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Candle Magick

 We sell an inordinate number of candles at Talisman – in fact, I often leave a stocked shop on Saturday, only to come back on Wednesday to find our supply nearly depleted (come to think of it – what the heck are you people doing on Sundays when I’m not around, hmm?).  So while there are entire books written on the topic of candle magick, I thought I’d provide a brief overview below.

A candle is unique in that, alone, it represents all four elements (flame = fire; wax = earth; liquid wax = water and air which feeds the flame).  The moment you light a candle, it signals the heavens that something significant has begun here below. The fact is, candle magick resonates for many of us. Having been raised Catholic, one of my earliest memories is standing in front of rows and rows of neatly arranged jar candles at the front of the church while my grandmother lit a slender stick (after putting money in the wooden box nearby) then instructing me to use the flaming stick to light a candle of my own – and say a prayer for our family. So it seems natural that we would sell a lot of jar candles at Talisman. White is the most popular color, and while some people prefer to bless their own others will ask that we oil and bless their candles instead. This process is called “dressing” a candle. While jar candles are safe and easy, there are many other shapes and sizes to work with. The choice of color, however, is usually the first thing to consider. Listed below is a basic color chart:

Green: Abundance, money, physical healing, health, good luck.

Yellow: Action, inspiration and creativity, persuasion, confidence, road


Red: Passion, sex/physical love, fire, strength, courage.

Pink: Romance, affection, friendship, Universal love (pure love).

Gold: Enlightenment, success, wealth, money, masculinity, luck. The


Blue: Communication, healing, harmony, inspiration.

Orange: Legal and business deals, success, career, goals, ambition.

Brown: Animal magick, earth magick, concentration/study, home.

Purple: Divination, psychic abilities, power, contact with spirit world.

Silver: Meditation, victory, feminine energy. Repel destruction. The


Grey: Substitutes for silver.

Violet: Idealism, ambition, independence, revelation of Divine Will.

Ivory: Neutrality, balance and harmlessness.

Black: Protection, reversing, banishing, binding, and repelling.

White: Cleansing, purification, protection, spirituality, use to bring peace.

White can be a substitute for all candle colors; suitable for any ritual.

Many people are afraid to leave a candle burning unattended, which is why chime candles are so popular (they burn for about 30 minutes – a good time for accompanying ritual work, if you want to time the ritual’s end with the candle burning out). Household candles burn for about 3 hours, are easy to carve and can stand in for poppets. I like working with votives – carved, oiled and rolled in herbs or resin then burned with parchment underneath that describes intent and outcome. No special reason, the size and shape just appeal to me personally. Please note that if burning candles (or fire in general) makes you nervous then candle magick may not be right for you. There are plenty of other ways to manifest and move energy – using cords, bottle spells, mojo bags, and lucid dreaming to name just a few. In fact, we will be offering a variety of spell bottle pendants in a month or so – crafted by a witch in West Virginia, each is unique, delicate and lovely to wear. So please don’t work with anything you are not comfortable with!

Figure candles are meant to enhance intent through imagery. In addition to human figures (male/female) you can use candles in the shape of cats, devils, witches, dollar signs, sex organs (aka “pinis” and “Vageena” candles, as my Santero calls them!) , hearts, skulls, knob candles, cherubs, crosses, pyramids, snakes 3the list goes on and on.  Skulls really freak people out – but you’d use a skull candle to “get inside someone’s head” so a green skull candle might be used to inspire your boss to give you a promotion or a raise – or a red skull to inspire passionate thoughts.

You carve a candle by using a sharp instrument (pin, awl, rose thorn) to inscribe dates, names, emblems, dollar amounts etc. into the sides of the candle – all of which add to intent. To dress a candle means to rub it with oil; and same as with carving it’s very important to focus on your intention while you do so. You can also press a tiny crystal into the base or center of the candle; sprinkle it with glitter, and/or surround the candle with herbs or stones to lend energy to your work. 

The timing of your work is important – we banish on the waning moon (the time three days after the full moon until the new moon) and manifest on the waxing moon (the time three days after the new moon until the full moon). So – if you were starting a diet you might begin on the waning moon to banish the excess weight; and I’d use a figure candle and draw arrows or a bulls-eye on the parts of the body I needed to focus on or reshape. Looking for a new job? You’d use an orange candle dressed with drawing oil while the moon was waxing, I’d place my resume under the burning candle after dotting drawing oil on all four of its corners.

Laura Lenhard