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The Basics of Candle Magick

One of the first things I learned as a fledgling witch were the basics of Candle Magick. Candle Magick can be one of the simplest, and highly effective, forms of magick to learn and practice.  Candle Magick has been used by nearly every religion, Eastern or Western. It is widely practiced, even by the mundane population. Blowing out the candles on your birthday cake is a form of candle magick (you make a wish, don’t you?)  We have all lit a candle for a recently departed relative, seen Catholics light candles for prayers, watched (or participated) in a candlelight vigil to offer support and best wishes for the return of an abducted child.  All of this, and more, is candle magick.

In learning about candle magick you will find you can make it as simple or as complicated as you wish. During this process you will be working to imbue a candle or candles with your intentions, then lighting and burning the candle while focusing (visualizing) your goal as manifest. The spells is completed when the candle (or candles) is spent. This can be done with one candle or many, with or without spells, props or other aids, performed one time or many.  Remember, you are the magick. The candle is there to assist you in your focus and aid you in your workings.

Basics of Candle Magick – Instructions

Below are basic instructions for practicing your own candle magick.  I have listed them in basic order of operation – kind of a candle magick “recipe” if you will.  As with all good recipes, try it out then add or subtract what does or doesn’t work for you. 

  1. Write down your intention:  As with any spell or ritual you need to have a plan of what you intend to do.  Do you want a spell for love, to find money to pay your bills? Maybe you wish to discover your inner child?  Write it down!  Review it several times to make sure that a) You really need this; b) You will not infringe on anyone’s free will       (especially in regards to love spells); c) You really need this.
  2. Write your candle magick “recipe”:  Now is the time to decide how you wish to proceed.  Will it be simple with a single candle or will you need several for different aspects of the spell?  Do you want to add additional correspondences to aid the spell?  How many times should you perform the spell? What color candle should you use?  What type? Will you repeat a chant, meditate, sing or use some other method to focus your intention?  Have fun, write it down, and then gather the ingredients required.
  3. Cleanse and consecrate:  Always cleanse and consecrate all     candles, oils, herbs, etc. before beginning. Candles can be cleansed       and consecrated using most of the usual methods.
  4. Get your ingredients together:  Gather your ingredients, anoint your candles (see instructions below), then add your catalysts (herbs, tokens, etc.). Grab your Book of Shadows handy or at least your written spell, ground, center, and….
  5. Get Cooking:  Now you are ready to practice your candle magick!  Imbue your candles and catalysts with the required energies and intention. Take a deep breath, focus, light your candle(s) and perform that spell!

Now that you have the basic “recipe” lets discuss how to pick the best ingredients to add to the strength of your candle magick.

Choosing Candles

When discussing the basics of candle magick, choosing the right candle (or candles) for your spell is important. As you try to decide on your candles, keep the following in mind:

  1. Pick a color to match with your intention: Choose a color from your color correspondence tables to best work with your intention.  For example; green for a money spell, pink for a love spell, blue for a healing spell.  White is a great all-purpose color and can be used for any type of spell.
  2. Size your candle to match your spell: The size of the candle can differ depending on the time and type of spell. I prefer to use four-inch candles. However, birthday candles are great if you are short on time. If you are going to be performing the spell for consecutive days you can burn a new candle each day. Or perhaps buy one of those cool 7-knob candles. Alternately you may use a taper candle or small pillar and mark a line on the candle to separate it into sections for each day. Then you can burn it down to the line and snuff it out till the next day.
  3. To scent or not to scent: Some Witches like to use store-bought scented candles to add to the ambiance and impact of the spell. However, most are heavily scented and the aroma that corresponds best to your spell may make you sneeze.  Sticking to essential oils, or a simple, imbued, carrier oil, is usually best for those with allergies or sensitivities.

Adding the Spice to your Candle Magick

Using and choosing an oil: I feel that the use of oils for anointing candles is essential for my spell work. As you anoint your candle with your chosen oil you are adding your intention as well as giving the spell direction.  What do we mean by direction? Rubbing the oil into the candle in specific manner indicates whether you are drawing something to you or pushing it away (banishing).  To pull something towards, you anoint your candle from the top down to the center, then from the bottom to the center. To push away or banish, start from the center and rub the oils upward towards the wick, then from the center to the bottom. 

“Spices” for your recipe:   Your “spices”, or catalysts (correspondences), for a candle magick spell are the herbs, tokens, stones, etc. that are used to, a) focus your intention; and, b) add to the energy and/or vibrations require.  For example, when doing a spell to heal someone (always with their permission), you may include a picture or drawing of that person. Add in a personal item of theirs, stones and healing herbs and a healing oil to anoint your candle.  Use what has meaning and energy to you.

Imbuing with purpose and energy: Now is the time to get personal with your ingredients and imbue them with your energy and intent.  Place your candle in your hand or your hands over the candle and let your energy flow into the candle.  Tell the candle what you would like it to do, such as “As you burn you will open my mind and heart to aid me in finding my true spiritual path.” Be specific and don’t be stingy with the energy.  Remember, the candle is acting as your focus and as it burns so your intention is made manifest.

Spell repetition: Deciding on the repetition of a spell can be, for some, the most difficult step.  How much is too much and what is not enough?  There is no set time to cook your spell – the use of trial and error is your guidepost. To assist you, try using the sacred numbers of three, five, seven or nine.  Three is a good starting point for less intense spells and seven repetitions are perfect for longer and more focused spells (thus the seven knob candles).  As always, use your intuition and decide what’s best for you.

Basics of Candle Magick - A single candle flame

A Word on Candle Safety

A discussion on the basics of candle magick would not be complete without a few words on candle safety. Please, whenever you are burning candles, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.  If you know you may have to step out of the room, place the candle inside a cauldron or on a fireproof surface such as a cookie sheet. Better yet, make it portable and place the candle in the bathtub to continue burning.
  • Make sure that nothing flammable will come in contact with the flame.  Always place in a non-combustible candle-holder and keep any flammable herbs, tokens, papers, etc. out of the reach of the flames.
  • Keep pets out of the way of the candles.  Pets, especially cats, are curious about the pretty flames.  They can hurt themselves or knock the candle over and start a fire.

Now you are ready!  It’s time to put all this information on the basics of candle magick to good use.  You will find below a simple candle magick spell to help bring peace and love to the Universe.  Have fun!

Candle Magick Spell for Universal Peace and Love

Items required:

  • 1 white candle – marked with a line to separate it into three fairly equal sections or 3 tea lights
  • Oil for peace and love such as gardenia, lavender, peppermint, vanilla

Anoint your candle with the oil.  Imbue with your energy and your intention to bring peace and love to all that inhabit this Universe.  When ready, light your candle and say:

May peace and love embrace each being that dwells within this Universe divine,

May the peace of the God fill your essence

May the radiant love of the Goddess upon you shine.

Repeat the chant three times visualizing a Universe of peace and love. 

Burn your candle to the first line (or let your tea light burn completely). Repeat for two more consecutive days. 

Blessed Be!

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Creating a Devotional Practice

Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she yawns and then hits the “off” button on her alarm. Raising her arms above her head she stretches, trying to shake off the last of the sleepiness. Turning, she places her feet upon the floor and slowly rises. She grabs her robe from the side chair, slips it on, and with soft steps moves towards her bedroom altar. She pauses, breathes deeply, then lights the candle placed on a crystal plate. Another deep breath and she begins to recite her morning litany, the beginning of her daily devotional practice.

Devotional, as defined by the Miriam Webster dictionary is “a short worship service”. The Free Dictionary further defines it as “relating to worship; “a devotional exercise.” While most Wiccans have no problem relating to worship, some Witches may get stuck with this word. The act of worship itself is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” Perhaps you don’t work with deity but instead invoke a Universal One, Nature, or power. If so, you may still wish to worship – express reverence to that energy. A devotional practice does this.

I am often asked about daily devotional practice by my students and community. While sometimes a controversial subject because of its Abrahamic religious undertones, I find it an important one. I have touched on this subject in previous blogs, but have never gone into much detail. However, before we delve into the makings of a devotional practice, we must first understand the “why” of doing so.

The Importance of a Daily Devotional Practice

By performing a daily devotional, we are giving thanks, reverence, and energy towards our chosen Deity or Power. We are sharing with them, speaking words of praise, and using the time to gain a closer relationship with them/it. This act of worship and reverence, to me, is crucial for our Craft and our spiritual well-being.

Another plus of a daily devotional practice is allowing ourselves to ground and center, rooting ourselves in the here and now. Grounding and centering only takes a few moments but it can change the entire course of your day. When done first thing in the morning, at the beginning of our devotionals, we are giving ourselves a head start towards a mindful, purposeful day, rooted in serenity and peace. Done at the time of evening devotionals, we are able to put aside the craziness of our day and reconnect with the Earth, the elements and the great web of creation and life.

The second aspect of a devotional is an offering to deity or our higher power. Whether it be a poem, a thank you, a litany, or a prayer, each time we perform our daily devotional, we bring ourselves closer to them. This aids us in all of our workings. When we are closer spiritually to those we choose to honor, our rituals, our spells, and our daily lives are enriched.

Devotional Practice - My current altar honoring Hekate where I do my devotionals to her.
My altar honoring Hekate. I do both devotional and other workings here.

Beginning Your Practice

As we’ve discussed, a daily devotional practice can enrich your life, your connections with deity, and improve your personal practice. But how do you begin?

  • Create a dedicated space for devotionals.: A shelf, tabletop, or even a flat stone in the yard can be set aside for your daily practice. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Make sure that there is enough room for things you may wish to incorporate into your daily ritual.
  • Cleanse and dedicate the space.: Using your usual methods, cleanse the area and all items you will place upon it. Then dedicate this space and the objects to the deity or power you choose to honor in your devotionals.
  • Decide on a time to do your devotionals.: Mornings or afternoons are fine, (or both). Just try and keep the times as consistent as possible. Currently, I do both a morning and an evening devotional. The morning is more of a connection with deity and the All and the evening is for thanks and praise for a wonderful day. You may have to work with it a little to see what feels right to you.

Now that you have the place and time decided upon you can begin to perform your devotional. Below is a suggested format for a daily practice. This is just a guideline. Take what works for you and add or subtract to customize your own personal working.

Simple Guideline for a Daily Devotional

  • Ground and Center: Using your usual methods, ground and center yourself. You may also wish to add in a simple smudging of yourself and your area if this is your tradition.
  • Greetings and salutations: Begin your devotional with words of greeting. A simple “good morning” can suffice or you can do elaborate hand gestures, clap, bow, or stomp your foot to “awaken” and signal the start to your devotions.
  • Statements of Purpose: You may also wish to add in a statement of purpose as to why and to whom you are performing your devotional. Something as simple as ” I give greetings to (insert deity) on this beautiful morning. I ask that you look upon me as I start my new day.”
  • Add in elements that honor your chosen Deity/Powers: Lighting a candle in their honor, chanting, singing, or offering a litany to the day are just some of the elements you can add to your practice. Read a poem, place flowers on the altar, or give offerings for a bountiful day. Do whatever feels right to you.
  • Closing statement: When you have completed your devotional, be sure to acknowledge and thank the powers for their presence. Just a simple, “Thank you and farewell.”, may suffice. Do what feels right an natural to you.

A devotional practice does not have to take a great deal of time. It may only take 5 minutes, or it could take an hour – depending on your personal preference. The important thing is the connection, the focus and intention that we create and then share with our deities/powers and to ourselves.

Speaking from personal experience, there is no better way to start (and/or) the day than by giving thanks and connecting with Deity and the Universe around me. It’s lifted my spirits on gloomy days and downright saved my sanity on bad ones. The understanding of, and relationship I have achieved with my chosen Goddess has enhanced my personal Craft ten-fold.

May your own daily devotional practice bring you as much joy and spiritual connection and awareness as mine has.

Blessed Be!

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Discovering Your Magickal Niche

When we are fledgling witches and magicians we tend to start out on our path trying everything. Kitchen Witchery, Spellcasting, Elemental work, Alchemy, Herbalism. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of these paths never resonate and others make our soul sing. In time we may decide that we want to specialize, gain mastery (comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment), or become an adept (skilled, expert, highly proficient), at one facet of our magickal repertoire. You feel you have grown as far as you can with your old approach to magick. Now you are being called towards discovering your magickal niche.

Before we move on, let me say that not everyone wants or needs to find a magickal niche, a magickal specialty. You may not want to become an adept or master just one style, and that’s okay. We all need to do what works best for us. I love being an Eclectic Witch, but I am also adept at Energy work and Spellcasting. Do you have to be to be an Adept or Master to feel validated as a Witch or magickal practitioner? Hell no! In witchcraft we do what feels right to us – period. There is no need for fancy titles or labels. However, some of us yearn to push ourselves further, hone and mold our craft to a fine point. This is the call to mastery, to adeptness. But first, we need to decide what part of our craft we wish to focus our time and work on.

The Search for Your Magickal Niche

Let’s face it, discovering your magickal niche, your specialty, isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. There are so many fascinating practices out there to delve into. So how do we look for “the one”, the practice that calls us to go deeper, further into its core? Where do we begin our search for our magickal niche?

For me it started with a tingle, a knowing. Many, many, moons ago when I began my Craft, I was like the majority of you. I read, researched, and experimented with many different forms. Yet two things kept pulling me deeper in. Two things which felt good, right, and dang it, I was good at them. Energy work – directing, molding and transforming it in ritual, spells and healing work- and Spellcasting. No matter what other type of magick or work I went on to learn, they kept calling me back.

How about you? Do you have a part of your practice or Craft that keeps calling to you? Perhaps it is stones and crystals that you are consistently working with. Or perhaps herbs and plants tend to have your focus. Are you always casting spells with kitchen tools and stirring your food with specific intentions in mind? Then perhaps Kitchen Witchery is your niche.

Take a few moments, right now, to write down what you mostly work on and with when you are doing magick. What is always on your mind when you begin to formulate a ritual, a spell, or casting? Allow your hand to just write. Let the words flow. Then look at what you’ve written. Was it one thing? Two or more? If more than one, meditate on them for a few moments. Which dominates your thoughts? This path, this thought, is your niche, your focus, your one “thing”.

Finding Your Magickal Niche  - the Magician from the Rider Waite Tarot Deck
The epitome of Mastery and Adeptness – The Magician card.

Working With Your Niche

Now comes the fun part, working with your new-found niche. Okay, it is also the hard part. Mastery and adeptness is work – lots of it. It is study, research, and practice, practice, practice. You will find yourself learning and re-learning your Craft, adding and subtracting techniques and changing how you’ve always done things. In a sense, mastery and adeptness is about reinventing yourself, your Craft, and your life. You will be seeing everything with a new set of eyes, the eyes of the knowing, of the Master.

Each and every day you will be doing something to strengthen your skills, even if it is just a few minutes at a time. You will flex your magickal muscles, grab your notebooks and the latest volume filled with words of wisdom, and break out the magickal tools. Spells, castings, and rituals- oh, my. Your life becomes magick, YOU become the magick.

Then comes the day when you feel that you’ve finally reached “it”. Mastery of your given path. But no resting on your laurels when there is Adepthood waiting in the wings. So you work some more, maybe for years until not only you, but your peers, realize that you have indeed become adept at your magick, your work. Pop the cork, get out the balloons and celebrate your accomplishments.

Adept Witch Conjuring
Picture from Public Domain records

When the Witch becomes the Adept

Once the party is over, guess what? The learning and re-learning begins. Yep, Adepthood comes with a “forever” stamp. You buy it at one price but the actual cost keeps going up over the years. The price of being an adept (or a Master on the way to Adepthood) is that the worth, the end point of your goal keeps changing. New discoveries, new mysteries appear that want to charge us more in time and knowledge. Your goalpost keeps moving, shifting with the times. The work never ends. But do we really want it to?

As I noted earlier, this wasn’t going to be easy. Nor is it a “one and done” operation. Adepthood is a life of purpose, of constant revelations, and a call to duty. Like the college student who has finally received their PhD, there are certain obligations that the Adept must fulfill. The Adept is often called to write, to teach, to share what they have learned with future generations of practitioners. Whether one-on-one or when leading a public ritual, the Adept shares their knowledge willingly, leads by example and helps pave the way for the next new Master or Adept.

The true Adept has wisdom, not just knowledge, for they know they will always have more to learn. They have learned that “truths” are fluid. They understand that what is unseen and unknowable teaches us more than any book can. An Adept wears their new mantle with confidence while striving to not be boastful or act like a “know-it-all.” But, we are all human so don’t expect perfection from them. Just because they’ve reached a level of knowledge that you do not currently possess does not mean they are infallible. Learn from them, grow with them, but always trust your inner light to guide you.

Becoming a Master or an Adept is not for everyone, but as a magickal practitioner it is a goal worth pursuing. With time, perseverance, practice and knowledge, you too can gain Mastery in your Craft, become the next generation of Adepts. May your quest towards Adepthood be fulfilling and brimming with purpose and joy!

Blessed Be!

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Adding Structure to your Eclectic Practice

When I first began practicing Witchcraft it was as a Wiccan practitioner in a traditional coven setting.  We had fairly structured rituals, our circle casting, corner calls and Sabbat workings all followed a very specified path.  While we may have considered ourselves “eclectic” because we had created our own traditions and identity, I realize now how stringent and strictly Wiccan our rituals actually were.  

Now, having moved on from there into a definitively eclectic path, I often miss some of that structure.  I enjoy the freedom of creating ritual and worship of deity in any and all forms of my choosing. Yet sometimes I long for simplicity, the simplicity of knowing exactly what to do, when to do it, and why I am doing it. Sometime I feel that I am swimming in a sea of choices, unsure if I should be doing a smooth, practiced backstroke or just doggie paddle my way through it all. 

Have you felt that way as well? If so, how can we develop some structure to our work yet keep the feel of a less formal path? Is there a way to incorporate our “bit of this and a touch of that” magick into a more traditional style?  I believe we can, but we have some work to do.

Sometimes I feel that I am swimming in a sea of choices ,unsure if I should be doing a smooth, practiced backstroke or just doggie paddle my way through it all.

Releasing Old Thought Patterns

Before we begin to weld structure onto our eclectic framework we first must release some of our old thought patterns.  We must not look at structure as boredom, rote behavior or “the easy way”, but instead embrace it for what it can bring us.  A bit of structure can allow us to more easily slip into ritual or spell crafting modes.  If we know that we begin, move and end in a certain way each time we work then our minds are more focused on the journey, the magick, not on how we are going to get there.  It doesn’t matter if we are combining Celtic deities with Southern Hoodoo, if the mechanics are familiar we are more able to feel and connect with our Eclectic workings.

Secondly, we need to accept that being “eclectic” doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to do things differently every single time we do them.  Being eclectic, by definition, denotes an individual practitioner who does not belong to any recognized tradition but selects doctrines and ideas from diverse sources. As an eclectic practitioner we derive our “traditions” from what we connect to, what resonates with us.  We do not follow blindly but experiment, experience, and then embrace the magick that has meaning to us. Yet, once we discover those connections, find what fits into the mosaic of our Craft, we can use that pattern to consistently create magick that works. 

Building Our Structure

Once our old thought patterns have been demolished and our connections discovered we can begin to build the structure to add onto our current magickal foundation. 

Start by adding one block to the structure, maybe to the cornerstone of your practice.  If you feel devotionals to your chosen deity is a cornerstone, then add the recitation of your deities epithets to the beginning of your daily devotionals.  Perhaps seasonal rituals are the glue that binds your practice together.  Create some structure by writing rituals, or a portion of each ritual, that will remain the same for each Sabbat.  

Do you call your corners differently each time you have circle?  Does it make it more cumbersome to try and memorize each new call?  Do you flip written pages, distracting yourself from actually connecting? Then add a brick to your structure by using the same calls for each rite, allowing your mind to slip easily into ritual mode.

Keep examining your current practice until you feel confident you have gathered all your blocks together and are ready to make the small changes that will make a big difference to your magick and your Craft. Then move on to the final phase, making those change permanent. 

Cementing Your Structure’s Future

Now that you’ve identified where you feel some structure can be most helpful, it is time to cement those bricks onto your Craft. How, you may ask? Just do it. Read that poem to Goddess upon waking tomorrow morning. Then the next day, and the next. Repeat that new mantra with your meditation time in the afternoon and again the next time.  Each repetition adds structure and substance to your eclectic practice while increasing stability, focus and power.

Mortar your  structure together wit what is most important to your Craft.

Remember, all this structure can be added without compromising the freedom that is eclecticism. Why?  Because even the most solid of structures can be remodeled or demolished when it is no longer meeting our needs. If in a year, two years or two months, our lives and our Craft have profoundly grown or changed, we can modify the structures we have created to accommodate our new lifestyle.  While it may have been built in stone, we can still chisel out the mortar and rebuild it to our liking.

Take it from one Eclectic to another, adding structure will not change who you are, what your path is. What it will do is add another dimension, another place for your magick and Craft to flourish from. It’s time to give structure a chance to prove its worth.  I think you will be happy with the results.

Blessed Be!