Although tools of the craft may at times help you can practice magick with nothing but a candle.
A candle is a self-contained magical system, for although it represents the Fire element, it also containing the other three basic elements of magick: Earth is represented by the unburned wax of the candle, Air is the smoke, Fire the flame, and Water the melted wax. Thus is created Akasha or Spirit.
For most spells, however, you should have one or two altar candles in white, cream, or natural beeswax. A single central candle can be good for times of quiet meditation, but for more focused rituals you may prefer to light one candle to represent the Goddess on the right and another for the god polarity, on the left of the altar.
Any tools and elemental substances that you wish to use, such as salt – which represents Earth in the North -can be set at the four main compass points around them and any symbols set between and in front of them.
These will be the first candles lit in any ritual, either before or immediately after casting a circle. I prefer to light them first, to mark a beginning and empowerment to the magick, and to avoid casting an empty circle, but there are no hard and fast rules.
There is debate over whether you should blow or pinch out candles that you do not wish to burn completely away. The act of blowing out a candle is itself a magical release of power, for, rather than holding the light in a snuffer, you can send it towards all who need it. This is an excellent way of releasing and directing power at the end of a rite.
If you buy candles with two or three wicks, a new one can be lit each day in a three-day ritual. Larger candles can have up to seven wicks and if you need a lot of power, you can light all the wicks during a single ritual. Candles vary considerably in their burning times – the better-quality ones may state the number of hours, but with practice, if you always use the same type of candles, you will be able to assess how long they will last.
Then you can choose one to match the occasion – either one that will have burned through by the end of an evening in a dusk ritual or one that will last for up to 12 hours for an all-night vigil candle, for example on one of the solstices.
Practitioners of strict ceremonial magick say that you should never use a candle that has been lit for another ritual or purpose and should not use these afterward for household illumination. However, since candles are so expensive and since you will only be performing positive magick, there is no reason why ritual candles should not be adapted for everyday use. Candles from harmony and healing spells may be used in quiet areas of the home, and candles for energy and success in work or study areas.
On the other hand, candles for banishing magick should be left to burn down and any remaining wax buried, or the unused candle is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. You can, if you wish, place your banishing candle on a metal tray etched with a symbol of what you wish to remove from your life and bury that.
Both for ritual magick and for your informal candle spells and meditations, you will need a supply of candles in a variety of colours. I will list here astrological significances, the magical colour meanings, and the elemental correspondences so that even if you are new to magick you can begin work at once. If you are an experienced practitioner, some of the ideas may suggest new directions for your personal and coven work.