A Brief History of Candle Spells
Coloured candles can be excellent magical tools, however, candle magic in its current form is a relatively modern addition to Witchcraft spell weaving.
Coloured candles, as we know them today have only been common for the past 30 years. Prior to this, most candles available were of the utilitarian white variety. The dyes used to colour wax must be oil soluble and are therefore only available from limited sources:
1) Plant based colorants were rare until recently, and were only capable of colouring wax to the warmer hues of the spectrum. (Red, orange & yellow) They generally cannot create green, blue or purple. This, at least shows us that no Witches in the Middle Ages were using purple candles to increase their psychic perceptions or blue ones to heighten the spiritual and protective energies of their homes.
2) Pigment dyes were another limited source of colorant. They are extremely finely ground minerals, so finely ground that it was not possible with the technology that preceded the early 19th century to utilize them as colorants. For example: Although copper carbonate was available, the ability to grind it finely enough to remain suspended in wax as a (blue-green) colorant was impossible before the early 1800’s.
3) Aniline dyes were obviously not available until quite recently. Derived from coal and oil, they have only been available since the late 19th century.
Before the 16th century, candles were made of animal fat (tallow) or sometimes ‘lamps’ containing oil with a fibre of some sort as a wick. They often smoked, sputtered and smelled. Only the elite (which it is unlikely the village Witch was generally a part of) could afford the more rare and costly beeswax candles. (Harvesting beeswax sacrifices a great deal of honey production, therefore it is unlikely that they ‘made their own’) Stearin, the chemical compound that most modern candles are made of was originally produced in the early 19th century, and candles in general have only become widely available since the 1960’s.
So what is all this getting to you ask? What is the point? Well, if you pick up a book that claims Egyptians used lapis blue coloured tapered candles to contact spirits and the Celts used silver and gold votive candles to represent the Goddess and God, put it down. Books filled with this type of misinformation are out there! They may contain original and creative ideas for the use of candles and colours, but if they claim that these are “ancient” or even “traditional” Witchcraft techniques, they are most likely fakes.