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|Preface: A Light in the Darkness||9|
|Chapter 1: Candlecraft 101||23|
|Chapter 2: Salamander Scrying||45|
|Chapter 3: Candlelight Spells and Charms||59|
|Chapter 4: Prayers and Meditations||79|
|Chapter 5: Rituals||101|
|Chapter 6: Feng Shui and Candles||129|
|Chapter 7: Astrological Candles||147|
|Chapter 8: Holidays, Festivals, Gods, and Goddesses||161|
|Appendix: Candle Tips and Terms||175|
|About the Author||189|
Hope, like the gleaming taper's light, adorns and cheers our way.
I am a great advocate of reclaiming arts that have beenlost to dusty bookshelves or technological advances.There is something special about items made by hand, a uniquenessand feel that you just can't get from machine crafts. Froma spiritual standpoint, there is also a kind of energy that handmadeitems bear like a fingerprint. This astral fingerprint notonly indicates who made the item, but for what type of magickit was made.
With this in mind, this chapter will review some of thesimpler methods of making candles yourself. There are certainlymore approaches than what I cover here, but I've chosenthe ones that I feel will save readers the most time and costthe least in tools and materials. After all, we live in a time-challengedenvironment where scheduling doesn't always allowfor long, drawn-out processes. If you're interested in moreelaborate approaches to candle-making, there are some excellentbooks on the subject listed in the suggested reading list atthe end of this book.
Secondly, this chapter discusses the magickal aspects ofcandle-making—namely how to instill a candle with the rightenergy for the task you have in mind. There are many thingsthat you can easily do while making your candle that will havea positive effect on its completed symbolic value. Better still,following these techniques yields an item that, frombeginningto end, was willfully fashioned for metaphysical use. This, inturn, results in more powerful and meaningful magick.
The Mundane Fundamentals
Okay, first the nitty-gritty. You can't add magick into aprocess if you have no idea where the process starts! I thinkmany people reading this remember making milk cartoncandles at camp or school, and that's probably the extent towhich most folks have been exposed to this ancient art. Heck,I have a lot of craft-oriented hobbies and I was totally takenback by the variety of candle-making methods and decoratingtechniques available. So, let's explore together!
A Sticky Wicket?
When buying a wick at a craft shop you'll notice that it'slabeled for the size candle in which it can be used most successfully.Extra small candles are less than 1 inch in diameter,small ones are up to 2 inches in diameter, medium up to 3inches, large up to 4 inches, and extra large continue upwardfrom a 4-inch diameter.
You may also see other labels on the wicks. A flat braidwick is best for dipped and pillar candles. Square braids workwell with beeswax, pillar candles, square block candles, andnovelty shapes. Cored wicks have support, which makes themideal for self-contained candles. Note that no matter whichwicks you choose, the strand must be soaked with wax for atleast one minute, then pulled straight and allowed to cool. Thena small metal piece should be secured around one end (calleda tab) before using it to make a candle. This tab goes in thebottom of the candle.
If a candle overflows its edge with wax, drowns in wax, orsmokes a lot, you've chosen a wick that's too small. A wick thatgathers carbon on the top, or a pillar candle that begins drippingout, indicates too large a wick. Candles that sputter mayhave air pockets and aren't very safe. It's best to re-melt andremold.
In researching this book I found it interesting that not allwicks are present in the pouring process. Some are insertedinto a candle after it sets. This is done by using a thin, heatedmetal rod inserted through the candle, followed by threadingthe wick through that hole. Any excess space is then filled withadditional wax. The advantage to this method is that you don'thave to go crazy trying to keep the wick straight or erect whilepouring molten wax.
Waxing and Wanting:
Speaking of wax, there are also several kinds of wax, suitedto different types of candles. A low melting point wax is bestfor self-contained candles and pillar candles so the wick canget more oxygen, for example. Other kinds of wax best suitedto home candle-making efforts include:
* Bayberry: Very costly and hard to find, but makes a lovely scented candle (beware of paraffin that's scented with bayberry oil as this is not the same thing).
* Beeswax: A slow-burning wax whose color and aroma changes depending on the flowers from which the bees made it. More expensive than paraffin but also makes a longer lasting candle.
* Mix n' Match Wax: This is wax that you've saved from other candles. Although the results may be somewhat undependable, it's a great way to recycle and save money. Magickally, however, I suggest keeping candles that have been used for specific purposes together or carefully mixing, balancing, and matching the themes of the candles so the result isn't a lot of confusing energy.
* Paraffin: The most common wax used in modern candles. The advantage to paraffin is that it is separated by melting point. The disadvantage is that it needs to be mixed with 10 percent stearic acid to keep the wax hard and create an opaque appearance. Generally speaking you'll be looking for a melting point of 125 to 150 degrees and a fully refined paraffin, which is very dependable. Do not, however, buy paraffin at the supermarket. This doesn't make good candles (it's intended for canning).
Note that some candle makers blend waxes to create avariety of effects, like paraffin with beeswax and stearic acidfor a good poured or dipped candle, or a 50-50 blend of paraffinand beeswax for molded candles. In any case, you need about12 pounds of wax to make a dozen 10-inch long, 7/8-inch diametertaper candles (note that 1 1/2 cups of melted wax equalsabout one pound of solid wax). Generally speaking, it is best tobuy wax at a craft supply store.
For magickal candles it's highly likely that you'll wish toadd herbs, oils, and other ingredients to personalize the energy.When you do, put in as little as possible and mix thoroughly.Bear in mind that wax with a high proportion of additivemay not set or melt properly, let alone safely. In particular,make sure herbs are powdered (not in large pieces thatcan catch fire) and stir these into the liquid wax by hand for atleast three to five minutes so they are evenly distributed.
Colored wax or color additives can be purchased at mostcraft supply stores. By far the most common is the aniline dyesthat come with complete proportion instructions at your localcraft store. A nice alternative for magickal candles, however,is looking to nature's storehouse for aid. This way there are nochemicals that might hinder the effective flow of energy.
Steep deeply colored flower, herb, or vegetable parts inwarm wax, repeating as necessary to achieve the results desired.In particular beets yield a lovely red hue, fennel yieldsbrown, onion skins give a pale brown or golden hue, and saffrongives a yellow.
The easiest way to scent a candle is through essential oraromatherapy oils. I would avoid any aromatic that's decoctedin alcohol, as it will lose its scent very quickly. Additionally,you may still have to rub the outside of the candle or dip thewick in more oil to get a personally pleasing level of potency.The average proportion of wax to oil is 1/2 pound of wax to1/4 teaspoon oil. Under no circumstances should oil additivesexceed 3 percent of the wax's weight.
Alternatively you can add powdered herbs and spices tothe wax (or steep large plant parts in the wax) to create anaroma. Be careful, however, about the temperature at whichyou add the herbs. Some are heat sensitive (like roses) andneed to wait until the wax is between hot and warm. This mightmean repeated steeping, but it's far better than the smell ofburnt plants!
Some of the best sources for aromatics are New Agestores, food cooperatives, spice and herb shops, and online sitessuch as www.frontiercoop.com.
Like any craft, candle-making requires a few tools. If youchoose to take these tools out of your home stock, do not returnthem to culinary use. Some of the additives for candle-makingare not edible, so these tools should be safely storedaway from kitchen utensils.
To begin, you need a pot. A non-aluminum double boileris nice if you can find one, but otherwise a regular pan will do.A mixing spoon, ladle, newspaper (to cover the working surface),scissors, knife, paper clips or tape (to hold wick in place),plastic cutting board (for sheet wax), and bucket (to cool molds)are all easily found around the home. You'll also need potholders and cold water. Wax gets very hot—upwards of 170degrees at melting.
If your wax isn't already cut and weighed, you may need ascale. For candles that you plan to put a wick through aftersolidification, you'll want an ice pick or a metal rod that youcan heat up. Finally, to make life easy, get some spray-on cookingoil so your candles come out of the mold easily.
When you're ready to clean up after yourself, avoid puttingyour pots and dishes in the sink. You will end up with onemonster of a plumbing bill. Instead, let the excess wax cool andstore it in plastic bags or other containers separated by colorand scent. Wash out your tools with hot water outside, or bywiping them with a paper towel that gets properly disposed of.
Specific Types of Candles
There are a lot of candles that you can learn to make.What I'm covering here are those that will be easy and quickand require the least amount of ingredients and fussing.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
For time-challenged readers, the fastest candle by far is arolled candle. For this you'll need wax rolling sheets in the colordesired, any herbs or oils you want, a pair of scissors, and wick.Begin by cutting a square or rectangle whose length is the desiredlength of the candle. The width should be two times thelength for nice burning time.
Warm the sheet of wax so it's pliable. One easy way is byplacing it in the sunlight (this doesn't run up utility bills, and itspiritually charges the wax with solar energy). Next, lay thewick on the edge closest to you, with about 1 inch hanging outthe top, and start rolling, making sure the candle is tight. Ifyou're using oils, rub the inside of the wax with them. For powderedherbs, sprinkle these on evenly (note that you may haveto gently heat the entire candle for a moment when you're doneso the herbs stay firmly in place. This can be accomplished witha hair dryer).
A neat twist (literally) on the rolled candle begins byslicing a diagonal into the sheet wax from the upper left cornerto the lower right corner. The long side is where you placeyour wick, and the rolling is the same, except that now theresult will be a spiral, which is a fantastic magickal symbol.The spiral can represent cycles, reincarnation, protection, andtransformation.
Another option is using sheet wax of varying colors. Toaccomplish this you will need to slice pieces of the sheet waxand warm the edges (again with a hair dryer) to join them. Ifneed be, melt a little white wax and seal the slices on the insideof the sheet. Then roll as before, preferably as a spiral candle.The candle will have varying layers of color.
When you're done rolling the candle, get one of yourmelting pans out and heat it up. Put just the bottom of therolled candle firmly on the bottom of the pan, allowing a littlewax to melt. This seals the candle and ensures that you have aflat bottom.
This is a very versatile approach to candle-making, andalso very quick one. You can use all kinds of molds for pouredcandles, including wooden ones, glass (for self-containedcandles) those for gelatin, natural molds (like sand, halved orangepeels, and sea shells), and the venerable ice cube tray ormilk carton mold, the latter of which is disposable.
In terms of safety, self-contained candles are fantastic. Inthis case you want to choose a wide-mouthed, strong, glass,ceramic, or metal container into which to pour the wax. Set upthe wick in advance using a strand that's longer than the container,an aluminum foil base for the wick to weight it down,and a pencil to tie the wick to, which will keep it in the middleof the mold. You can pour a little warm wax in the bottom andlet it cool to secure the wick in place.
Glass containers are ideal for multi-colored wax. Theyalso reveal the level of the poured and melting wax much moreeasily. No matter the choice of containers, it helps to keep yourcontainer candles small (less than 6 inches). Otherwise thecandles burn out easily.
If you're making the container candle in multiple colors,there's a really neat effect you can get, other than layers. Justbefore one layer of wax cools completely, poke a toothpick orother sharp item into it at various points around the edge ofthe glass. Let this layer finish cooling, then pour the next one.This will give a drip or stripe effect where it can be seen. Or,you can add a layer of crushed ice or chunk wax to the process.This will give the finished piece a mottled appearance.
About the only difference between the molded candle andthe self-contained is that the first will be taken out of the containerin which it was created. You can certainly buy commercialmolds, but the crafty kitchen witch will revel in findingones readily available around the house. In particular, I lovethe ice cube tray's pop-out candle action! I use these for spellsto disperse anger or cool a heated situation because the symbolicvalue of an ice cube's imagery carries over nicely into thesacred space.
The only thing you have to be careful of is making sureyou lightly oil the inside of your mold. After the wax solidifies,try to remove the candle. If it doesn't slide out, run a little hotwater over the outside of the mold and try again. By the way,even if you discover a mold hasn't worked quite as you hoped,you can always re-melt the wax and try again.
Excerpted from Exploring Candle Magick by Patricia Telesco. Copyright © 2001 by Patricia Telesco. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted November 3, 2002
Well first of all I love new age books that have to do with like witch craft and things like that. I have a passion on learning witch craft because I love learning new things. This book should be rated more then five or more stars.
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Posted July 31, 2010
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