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Candle Magic ~ The Colour & The Flame
an article by Blackhawk

Candles, in one form or another, have been used in magic, ceremony & ritual for thousands of years - though coloured candles and specific Candle Magic are a relatively new phenomenon, due to the materials required to create modern vivid colours being prohibitively expensive or not discovered until relatively recently.
Two aspects of the candle come to the fore when considering its magical, ritualistic or ceremonial use - the colour [of the wax] and the flame.

The flame is more than symbol. Long before the dawn of Man there was fire. For countless millennia fire roamed the Earth unobstructed - and to a great extent continues to this day. The containing [in part] of such a powerful element by Man was magical in itself, raising the human race almost to the level of gods. Fire is life; fire is eternal; fire is power; fire is the heat of creation itself, the source of all existence. Fire is cleansing; fire is purging; fire is a focus of meditation and an element which demands the greatest respect.

The colour of the candle itself [or rather the colour of the dye used to add colour to the wax, which for many ritualistic purposes is usually required to be solid and of equal hue through the body of the candle] also has a bearing on its use, although the choice of colour is perhaps mostly subjective [no offence or slight meant towards colour therapists, etc. Any response to this assertion is welcomed.], and the use of certain colours can be controversial or misunderstood. Black candles, for example, are seen by many people [due to historical and contemporary cultural misunderstandings] as being used to promote evil, contrary to their ‘actual’ use in banishing or dispelling ‘evil’ or negativity.

So from red [the colour of passion, desire and emotion], to green [the colour of growth and prosperity]; from white for spiritual cleansing and peace to black for dispelling negative energies - colours are identified with aspects of life which we may choose to enhance or seek protection against. In all this the relationship of colour to aspect is personal and open to interpretation.

As with all ritual, the purpose of candle magic is to focus the mind of the practitioner[s]. To this end, though various tables of reference exist as guides, personal preference and intuition should be taken into account when considering candle colours. What does this shade of green say to you? Does the colour red feel right for this kind of ceremony / ritual / spell? What colour in your opinion suggests hope and determination?

Candles can often be crucial background to a ritual, setting the scene, creating a mood for a ceremony involving other aspects or tools, but with Candle Magic the candle takes centre stage. Red candles, green candles; fat or thin; hand-dipped, solid-colour and perfumed with essential oils or plain, shop-bought wax tubes, the candle is a focus for meditation, contemplation or the gathering and directing of energy. As with all rituals, this focusing of energy must be treated with respect - more so than usual when dealing with the most powerful and dangerous of all elements - Fire!

An example of a Candle Magic ritual : Although there is no ‘typical’ recipe for ritual, there are some ingredients which are widely used. Some of these ingredients may suit some practitioners, others may not. It is up to the individual to decide on their own recipe.

Cleansing & Preparing of Ritual Space.

This can often be as simple as “casting a circle” - literally drawing a circle on the ground, in the air or even in the mind, which serves as a protective wall for the purpose of ritual - or a complex set of actions which involve cleaning, sweeping, scrubbing the area on which the ceremony will take place, perfuming a room, burning incense to cleanse the air, chanting or calling on relevant spirits, entities or aspects to help cleanse and protect the space.

Cleansing & Preparing of Ritual Items.

Again, this can be as simple as doing a little dusting, polishing bowls or an athame, to cleansing ‘mini-rituals’ as mentioned above, anointing candles with anointing oils, the placing of items on a pentacle in order to symbolically sanctify them, chanting, calling on spiritual or other entities to cleanse and protect etc. As above, this is all done to concentrate and focus the mind, attitude and direction of the practitioner.

Main Body of Ritual / Spell.

The beauty of Pagan ritual is its infinite adaptability. There is no one central figure which must be called on for any particular reason; there is no one right way to conduct a spell or a ceremony. All of this is open to individual interpretation. Magic, ceremony, ritual and worship itself is, and should be, a work of art created by each person, suiting their requirements and their personality.

The many variations of the Wiccan Rede - “if it harm none, do what you will” - seem to be the central tenet of the wide variety of Pagan belief systems. So long as what you do harms none, including yourself, do what you will. Do what feels right. All that matters is intent, and truth to oneself. Are we doing something good, helpful, positive, constructive? Are we doing something of which Mother Earth herself would approve? Each of us should ask ourselves, because when it comes to intent, we are the only ones who know if we’re telling the truth!

There are literally tens of thousands of books, and millions of websites which say “This is the way”. The truth is : There is no way. There is only intent, experience and consequence. If the intent is positive [“if it harm none”] and the experience is right for the individual [“do what you will”] then the resulting consequences should always be positive.

As far as Candle Magic is concerned, the main body of the ritual will involve meditation and focus on the coloured candle [the relevance of the colour to the purpose of your ritual] and its flame, along with visualisation or chanting to focus on any desired outcome. Some practitioners like to write ‘wishes’ or objectives on a piece of paper, and burn it at an appropriate part of the ritual. The involving of deities and other figures is another aspect which you may choose to include, though again, nothing is written in stone. YOU are the practitioner. YOU are the audience. YOU are your own teacher and your own pupil. Find out what works for YOU.

So : pick your deities wisely, create spells using the creativity and goodness within your own heart, use tools and elements with respect, and ALWAYS have a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand to hand when conducting rituals using fire!

Winding Down.

Now that you have conducted your ritual or spell to your own satisfaction, what do you do? Many people suggest a winding-down aspect to each ritual, to slowly dissipate the energies which may have been built up during the exercise. Physically or psychologically, this makes sense. Just as in meditation, exercise or riding a playground roundabout, it can help to slow down gradually rather than stop sharply.

At this stage we can bid goodbye to deities, aspects or other entities. We can blow out or snuff out candles, clear our circle, carefully replace our ritual items, and restore ourselves to a point of calmness and balance..


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