Candles, when combined with prayer and faith, can produce miracles. Candles have a unique place in our society today, and are also an incredible link with our past. Unlike anything else, candles convey messages of romance, warmth, spirituality, secret wishes and brightness, all with the simple construct of wax and wick. Embraced by almost every faith, creed and nationality, there is something special about a solitary flame and the energy exchange that it puts forth. It touches our souls. A candle is an ignitable wick embedded in wax or another flammable solid substance such as tallow that provides light, and in some cases, a fragrance. It can also be used to provide heat, or used as a method of keeping time.Candles have helped people pray and meditate since ancient times. Simply lighting a candle, for believers, can in itself be a powerful act of faith. The spiritual symbolism and energy of candles can help you in a variety of ways when you want to contact angels through prayer or meditation. In general, candles symbolize life, love and celebration. Candles can have customized meaning through personalization. They are also commonly used as part of religious ceremonies and holidays, and in each instance, the meaning may be different depending on the traditional beliefs.
Just as light overcomes darkness, God can empower you to overcome challenges in any situation. So the light from the fire of candle flames symbolizes God’s presence with you and your faith in God. Every time you light a candle, you’re expressing your faith in God. Angels are beings of light and miraculous apparitions often involve light, because light represents life, love, wisdom, and hope. Spiritually, lit candles bear witness to those values.
A candle manufacturer is traditionally known as a chandler. Various devices have been invented to hold candles, from simple tabletop candle holders to elaborate chandeliers.
For a candle to burn, a heat source (commonly a naked flame) is used to light the candles wick, which melts and vaporizes a small amount of fuel (the wax). Once vaporized, the fuel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to ignite and form a constant flame. This flame provides sufficient heat to keep the candle burning via a self-sustaining chain of events: the heat of the flame melts the top of the mass of solid fuel; the liquefied fuel then moves upward through the wick via capillary action; the liquefied fuel finally vaporizes to burn within the candle’s flame.
The word candle comes from Middle English candel, from Old English and from Anglo-Norman candele, both from Latin candēla, from candēre, to shine
The burning of candles for spiritual purposes is a practice that dates back to ancient times. For as long as there have been candles, there were people who believed that a lit candle can connect the physical world with the spiritual realm. To these people, fire and flame are representations of the spark of creation. To light a candle is to illuminate the self.Candle burning is an ancient spiritual practice that has evolved into a complex magical art and science without losing its simplicity and capacity for creating powerful change. To practice successful candle magic, you must understand the principles behind this application. They are:
Size and Shape
Marking and Dressing
Lighting and Extinguishing
Individuals accepting these beliefs use the burning light of candles to unfold their divine potential. What follows is an examination of these beliefs and the meaning behind illuminated candles combined with prayer and meditation. This examination will of course include a look into the significance and meaning of candle colors.
How Candles Burn
Candle flame with zones marked
A candle flame is formed because wax vaporizes on burning.
It has three distinct regions.
The innermost zone, directly above the wick, contains wax that has been vaporized but that is un burnt.
It is the darkest zone.
The middle zone is yellow and luminous.
As it is oxygen depleted zone, insufficient oxygen exists to burn the entire wax vapor.
As such, partial combustion of wax takes place.
The zone also contains un burnt carbon vapor.
The temperature in this region is hotter than the innermost zone, but cooler than the outer zone.
The outer zone is the area where the flame is the hottest and complete combustion of wax takes place.
It is light blue in color and not normally visible.
The main determinant of the height of a candle flame is the diameter of the wick.
This is evidenced in Tea Lights where the wick is very thin and the flame, which is for mainly decorative purposes, is very small.
Candles whose main purpose is illumination use a much thicker wick.
Candle Healing and Energy Work
All waxes are essentially hydrocarbons, which means they are largely composed of hydrogen (H) and carbon (C) atoms.
When you light a candle, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick. This liquid wax is then drawn up the wick by capillary action.
The heat of the flame vaporizes the liquid wax (turns it into a hot gas), and starts to break down the hydrocarbons into molecules of hydrogen and carbon.
These vaporized molecules are drawn up into the flame, where they react with oxygen from the air to create heat, light, water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Approximately one-fourth of the energy created by a candle’s combustion is given off as heat radiates from the flame in all directions.
Enough heat is created to radiate back and melt more wax to keep the combustion process going until the fuel is used up or the heat is eliminated.
It takes a few minutes when you first light a candle for this combustion process to stabilize.
The flame may flicker or smoke a bit at first, but once the process is stabilized, the flame will burn cleanly and steadily in a quiet teardrop shape, giving off carbon dioxide and water vapor.
A quietly burning candle flame is a very efficient combustion machine.
But if the flame gets too little or too much air or fuel, it can flicker or flare and un burned carbon particles (soot) will escape from the flame before they can fully com-bust.
The wisp of smoke you sometimes see when a candle flickers is actually caused by un burned soot particles that have escaped from the flame due to incomplete combustion.
Color of the Candle Flame
If you look closely at a candle flame, you’ll see a blue area at the base of the flame.
Above that is a small dark orange-brown section, and above that is the large yellow region that we associate with candle flames.
The oxygen-rich blue zone is where the hydrocarbon molecules vaporize and start to break apart into hydrogen and carbon atoms.
The hydrogen is the first to separate here and reacts with the oxygen to form water vapor.
Some of the carbon burns here to form carbon dioxide.
The dark or orange/brown region has relatively little oxygen.
This is where the various forms of carbon continue to break down and small, hardened carbon particles start to form.
As they rise, along with the water vapor and carbon dioxide created in the blue zone, they are heated to approximately 1000 degrees Centigrade.
At the bottom of the yellow zone, the formation of the carbon (soot) particles increases.
As they rise, they continue to heat until they ignite to incandescence and emit the full spectrum of visible light.
Because the yellow portion of the spectrum is the most dominant when the carbon ignites, the human eye perceives the flame as yellowish.
When the soot particles oxidate near the top of the flame’s yellow region, the temperature is approximately 1200o C.
The fourth zone of the candle (sometimes call the veil) is the faint outside blue edge that extends from the blue zone at the base of the flame and up the sides of the flame cone.
It is blue because it directly meets with the oxygen of the air, and is the hottest part of the flame, typically reaching 1400o C (2552o F).
Candle Flame always points up
When a candle burns, the flame heats the nearby air and starts to rise. As this warm air moves up, cooler air and oxygen rush in at the bottom of the flame to replace it.
When that cooler air is heated, it too rises up and is replaced by cooler air at the base of the flame.
This creates a continual cycle of upward moving air around the flame (a convection current), which gives the flame its elongated or teardrop shape.
Because “up” and “down” are a function of the earth’s gravity, scientists wondered what a candle flame would look like in outer space, where the pull of gravity is minimal and there really isn’t an up or down.
In the late 1990s, NASA scientists ran several space shuttle experiments to see how candle flames behaved in microgravity. As you can see from the NASA photos below, a candle flame in the microgravity is spherical instead of its elongated shape on Earth. Without gravity, there’s no “up” direction for warm air to raise and create convection current.
Take care about your candles by always store your candles in a cool, dark and dry place. Tapers or dinner candles should be stored flat to preventing warping.
You can remove dust and fingerprints from a candle by gently rubbing the surface with a piece of nylon or a soft cloth. The cloth can be dry or slightly dampened with water.
Wax drippings can be removed from most candleholders by running hot water over them. Some home care experts prefer removing wax by first placing the candleholder in the freezer for an hour or so. This allows the wax to shrink and easily pop out when the candleholder is removed from the freezer.
Never use a knife or a sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass votive holder. It might scratch or weaken the glass, causing it to break upon subsequent use.
Avoid burning candles in any glass item not specifically designed for candles. Glass candleholders are specifically manufactured to withstand the temperature changes that occur when burning a candle. Everyday glassware is not designed for burning candles.
Votive holders will clean more easily afterward if you add a few drops of water to the glass before inserting the candle. Caution: Don’t add more than a few drops of water and don’t add water unless you intend to burn the candle immediately afterward. Over time, a candle wick could absorb the water and won’t burn properly.
Avoid placing your candles where they will be directly exposed to sunlight or harsh indoor lighting, such as a spotlight. Candles may fade if they are left in bright light for an extended period of time.
You can give power and magical qualities to the flame, but the energies come from your consciousness.
Candle drippings viewed after a ceremony or meditation, will take shape and form and have meaning for you.
They too are created out of the magic of your thoughts.
The power of the flame is neither male nor female but all and everything.
Candles and sacred flames are part of the myth and mystery of humanity’s experience in the physical, always a reminder of our connection to source.
Candles are often used during religious and ritualistic ceremonies.
A candle melts until its flame is extinguished in the physical … but a soul spark is immortal.
As we are all created by the flame of soul, therefore we all believe in magic at some level. Somewhere in our souls is the knowledge that there is more than physical reality. All is magic and illusion.
Many people associate ceremonies using candles with the occult, black magic, witchcraft, etc. Nothing is dark or negative unless it causes harm to someone or results in a negative reaction and most often originates from a dysfunctional soul.
Candle Magic has been around since the dawn of time, traced as far back as the Paleolithic era. It is a very powerful form of sympathetic magic.
You have to believe in the power of the candle if it is to work for you. Candle magic is usually part of a ritual but can be part of meditation or other exercises .
There are many factors that play into the art of candle magic. Any type of magic that is performed is supposed to return to you three fold, whether it be positive or negative. Always keep the Wiccan Rede ‘An harm to none do what thou wilt’ in mind when considering your work. Always keep in mind that magic effect’s the entire world around you. Be very careful what you ask for, for it may well come true. The wording in any type of magic must not be taken lightly, be very careful, concise, and precise, make sure you have covered all possible bases.
Some candle magic has to be repeated over a period of days. Therefore, you will want to place them in an area that will not be disturbed. Do not choose a place where there is a TV, radio noise or disturbances of any kind. Keep in mind to not put candles near curtains and such, as you would not want to burn your house down. Candle magic should always be performed in a low traffic area. That is why a bedroom is really nice for such work.
The History of the using Candles begun with the beginning of using the fire. Early humans lived during a time in which, they believed, that spirits inhabited both living things such as other humans, animals, trees, and plants; but also non-living things such as rocks, dirt, and water. For them, everything was inhabited and/or controlled by a spirit which must often be negotiated with and appeased. Not surprisingly, then, the history of candle-magic likely has its origins in the “invention” of fire itself. Fire was both friend and foe to our early ancestors. It offered them light in darkness and warmth in winter, protection from dangerous animals, and allowed them to forge more powerful weapons with which to defend themselves and each other. However, it also burned the flesh, destroyed crops, and gave their enemies equal footing in conflicts.
Perhaps the connection between fire and magic began when someone noticed that, when burned, the smoke of dried leaves and branches produced different scents which were perceived as the presence of various spirits or that the smoke ascended towards the sky and to the ultimate source of fire, the Sun. In some cases, certain herbs when burned and inhaled by those nearby produced hallucinogenic effects resulting in shamanic or out-of-body experiences where spirits were not only seen but also conversed with. From contact with such spirits, sacred rites were developed and performed and early religion began to form.
Flash forward several hundred-thousand years to ancient Egypt where the core of reeds were melted in animal fat to produce torches; and in Rome where rolled papyrus was repeatedly dipped in tallow (animal fat) to produce the first-known candles to have wicks. Though these candles burned unevenly and smelled foul, they were used for practical as well as religious and magical purposes.
During the Middle-Ages, candles were still being made in largely the same manner as in ancient Rome. The discovery of beeswax produced candles that burned cleaner and smelled more pleasant. However, beeswax candles were more expensive and harder to obtain and thus were primarily used in religious rites to light holy temples and burned as offerings to God(s) often accompanied with one’s prayers. The thriving whale-industry of the 18th century contributed large amounts of whale-oil which was used to make spermaceti-wax and which replaced tallow and beeswax as the main source of candles. Like beeswax and bayberry candles before them, the candles made from spermaceti-wax burned brighter, longer, more evenly, had a pleasant smell and did not melt as easily in the summer months.
The industrial-revolution that came with the 19th century along with the discovery of stearic-acid, which hardens the wax, aniline dyes, and the invention of paraffin, introduced the first mass-market candles in various colors produced by machines. Further improvements in infrastructure, railways, and transportation allowed for quality candles at an affordable price to reach homes from across town or even across the country! No longer did the average person have to make his or her own candles or purchase them from a candle-maker when they could easily be purchased from a mercantile at an affordable price.
As candles became cheaper and more readily available they became more popular in the magico-religious practices of various cultures including Hoodoo. The popularity of candle-magic not only has a direct correlation to the availability of quality candles at an affordable price but also to the commercialization of Hoodoo as early as the 1940’s with the publication of such books as “The Master Book of Candle Burning” by Henri Gamache and “The Guiding Light to Power and Success” by Mikhail Strabo. Such books were often advertised and distributed to African American customers all over the United States by mail-order spiritual supply houses. So popular was “The Master Book of Candle Burning” that it is still in print today. This is largely due to the book living up to its title in that it describes precisely how to choose, anoint, arrange, and burn candles for a variety of purposes.
Prior to the early 1900’s, traditional practitioners led a nomadic life, constantly traveling from town to town offering his or her services and selling their baths, oils, and candles. By contrast, many workers settled into communities where they acted as doctor, magician, priest, and counselor. Between 1910 and 1940, however, it is estimated that more than 2 million African-Americans relocated from the southern states to escape racism and seek employment in northern industrial cities. As they gained access to more education, many of these African-Americans abandoned the beliefs of their ancestors as they began seeing Hoodoo more and more as superstition and ignorance rather than as a faith and a practice.Beginning around 1965, and continuing to this day, census data has shown a trend in which blacks have begun to return to the south citing improved racial relations and economic growth. With their return to the south, many blacks displayed a renewed interest in the spirituality of their ancestors. The accessibility of the internet in the mid 1990’s along with this renewed interest in all things spiritual set the stage for the beginnings of the Hoodoo Revival.
With that, humanity has come full circle. As our early ancestors lived in a world inhabited by spirits, so do we recognize that little has changed in that regard. Rather than building fires in the wilderness to push back the darkness and light the way to love, success, health, and prosperity today we burn candles to protect and guide us along life’s journey.