While the obvious answer goes something like: "Magick using candles.", let's get more specific.
Candle magick is the art and practice of using fire as a catalyst to manifest your intention. Candles are a convenient way to harness fire on a smaller level than say - a bonfire. Candles can help us focus on specific intentions through color, inscription, the addition of herbs and oils, placement, and even the shape of the candle itself. Lighting the candle brings light and life to your ritual, and tells any spirits or deities you may be working with: "Okay, let's do this!"
There are many different types of candles, the most common being made from paraffin wax. Below is a list of the different types of candles and why you might (or might not) use them. I'll start with wax make up and then describe sizes and shapes.
As you go through these types of wax, remember that much of the melted wax is released into the air that you breathe. If you live in a small space or a poorly ventilated one, you'll want to use candles that are clean burning and non toxic.
Paraffin: Like I mentioned above, this is the most common and least pricey of the waxes out there. Paraffin is made from petroleum, coal, or shale oil through a distillation process. There are also stabilizers added to the wax to keep it from burning too quickly. They include a stearic acid (usually from animal fat), and sometimes even formaldehyde. Candles made from this wax are the leading cause of indoor air pollution and can make some people feel ill when burned indoors, especially in smaller spaces. Paraffin candles also generally (but not always) have wicks that are filled with either zinc, lead, or tin and when burned, they release those molecules into the air as well. For many years, I used this type of candle for my candle magick, but after a while I started feeling sick whenever I burned them. Although you may not feel it at first, just know that whatever you burn, you breathe in.
Soy: Soy is another common type of wax used and may cost a little more than paraffin. It burns a lot cleaner than paraffin, producing 90% less soot so it won't ruin the paint on your walls or cause very much indoor pollution. Soy based candles burn slower as well, creating a longer lasting candle. It's also a renewable resource and considered completely vegan. Look for a non-GMO version if possible. (I will say however, that my own experience with soy is similar to paraffin in that when I burn soy candles in a small space, I start getting a feeling that my eyes are swelling (even though they aren't), I get lethargic, and I get some serious brain fog.)
Beeswax: This is by far my favorite type of wax. It smells simply amazing by itself if you like the smell of honey. Beeswax candles burn longer than soy or paraffin, and are some of the cleanest burning candles out there. The actually emit negative ions (like a salt lamp or waterfall would), and bring a sense of peace to any room. They are more expensive than soy or paraffin, and are not vegan of course. When shopping for beeswax candles, try to find a source that harms bees the least, and also find candles that use pure cotton wicks.
Palm Oil: Candles made from palm oil are less pricey than beeswax - perhaps on par with soy, or even paraffin, but they burn much cleaner than paraffin. You may have heard negative things about the palm oil industry, and you would be right to be concerned, but here is an excellent article on why the answer is not to boycott palm oil, but to create demand for sustainable and ethically sourced palm oil instead. Palm oil candles burn much longer and brighter than paraffin and will not make you sick in the process. Make sure to find a company with integrity (like the one that wrote that article), and check that the wicks used are all cotton.
Mixed Waxes: There are many candles out there that will mix different waxes together. There's nothing wrong with those as long as every wax in the candle is something you are able to tolerate.
~ Pro Tip ~
When choosing a candle for your candle magick, make sure that you are choosing unscented candles, or at the very least, candles that are only scented with pure essential oil (no synthetic fragrances!), and that the oils used coincide with the type of magick you intend to use them for.
1. Always thank the spirits and other entities at the end of any intention statement or magickal working. You can say a simple heartfelt "Thank you.", or you can make an offering of some sort. A small dish or tiny bowl with Van Van oil works very well.
2. When extinguishing a candle, it's best to snuff it or deprive it of oxygen rather than blowing on it if possible. That way you are not pitting one element against another (air 'attacking' fire) but are instead simply depriving the fire of oxygen. If you do have to blow it out, say "Excuse me." - kind of like if you were to bump into someone accidentally.
Choose candle size based on how long they burn and how much time you can let them burn for a ritual. As they say - "Never leave a burning candle unattended."
You can however choose a longer burning candle, and when you do your initial ritual, make sure to include in your intention statement the fact that you will likely need to extinguish the candle and relight it. This way you're letting all entities involved that you are not ending the ritual by extinguishing the candle, but are rather putting it on pause for safety reasons. When you relight your ritual, you can say a simple short intention such as: "I now ask this flame to add light and life unto this operation once again for the intention already given to this candle. Thank you."
Always double check with the company you're buying your candles from for more accurate burn times, but the list below should give you a general idea so that you know which size candles will work for your situation.
Birthday Candles - 20 to 30 minutes
Chime Candles 4" - 2 to 3 hours
Taper Candle - 6 to 10 Hours
Votive Candle - 8 to 10 hours
Pillar Candles - 25 to 35 hours
'7 Day' Jar Candles - 60 to 80 hours
Herbs and their Magickal Uses
Gemstones for a Magickal Boost
Oils, their Uses, and Dressing Your Candles
Timing and Placement for your Candle Magick
Candle Magick Spells to get You Started
Recommended Magick Books
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