Today in part four of my five part series on candle-burning I will discuss some of the various signs that a worker may or may not encounter in the practice of candle-burning.
Not all magickal traditions give credence to the manner in which a candle burns or seeks to divine the success or failure of a spell by observing patterns left in wax residue. When I was a new student to the craft, that is Wicca, none of my teachers at the time taught about these concepts at least none that I am aware of. When the subject was broached it was usually vague or concerned itself with the practice of Ceromancy, the art of divination by melting wax in cool water.
It wasn't until I began to delve deeper into the folk-magic practices I had often heard about growing up in the South that I began learning about the various signs encountered in the practice of burning candles for love, money, success, etc...
Some of the topics that will be addressed in this entry will include:
- The Behavior of the Candle-Flame
- Signs Left by Vigil Lights
- Symbols in Left-Over Wax
- Things to Keep in Mind
Just like God spoke to Moses in the form of a burning bush, your candles are speaking to you each time you light them to attract or dispel certain influences. Granted they may not speak in a voice that you can hear with your ears (although it has been known to occur) but rather with the movement of the flame. Some of the signs through which a candle may be trying to communicate with you are given below.
These signs presuppose that you have already ruled out any mundane factors which may give the appearance of a positive or negative sign, such as a candle which has been left in a draft, an improperly made candle, too much oil used, etc...and have made the necessary corrections.
- Weak or Low Flame- This is a sign that you have not accumulated sufficient power to accomplish your desired goal or that another is working against you. Watch the flame to see if it grows stronger as it burns, if not, this means that your desire may not manifest and if it does it will take a long time. When this occurs you should re-evaluate your goal or continue burning candles until you see improvement.
- Strong or High Flame- A strong flame indicated a great amount of power or energy is being spent to achieve your goal. A flame which burns abnormally high is indicative that God has heard your petition and this is generally taken as a sign that your work will succeed.
- Flame Goes Out- A candle that will not burn or whose flame goes out is trying to tell you that there are strong energies working against you. When this occurs you have three choices. They are 1) Dispose of this candle and start over with another. 2) Re-light the candle and refortify it with fervent prayer. or 3) Dispose of the candle and re-evaluate your goal.
- Flame Relights Itself- A candle whose flame appears to become extinguished and which then begins burning again is a sign that there are energies opposing your work but that your candle is fighting back to keep working for you.
- Flaring Flame- When the flame flares up and down this is a sign of opposition and that you are in an active struggle with the subject of your spell. It could be that someone is working against you or that someone is working for the same goal as you (i.e. casting spells for the same promotion, lover, etc...) Pay attention to how the candle continues to burn for additional signs.
- Crackling Flame- A candle which snaps, crackles, or pops is generally believed to be a sign of the language of spirits (ancestors, angels, etc...). It is believed that the spirits are either talking to you or to each other.
- Fast Burn- A candle which burns down quickly and leaves little to no residue is given as a sign that the work will be successful but that perhaps the results will not be lasting.
- Slow Burn- A candle which burns down slowly, or slower than other candles of the same type previously burned is given to indicate that 1) the goal of the spell will take some time but that the results will last or 2) there is resistance to your spell.
Signs Left By Vigil Lights
Unlike free-standing candles,Vigil Lights are candles which are encased in glass and which are designed to burn anywhere from 7 to 9 days. Due to the fact that they are encased in glass, many auguries have been ascribed to condition of the glass as a result of burning a Vigil Light. Some of these signs include:
- Clean Burn- It is given as a good sign that what you wish for will come to pass with little to no resistance if a Vigil Light burns without leaving behind any wax residue or marks on the glass.
- Soot on Top- If the top portion of a Vigil Light is blackened from soot, but otherwise clean as it burns down, this is given as a sign that your spell got off to a bad start (i.e. it initially faced some negativity or opposition) but that it worked past those negative energy and worked well for you.
- Soot on Bottom- If a Vigil Light burns clean in the beginning but later leaves a black soot on the bottom portion of your candle, this is a sign that your spell got off to a good start but ran into opposition before completing its work for you. When this occurs you should back up the work by lighting another candle and continuing to do so until you get a candle that burns clean.
- Soot All Over- A Vigil Light that burns completely black is a definite sign that a strong enemy is working against you.
- Cracked Glass/Explodes- As in the case with many of the signs mentioned, the signs given for a Vigil Light that cracks or explodes largely depends on the the goal of the spell. Generally speaking a cracked/exploding Vigil Light can indicate 1) Breaking through an obstacle such as another person's defenses 2) Breaking a spell such as a hex that was placed on you or 3) Your candle broke because it took a 'hit' for you or 4) The person is actively working against you and broke your spell before it could have an affect on him or her.
Symbols Left in Residual Wax
Sometimes a candle will melt down and drip wax in puddles as it burns. These puddles are often searched for signs and symbols which will give an indication of the success or failure of the work. Some common symbols include Hearts, Faces, Tears, Eyes, Circles, Genitals, Some individuals have attempted to assign specific meanings to commonly occurring symbols which have often found in these drippings. However, I feel that although there are universal meanings to some such symbols, but that they are also very subjective.
For example, it has been said that wax which forms droplets down the side of a candle are called tears and that they represent that someone will cry before the spell is complete. This is usually interpreted as tears of sorrow, regret, or grief. However, tears can also be interpreted as joy and happiness.
For this reason I will not presume to tell the reader what a certain symbol means, but rather would instruct him or her to define for themselves what a symbol represents.
Things to Keep In Mind
This entry is not intended to cover every aspect of signs found in candle-burning, but rather to give a brief overview of the subject. Many of the signs given are subjective and largely dependent on the goal or intention of the spell.
As you practice candle-burning, I suggest that you observe your candles closely and take notes as to the behavior of the candle and how they burn. When your spell is complete, pay attention to what does or does not happen next and write this down as well. With practice over-time you will begin to understand how your candles speak to you and what they are trying to tell you.