Candle Magick Techniques
At its heart, candle magick is very straightforward. First, you prepare a candle for your working. From there, it’s simply a matter of matching technique and intent.
Connecting your intent to the candle is often approached in two steps. First hold the candle in both hands and think about the outcome you’re seeking. (Make sure you clearly visualize each step in the desired outcome’s journey from beginning to end.) Second, you speak your intent out loud when you light the wick.
From there, it’s simply a matter of getting creative using symbolism.
* Let’s say you were preparing a ritual to let go of something – for instance a habit you’re breaking or a damaging relationship. You simply connect your intent to the candle and either let it burn down all the way or blow out the flame yourself. What’s important is that you’re there when the flame (representing your habit or ended relationship) goes out. At that point it is traditionally to say something similar to “So shall it be.”
* Let’s say you’re trying to manifest something in your world. When I light the candle, after speaking my intent, I say something similar to, “When the flame is done, this will be born.” Every so often I’ll return to the candle, honor it’s spirit, and say the phrase again. When the candle has burned all the way down and is finally extinguished, I say, “The flame is out. [Speak your intended outcome for the rite here] is born.”
A couple of notes on technique.
I prefer to use wooden stick matches although I’ve known countless practitioners who have used lighters and such. It’s completely personal preference but I feel really weird using a lighter in a rite.
I’ve heard it said that you should never blow out a candle in a rite as it’s an affront to the Element of Fire. If that’s the case, I’ve pissed off Fire with so many birthday cakes that I doubt it really cares any more. The same people use a candle snuffer to put out the flame, which instead of using too much air to put out the flame deprives it of air so the flame dies. I don’t use either technique although I employ the same principles (after all, there are only so many ways to extinguish a flame.) I tend to cup my hands facing the candle with my thumbs together (the opposite of drinking from your hands with your pinkies together) and throw a handful of air at the flame, putting it out that way. (You need to be careful with this technique and keep from knocking over the candle. Practicing with tea lights is highly recommended. Just before your hands reach the candle, you spread them fling them apart, but it still throws the “cupped handful of air” toward the flame. If you get it just right it goes out; if you’re off a bit, it dances and wavers.) Our kids use this same technique to extinguish the flame and refer to it as “Fire Bending” (in honor of the cartoon, “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”)
Candles are useful as a one-time item in candle magick. Even if you choose to blow out the flame, it’s not recommended that you use the same candle in a different working. However, you can ground the candle and use it for mundane purposes without worry. Simply hold the candle by the extinguished wick and dunk it three times into a salt water mixture. (Tap water and a pinch or two of salt is just fine.) After the candle dries (you can even dry it with a hand towel if you’re not the patient sort) you can use it for illumination but it’s not recommended to use the candle in an additional working.
If you feel led to do so, you can use a firm object with a sharp point (such as a carpentry nail) to scratch words or intent into you candle. This should be done after you’ve prepared it with oil and before you light it. (Oh, the stories I have to tell…)