SIGNS OBSERVED WHILE THE CANDLE BURNS
A free-standing candle lets out a lot of smoke but burns clean at the end
The divination of signs by looking at burning flames is a form of Pyromancy or divination by fire. You can also perform pyromancy with a campfire or by watching the flames in your fireplace.
To perform a pyromantic divination with candles, it is best to work by candle light only, in an otherwise dark or dim room. If the behaviour does not stop, then it is to be considered a sign, and not simply a physical coincidence.
The candle flame flares, dips, bends, or gutters repeatedly
To be sure that any unusual behaviour of the candle flames is not caused by the mundane fact that you have set the candle in a draft, it is helpful to keep a few non-specific altar lights going in the room, so that you can truly judge the activities of the flames on your spell-lights against some simple blessing candles. If you have altar lights set, you can immediately tell if all the lights in the room are “dancing” or if only the lights on your spell candles are affected. If the flames are jumping on all the candles, it may be necessary to close the doors or windows or to move the spell candles somewhere else.
•If a candle flame “dances” or “bounces” or forms a high spiral of flame, it is often seen as a sign that the person on whom you are working is greatly affected by the work; your message is getting through; watch out, though, because if the flame flares up tooo high, the candle may burn up overly fast or you may end up with a candle that flames up into a fire hazard.
•If a candle shows repeated flaring up and dying away or guttering of the flame, alternating between high and low flame, or even briefly winking out and then relighting itself, it is often seen as a sign that the person on whom you are working is subconsciously aware of your actions and may be responding partially, then fighting off your influence, then responding again.
•If you are burning two or more candles, named for specific people, and the flame of one tends to lean or bend toward the other, the person so represented is attracted to the person signified by the other candle. The one whose flame is taller is the dominant one.
•If the flame on a candle that was named for an individual leans or bends away from a named candle representing a lover or away from a central candle that represents some person he or she was supposed to protect, or if they gutter down, then the person so signified is emotionally repulsed by the lover or derelict in his protective duty toward the person signified by the other candle.
The candle flame hisses, sizzles, pops, or makes other noises
A “noisy” candle is usually interpreted — especially by those in the Spiritual Church Movement — as a sign that spirits (of the dead, of angels, or of other entities) are trying to “come through,” that is, to communicate. Pay attention! You may learn something important.
A free-standing candle runs and melts a lot while burning
This gives you an opportunity to observe the flow of wax for signs. For instance:
•If you are burning a bride-and-groom type candle for love, and the woman’s wax runs all over the man’s, then the woman desires the man more than he desires her — and this holds true of all colours, including black for break-ups, white for new love, pink for friendship and romance, red for passionate love, and pale blue for peace and healing.
•If the bride side of a bride-and-groom candle — or a separate female candle — burns faster than the groom side of a bride-and-groom candle — or a separate male candle — then she’s more affected by the spell work than he is, and vice versa.
•If the woman’s wax runs around the base of the man’s, she’s trying to cling to him, and vice versa.
•If you are burning a green money candle and the wax melts and runs down onto the monetary offering, then the spell is “eager to work” and the candle is “blessing the money.”
Some people try to influence the way melting wax runs. They do this as an intentional part of the spell-work, to increase the likelihood that things will go the way they want. Others prefer to let nature take its course and to watch running wax for signs, without interfering in its movements.
If a free-standing candle smokes excessively at the outset, but ends up burning cleanly, it is a token of hidden trouble or someone working against your wishes. Things will not go well at first, but with repeated work you will overcome.
A pin or needle on a marked free-standing candle drops — but it clings and won’t fall
Either the client (the person for whom the candle is being burned) is clinging to past conditions or someone or something from the client’s past is unwilling to let the client go.
The term “past conditions” means events or memories from the client’s past.
The term “someone or something” means that it may be a living person, or a hostile spirit sent against the client, or a spirit of the dead, or the spirit of a drug or illness.
•If the client is the one who is clinging, you will probably know it by knowing the client’s case.
•If someone or something is clinging to the client, it is likely to be the same someone or something that is the cause of or is a part of whatever is the client’s problem or situation that you are working to remedy.
•If, based on your knowledge of the case, you don’t know which situation applies (i.e. whether the client is clinging to him/her/it or he/she/it is clinging to the client), you will do a simple divination on which situation is the operative one at this time.
Once you know which it is, then you can address the issue through spiritual and magical remediation:
•If the client is the one clinging to the past, then cleanse the client by administering a Black Walnut bath to break ties with the past.
•If someone or something is clinging to the client, then give the client a cleansing Van Van bath followed by a Cut and Clear rite (or, in a pinch, simply add Cut and Clear Dressing Oil to the client’s candle) to break that thing off.
•If what is clinging to the client is very strong — for instance, if it is the spirit of a drug or a bad companion who hangs around — you may also have to do some Cast Off Evil and/or Hot Foot work.
The candle burns unusually slowly or “won’t go out”
This is a very troubling and frustrating situation. How you deal with it will depend on the reason you were burning the candle in the first place.
•If your light was lit for simple increase or decrease without respect to the will of another being (more wealth, less illness, etc.) then this is may be considered a bad sign — a negative reply from the world of spirit to the question implied in the work.
•If the candle was set in open opposition to the will of another person (e.g. a coercive love spell, an antagonistic spell, etc.) then this sign may either be a negative reply from the world of spirit to the question implied in the work or it may be a message from the other person, implying resistance, blockage, reversal of your designs, or sending harm back onto you or your client. Such a dousing of your lights may indicate that someone very strong is working against you or against the person on whose behalf you are setting the lights.
In any case, if the light goes out, you will have to relight it. Do so with a prayer.
•If the light goes out or is put out a second time, this a sign that you may need to use stronger means than you first employed to reach the goal. Try relighting it again, with a stronger and more focussed prayer.
•If it goes out a third time, you may try to splint the wick (that is, re-wick the candle) and pray over it very intently before relighting it, and you may also wish to consider adding a second “helper” or “back-up” light on the altar.
•If no amount of effort on your part enables the candle to burn, and the helper light goes out three times as well, you should consider the need to start the entire job over from the beginning.
The candle burns up overly fast
Generally a fast burn is good, but an overly-fast burn (compared to other times you have used the same kind of candle or to other candles that are being burned at the same time in the same ritual) means that although the work will go well, it may not last long. You might have to repeat the job at a later date.
•If you have set lights for several people and one person’s candle burns faster than the others, then that person is most affected by the work, but the influence may not last long enough to produce a permanent change.
•If one candle out of a set burns out hours or days before the others, the choice of what to do is yours, essentially. Some folks would take it as a sign that the work is fast but not long, while others might take it as a sign but would not like what it signified and for that reason they would light another candle to replace it.
Should you light another candle in its place? Well, there are no “rules” governing this sort of situation, and the best i can recommend is that you let spirit guide you.
Which course of action you choose will be determined by your own personality and your level of activity or passivity toward the world generally; the level of your activity or passivity with respect to your relationship to magic, omens, this ritual, and its desired outcome; and other factors such as whether more candles are readily available in the time frame of the ongoing ritual.
You might do a pendulum divination over the candle remains and ask the question. Or a card reading. Or Bibliomancy.
You might try handling it one way this time and another way next time it happens (because, if you burn many candles, you will see these kinds of anomalies more than once), and from such experiences you may understand more deeply how you will wish to handle such events in the future.
What would *i* do? I can’t say, because at different times i have handled this differently, according to the factors i listed above. But if i had any negative feelings about accepting the premature burn-out as a sign, i would do a pendulum divination over the candle remains, with simple yes or no questions, to determine if i should set another light.
The candle goes out before completely burning
Sometimes a candle seems to take forever to burn, or there may be a little stubborn stick of wick at the end that keeps pulling in wax and just won’t go out. I have seen some candles run 10 to 20 hours longer than manufacturer estimates, flickering at the end, but never quite extinguishing. This slow type of burn can necessitate dramatic watchfulness, but do not get impatient and blow such a light out prematurely. Watch and wait and observe what happens.
Generally a very slow burn signifies that the work is very slow in coming to fruition, but what that means in any given case will, of course, vary based on the purpose for which the candle was set.
•If you see an overly slow burn on a candle set for positive-outcome petition, it means that it will take time before you see results, but if and when they do come, they will last.
•If the candle is being burned because you wish to end or resolve a negative situation, the candle’s refusal to finish at a normal rate may mean that the target of your work, your opponent or enemy, is resisting being finished with the situation, despite your efforts.
The candle tips over and flames up into a fire hazard
If a candle falls over or if it flames up so high it puts your curtains on fire or destroys a portion of your altar, you know you are in trouble. An out of control fire is both dangerous and a very bad sign in terms of spirtual workings. Once you get the flames under control and take stock of the damage, it is wise to accept that the event is a sign that not only will the spell probably fail but there may be increased danger ahead for you or the client. In order to accomplish anything, you will have to start the entire job over from the beginning — but first do a thorough Uncrossing spell for everyone involved and ritually clean the premises before setting any more lights.
The candle wick forms a “knot” or forms “twin flames”
When a free-standing candle burns with a “knot” or “knob” or lump at the tip of the wick or breaks apart to form “twin flames” or two diverging wicks, you can get a good reading on the situation by letting it burn as-is, or you can trim the wick, which is what candle manufacturers recommend.
•On a free-standing candle, a knot or knob or lump indicates a stubborn situation, but one with a lot of intensity. The clumped-up knot signifies resistance.
•On a free-standing candle, the twin flames — especially if they eventually rejoin — indicate that after delays a union or reunion may be foretold, or that there may be a flirtation, separation, or parting before the union or reunion of two parties.
When a glass-encased candle burns with a knot, knob, or lump at the tip of the wick or with twin flames or two diverging wicks, the reading of the flame is greatly complicated by the fact that these formations will almost always (not always, but ALMOST always) result in a smoked-up glass, so that the capnomancy or smoke-reading portion of the divination can be expected to be dark, streaky, or sooty, which is not a good thing.
•When a vigil candle burns with a knot, the smoke will almost always end up marking the glass and the darks may be quite dark and sooty.
•When a vigil light burns with twin flames, the smoke will almost always smoke or at least white-streak the glass.
It is passive to let dark streaks or smoke marks form on a glass-encased vigil light if you can avoid it. Why settle for a bad divination sign and set a second light if you can work on the candle and correct it as it burns?
As a capnomancy reader, i already know the upcoming divination score when i see a glass-encased vigil light with a knotted or divided flame, and once i see that, and if it persists and is smoky, i often feel the need to fix it, because what i want is results. I will trim, groom, and work the candle to get the results i want. Many people don’t — God bless them. But then they have to light more candles, until they get one to burn right. For me, it’s like raising animals — if one falls sick, i don’t just buy a second one to replace it. I nurse it back to health.
One way to minimize knots and double flames is by trimming the wicks BEFORE lighting the candles. Some candles have very long wicks — maybe you have not had the experience of seeing these, but i have seen vigil lights and figural candles with up to 2″ of free wick. I am not talking here about factory offertory candles, but vigil lights and also figurals that are made by hand. Attempting to light a 2″ long wick is just a waste of time — it cannot draw the wax up it. You have to trim it first.
Remember that a knot or twin flame formation may give different reading outcomes on a free-standing candle than on a glass-encased candle, due to the way we perform smoke-reading or caponomancy of the candle-glass in the latter type of candle. What looks interesting and ends well on a free-standing candle may look interesting but end badly in the glass of a vigil light.