Working with Candles


I like using church candles like this

I don’t know about you, but I do like candles. I like their flickering light. I like the way they give an air of magic to a ritual. I like their versatility.

What I don’t like is the smell from scented candles. That’s one thing you won’t find in my candle stash – scented candles. I am especially sensitive to candles with synthetic chemical scents, and find they can give me a nasty headache.

You can find all sorts of lists online telling you what colour candle to use for what spell, and what colour corresponds to each season, element and direction. To be very honest. I tend to ignore those lists.

When it comes to candles, I tend to use church candles. I like church candles because they burn with a steady flame, they have a consistent colour throughout, and they don’t (usually) drip. They come in a wide range of sizes, from votive to a basic taper to large pillars. Before lighting, I can adorn the candle to attune it for whatever work I am doing.

I find a drawing pin works very nicely for creating words, names, or pictures on the side of a candle. I can also draw symbols using oils which are invisible once finished, but the energy remains part of the candle, and of the burning.


I like using candles for spellcasting because they provide such a good focus for the energy. In recent years I have done several candle spells.

Spell to end a relationship/ handfasting

When my marriage ended I wanted to do something to signal to the Gods that our spiritual marriage and handfasting was over. This very basic magic work severed the handfasting cord and signalled our marriage was ended.

Tools: 2 taper candles, the handfasting cord

Wrap the cord around the two candles in a figure-eight pattern. State your intention that as the candles move apart, so too will your connection with your ex.

Light the candles and burn them 1 minute for each year in the relationship. (15 minutes = 15 years marriage for me)

Each day over 7 days, move the candles a bit further apart and burn them a further 1 minute for each year, restating your intention each time.

When the candles are moved as far apart as they can get, situate the cord so that instead of wrapping in a figure eight it lies in a straight line between the candles. Depending upon the length of the cord and the width of your table there may or may not be some overlap past the candles.

On this night burn the candles down completely. When they burn down, take your ritual knife (or a pair of scissors) and cut the cord in half. You can then either give half of the cord and one of the candles to your ex, or if this is not feasible for any reason gather both candles and both halves and dispose of them someplace away from your home. In any case, dispose of the candle remains and the cord halves some place away from where you live, making sure to not litter. Giving the remains to my ex was not an option for me, and frankly, I disposed of the pieces by putting it all out with the rubbish on the regular collection day.

Spell to make a judge sympathetic to you/make a court case go your way

I used this spell because of lies and untruths which were being used against me in a legal battle I was embroiled in a few years ago. It was adapted from spells found in Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spellsby Judith Illes.

Tool: short pillar candle, paper, ink, straight pin

Using the straight pin, write the judges name on the side of the candle. Write your appeal for what you want on the paper, fold it and place it beneath the candle. I also drew symbols on the side of the candle using a “friendly judge” oil. Burn the candle each day for the entire length of the court proceedings. If the candle runs down before the court case ends, place another candle over the top of the remains of the previous and continue burning it down.

The outcome:

The persons who were spreading falsehoods about me to the courts were taken off the case, and in one case the person lost her job. The judge remained sympathetic to my side throughout, and ultimately it went favourably towards me.


Another use I have for candles is to provide a focus for shamanic journeywork and meditation work. Simple light a candle, then watch the flame. When you are focused, close your eyes, but continue to see the flame dancing and moving within your mind’s eye.

Gradually the flame may begin to change shapes and take forms. Follow and watch the forms and listen to whatever messages they may bring, in whatever forms those messages may take. You may see written words, hear spoken words, or even just have a knowing downloaded into your awareness. It may be that you see specific images which give you the messages you need without the use of words, spoken or otherwise.

Whatever form these messages take, that’s the right way for you.

How do you use candles in your own work? Do you have a favourite candle to use?

And a quick straw poll – hwo many candles do you have burning right now?


I enjoy reading your responses, so please let me know what you think.

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