Candles are widely used in Wicca and related forms of Paganism and Neopaganism, as they are in many other religions. Consecrated candles are frequently used on the altar to represent the presence of the God and Goddess, and in the four corners of a ritual circle to represent the presence of the four classical elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Candles are burned at all ceremonies, and the lighting and extinguishing of candles often marks the opening and closing of the ritual.
A candle can be consecrated and charged with magical energy by cleansing it and anointing it with a small amount of oil during the waxing phase of the moon. The candle can also be carved or painted with appropriate magical symbols to further empower the candles with those energies.
Candles are frequently used for magical meditative purposes, in healing rituals, to help increase a spell‘s power, or to influence a particular power. Candles are believed to be able to absorb one’s personal energy and release this energy when burned. In preparing to cast a spell, the witch may dress or anoint the candle with an anointing oil while concentrating upon the purpose of the spell (the spell’s purpose dictates the formula of the oil). Or, alternatively, the witch may scratch a wish on the candle.
Altar candles are traditionally thick tall candles or long tapers in many colours. Ideally, they should be home-made from beeswax, using natural dyes and essential oils if desired. Each colour has its own vibration, attribute, symbolism and influence, and different colours correspond to the different signs of the Zodiac, the different days of the week, the different Sabbat celebrations, etc.
There are many variants and few hard and fast rules, but among the main colour symbolisms and associations are:
- White: spiritual truth and strength; peace, purity and innocence; breaking of curses; meditation; household purification; treating broken bones, relieving dental pain and increasing milk production in nursing mothers.
- Green: nature, fertility, and rejuvenation; healing; money, prosperity and good fortune; fertility; emotional soother and balancer; used to counteract greed and jealousy; treating headaches, colds and nervousness; Sagittarius.
- Pink/Rose: love and friendship; spiritual awakening; healing of the spirit; femininity; entertaining; morality; overcoming evil; treating anxiety and depression and ailments of the heart; Cancer.
- Red: sexuality; strength, physical health and vigour; blood, birth and death; passion and fertility; protection; healing neuralgia and exhaustion; used in defensive magic; Scorpio; Ares.
- Orange: courage, strength and authority; concentration and encouragement; solving legal problems; healing coughs, colds, asthma, arthritis and exhaustion; Taurus.
- Blue: psychic and spiritual awareness; wisdom, harmony and peace; prophet dreams; protection during sleep; promoting happiness, laughter and joviality; treating insomnia, high blood pressure and minor wounds; Aquarius; Virgo.
- Purple/Violet: ambition; mysticism, inspiration, wisdom and idealism; purification; reversing a curse; aid in meditation, sensitivity and higher psychic talents; speeding healing during illness; treatment of allergies, sleep disorders and stress-related disorders; Pisces; Libra.
- Brown: protecting pets and animal healing; solving household problems; attracting money, financial success and help in financial crises; eliminating indecisiveness and improving powers of concentration; finding lost objects; Capricorn.
- Gold: intuition; persuasion, charm and confidence; protection; attracting fast luck or financial benefits; used in rituals honouring solar deities; Leo.
- Gray/Silver: stalemate, neutrality and cancellation; helping develop psychic abilities; removing negative energy, or influencing and encouraging stability.
- Black: evil and discord; loss and sadness; opening up the deeper levels of the unconscious; absorbing and destroying negativity; protecting against retribution.
Yellow: persuasion; creativity, confidence and charm; aid to memory and studying; healing skin conditions, stomach complaints and menstrual cramps; Virgo and Gemini.