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Candle Divination — The Science and the Unseen

by Silver RavenWolf
copyright 2016

candleDoes the way a candle burn have a mystical significance?  Or, do we rationalize that the manner in which the wax drips and pools falls merely within the realm of science?

The answer to both these questions is — yes!

I have been making candles for many years — you name it?  I tried my hand at it — paraffin, soy, blend of the two, beeswax melting and rolling, pillars, figure candles, votives, tea candles, container candles — whew!  I’ve worked with a slew of products — waxes, additives, oils, essentials, carriers, wick weights and types — if you could consider it a candle?  I made it.

Along the way I learned that there is always a scientific explanation on how any particular candle burns — space conditions, barometric pressure, the quality or type of wax used, wax temperature when poured, additives, oils, herbals (if any) the wick size, etc.  I was forced to acknowledge the science that creates a high quality product; yet, at the same time, I realized the amazing mystical aspects at play in all of my choices.

spiritsummon2For example, let’s say you bought a dud candle — it simply won’t light.  Perhaps the wick, somewhere along the way from production to you, was saturated with a heavy oil that won’t allow it to burn.  A bad carrier or even an overload of essential oils in the wax can also create the same problem.  That’s the science.  The magickal aspect asks:  “Why do I have this stupid, non-burning candle right now?  Right when I want to do this magick?”  We know that the Universe helps us in the form of visual signals that seem ordinary — like the candle wick not accepting the flame as a hint that all is not right with this working.  In the realm of the mystical — that candle possibly won’t light because:  You haven’t thought this spell through.  It isn’t the right time to do this particular spell.  You really don’t want to do this working because you are fearful or unsure of the circumstances…etc.  Perhaps, if you do this spell, it is going to rebound on you like dog shit flying out from under a ten ton mower blade.

The trick is to find the balance between the mystical, divinatory possibilities and the scientific reasoning.  By tying the scientific with intuition, you can learn a lot more about an issue simply by paying attention to the signals the universe is sending through ordinary means.  Being aware of your feelings before you do candle magick is worth the few moments to analyze the type of emotion you are experiencing before you light that wick.  Are you confident?  Afraid?  Feeling good?  Not so sure?  Back off if you are in the negative, do a cleansing of some type and then move forward.

Let’s say that you empowered your candle, lit it and it is burning beautifully.  Along comes your spouse and he blows out that candle. 



You’ve got to be kidding me! 

WHY did you do that? 

Perhaps that person gives a very logical explanation.  You turn away, frowning, because your mind is filled with questions.  Why did that happen?  Should I light the candle again?  Should I trash it and start over?  Obviously the scientific answer is that your spouse blew out the candle.  Done deal.  The divinatory one can be a little more complicated depending upon the nature of the working.  It could be that you (or your spouse) subconsciously don’t want to move forward on this issue at this time.  Perform some type of spiritual cleansing or Jinx Remove to get rid of this type of block, re-empower the candle if you still want to move forward OR, trash this candle and do a new one where the wording is different.  The spouse blowing out the candle could also be a signal that someone outside of yourself or your partner is concentrating on blocking your success on this issue — someone at your place of employment, or in the family who wishes to “outen” your work — an individual who, for whatever reason, does not want you to succeed.  It could be petty or it could be “just business”.  If your gut tells you that this is the right explanation, you would re-empower the candle, re-light it AND add an additional candle — such as Road Opener, Crown of Success, Protection, Hex Breaker, Send Back, or Black Cobra (if you think the negative energy is intentional). 

Hand rolled beeswax candles for Money Spell

Although natural soy and beeswax candles rarely soot — it can happen on occasion — soot indicates that there is resistance to your work.  Scientifically, certain fragrances and essentials are known to create soot — pine being the major one.  Again, why did you choose a pine scented candle for that working?

Here’s another example:  You buy ten beeswax candles in a pack.  You go to do the spell with one of the candles.  The flame goes out immediately.  You light it again, this time holding the flame longer to the wick and touching the wax.  The candle stays lit.  Science:  You did not hold the flame to the wick long enough because these wicks are not pretreated with any chemicals and it is cotton.  Mysticism: As this was the first candle out of this package, and you did not already know to hold the flame securely to the wick for a longer period of time — you may be jumping the gun on the working — or, your working will seem to take off, then poop.  Conversely, if this is the second candle in the pack, you already know to hold the flame to the wick longer because of what happened with the first candle — and the candle will take off the first time no problem.  

Scrying Candle

Strange things can happen with candle magick, which is why you must be vigilant in safety procedures.  If a glass container candle explodes, there are at least four scientific explanations:  Either there was an extreme temperature variation between the surface glass and the burning wax,  OR the container suffered some sort of hairline fracture, OR there were too many herbals in the wax too close to the flame (I blew up a love spell with that one), OR when the candle was poured the wick was crooked and portions bent too near the glass.  The last explanation is the most dangerous because when you first purchase the candle, you can’t see that the wick is doing a strange loop-de-loop under the surface of what looks like a centrally placed wick.  I set a pair of curtains on fire years ago because a dollar store candle wick was next to the glass half way down the jar and I didn’t realize it.  Hence, my interest in making my own darned candles!  Whatever the scientific reason for the explosion, in the realm of the mystical — expect the circumstance to be over quickly and often with an unexpected or powerful event.  Usually it is a good sign if you can get past the physical damage that might have occurred. 

ritual candles
Candle Magick Ritual

If a candle keeps going out on its own — scientifically, the wick is not heavy enough to handle the wax formula, you cut the wick too short for that formula, the carrier of the fragrance is too heavy, or the ratio of essential oil to wax is incorrect.  Sometimes you can continue to dump the excess wax so the candle can burn properly — however…what does this tell you about the circumstance?  Maybe, you need to do a different type of working to combat the obstacles that you might not be seeing.  Or, perhaps you aren’t actively investing your energy in the issue and need to change your behavior and thoughts surrounding the circumstances.  Scientifically?  If you have two of the same candle and they both burn badly?  Find a new brand of candle.

What if the candle makes snapping sounds?  Scientifically, there is water somehow, some way, in the wick, OR your magickal oil dripped down (somehow) next to the wick column between the wax and the wick. Mystically, chatter in candle magick is normally seen as a good thing, meaning that a great many changes are being made to fulfill your goal. 

mycranberrytinWhat if your candle burns super fast?  Scientifically, there is probably a lot of air movement around where the candle has been placed (drafty), OR the wick is too large for the formula or size of the candle, OR your magickal oil or other ingredients in the candle such as herbs, hasten the burn, OR you are burning a soy container candle and you didn’t let the melt pool cover the top of the candle before putting it out.  This is called tunneling.  On the lines of mystical interpretation — be pleased — your desire will come to pass quickly.  

If the wick flame is super high, you either forgot to trim the wick to the height appropriate for the type of wax, or there is an additive that is super combustible (something either added in the manufacturing process or by yourself).  Enchantment thought is that there is an influx of energy and the matter will end well and swiftly.

Puddles of wax can also be read in a divinatory way.  To the right of the candle, the worst is behind you.  To the left of the candle, there are obstacles ahead, gather up the puddle once it has cooled, inscribe a banishing pentagram on it, and dispose of it off your property.  The shape of the puddle can also be read like tea leaves — does it look like a ship and you were burning a money candle?  Then your fortune is on its way!  Does it look like cat vomit?  That was the first thing you thought?  An aura cleansing is definitely in order!  Usually the first image that comes to mind when reading wax like this, is correct — your subconscious mind is trying to tell you something, through a symbol, that the conscious mind is ignoring.  Stars are generally success, birds are messages, arrows are moving in a specific direction, etc., however, symbols although universal, should be read in a personal way.  For example, a spider can mean creativity and is solution oriented; but, if you see a spider and you don’t like spiders, then the message is definitely a personal one.  Scientifically, a soy votive will puddle everywhere unless burned in a candle cup, and various other waxes have their own general pooling patterns.

The residual wax left on the sides of a container candle can also be read in a divinatory way by interpreting the shapes and patterns remaining on the cold glass.  Why is there wax clinging to the inside of the container?  Whether soy or paraffin, the wick was too light or the choice of wick construction was not appropriate for that type of wax.   For example, natural waxes require a different type of wick than paraffin waxes.  If you use a wick designed for paraffin in a soy brew, you will have trouble with a good burn (if it burns at all).  Beeswax is particularly fussy.  Sometimes chandlers (candle makers) actually design the candle so that it will leave the residue, making the container appear to glow softly.  

samhainbag5.jpgWhat type of candle is best for mystical purposes?  They say that beeswax is superior, soy second (because it is natural; however, due to the process involved in making soy wax, research indicates soy wax cannnot be termed “organic”), followed by palm wax, and paraffin last — this, of course, depends on who you are asking.  But, who is the expert?  You are.  Choose the type of wax, that through personal experimentation, brings you the most reliable, consistent results.

Science?  Magick?  Both?  You decide.


Llewellyn Author of over 23 magickally enchanting books. Braucherei practitioner. Artist, photographer, quilter, chandler, doll maker and lover of genealogy. Visit her WhisperMagick online shoppe at

40 thoughts on “Candle Divination — The Science and the Unseen

  1. Good stuff about candles..I rinse my candles with water before use, as people touch them in the shop etc and I don’t want there vibe on them.
    I remember 40 yrs ago reading don’t burn black or red candles if ya just starting as a witch as if the spell backs fires it very many trouble. I learnt a lot of gypsy magic over the yrs from 1975 on,mostly I use green or white odd red, blue, brown. But I find the mind and a candle the best magic. Someone said yrs ago don’t dabble do the high magic straight off. But I liked collecting spells and a dabble every blue moon. I don’t do spells now retired,just feed a few crows who call now and then sing me some deep song not the ark ark and a few other birds as their got very little habitat and food now. Gee Silver your been in the craft a long time too. Thank you for the candle topic,I still like learning stuff….cheers

  2. Dear Silver, thank you very much for your post! Can`t wait until December! I want to tell you, that I asking my candles which one will do a work for me. Mostly, I feel like the candle is calling me, or I am using a pendlum. Thank you so much. Candlework is great, the flame carries the wishes directely to the universe. Blessed be! Regards, Kristina

  3. I remember the sign of the Moon that formed of the cooling wax of a candle I used in a rutual performed a few months ago, my inner sense told me that goal is achieved 🙂 Happy to have tha chance to make bee wax candles myself, this work is such an inspiration and fun
    Dear Silver, I am a bit slow student but I am reading again and again the same pages to capture the point …happy to create my own spells based on your teachings
    ( ( SUN ) )

  4. So basically if a candle burns with flawless perfection then the timing, the spell and the results are perfect?

  5. I could hug my phone! (If I thought you would get the hug, I would!)
    Thank you SO much for taking the time to combine all of this wisdom and sharing!
    You are a blessing to our world.
    I hope your week is wonderful.

  6. Over the last half year my 20 something daughter and I have been doing a lot of candle magic. It just sort of kicked in post holidays and we kept going with it. We have found that candles burned for “clearing” either go faster than other ones (all the same store bought type) or end up leaving piles of wax while the other burns to nothing – we too saw this as divinatory. The fluid condenser we made over the holidays seems to super charge them. Time to make a new batch though :). Thank you for all you teach and share 😀

  7. I was so excited to see this post from you, Lady Silver. Thank you so much. I try to work with all of the elements, but my “go to” is always the candle magick. I have started making candles on my own, but always keep some of every color for emergencies. I especially use the candles made by you. They are awesome, as are you. Thank you for always sharing your knowledge, insights and love.
    Blessed be,
    Ciela SnowOwl

  8. Such a wonderful article. Candle burning is such a powerful practice that I suggest to many of my clients and friends. The added benefit of reading the candle is so helpful because sometimes we think we want or need one thing… And really we need another. But I have found you can use these signs seen in the burning to not only clarify your work, but to create another added form of sympathetic magic. Your example of dumping off excess wax… How powerful is that. You can purge the extra junk that is influencing your work!! Done with intention this creates a whole new layer of working.

    What are your thoughts on rolling candles with herbs just to have the herbs combust and melt the candle extremely fast? Do you think this could be an added benefit to the candle working?


    1. Greetings! I do roll the herbs and powders in my candles. I have found that it is better to keep the herbs away from the inner core layers, and to keep the herbs, powders, and condenser at the bottom of the candle. This gives you a safe burn (normally) and when the candle is finished, what wax is left, if any, mixes with the herbs. I’ve also found that if you only lightly dust the outside with loose herbs (just a bit) — they normally don’t explode or cause a fire, either. If you roll and cover it with a thick layer, you may have a problem. Does it help the energy of the working? I believe so — particularly if you use a combination of a condenser and the herb — the boost is good. Again, it is always the opinion of the worker that counts. Thank you for posting!

  9. Hello, everyone!! My post is to thank Silver for her article about candle burning – but, also, to put in a suggestion; there has been such unrest in the earthly realm as of lately; if we could all come together and light a special candle to help cleanse the realm and push forward for peace amongst those who are dealing with the difficulties of their own surroundings – I cant help to think that there is more to the cause of the recent negativity (believing on my own, that there are some extra workings causing these conditions – never the less….)
    Silver, if you have more thoughts, suggestions, ideas as to how to keep ourselves balanced while the earth rotates through all of these needless “wars” – the U.S. and overseas – or if anyone else would like to add in? Most welcome! Cheers!

  10. Dear Silver, I have a question.I think these candles on the photos are rolled bee wax candles made from bee wax sheets, but how can they be coloured ? I like these different colours but my rolled candles are natural yellow colour, I would like to know how to make coloured ones ? Thank you 🙂

      1. Will have to check for such here, I like them very much , thank you 🙂

  11. Tiny nettle stem brooms near the windows and doors are a lovely charm to keep the evil off, they are especially active if some tiny crystals are attached on them 🙂 ..just wanted to continue the flow of comments …I prefer not to be a final dot, rather …. 🙂 sending my appreciation and gratitude to you

  12. It’s unusual that I would leave two replies to one post lol, but I had to share this. /Users/aluramia/Desktop/thumb_IMG_7270_1024.jpg (I’m not sure the image will copy) either way… I burned a dark purple (it’s as black as I can find, it looks black and I intend it so) candle yesterday with runes for clearing and protection (from it coming back) carved into the sides. I empowered it with words and fluid condenser. It burned for over 13 hours (one single paraffin taper). When I went to look at the candle holder (simple thick poured glass), it had split evenly in half (the glass). The candle had gone but it cost me my holder (laugh/shudder). I am grateful the glass took the hit. Candle Magic is very interesting…

  13. Great article. I recently burned a candle to guide my neighbors to stop leaving their decorative porch lights on all night. They shine right into my bedroom window. They know that because I had asked them to turn them off previously. My intention was not for bad things to happen if they continued, just for them to stop. But when I went to bring it in for the night, I bumped my hand and got burned by the wax! Plus the candle went out. The lights were still on at the time and I guess I was getting frustrated (and clumsy). Well, it worked and the next day I slipped down the steps! There is definitely something to be said for making sure my thoughts and heart are centered beforehand.

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