Month: November 2010

Celebrate the Season Making Magickal Votive Candles!


Pouring Magickal Votive Candles
by Silver RavenWolf

If you want to put a little magickal fire in your season, here are tips and tricks for pouring your very own enchanted candles!

General Supplies:

Wax
Scent
Color
Mold
Stirring Stick
Double Boiler
Candle Thermometer
Paper Towels
Old Cookie Sheet
Small metal pitcher (the kind used for cream in restaurants)
Clean Hammer (to break up the wax before you put it in the pot)
Penknife or sharp X-acto Knife
Soft terry towel
Bamboo skewers (to poke holes in wax between pourings)

General Candle Information

Making magickal candles for holiday use and gift giving can be wonderfully rewarding!  Up front supplies for first time candle makers in 2010 runs around $33.00 at the general craft store.  This includes a 4 pound block of candle wax with hardening additives, scent, color, a candle thermometer, and a few votive molds.  Don’t forget you’ll need a double boiler, too (cost not included in estimate).

Along with the candle supplies mentioned above, I use a few other items to make the job so much easier!  Paper towels come in handy for all sorts of things while you are brewing.  I use the small metal pitcher to scoop the hot wax from the pot and pour into the votive cups.  I’ve tried everything from specially designed candle pots to ladles and nothing can compare with those small pitchers!  Little muss and fuss, and the pitcher holds just the right amount of wax to fill one votive cup.  Trust me on this one — I’ve poured over 1,000 candles over the years (no kidding).

An old cookie sheet covered with tin foil is also a must-have when I’m pouring candles.  I line up the votive cups on the covered sheet and pour away.  No worries about drips or messes.  Clean up later is a snap, just throw away the foil!  I also use an old rug in my pouring area.  Messes do happen, and the rug will keep the wax off your floor if you have an accident.  Believe me, you don’t want to try to clean wax off your kitchen floor!   And, as an aside — never, ever, ever pour wax down your kitchen drain (or any drain).  A friend of mine did that and had to spend thousands of dollars to replace her plumbing!

Once the candle cools and is removed from the mold, use the penknife to gently shave the candle edges that may look rough or drippy.  Rub trimmed edges with a soft terry towel to finish.  As a helpful note, don’t panic if you can’t get the candle out of the mold.  First, gently tug on the wick.  If the candle doesn’t budge, don’t pull, you’ll wreck your candle.  You probably didn’t let the candle cool long enough in the mold.  Yes, I know it feesl cool — but, give it more time.  If, after you have patiently waited, the candle still won’t move, briskly rub the mold back and forth between your hands.  The pressure will help to loosen the sides and the candle should easily pull out.  Still suck?  Wait at least another hour and try again.  Sometimes gently tapping on the bottom of a metal mold will help to break the suction.  Not too hard, though, or you will dent and ruin your mold.   If the candle still won’t come out of the mold, use my last resort — pop the mold into the freezer for a minute or two.  Not more than two or three minutes, because the candle will crack.  Remove from freezer and try rolling the mold in your hands again.  Candle should release easily.

Finally, you might want to invest in a bottle of mold cleaner to clean your molds after the candles have been removed.  A clean mold prevents that odd frosting that can occur on colored candles.  Frosting also happens if you pour too cool.  If your candles do frost, don’t panic — the crusty stuff can be removed if you carefully use a long handled lighter by lightly running the flame quickly over that white frost.  Lightly and quickly are the operative words in that sentence.

First time candle maker?  Start with a two pound batch, which will net you about 16 votives (at 2 ounces each) — depending on your style of pouring.  Haven’t done any pouring for awhile?  Stick with one or two pounds until you get back into the swing — less frustration that way.  Don’t like the way your candles turned out?  As long as you added the right mix of ingredients, just throw them back in the pot and remelt.  No harm, no foul.

Making Your Candles More Magickal

There are tons of great candle books and articles on the net out there on the precise how-to of the candle making process, so we’re going to skip to how you can make your candle a marvelous, magickal vehicle to work for you in your spells or rituals.  Here’s a brief starter list:

Tuning Forks or Bells — to help you attune your brewing wax and finished candles to a specific vibration (love, health, healing, general happiness, etc.)
An astrological calendar — to time the pouring of your candles to your best advantage
Copper Stirring Wand — use to stir wax while brewing and chanting
Herbal Additives — anything goes; but, be careful — grind all additives very fine with mortar and pestle if you can, and use herbals sparingly — they can catch fire while the candle is burning
Glitter — nice finish to a magickal candle and adds that thought of spirit and enchantment
A List of your Favorite Chants or Charms — you’ll use these while stirring and pouring the wax
Your Own Candle Notebook — keep track of date, time, ingredients, weather conditions, moon phases and purpose of each of your special brews.
Decorative Touches — these are added after the candle is cooled and removed from the mold.  Items such as ribbon, beads, raffia, metal charms can be affixed to the wick or around the candle.  Candle gloss is a nice finishing agent, too.

Easy Magick Steps for Powerful Candles

First, determine what type of candles you would like to pour (love, health, general, protection, etc.)  Check your astrological date book for the best timing.  Mark that day and work your candle project into your schedule.   Not sure what goes with what?  No problem.  Keep it basic at first.  New Moon for Beginnings, Waxing Moon for Building, Full Moon for Harvest, Completion and Power, Waning Moon for Banishing, Dark of the Moon for the Kick-You-Know-What Stuff.

More?

Use keywords.  Monday — Moon, Home, and Females; Tuesday — Mars, Challenges, Action, Courage, Males;  Wednesday — Mercury, Communication, Electronics, Internet, Messages;  Thursday — Jupiter, Expansion, Good Fortune, Legal Stuff ; Friday — Venus, Love, Socialization, Education, Fast Cash; Saturday — Saturn, Harvest, Rules, Structure, Older People, Rewards, Limits; Sunday — Sun, Success, Achievement, Fame, Fortune.

More experienced practitioners will pay attention to the astrological sign the moon is in, and other planetary and star transits.   Regardless of whether you are a beginner or advanced in the magickal arts — don’t pour (if you can help it) when the Moon is Void.  As Lily said — nothing will come of it.

On timing in the kitchen and the actual process — Beginners usually take about two and a half hours when pouring candles.  More experienced folks may get away with an hour or forty-five minutes.   How long the process actually takes depends on the length of time you wait between pours.  To eliminate as much sinking as  possible, votives will cover a four pour process — the first pour contains the majority of wax in the mold… then, as the candle begins to cool and wax sinks around the wick, you will pour again, then again, and if you really want a smooth candle top — one more time.  Time between these pours varies on temperature in the room and the type of wax you are using.  Here are my easy steps to create powerful, magickal candles:

1.  Break wax into manageable pieces that will fit into your brewing pot outside while uttering a favorite, magickal banishing chant.  This can be done at any time (or on the dark of the moon or when the moon is waning) and stored in a plastic bin for later use.

2.  Cleanse, consecrate and empower all supplies for — service to all — before you begin your project for the day.   Empower these tools just as you would your wand, staff or athame.

3.  Offer the wax up to your chosen deity (outside is nice) asking for assistance.  Be sure to clearly state the intent and purpose of the candles you wish to make.  Take your time while doing this.  Enjoy the process.  Breathe deeply and slowly.  Visualize clearly.  Remember to pour one candle extra to dedicate to this deity.  This is also your test candle.  If it burns, your batch is good.  You may wish to do this process in sacred space or a cast circle.

4.  If you can, cast a circle in your brewing area.  If you can’t do this (too many kids running around, other people interrupting you, etc.) then simply close your eyes and surround yourself with white light as you breathe in and out several times.  Everything has a field — you, the wax, the stove, all the supplies — everything has its own field — don’t forget that.  Now, touch the stove or heating element and ask a hearthstone goddess/god for assistance (your choice of whom you call).  Remember to pour a candle for this deity as well.

5.  As soon as the wax has initially melted, and before adding any color or scent, stir the wax slowly 9 to 21 times, repeating your favorite chant.  Whispering is fine.  Singing is great!

6.  Now, its time to attune your wax for your purpose.  State your intent clearly three times, blow on the wax three times, then attune with tuning forks or bells with three rings.  After you have finished this first chanting and attunement process, and the temperature of the wax is correct, add your color and scent according to the directions on the packages.  Repeat step number five.  When finished, draw an equal-armed cross over the heated wax.  You are now ready to pour.

7.  Pour hot wax into votive cups, until the wax reaches 1/4 inch from the lip of the cup.  Add a minute amount of herbals.  Stir several times to remove bubbles.  Most herbals will sink to the bottom, that’s okay, just try to keep the area of wick placement clear.  Chant your purpose nine times, while holding your hands over the votive cups.  Wait until the wax lightly begins to skim on top and insert the wick.  The wax should have solidified enough to hold the wick in place.  Yes, this will look messy, that’s okay, you have to pour again anyway because of sinking.

8.  Most candles require at least 3 pours — the main pour and two more as the wax sinks.  The fourth pour is for picky Virgo’s like me.  Larger candles can require several more toppings of wax.  Again, room temperature, type of wax used and your preferences dictate how many pours you will do.  When pouring the top-offs, you must pour at the same, original temperature, and pour just to barely cover the original line of the first pour (that 1/4 inch from the top).  This will prevent those white lines you sometimes see on candles.  Don’t forget to prick the wax between each and every pour to ensure a solid candle without air pockets.  This also keeps the toppings from what’s call icing or chipping on top.  As a note, those funny white lines can also occur because you waited too long between successive pourings and the candle was too cold.

9.  When you have poured the final top off, repeat a closing, sealing blessing, then draw a large, equal-armed cross over the tray of votives.  This is to seal the magick you have done.  Set the candles aside to cool.

10.  After the cooling process is complete, you are ready to decorate your candles either for gift giving or for yourself.  Remember to burn one candle in honor of deity and one in honor of your hearthstone and its guardian.  These are also your test candles.  Just like a good cook never lets the dish leave the kitchen without tasting it, so a good candle maker never gives away a candle from a batch that hasn’t been tested.  Too much scent, too much color, or the wrong sized wick for the diameter of the candle will ruin your work.  You may not realize you’ve made a mistake without taking the time to burn that test candle.  When you are ready to burn your candles, trim the wick and say:  ‘I banish all evil and negativity from myself and this candle’.  Remember that wicks should be trimmed to 1/2 or 1/4 inch for safe burning.

11.  Your candles are super special with all that magick!  Be sure to design a gift tag or note card if you are giving them as gifts to accompany your candles that explains the purpose and ingredients of the candle.

There is nothing more comforting and festive than brewing magickal candles on a cold winter afternoon or evening.  You could even have a candle making party and invite your friends and family to join you.  Focus on happiness, good fortune, and love.  Play music!  Have a feast!  Revel in the season!  Each person can then take their candles home and burn them at their leisure, remembering the fun they had during that special, magickal moment in time!

Have you made magickal candles?  We welcome your tips, tricks, and interesting experiences in enchanted brewing!  Please add your thoughts to this post.  We’d love to hear them.

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Ceremony of Lights


Ceremony of Lights — 4 November 2010
by Silver RavenWolf

Ceremony of Lights

Our Ceremony of Lights began three years ago as an event held here at the RavenWolf Hearthstone to commemorate the beloved dead of the spiritual community.  Names and prayers are sent to us by e-mail, through my SRW bog, and posts by FaceBook friends during the month of October.  A candle is placed for each prayer or name received in the weeks and days before the ceremony on the altar.  At the appointed time, members of the Black Forest Clan join together in ceremony to honor these requests.

Lighting the Candles

This year’s celebration was truly beautiful with hundreds of candles alight.  Even though our Black Forest Samhain celebration fell the week before several circle members made an extra trip, some driving for two hours or more in heavy traffic, to ensure the success of our community offering.  A special thank-you to all who participated!

Lord and Lady Candles with Misting Cauldron

We began by putting the finishing touches on the altar, which included the Lord and Lady candles, a misting cauldron, and a statue of dancing goddesses.  Those present cast the circle together.  With the intent of the ceremony spoken, we placed candles from the group members at the head of the altar along with murmured prayers for those they represented.  Our attention turned to the hundreds of dark candles, and…in silence…Lord Shadow and Maiden, Samantha lit that amazing number of candles — one by one.  As the last candle sprung to light several ouuu’s and ahhh’s circulated around the room.  It truly was a beautiful sight!

Hundreds of Candles -- Hundreds of Prayers

Our ceremony continued with the Samhain ritual conjuration read from my Solitary Witch book, followed by each member sharing a specific memory of a deceased loved one.  These were particularly poignant — one person remembered his grandfather teaching him how to fish, another spoke of his love for books shared by a family member, someone spoke of the last six months of her mother’s life and so on.  Me?  Argh!  It would be food… I remembered my grandmother’s sticky buns that she made just for me on special holidays such as Thanksgiving and Yule.

Our group request from the dead centered on peace — for the spiritual community, for our daily lives, and for the world in general — that we focus more closely on harmony rather than strife.  The ceremony ended with a blessing and the closing of the circle.

A big thank you to everyone who participated with their posts and prayers.  The 2010 Ceremony of Lights was truly a beautiful event, and we were honored that you shared your love with us.