Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Operant Candle Magick

Candle magick is one of those techniques that is often treated without much seriousness among ritual magick practitioners. It's not that we don't use candles in our rituals, it's just that there have been way too many books written that treat candle magick as "light a candle, make a wish, and there you go - you're a magician!" Candles are actually wonderful ritual implements and there is something alchemical about the whole process of wax moving through the states of matter from solid to gas and in the process fueling a flame, and in my opinion it is precisely because they work so well that they can be used to make a simple or even silly ritual more effective.

One of the issues with the operant paradigm is that ritual work must merge the microcosm and macrocosm in order to accomplish change most effectively. Just opening the operant field (Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram/Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram) and then doing a simple candle spell is much more effective than using the candle alone, and by adding the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram or Hexagram that corresponds to the goal of the ritual you can increase its effectiveness even more. This makes the ritual more complex, but in my experience it is well worth it if you are serious about getting effective magical results.

You should choose your candles carefully. The candle should either be white or a color associated with the goal of the ritual. I use the Crowley/Golden Dawn color scheme found in Liber 777 in my own work, but if you were trained in another tradition with a different set of associations you will probably do better with that color scale rather than starting over with a new one. A white candle will work for any ritual but it will be less specific in its effects. With the Crowley/GD color system, you want to use the Queen Scale color for a mystical ritual or meditation and the King Scale color for a practical magical ritual.

As far as the type of candle goes, I prefer the 7-day candles that you can leave burning after the ritual forms are complete. The spell will continue to work as the candle burns down. While the available colors are limited, you can find very nice colored glass candles at church supply stores. These are designed to take replaceable wax inserts but they will also hold many of the 7-day candles that you will find at stores. It's an added bonus to be able to tint the light of the candle and the symbolism of white wax producing a flame that then is filtered through colored glass tuned to the spell is a good symbolic representation of the lightning flash or divine light descending.

There are a number of different systems for "dressing" candles. This procedure generally consists of annointing the candle with various substances associated with the goal of the ritual. A simple way to do this is to select a harmonious essential oil and smear a little of it into the wax of the candle before you light it. Liber 777 includes a list of herbs associated with each sphere and path, which is helpful for selecting the type of oil that you should use, but again, if you have already learned a different set of associations use those instead. Traditionally you should smear the oil around the wick of the candle using a clockwise motion.

Here's the basic ritual procedure.

(1) Identify the goal of the spell and choose your candle accordingly. If you wish to dress the candle, do so before the ritual. Place it on an altar in front of you, usually to the east. For any sort of negative working, like a curse, put the candle inside a containment structure like a Goetic triangle. If you have a link to the target of your spell, place the link in physical contact with the candle.

(2) Open the operant field with the LBRP/LIRH.

(3) Perform the Greater Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram or Hexagram corresponding to the path or sphere that is related to the goal of the ritual. Conclude the GIRP/H with "Let the divine light descend!" and then light the candle.

(4) State the goal of your ritual clearly and succinctly. As I've mentioned before, state only the desired outcome without specifying the means by which it will come to pass. You want all channels open to the spell's influence so that it can select the shortest path.

(5) Meditate on the candle for at least a few minutes. Twenty minutes is great if you have the time, but even five will do.

(6) Close the ritual with the LBRP to send the energy on its way. Place the candle someplace where it can burn all the way down safely, and if you are using a magical link, keep it in contact with the candle. If you used a containment structure, you will want to leave the candle where it is unless the containment structure can be moved along with the candle. You're done.

This simple ritual will get you better results than the ones you find in most candle magick books, and can be done with very little preparation once you learn the basic pentagram and hexagram rituals. While the GIRP/H will make the ritual more effective, until you have those down you can omit step three and just say "Let the divine light descend!" and light the candle after the LIRH.

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Dacia Pacea said...

So i guess there's a difference between using a candle for a planetary ritual with a material goal and a simple candle ritual for the same goal, in terms of candle dressing and using a link.

From what I've read in your articles, when doing a planetary ritual you would dress the candle (colored for the specific planet) with the specific oil corresponding with that planet, herbs and so on and you'd place the link in a containment structure, eventually with the candle on top of it, to help focus your intent into the target. This is because the dresses candle can be considered both as a link to the planetary energy, to help bring it forth and also as an offering for it.

On the other hand, when performing a simple candle ritual, you would dress a candle (in the color corresponding with the intent) with the oil and herbs corresponding with the intent and add the link, so that it would be touching the candle - I for example tie a hair of the target around the wick when I perform such a spell for a family member.

For example, one could perform

1. A money ritual using a GIRH of Jupiter, with a purple candle dressed in lavender oil for example, ground cedar bark and so on.

2. A money ritual using the LBRP-LIRH-GIRP of Earth, with a green/golden candle dressed in money oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, money drawing powder and so on.

It seems right to me that way, but from what I've read here, it could be possible to mix these two methods like so: do a money spell using the GIRH of Jupiter, with a green candle dressed in money oil etc. Or perhaps I understood it wrong.

Before becoming to practice the GRH I only did candle magick as I've written in #2, but without the operant field (actually i've done few with the operant field since reading your article) and it worked most of the time.

Now that I've gotten more involved in practicing the GRH, i stopped doing candle magick and moved on to conjuring the planetary energies for different goals.

Perhaps you could shed some light on this.

Thank you!

Scott Stenwick said...

As I see it, the difference is between using ceremonial and intuitive magical methods. You don't need ceremonial forms to get results, as everyone from Hoodoo practitioners to chaos magicians can attest. Sometimes a simple Hoodoo-style candle magick ritual is perfect for whatever you're trying to accomplish. However, I find that using the full operant field ceremonial forms give me better and more improbable results.

One thing that I would not do is use the GRH or GRP without the Lesser rituals, because as I see it that's pulling the ritual out of context. "Lesser" and "Greater" make for really bad taxonomy in the ceremonial sphere, because the implication is that "Greater" equals better when really it's more like the progression from the general to the specific.

You also don't want to mix up your colors and so forth. There's value in keeping the associations clear in your mind. Purple works well for Jupiter, green works well for Earth, and gold is more like the Sun. You can use all three of those for money spells, but I highly recommend that you don't mix and match the attributions. If the associations become jumbled in your mind, that state can extend to your magical abilities and interfere with them.

Dacia Pacea said...

Just as I suspected. I guess I misunderstood your article here and there.

As i said, I've had a distinct approach to either method and performed each one in its specific way, without mixing correspondences.

Oh and about the #1 method I've described above, I've failed to mention that the GIRH would be preceded by the operant field, although that is how I use it in actual work. Guess it became second nature to me, that when I say GRH I also speak of the LBRP-LIRH before it, even though i don't mention it :)

Thank you for clearing that out for me!

enokiano1 said...

Hi Scott ¡¡¡

It is also perfect for consecrating candles and putting them later in another ritual ¡¡¡

Scott Stenwick said...

Definitely. That would be another good application for this sort of ritual.