Candle Magic

Candle Magic

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A form of sympathetic magic, earliest examples of which appeared 25,000 years ago, in Paleolithic times. In candle-burning magic, candles represent people and things, attributes, emotions and influences. By lighting and by manipulating the candles, what they represent is manipulated.

A very simple form of candle magic is seen in Roman Catholic and other places of worship, when a petitioner lights a candle and asks for a healing (for example) for a friend or relative. Praying to God (or a saint or whomever) to ask for the favor is part of that ritual. In medieval Europe, during Yom Kippur, it was a Jewish custom to light a candle and place it where it would not get accidentally blown out. It was left there for ten days before the Day of Atonement. If, at the end of that time, the candle had gone out, it was taken as a sign that the person burning it would not live out the year.

An old form of magical divination entailed a girl burning a candle outside the house of her betrothed. If the flame of the candle leaned toward the house, then her lover was faithful. If, however, it leaned away from the building, he was unfaithful.

In most candle magic in which a number of candles are used, the candles are distinguished from one another by their color. The symbolism of colors is as follows:

RedCourage, health, sexual love, strength, vigor
PinkHonor, love, morality
OrangeAdaptability, attraction, encouragement, stimulation
Yellow (Gold)Attraction, charm, confidence, persuasion, protection
WhitePurity, sincerity, truth
Greenish-yellowAnger, cowardice, discord, jealousy, sickness
GreenFertility, finance, healing, luck
BrownHesitation, neutrality, uncertainty
Blue, lightHealth, patience, tranquility, understanding
Blue, darkChangeability, depression, impulsiveness
VioletHealing, patience, spirituality
PurpleAmbition, business progress, power, tension
Silver (gray)Cancellation, neutrality, stalemate
BlackConfusion, discord, evil, loss

The color of candles representing people is based on the person's zodiacal sign.

These are as follows:

Astrological Sign Birth Date Primary Color Secondary Color
Aquarius Jan 20-Feb 18 BLUE Green
Pisces Feb 19-Mar 20 WHITE Green
Aries Mar 21-Apr 19 WHITE Pink
Taurus Apr 20-May 20 RED Yellow
Gemini May 21-Jun 21 RED Blue
Cancer Jun 22-Jul 22 GREEN Brown
Leo Jul 23-Aug 22 RED Green
Virgo Aug 23-Sep 22 GOLD Black
Libra Sep 23-Oct 22 BLACK Blue
Scorpio Oct 23-Nov 21 BROWN Black
Sagittarius Nov 22-Dec 21 GOLD Red
Capricorn Dec 22-Jan 19 RED Brown

A person's representative candle can be of the primary color alone or of the primary and secondary colors together, with half the candle one color and half the other, or in alternating stripes or bands. If the birthdate is unknown, a white candle may be substituted. Store-bought candles can be used, but many people prefer to make their own, personalizing them to a higher degree.

The person doing the ritual (or for whom the ritual is being done) is represented by a candle called the Petitioner. This is of that person's astral color(s). Other pertinent candles are placed in positions about the Petitioner candle. They are first anointed with oil, then lit with appropriate words to designate the purpose of each. They may be left to burn as they are or, more frequently, they may be moved periodically to affect the magic. Candles that have been used in one ritual should not be used in another, even if that ritual is for the same or similar purposes. All new rituals should start with fresh candles.

An example of the use of candle magic would be to attract money. In very simple terms, the Petitioner's candle would be lit and the Petitioner named. An orange candle would be placed beside the first candle, proclaiming it a candle for attraction. Then a green candle, representing money, would be placed at the far side of the altar, the surface on which the candle manipulation is taking place. A simple ritual would involve moving the green candle by degrees closer and closer to the Petitioner's candle. Symbolically, the orange candle is attracting the money to the Petitioner.

Although candle magic rituals are somewhat more complex than this simple example, they are still very basic and require little in the way of monetary outlay or time to perform. For this reason they have remained popular for generations. Further, they have proven to be extremely effective, contributing to their popularity.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Occultist Leo Vinci presents The Book of Practical Candle Magic, a guide to magical techniques requiring only a minimum of equipment and experience.
Candle Magic will work equally well today if used for other purposes.