Altar Candles

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Altar candles on a Wiccan altar. Courtesy Raymond Buckland/Fortean Picture Library.

Altar Candles

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Book of Shadows states that there should be fire on the altar. Some traditions, and some Solitaires, use a single candle, which is simply "the altar candle." Others use tow candles and refer to them as the God and Goddess candles. Most Witches have representations of the God and the Goddess on their altar often in the form of statuettes, but sometimes the candles themselves are used for these representations. It is possible to purchase candles that are shaped like male or female figures. These are especially suitable to be God and Goddess candles.

Although altar candles are usually white, it is not uncommon for Witches to use a candle in a color appropriate for the particular sabbat or for the season—for example, dark green for Beltane, brown for Imbole, yellow for Lughnasadh, orange for Samhain, light green at the spring equinox (Ostara), red at the summer solstice, orange at the autumnal equinox, and brown at the winter solstice (Yule). These colors may vary according to the particular Wiccan tradition or even to personal taste. Yellow candles are frequently used on the altar at the Full Moon. White candles are always used for Initiations. Purple candles may be used for the rites of death, or Crossing the Bridge.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Behind the quaintly dressed players gleams the great crucifix with its strange, sad figure and outstretched arms which, under the flickering light of the high altar candles, seems to stir to life.
Other times, an unattended vigil or altar candle is the culprit.
ONE of my strongest memories growing up in Cullercoats was sitting in the dining room, with its hideous red flock wallpaper, in the flickering light of three altar candles. As a child of the late 1970s, I've since concluded that that's my only real memory of the Winter of Discontent.
Eleven altar candles were lit by family members before the names of those killed were read out and prayers said to remember the lost lives.
Victims' families lit 11 altar candles to remember those who died when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 in Sussex during an airshow on August 22 last year.
Tolix chairs, Cecile dining chair, Calia dining table, cheese dome, Cath Kidston Stanley salt and pepper set; Bath Ales; rustic antiqued wooden pillar candle holder, altar candles, all John Lewis WHERE Printed stag canvas, Very Stag printed cushion, Isme Stag head, Debenhams You can keep things bright and cheerful while remaining true to the autumnal feel.
Tolix chairs, PS199 each, Cecile dining chair, PS69, Calia dining table, PS550, cheese dome, PS45, Cath Kidston Stanley salt and pepper set, PS16; Bath Ales, PS14 for four; rustic antiqued wooden pillar candle holder, from PS18, altar candles from PS5, all John Lewis f of the best est STAG HEADS Stag head, PS12, Debenhams Printed stag canvas, PS19, Very Stag printed cushion, PS12, Isme You can keep things bright and cheerful while remaining true to the autumnal feel.
(53) "At a strictly low Mass celebrated by any priest inferior to a bishop, whatever be his dignity, only two candles may be used." Augustin Joseph Schulte, "Altar Candles," in The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 (online), <>.
Classic urns layered in winter greenery, antique roses, and hydrangeas with a massing of altar candles silhouetted the couple as they exchanged vows.
The latter suggested manufacturing church candles - today called votive candles - and other larger church altar candles. And so Country Candle became a reality.
On the altar candles had been lit while family and friends laid photographs, letters and memorabilia belonging to the departed.