Annointed candles can be used for purposes both magickal and religious. On a spiritual level, what do we consider that anointing with oil will do? As with its use in all religions, it further connects us with the Divine. It links us spiritually, heals, and purifies us. Not only do we dress our candles with oils, we anoint ourselves with them in hopes of gaining a more spiritual contact with the gods.
When one glances at the attributes of an herbal or plant encyclopedia one sees not only the folklore-magickal notations but also some very alarmingly accurate information regarding its medicinal properties.No matter what your reason for using essential oils, whether it be for health care, aromatherapy, or to "dress" your candles and yourself with magical properties, our ancestors of centuries past left records, ascribing the "gender", zodiac, planetary elements of every herb known to
In ritual magick, we anoint a candle with specific corresponding oils to further bring about our will and intent to the purposes we have in mind. The first step is finding a quality candle in the corresponding color that fits the intent you have in mind. The first step is finding a quality candle in the corresponding color that fits the intent you have in mind. There are cheap candles everywhere. I am just as guilty as the next person of spotting something that looks like a good buy and being disappointed later at the results. Quite often, the cause of the problem is cheap wax and poor wicking materials. There is nothing more frustrating than have a candle sputter out halfway through the burning process and needing to get a knife to cut around the wick getting enough wax off to re-light the candle. Equally annoying is the candle that burns okay for awhile and suddenly the wall of the candle collapses leaking hot wax and burning the wick down in no time flat. There's an entire bag of wasted wax in my basement full of candles that have collapsed in the burning process, which leads me to an important point. Even the mammoth three wick candles that I normally use for altar lighting (these are usually 6 x 6 or larger) are not a good buy if half the candle is wasted during the burning process. You just end up with a heavy candle "carcass" to unload. In an ideal situation with a quality candle, properly anointed and focused on, should burn down and completely out with very little material remaining. Unfortunately, even with expensive candles this might not always be the case.
Tips on Candle Magick
Because there might be a mess of hot wax, it's important to mention the where and how to burn candles. After a few hours spent ironing red wax out of my livingroom rug a few years ago (Important tip: If you have a candle spill on carpeting, the best plan of action is plenty of paper towels on top of the wax and ironing it to get the wax to absorb into the paper toweling), I have found that in addition to the regular candle holder, it also helps to put a serving tray or extra large plate under the candles to catch any flow of hot wax that might get out of hand. My favorite things to put on an altar or a table are the metal beverage trays that you find at novelty stores. Any tray with an edge will protect not only your carpet, but also your altar tools if they are nearby. I have been known to burn more than one candle at a time on the large trays. Also, if you are scouting around at auctions or second hand stores, saucers, dinner plates and shallow bowls from chipped or mismatched china sets make absolutely wonderful extra things to set candles, on either with a holder, or if it's a fat pillar, you can place it on the plate if there is enough of a rim. Scout out second hand places for old elegant china. One of my best investments is an entire box full of china nobody wanted at an auction because a few pieces were missing and a few of the plates were chipped. For ten dollars I had enough plates with gold edging and roses to not only fit under candles, but to use under leaky plant pots.
It is also important to keep an eye on candles while they are burning. Those warning labels on candles that say "Never leave a burning candle unattended" should give you room for pause. Several people I know who are reluctant to pinch the flame out when they have a spell candle going, have suggested that the safest place would be to place the candle in a bathtub. I have never taken that risk. If in doubt, I snuff it out (which is why I have a candle snuffer in almost every area of my house.) I never "blow" a candle out which is being used for spellwork. If I do get called away for an emergency, I use a candle snuffer to put the flame safely out until I can get back to re-light it. Before lighting a candle, it's best to plan to stick around the house for a few hours. Safety first! Many firemen can probably attest to the number of fires that have been started via unattended candles. It's also important to factor in the possibility of pets and small children, and to place lit candles in a fairly protected zone. Choose where you plan to have open flames carefully. There are several places in my house where I quite often have several candles going. If you do leave the room they are in, it is a good idea to pass by quite often to keep an eye on things.. After all, the candle and flame is a symbol of your will and intent. In checking on your burning candle, you are reminded of what has been set into motion with your spell, and you focus again on it. If you aren't watching or keeping an eye on your candle how can you be in the right mindset to do the mental work?
If you happen to find a quality candle supplier and are ready to put some candle magick to use, the first question is what size candle will best suit your need? Many of my altar candles - those that serve a dual purpose of honoring the Goddess and the God, and those that correspond elementally with the four directions - are my primary candles in addition to any other candle work I might do. Quite often those six main candles are lit in addition to any spellwork type of candles to aid in the energy. This might not be important to everyone, but in my own workings it is primary to be balanced. In this type of situation, since they will be used daily, weekly, monthly, large candles come in handy. Anointed and dedicated to the individual purpose they serve, they serve as constant reminders that it is the "religion" and "honoring" that is daily of my focus, regardless as to whether or not there is a spell candle present on the altar.
Votives are an excellent choice for candle magick work. Most often when you think of votives, you think of their association with Catholic mass and services. A Mass offered for a votum, is a special intention. So we frequently find in prayers the expression, votiva dona "gifts offered with desire [of receiving grace in return]". Votives have even derived their name from Latin "Votum" which means prayer, wish, desire/vow, promise to God. I like to think they are superb beacons and messengers. They are quick (usually can be burned completely in an evening or a day) and usually inexpensive. Those handy little glass votive holders are easy to be found and really contain the wax so you usually burn the entire candle without much waste at all. For this reason I find them exceptional value-wise and extremely handy to have around because they store easily and make "quick work" of things. Take comfort in the fact that many church sanctuaries also use votives for the parishioners to light for rememberences and special prayers. Because they are small but stocky, you may find it helpful to inscribe a small sigil, rune or magickal symbol on them.
Tapers are wonderful to work with as well. Quite often you can find excellent quality tapers on sale when stores change their stocks. As they are widely available in a variety of colors. Because they may be fragile and can break, long slender tapers should be carefully stored. Due to this fragility, they are best left either unscribed or with minimal inscription and enjoyed in a elegant standard type candleholder or some beautiful ritual candleholders. However, I find tapers a joy to anoint and nearly as fast as a votive to burn. Quite often when I am planning to do hours worth of work in a room, tapers will keep me company throughout the night. Perhaps it's because of their classic candle shape, but they really do offer a unique feel in candle magick.
Pillars - Short squat pillars, mini-pillars and the larger column candles offer a unique opportunity because they can not only be inscribed with many magickal sigils, runes or drawings, but offer enough surface area to often etch in or write out the entire working. In fact, you may come across a need to not only work out prose on paper, but feel compelled to inscribe the entire candle with it. Even if left uncarved, multi-hour candles like these can continue to burn with the same energy you need daily until the entire candle is burned if you have a particular working that you know will take some time.
Making or buying quality candles - Anyone can make their own candles by simply following a good guide on candle-making available at any bookstore or library. Molds can be purchased or even made from household items (such as milk cartons and coffee cans) Sputtering wicks, or smoky wicks, or wax that burns too quickly are all problems which can occur in either store bought or homemade candles If the wax cracks, it could be that the candle was cooled at too rapid a temperature. Most chandlers use silicon spray on molds to help in getting a candle out. Candlemaking is a fine art to perfect.
Here are a few tips on some candle problems:
* Excessive Dripping - Usually this happens when the wick is too small and cannot absorb the melting wax. Be sure the candle is not in a draft that is blowing melted wax over the edge. Sometimes if the wick is the proper size, the wax is too soft or has too low of a melting point for the wick to absorb the wax.
* Rapid Burning - Not enough stearic acid in the wax, and the candle has been cooled too rapidly
* Cave-ins on the sides -The candle was not pierced in the center of the cavity around the wick well, which leaves the cavity in the middle of the candle to contract inwards.
* Excessive Smoking - When the wick is too large for the candle, the flame consumes wax faster than the wick can absorb it.
Again the key to a quality burning candle whether you make it yourself or buy it, depends upon the materials: the wicks, the wax, the stearine additive, the dye and the oil fragrance.
Some wax formulas that are used today:
70% paraffin + 20% stearic acid + 10% Beeswax
90% paraffin + 10% stearic acid
48% paraffin + 52% beeswax
It's important to select the right size of wicks for candles too:
* Nightlights, tea lights and low light long burning candles-usually use a wire wick that has meltable wire inserted into a cotton wick
* 1- 3 " votives and columns should use a 15 ply mordanted wick
* 4" pillars and taper should use a 24 ply mordanted wick
* over 4 " should use a 30 ply mordanted wick
If you were like me as a kid, and baked crayons in your Easy Bake Oven, you probably thought that crayons were wax, and would probably make a good candle. This turns out not to be true. If you use crayons in your homemade candles as one of the dye ingredients, the crayon will cause a chemical reaction that "eats up" the wick and put the candle out. The best dyes to use for coloring homemade candles are those MADE for being used in candles; oil-soluable aniline dyes which can withstand both the heat and the acid nature of stearic acid.
If you are creating your own candles, there are ways of making your candle flame burn a unique color, if you add some ingredients to the wax. Sodium chlorate or potassium nitrate added to the wax will give you a yellow flame. Strontium nitrate added to the wax will produce a red flame. Calcium chloride makes an orange flame. Borax, copper nitrates, barium nitrate will produce a green flame, and Lithium chlorate will produce a purple flame. You can either add the chemicals to the wax or soak the wick in them.
If you are adding an essential oil or fragrance to a candle, it should be added just prior to pouring the wax. Too much oil will cause the wax to mottle. Three pounds of wax can be scented with a quarter of an ounce of oil, or you can saturate your wick in essential oil.
Carving and Dressing Candles
As a candle is a tool, it is preferable to consecrate it as such. You can do a simple little ritual of your own or within your particular tradition of the craft. The purpose is to charge the candle with power, and charge and seal the magical tool with your will. If you are going to "dress" the candle with corresponding oils, you can consecrate, dress, charge and carve your candle all within the same steps. It's not simply enough to mindlessly say the words; you need to really focus on your goal mentally. Intent is always of utmost importance. If you are a solitary practitioner, feel free to individualize the consecration and dressing phase of charging your candles. If like me, you have a dish of salt, water, and smoldering incense on the altar at all times, you can use these elements to cleanse the candle and charge it.
One important word about carving on candles, some sources suggest that you can heat the tip of your athame to carve the wax. I disagree, and would suggest sharp small easy to handle pushpin tacks, or a long nail are better choices for this than a beloved ritual tool! It is easier to carve if you heat the tool you are using in a flame, but be careful of burns!
For anointing, the proper way to dress a candle is to start at the middle (center) and rub the oil towards the wick, then to start at the middle and rub the oil down towards the base. My only contention with this well known method of candle "dressing" is to first of THINK of the energy. In most cases, this is indeed the correct way to dress a candle. Most of us are intending to send energy OUT like a beacon to someone in need of a healing, banishing, or attraction to someone or something who is yet unknown to us. However, in my own practice with money candles, my intent is to draw more of that energy IN. When I mentally visualize what I want to do with a candle, I have at times switched the process around and started at the wick, drawing the oil to the middle of the candle and then going to the bottom and anointing from the bottom to the middle. While this is my own particular practice and my own particular style, I believe it's important to know mentally what you are hoping to accomplish with the will and intent...do you want that energy sent out, or do you want to bring something in? It's a logical question, and quite often when candle magick I have energy drawing in on one set of candles and energy going out with another set of candles. For me, it's a system of balance. I usually oil the candle all around the sides with either the "OUT" or the "IN" method of candle anointing.
Much has been made of the astrological influences of candle magick and spellwork. Ideally, I personally consider the moon phase to be the most important.
NEW MOON - If the goal you desire is one of a new beginning or a "start", the best time to do this is during a New Moon (this is when the moon is dark in the sky) While many do not like to work with a New Moon, I have come to discover it's one of my favorite times to work. This is the time I can to tie up loose ends, smudge the house, seal and protect. This is also a great moon to work with when you need to retreat a little bit and revive yourself. As it is the moon of "hidden knowledge" this would be an opportune time to try to ferret out information that you feel you need to know. Although the darkness in the sky is startling during a new moon, it is often associated with dormancy. We know the moon is still there, even though her reflection may be hidden. I prefer to think often of some of the darker sides of the Goddess or the darker Goddesses themselves.
WAXING MOON: While the moon is slowly filling in from a crescent on it's way to full is the best time for work that "increases". I find this an excellent time to do financial, job, attraction or anything else that needs "increasing" in volume or intensity.
FULL MOON: The full beauty of a full moon night is enough to make you gasp. Ideally, this is the time for things to come to full fruition, especially if you have been working on candle craft goal to coincide from the waxing moon into the full moon. I like to think that the Goddess can hear you better on a full moon, but seriously, whether culminating an "increase" to end on the full moon, or starting a "decrease" to begin on the full moon to decline on the course of a waning moon, the full moon has an advantage because it seems like our invocations and focus are all in high gear.
WANING MOON: When the moon is slowly crescenting bit by bit into the new moon, this is an excellent time to work on banishings or getting things out of your life that you need let go of and leave behind. Again, if it's taking you longer to let go of things or get rid of situations in your life that have outlived their usefulness, you can always gear your candleworking to culminate on the New Moon.
Often, a situation might arise which must be dealt with immediately, and cannot wait until the appropriate lunar phase. Listen to your guy instinct, and act when you must. Of course, there are always "ideal" times to light a candle. In fact, if we were to get really obsessive about perfect timing, we could consider the appropriate positioning of astrological elements, days, hours, months, and corresponding archangels to help us along. Let's face it, it's struggle enough to keep track of corresponding colors and oils to meet with our end goals!
Naturally one should rely on one's own instincts as to which color of a candle would work the best purpose for a healing, or a sabbat. We can sometimes associate what is best for "fertility" or "money" simply by visualizing the green of a field or cash and associating that with the color of a candle. There are ancient ties with candles and scientific methods too. Within the color spectrum there are seven primary wavelengths or vibrations. Ceremonial Magicians have even ascribed colors to the Kabbalah. Without overwhelming yourself on technicalities of color, you can always make exceptions or go with what feels best. If you have a friend who's going through a tough time and pale blue does NOT feel like the right color to use, why not send healing energy with an orange candle to give her the zing and zest (and not to mention the strength) to handle whatever she may be dealing with?
One of my favorite candles to make is one that I call "Justice". The inspiration for that candle came from watching a woman judge on television. I loved her no nonsense approach to the riff raff that came before her bench. Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if I could create a candle that would push justice along? It was my way of focusing on letting the gods sort out whatever cluster of mess was coming across my path. Funny thing about that candle is that I was willing to own up to my own actions and take on the self responsibility for my part in the mess, but in real life, just because "you" may be paying attention, doesn't mean other people are. There was no color correspondence in anything I ever came across for "Justice" , but in my visualization the color black seemed most approachable. It was comparable to a judicial robe, and I also felt strongly that it banished negativity and protected. So black candles became my own very own "Justice" candles.
The most important point in selecting a colored candle is to find one that relates to your own path, your own tradition and most importantly, to your "will" and "intent."
WHITE: purity, innocence, cleansing, centering, truth, psychic ability, spirituality, protection, power of divinity, healing, Planet: Moon, Zodiac sign: Cancer. May also be used as an all purpose corresponding color. Associated to the South and with the element of Air by Kelley and Dee (Enochian)
BLACK: meditation, uncrossing, protection, banishing of negativity, endings, death, binding, ridding self of bad habits, Planet: Saturn, Element: Earth, Zodiac: Scorpio. Samhain
Associated to the North and with the element of Earth by Kelley and Dee (Enochian)
RED: South, fire, blood, passion, will power, sex, energy, health, protection or defensive needs. Zodiac: Aries (Golden Dawn), Leo, Scorpio. Planet: Mars Associated to the East with the element of Fire by Kelley and Dee (Enochian)
ORANGE: encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, friendship, organization, career success, Zodiac: Leo, Gemini Planet: Mercury. Samhain
YELLOW: east, air, intelligence, imagination, mind power, creativity, confidence, success, action, attraction, concentration, communications. Zodiac: Leo, Planet: Mercury
GREEN: north, earth, fertility, luck, abundance, success, money, health, healing. Zodiac: Pisces, Taurus. Planet: Venus. Associated to the West with the element of Water by Kelley and Dee (Enochian)
BLUE-DARK: west, water, loyalty, wisdom, devotion, deep emotional ties, occult power, protection. Zodiac: Pisces
BLUE-LIGHT or PALE: Tranquility, patience, peace, health. Planet: Venus
PURPLE: psychic ability, protection, power, wisdom, honors, clarity, spirituality, Planetary: Jupiter, Moon, Mercury
BROWN: earth, stability, home, work, friendships.
GRAY: neutralize negative forces and influences
GOLD: sun, the God, riches, good luck, Leo
SILVER: lunar/moon, the Goddess, psychic abilities
PINK: honor, love, beauty