Welcome back to another Magickal Musings, the GypsyWytch Diaries sub-series in which we muse all about popular witchy topics! In today’s little chat, I’ll share with you the ONE simple rule to beginning a candle magick practice. The key phrase here is BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. You can do this anytime and anywhere you feel comfortable, and literally all you will need is yourself, a candle and something to light the wick with… like, ya know, a lighter or a match. Cuz rubbing two sticks together to make fire is REALLY hard, and the key to this practice is SIMPLICITY!
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are as many ways to do candle magick as there are magical practitioners. Everyone has their own way of connecting to the tools of their craft. Some spells you will find online and in books are extremely complicated, expecting you to have a full altar setup and bring to the ritual everything from eye of newt to tongue of dog, and say Latin words backward while standing on your head in a circle of mushrooms under the waning moon… You know the kind I’m talking about (lol!) If that’s what you’re into, have fun! But if you are new to the path, or if you’re just really craving simplicity in your craft, the method I’m about to share may be just what you need!
What Is Candle Magick?
In its simplest definition, candle magick is the practice of using a candle as the focus of a meditation for a specific intention.
It’s really that simple. You can add onto this basic practice to make it as elaborate or as minimal as you desire, but the main objective is to give your mind something to focus on as you go about your energy work. When we think of candle magick, often times, our mind will go right to Wicca and witchcraft, but the fact of the matter is that almost every spiritual worldview has a form of this practice. The intent of the ritual will, of course, vary depending on the beliefs and intentions of the individual, but candle meditation is a universal practice. In fact, I think I actually first read about it in a book about Buddhist mindfulness meditation, which had no witchcraft leanings what so ever… But it fits right into my eclectic pagan path!
Why Use Candles?
Well, for the purpose of mindfulness meditation, you can really use any object that resonates with you. The book I mentioned above also suggested using a fresh flower, for example. But candles are a popular choice for a very good reason… Because of the connotations of the Fire element.
As a side note, the fact is, you can really use this sort of mindfulness practice with any of the four elements, and the vibe of the practice would very a little depending on the qualities of that element. For instance, using that suggestion of a fresh flower, you would be able to evoke the sacredness of the Earth element, taking into yourself the beauty of this temporary, delicate little piece of nature, appreciating the short moment of time in which it exists in its present form. For intention work, you could easily draw on those qualities to match the purpose of your ritual. A similar practice could be done with, say incense smoke for Air or a glass of Water.
What’s special about using a candle is that Fire is such a curious element. Unlike the other three elements, which seem to be either tangible or intangible, fire has a way of being both at once. Except for in random natural occurrences, fire generally has to be intentionally kindled. It has to be given a physical material to consume, and must be placed in the right conditions in order to stay lit and under control. When the physical object is consumed, the fire goes out, and the “life” of that particular flame is no more. But a tiny flame can light another flame without losing any of its own potency. The small flame of a candle can create a single focus point of warmth and light (and sometimes scent) in an otherwise dark space.
It is often said across many cultures, philosophies, and traditions, that fire is very much like the light of human consciousness. It is for these enchantingly mysterious reasons that so many practitioners choose to focus their rituals around a candle.
The Power of the Present
For me, the magickal thing about burning a candle is that it is such a good reminder to stay conscious in the present moment. If you’ve read The Power of Now, or listened to anyone who has been influenced by the concept illustrated in that book, you have heard it said over and over again that the Present Moment is where the magick really happens! We can re-evoke concepts from the past, or dream about the future, but to fully experience anything, we must be conscious with it in the present moment. This is what makes ritual such a powerful thing! When we look back on our lives, the most prominent and potent memories we hold with us are of times when we were fully present in the moment; acutely aware of some element of what was real in that space in that time.
When we go into the ritual space, we are creating a very powerful, memorable, conscious present moment for ourselves. One of the very simplest ways of doing this is just lighting a candle and observing the flame.
Choosing Your Candle
There are all different kinds of candles on the market. Everything from white, unscented tealights from the dollar store, to those epic handmade pillar candles you can find online, designed by witches in all the colors, scents and themes of the Pagan sabbats! The candle you choose is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that any colors, scents, or symbols should make you feel aligned with the intent of your purpose. A good rule of thumb when choosing to work with a color is to align it with the chakra that resonates with your intention. If your’re not into chakras, you can look up color psychology to get some ideas, or simply allow your own intuition to choose a color that feels right. Your inner guidance system will not steer you wrong. When in doubt, a plain white candle is always a universal option.
Creating Your Candle Ritual
Creating a candle ritual is as simple as 1-2-3! I like to choose a time of day when it is mostly dark, like early morning or at night before bed. You could certainly do this in any setting you like, but I suggest a dark room indoors so that you won’t be distracted by other stimulants in the environment, and won’t have to worry about the wind blowing your candle out. Because the simple act of candle gazing is said to relax and calm the mind, I find that doing this as a bed time ritual works well for preparing you for a good night’s sleep.
You may wish to “dress” your candle for the intent of the ritual, but this is totally optional. Some people like to rub an essential oil or a ritual oil blend of their choosing onto a pillar candle, or sprinkle a few relevant herbs into a jar candle. Just a tiny bit will due, as you don’t want to drown the flame in oil or have too many herbs going up in flames as you burn your candle! Keep. It. Simple.
If you’d like, you can prepare your ritual space to promote your intention, or simply Zen things up a bit. You can burn an incense, play some gentle music with no lyrics, play a recording of a chant or mantra, or even place the candle so that it illuminates a single image or object on your altar. For this simple ritual, though, you want to keep it pretty minimal as far as the visual is concerned. This is about being centered and focused, so just use a single flame and avoid having too many other things visible around it. If you’d like, you can come up with a mantra to repeat in your head, or write your intention down on the candle or on a piece of paper placed under the candle. All of these things besides just the candle are totally optional. Just modify the ritual so that it feels good to you, but again, keep it very, very simple to start!
The final preparation step is to choose a duration of time for your meditation. If you want to watch the entire candle burn down over the course of a single meditation session, try a tealight or a birthday candle stuck in a bowl of sand or salt. If this is a meditation practice you’d like to repeat each night for a week or for a full moon cycle, for example, choose a larger candle that will burn for a longer time. You can put the candle out after you feel your meditation is complete each night, and then pick it back up again the following night. You can even use a timer or a music playlist to notify you of how long you’ve been meditating, but try to go for at least 5 minutes per session.
Now you’re ready to begin! All you have to do is light your candle and clear your mind of anything that isn’t related to your intention. If your intention is simply to have a clear mind, then focus on your breath and the flame of the candle for the full duration of your ritual, letting any other thoughts pass you by without giving them any attention. If you do have a specific intention “spell” in mind, then visualize that spell coming into fruition, or repeat your mantra until you feel you’re in a sort of trance state. When the time is up or the candle has burned out, allow yourself to sit in the darkness for a few minutes to come back out of the ritual zone, and then you’re finished! As I’ve mentioned, I highly recommend doing this right before bed. That way, you don’t even have to turn the lights back on. You can simply go right to sleep and keep that vibe going so you can manifest in your sleep!
Enjoy your rituals, and see how your life becomes more centered and focused as you continue to transform into your best self! Obviously, practice fire safety and never leave a candle burning unattended or too close to something flammable, and this little Fire Element practice is sure to bring nothing but good into your life!
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