Candles are a common and versatile tool in many pagan traditions. They can be used for various purposes, such as meditation, ritual, magic, divination, and celebration. Candles can also symbolize different aspects of the divine, nature, and the self. In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways that candles are used in pagan traditions and what they mean.
Candles for Meditation and Ritual
One of the simplest and most effective ways to use candles in pagan practice is to light them for meditation and ritual. Lighting a candle helps to create a calm and focused atmosphere, as well as to mark a sacred space and time. The flame of the candle can serve as a focal point for concentration, visualization, or prayer. The color, scent, or shape of the candle can also enhance the mood and intention of the meditation or ritual.
For example, pagans may use candles in different colors to correspond to the elements, directions, seasons, or chakras. They may also use candles scented with herbs, oils, or spices to invoke certain qualities or energies. Some pagans may carve symbols or words on their candles to reinforce their goals or desires. Others may use candles shaped like animals, plants, or objects to represent their spirit guides or allies.
Candles for Magic and Divination
Another way to use candles in pagan practice is to perform magic and divination with them. Magic is the art of influencing reality through intention and will, while divination is the art of seeking guidance or insight from higher sources. Candles can be used as tools for both of these arts, as they can carry and manifest one’s intentions and messages.
For example, pagans may use candles to cast spells or perform rituals for various purposes, such as healing, protection, love, prosperity, or creativity. They may also use candles to communicate with their deities, ancestors, spirits, or higher selves. Some of the methods that pagans use to do magic and divination with candles are:
Candle burning: This involves burning a candle until it goes out naturally or at a specific time. The way the candle burns can indicate the outcome or progress of one’s intention. For instance, a fast-burning candle may mean a quick result or a strong energy, while a slow-burning candle may mean a delayed result or a weak energy. A flickering flame may mean interference or obstacles, while a steady flame may mean stability or success. The shape of the wax residue or the smoke can also reveal signs or symbols that can be interpreted.
Candle dressing: This involves anointing a candle with oils, herbs, powders, or other substances before burning it. The substances used can enhance the power and purpose of the candle. For instance, rose oil can be used for love spells, lavender oil for healing spells, cinnamon oil for prosperity spells, etc. The direction and manner of anointing the candle can also affect its influence. For instance, rubbing the oil from top to bottom can attract something, while rubbing it from bottom to top can repel something.
Candle reading: This involves using a candle as a medium for divination. There are different ways to do this, such as:
Scrying: This involves gazing into the flame of the candle and letting one’s intuition receive images or impressions that can be interpreted.
Wax reading: This involves observing the patterns or shapes formed by the melted wax of the candle and relating them to symbols or meanings that can be interpreted.
Flame reading: This involves observing the movement or color of the flame of the candle and relating them to signs or messages that can be interpreted.
Candles for Celebration
A third way to use candles in pagan practice is to celebrate various occasions and events with them. Candles can be used to mark important dates on the pagan calendar, such as festivals, holidays, sabbats, esbats, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Candles can also be used to honor one’s deities, ancestors, spirits, or loved ones with offerings and prayers.
For example, pagans may use candles to celebrate seasonal festivals that mark the cycles of nature and life, such as Imbolc (February 1), Beltane (May 1), Lammas (August 1), Samhain (October 31), etc. These festivals often involve lighting candles to symbolize the light that emerges as winter ends (Imbolc), the fire that ignites life and passion (Beltane), the harvest that sustains life and abundance (Lammas), and the spirits that visit the living and the dead (Samhain).
Pagans may also use candles to celebrate personal events that mark the milestones of one’s life, such as birthdays, initiations, weddings, funerals, etc. These events often involve lighting candles to symbolize the life force that grows with each year (birthdays), the spiritual transformation that occurs with each stage (initiations), the love and commitment that binds two souls (weddings), and the transition and continuation of one’s soul (funerals).
Candles are a powerful and versatile tool in many pagan traditions. They can be used for various purposes, such as meditation, ritual, magic, divination, and celebration. Candles can also symbolize different aspects of the divine, nature, and the self. By using candles in one’s pagan practice, one can create a connection with the light and fire that are essential for life and spirit.