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#34467 - 01/24/10 11:32 AM Candle Magic and the Occult
The Zebu Offline
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Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1640
Loc: Orlando, FL
So yeah. A large component of modern magic seems preoccupied with candles; ie, choosing specific colors for specific currents and intents. Fluffy-type wiccans and other newagers seem unhealthily preoccupied with this sort of thing (usually avoiding black candles like the plague, for fear they might be "evil").

Conversely, many self-styled black magicians also make a big hooplah about this, advising that the ritual chamber should be adorned with nothing but black candles. Even Anton LaVey stated that while the magician can use as many black candles as they please, the altar should never have more than one white candle.

Even though I dismiss these "rules" as nonsense, I am left wondering; when the heck did this crazy idea get started? I've scoured numerous older grimoires and books of magic and see no reference to candle colors anywhere. So who started this mad obsession?

Any ideas?
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#34470 - 01/24/10 01:49 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: The Zebu]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Most of it started with in the 60's and early 70's with the "new agers." There were numerous books about all aspects of things like that... candles, tea leaves, etc. There was an idea that was supposedly lifted from the "cargo cult" religions about candles and colors, and the marketing began.

Satanism's use of black candles under LaVey was a reflection of symbolisms and the inner needs for dogma and drama that man will fill with the dramatic... and a need to read within the darkness of the ritual chamber.
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#34482 - 01/24/10 04:40 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
The Zebu Offline
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Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1640
Loc: Orlando, FL
I agree completely; the central factor behind ritual is the intent, therefore anything that enhances or embellishes this intent should be used in ritual. I'm actually in the process of doing a lot of magical experimentation for the purposes of developing my own "system" of rituals (I'm tired of all the humdrum ceremonies copied from the Golden Dawn); testing what is effective for me personally and what is not.

While evaluating the use of candles in ritual, I was merely curious as to where the modern notion of candle coloring came from.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. The nun's pisspot, for example, isn't exactly my sort of stroke.
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#34489 - 01/24/10 06:56 PM "Come on baby light my fire!" [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2519
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
There are a gazillion Google hits for "candle color", which goes to show something, though I'm not sure what.

The candle-color guidance in the SB was just there to help set the mood. We used all sorts of colors, depending upon the mood of the working.

More interesting and lesser known is that we used candles in various LBM ways, particularly if there were visitors present and we wanted to spook them. [Visitors are already jittery and hyper about anything the least bit "supernatural", so anything can set them off. If they saw the same thing in a normal living room, of course, they wouldn't freak out.] It's Fun With Christians Day on the Mickey Mouse Club.

Google "candle tricks" and you'll find lots of the ones we used to play.

This falls under the general LBM heading of doing the unexpected with the expected. A card trick with a normal deck spooks no one. The same trick with a Tarot deck at a "Psychic Faire" will freak people out.
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#34490 - 01/24/10 07:31 PM Re: "Come on baby light my fire!" [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
MatthewJ1
Unregistered



It’s also quite naughty to give a pair of visitors the impression that you are about to raise the dead in a ritual setting, and than appear to do it with a twitching girl.

Magic must be a bit of fun sometimes, particularly when things are deliberately set up to freak out those who deserve it.

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#34518 - 01/25/10 07:42 AM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: The Zebu]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3118
During rituals all necessary tools give a certain credit to the succes of the ritual. The ritual knife, staff, candles, bookstand, table/altar,... add up to the creating of the drama.

The black candles for performing rituals involving "black magic" just have that color for "drama". Just imagine a Satanic altar covered with white candles and other shiny colors. It really doesn't represent the dramatic atmosphere most like.
The use of black candles (or dark red) are just for the effect of drama. Nothing more and nothing less.

I should also add that the use of colors to set an atmosphere is a common thing. Never wondered why entering a restaurant some colors (on walls and ceilings) are used in different places? (If noticed at least). The whole color and metaphysical explanation that color on a candle represents is bullshit.

The advocacy of the use of black candles in rituals as said by ASL is just because of the color black. You can buy tons of light-colored candles, to get a few "black ones" is harder, they are more rare. Them being so rare and unusual to be seen only adds up to this drama you are trying to create.

To be more on topic: I have no idea when that idea started.


Edited by Dimitri (01/25/10 07:42 AM)
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#34548 - 01/25/10 01:33 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Dimitri]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2519
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
In the old Nineveh Grotto of the Church, whenever we did a Black Mass, we would start it with all-white candles, then at an appropriate point reverently extinguish them and replace them with black ones.

If you are using a large number of candles, it's also fun to have one that doesn't match, just to tweak onlookers. Or you can use one of those which drips multicolors as it burns.

Warlock John DeHaven of the Stygian Grotto probably set the record for a roomful of candles, but (a) we couldn't breathe and (b) they set off the smoke alarm. This never happens in the movies.
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#34550 - 01/25/10 01:58 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
One night at the Black House, we were working on a few projects. Dr. LaVey was out of the house on an appointment with someone.... Tari and I were busy when the power went out. It got DARK in there at night.

So we groped around, looking for candles. Now, there were a LOT of them just a short walk down that hall and to the right in the main ritual chamber. For some reason, we never made that connection. Didn't find any candles in the kitchen or the Purple Room or in the Lion's Den or the Red Room. So we sat there in the dark and talked and told jokes until the power came back on.

When Dr. LaVey got back we told him that the power went out and we couldn't find candles, he gave us "that look." He just shook his head and went back into the Red Room chuckling.
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#34555 - 01/25/10 04:41 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Jake999]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 1725
Loc: New York
Jake I think we've all done things like that before.

A few weeks ago for instance, my girl friend and I were in my car, driving past my drive way, where four of us from the same apartment building park.
As we drove by the parking area, my girlfriend casually commented. "Oh, looks like someone isn't home tonight, one of the cars is missing."

I too gave her "That look," and said, "Ummm yeah honey, it's us, you are sitting in the missing car."


It was priceless to see her red face.

Not that I'm immune to such "brain farts." There was a time or two that I would complain to coworkers that one of the "Residents" must have swiped my glasses, only to have it pointed out to me that I was wearing them. DUH. (It's mainly the result of taking them off and putting them on all shift, and when I keep them on, I automatically look for them when I need to pass meds, and on rare occasions I forget that I am still wearing them.


Edited by Asmedious (01/25/10 04:44 PM)
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#35124 - 02/04/10 08:46 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Asmedious]
Little Horn Offline
stranger


Registered: 01/21/10
Posts: 11
Loc: Colorado
Candles, incense, etc. have no actual effect on magick; they simply seem to because some people think that they do. Magick is all about visualization. Candles and incense can increase the effect simply because it helps one focus on it and know that it will happen.

Take the Christians: When they pray to their god, there is really no divine being that sits back and grants their wishes. But sometimes that prayer may indeed have a magickal effect, and it is not due to a deity being present, but rather due to the symbol they are using helping them to increase their visualization.

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#35222 - 02/07/10 09:18 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Little Horn]
Miss May Offline
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Registered: 09/27/09
Posts: 66
Loc: sebastopol, CA
Candles are important in ceremonies for a lot of various reasons. Actual light is usually required for rituals. Most rituals are based on some symbolism of ancient times, when other types of lighting were not around yet. When there was a revival in ritual magick in America and the new age movement came to be. people began reusing basics from ideas they had about magick. The new agers were responsible for the colored-candle craze. As jake said, this was around the 60's and 70's.

In paganism, the colors of candles are associated with different kinds of ceremonies. Some examples of this are blue for purification, red for passion, and green for "grounding." It is similar to the idea of tarot, placing an immense amount of faith in an object for spiritual development.

I choose to not pay attention to anything like this because, for me personally, focusing on the colors of candles leads to paranoia over symbols and that can actually be counter-productive to the main goal of my rituals, achieving personal gain. I dismiss ideas like this also because it places more value upon the settings of ritual than the actual magician itself. So, I agree with you Zebu.

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#35294 - 02/09/10 01:08 AM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Miss May]
EvilDjinn Offline
stranger


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 31
I enjoy symbols, but I find that sometimes I cannot necessarily employ them and must come up with new ways to cope. Case in point: I'm not supposed to have any sources of flame or heat (ovens, toasters, space heaters) in my college dorm. So I put a red pillowcase over my lamp. It sounds silly, but it gives me the light I need and creates an excellent atmosphere.
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#35299 - 02/09/10 04:10 AM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: EvilDjinn]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
If you want the ambiance, but can't have the candles, then now make battery operated candles. They LOOK like candles, flicker like candles, and are made with a wax like coating, but have a battery and light. Seen them in white, but not black. BUT there are some that are candle stick type that have a simulated flame bulb at the top and could be painted black. Not optimum, but adaptable.
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#35312 - 02/09/10 11:11 AM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: Jake999]
felixgarnet Offline
active member


Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 688
Loc: UK
Jake - you beat me to it! I'm about to invest in some of these battery-operated candle lights for use at memorial vigils and so on as it always seems to be rainy and windy at them. There are some you can get that gradually change colour - could be awkward if some denizen of the Underworld is enjoying a scarlet red glow and it suddenly goes all lavender on him! \:D
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#35316 - 02/09/10 12:32 PM Re: Candle Magic and the Occult [Re: The Zebu]
Fnord Offline
senior member


Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 2085
Loc: Texas
All of that candle color stuff is focusing on the forest and missing the trees, IMO.

The real point of interest for me lies in the process of the fire itself. It's an intangible and one sided chemical reaction that's like no other chemical reaction known to man. We call it 'fire' or 'flame' as if it's an object but it's actually a process (a 'firing' or 'flaming' to be more precise).

Fire is of unknown origin and its origin to men is unknown as well. There is no art that does not depict fire so it's always been a friend to man (I daresay that idea, if thought of creatively, will find a smiling audience herein). It's actually amazing to me how many people just take things for granted (obviously I mean the herd). What, really, can we control that is more magical than fire? We have all sorts of mundane uses for it and in this society we treat it as if we truly understand it but in reality we do not. We understand how to start it and how to apply it and what effects will be garnered by said application but in a universal sense it still is mysterious.

Personally I find the mysteries of fire and my ability wield it so easily far more fascinating than the color of the fuel I'm feeding it. It's almost as if one can focus on the flame and have the consciousness meld with the process.

Almost \:\)
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