Look at any book that deals with magic and you are likely to see the same kind of image on the cover. Pictures are like shorthand, and book covers rely on iconic images to communicate their subject matter. When it comes to books about magic, they invariably include photos or drawings of candles burning.
The association between magic and flames goes back centuries. It’s no coincidence that suspected witches were burned at the stake. But is there anything in it? Does a flame hold any magical properties, or is it all just an old marketing trick that’s stuck in the public consciousness? To find out, first we need to understand what we mean by magic.
What is Magic?
I’ve talked on this site before about the kind of ‘magic’ I use. I put the word in quotes because magic is a term that gets a lot of mis-use. The truth is that what most people think of as magic is actually grounded in science. It’s just that because it’s misunderstood (or not understood at all), it gets labelled as magic.
That’s perfectly fine; magic is a word that is used to describe any phenomenon that cannot be explained any other way.
My magic, like any that actually works, is based on the manipulation of morphic field energy. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that in my experience not all practitioners are aware that this is what they are doing. We don’t have to understand how the engine works to drive the car, and the same is true with magic. It’s perfectly possible to be a skilled practitioner of the craft without having any knowledge of morphic fields, quantum entanglement, or universal energy, just as it’s perfectly possible to be an excellent gardener without having any knowledge of molecular biology.
The Role of The Flame
I, like most spell casters, use candles for most of my spells. I also know that a candle is not strictly necessary. There are three reasons it is usually included in the ritual. I’ll list them first, then we’ll look at each in more detail:
- To act as a focal point.
- To provide energy to the spell.
- As a way of measuring time.
1. A Focal Point
When we cast a spell we are manipulating morphic field energy. This energy is present at every point in the universe, but it’s small. Really small. Sub-atomic small. Trying to work with it is like trying to capture fog. It wafts and rolls and swishes and swirls. It evades capture, not because it doesn’t want to be used (it does) but because of its free nature.
I should explain that this energy is not captured with hands or with any other physical appendage, it is captured with the mind. The mind reaches out and channels the energy, morphing and shaping it into a conduit through which emotion and intent can be passed.
Because of the ephemeral and autarchic nature of the energy, it’s useful to have a point of focus for the mind to reach out and grab. A sort of proxy.
Candles are not the only proxy that is used in magic. In voodoo, a doll is often employed. Forget the films with witch doctors shoving pins into a doll, that’s not how that works at all. But a doll or figurine is frequently used in those kinds of magic as a way of focusing and channelling energy.
Candles work particularly well for this purpose because not only is a single flame a very calming — almost hypnotic — thing, it also acts as a physical connection to the morphic field energy. Look at a candle’s flame closely and you will see how it tapers to the finest of points. That tapering leading edge actually becomes finer than the human eye can perceive. If we could zoom in to a sub-atomic scale we would see that the flame becomes so microscopic that it entangles with the field energy itself.
This means that by channeling mental energy into the flame, it can act as a physical conduit through which the fields can be accessed.
2. An Energy Source
All spells require energy. That can come from a number of sources. For a love spell, there are two primary energy sources:
i) The spell caster.
ii) The person who requested the spell.
These can be the same person, though obviously that’s not the case when I am casting a free love spell following a request through this website.
The person who wants the outcome, the one who requests the spell, supplies most of the energy through their desire for the person the spell is being cast on. That desire is immensely powerful. It can be thought of as the gas in a car.
The spell caster also has to provide energy. Their energy is necessary to manipulate the desire and harness its power. The spell caster’s energy can be thought of as the energy a driver uses as they physically manipulate the controls of a car.
So what of the candle? If we continue the car analogy, the candle adds energy in the same way as gravity can add energy to a car journey. The driver puts in energy to push the pedals and turn the wheel; the gas provides the energy to make the engine and therefore the wheels turn; between them they are enough to make the car move. But if the car is going downhill, then gravity gives the whole thing a helping hand. It’s not the most powerful energy source in the equation, but it makes everything move a bit more freely and easily.
That’s what the candle is doing in a love spell casting. It’s adding a little bit of power. It’s greasing the wheels, giving a little extra push. Sure, a candle in itself is not highly energetic in the scientific sense. It doesn’t put out a lot of calories or joules or kilowatt-hours or whatever other unit you want to use. But it doesn’t have to, because we’re working with energies on a sub-atomic quantum scale. At such small scale, the power of a single, simple candle flame is immense. It’s all relative.
3. A Measure of Time
The final reason a candle can be useful in a spell casting is very simple: it’s a handy measure of time.
Casting a spell takes a lot of mental energy, which requires the caster to be in a highly focussed state of mind. This state should not be disturbed, as doing so breaks the connection between the caster and the target of the spell. To disturb a caster mid-spell is like waking someone up mid-dream. It’s very hard to get back to where they left off.
It is also very important that the spell caster does not exceed a certain amount of time in the casting ritual. There is a direct correlation between time spent casting and the amount of energy sent to the target of the spell. Sending too much energy can emotionally overwhelm a subject, so timing is critical.
Rather than set an alarm clock and risk being jerked out of the focussed-mind state, a candle acts as an ideal instrument of time keeping. The caster is already focussed on the flame for the reasons mentioned above. As the wick reaches the bottom of the wax and the candle begins to burn out, the flame flickers and slowly dies. This is a perfect gentle visual indication to the spell caster that the necessary amount of time has almost elapsed.
Obviously the size, shape, and density of the candle combined determine for how long it will burn, so these attributes must be taken into account before the spell is started.
A Magical Tool
The three reasons I have explained above show why candles have become almost synonymous with magic and spell casting. It’s possible to carry out magical rituals without them, and sometimes I do so myself. All in all though, it’s usually easier to use a candle, and more power can be obtained.
Just like many magical practitioners probably don’t understand the ins and outs of morphic field energy and don’t need to, I suspect many also do not have any particular understanding, or even interest in, the workings of a candle flame and how it relates to the fields. Again, they don’t need to. You don’t need to be a scientist to notice that something works and to keep doing it.
There’s a fair amount of mythology surrounding the uses of candles in magic spells. Some people believe that different attributes of a candle affect a spell. They believe that different materials (for example paraffin wax and bee’s wax), different styles (free-standing, jar candles, tea-lights), or even different perfumes can affect the magic. But above all else, it’s the color of the candle that most people believe to be important.
In reality there’s no basis for any of these variables to have a direct affect on a spell casting. That’s not to say they won’t change the outcome though. Because of the way morphic field manipulation works, and the importance of belief to the process, what the caster believes will affect the outcome can actually affect the outcome.
Clearly, to an enlightened practitioner who understands the mechanics, picking a green candle over a red one is not going to change anything any more than picking a green car over a red car will change how it drives. But to a caster who is more reliant on their belief system, the color absolutely can make a difference, in the same way some people truly believe that green cars are more accident-prone and therefore cause more accidents in them.
With that in mind, let’s look at the colors most commonly used in candle-based magic, and their associations.
Red & Pink
Red and pink candles are most commonly used for love spells. Red is obviously a passionate color, with associations going back centuries. Open any Valentine’s day brochure and it will be filled with images of red roses, red candles, probably red lingerie…the list goes on. When a woman puts on lipstick, red is the most common color.
Colors can bring about physiological changes in the body, and numerous studies have shown that seeing the color red increases blood pressure and respiratory rates, increases energy output, and increases the libido. It’s no wonder that red is the color of passion!
Pink is like red but ‘less so’. It is commonly used in a spell where a more tender love is sought, in comparison to the passionate and lustful love associated with red. Pink also occurs frequently in friendship spells.
No other color is as deeply associated with the natural world than green. For this reason, green is the color of choice for candles used when casting health and wellness spells.
Any kind of healing spell will use green. The shade is less important than red; different intensities do not signal variations in intention in the same way as the differences between red and pink can divide the sliding scale between passion and friendship.
Blue candles are used when casting spells for money, prosperity, work, and learning, as well as safety and security. If the aim of the spell is to score a job, a blue candle would be chosen. It would also be the choice when looking for help passing an exam, or simply for seeking an influx of wealth. And if someone needed a safe haven, respite from attack, or shelter from, well, anything, it would be done with a blue candle.
Blue has many associations in many cultures. Historically it has been linked to the sea and the sky, for obvious reasons. In today’s culture it is a very corporate color. Surveys constantly show that it creates trust and faith, and that it has associations with safety and security.
No prizes for guessing that black candles are used in black magic rituals. There’s not much more to say about these, because such rituals are pure nonsense. There’s no such thing as black magic. Real magic uses universal energy to bring about directly positive outcomes. It works in harmony with the universe, and the universe seeks not to destroy but to create. Anyone who thinks they can cause pain or suffering or any of the other myriad negative outcomes commonly ascribed to black magic is only fooling themselves.
White candles have no particular allegiance and can be used to cast any kind of spell. As we’ve seen, on a practical level the color of the candle has no direct effect over the outcome of a spell, it only influences the belief system of the person casting. A white candle is like a blank canvass onto which the caster may project any belief they choose. Thus the humble white wax candle, though cheap, plain and abundant, is also that with the most magical potential, because its potential is limitless.
Candles are probably one of the most ubiquitous instruments of spell casting. Love spells, money spells, healing spells, and many more besides all rely on this humble and ancient invention.
As we’ve seen, a candle is not strictly necessary for the casting of a genuine spell that works, but it certainly helps. And for some casters the candle and the spell are inseparable, they are two parts of a whole.
The great thing is that using a candle won’t harm a spell even if one isn’t necessary. Given the advantages, and particularly the extra power a candle can bring to a ritual, there’s rarely a good reason not to use one when casting any kind of spell.