cancer – Gray/silver
- Leo – Gold
- Virgo – Green
- Libra – Pastels (think pale blue, light pink, lavender)
- Scorpio – Red
- Sagittarius – Blue
- Capricorn – Black
- Aquarius – Turquoise
- Pisces – Blue
- White – Peace, truth, purity
- Black – Protection, blocking negative energy
- Blue – Meditation, healing
- Purple – Spiritual awareness, wisdom
- Green – Money, luck
- Red – Passion, sex, courage
- Pink – Love, friendship
- Yellow -Intelligence, mental clarity
- Silver – Goddess/ feminine energy, moon energy
- Gold – Male energy, solar energy
Once you’ve picked out your candle, the next step is carving. In my practice, I don’t usually buy candles that have been poured directly into the glass, as that makes this step impossible. Draw your symbols, or even a phrase, on a blank piece of paper and tape it to the outside of the glass if that is the only type of candle that you have. If you don’t have a glass holder, place the piece of paper in front of the candle. When doing a ritual involving a specific person, you can carve their name, and astrological symbol into the wax and anything else you think applies to the situation. For situational candles such as luck or money, you can carve common symbols associated with these situations, such as the money symbol $, or a four-leaf clover for luck. At the moment, I’m interested in Chaos magic, so I’m learning to make my own special sigils, which has had outstanding results. Figure out what works best for you. The important thing is that while carving, be clear in your mind about what you are trying to accomplish with your candle and focus this on your work.
When your candle has been carved, the next step is to anoint the candles with oils. You can use pure essential oils such as rose for love, etc. Other situations can be much more complicated, and this is where I turn to Enchantments, as they have the most extensive selection of blended oils I’ve seen, and they have something for every occasion. You can also check any shops in your area to see what they have. Another option is to blend your own, but this is a pretty big step and will be a considerable investment to get enough oils. If you want to go this route, I highly recommend Magickal Formulary Spellbook by Herman Slater, of the former Magickal Childe in New York. The book may seem a bit archaic, but the formulas can’t be beat. Herman Slater was at the forefront of the New York esoteric scene, and this book was highly regarded. It’s also worth noting that many of the oil blends you can purchase from Enchantments are taken from this book. Herman Slater has since passed away and his book is almost out of print, so order soon.
You can use gloves to anoint your candles, or you can use your bare hands. You might want to wash your hands immediately afterward, as some of the oils can be irritating to the skin. Liberally apply oil onto the candle starting at the base and moving up toward the top of the candle for invoking, to signify your intent going out into the universe. Or, rub down from top to bottom for banishing. Annointing also charges your candle. It is then ready to be placed in a glass holder, or on a simple dish. Light your candle – preferably with a wooden match. Spend time with your creation, visualizing what intent. Again, remember that you get out of your practice what you put into it.
One way to add a more personal touch to your candle magick is to make your candles. A simple candle making kit from Amazon can get you started, and you can refine your work as you learn. By making your candles, you can make your colors, your shapes, infuse them with your oil mixtures, add semi-precious stones, and herbs or flowers. I highly recommend soy wax for environmental purposes, and it burns clean and steady.
An important note here: Never leave a candle unattended. If you have to leave and your candle isn’t finished burning, you can blow it out and light it again later. It’s also acceptable to move the candle from your altar to any other room so you can watch over it. Great news for anyone with a seven-day candle!
You have finished your work once your candle has burned completely out. If you’ve written symbols or a phrase on a piece of paper, burn it in a safe container/place to finish your ritual.
One final note: Magic in itself has no color. There is no black and/or white magic. The critical thing to realize is that the energy you put out into the universe will come back to you. If what you put out is negativity, you will receive negativity in your life in return. So be careful with your intentions. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” may be the principle behind Thelema (the theory of Western esotericism), but every action has its resulting consequences.
Be careful, be well, and do what thou wilt.