Altar Tools Series: Candles

Altar Tools Series

I have been asked often what tools I use and how to use them. After a lot of thought, I decided to do a series on altar tools in my podcast and have a corresponding blog post for referencing. I will be speaking in general terms and not of one specific path or tradition. I realize that each tool can have many uses and meanings to different paths and I just don’t have time or the knowledge to cover all the paths. Each week I will cover a different tool and explain how to use it in ritual and celebrations.

Deity or Divinity Candle

Let’s start with the main altar candles, the one/ones that represent your divinity or archetype that you follow or worship. These candles are usually either white, silver, or gold colors. Gold representing the God, Sun, or Masculine Divine. Silver representing the Goddess, Moon, or Feminine Divine. White is universal and represents Divine Energy, Spirit, or Higher Self. The three main ways I found that represent these are to have one, two, or three candles placed in the main spots on your altar. One white candle, placed in the center of your altar, represents whatever deity or divinity you are working with. One silver and one gold candle can represent the Goddess and God and placed in the center of the altar on opposite sides. Three candles, all white (or whatever represented color you’d like), representing the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. These three candles are placed in the center of the altar in a cluster or lined up in the center side by side.

Four Directions & Elements

It is common to have the four directions and elements represented on the altar. These are placed in the corresponding directions on the altar.

North (Earth)- Brown or green

East (Air)- Yellow or white

South (Fire)- Red or orange

West (Water)- Blue or grey

Color Correspondences

Black- Banishing, protection, change/transition, breaking habits

White- Purity, healing, beginnings, moon, Goddess, and is a substitute for all other colors

Red- Sex, love, power, fire, action, root chakra

Blue- Peace, healing, communication, justice, throat chakra

Yellow- Air, mental abilities, study, increased focus, business spells, inspiration, vitality

Green- Money, prosperity, abundance, luck, growth of any kind, nature, heart chakra, earth

Orange- Creativity, strength, sacral chakra, womb, passion, energy

Purple- Divination, astral travel, third eye chakra, crown chakra, psychic abilities, power

Pink- Love, self-love, love of others, romance, emotional healing, forgiveness

Brown- Grounding, Earth, root chakra, trust, balance, animals

Silver- Moon, psychic realm, Goddess

Gold- Sun, wealth, the God

Disposal of Wax

Some traditions are very clear on what you are supposed to do with spent candles. I am an eclectic witch, so I do what feels right at the time. I bury it most often. My rule is if I did workings to bring something to me, or to protect, then I bury it on my property. If I did workings to get rid or banish something then I bury it off the property.

Dramatic Endings

Container Explodes- Basically means a higher power has forcefully stopped your workings. You need to cleanse yourself energetically. It can also mean the working was done and completed with success. Yes I realize that is completely opposite but that’s what the research said.

Reading The Flame

Reading the flame during and after ritual and workings can tell you a lot about how it will come out and how it was received.

Even Flame/Burn- Good sign that you will manifest what you wanted but that it may take longer than you thought.

Super Small Flame- Not a good sign. Generally, it means that your timing was off or that you just didn’t have enough will into the working.

Big Bright Flame- Tons of energy in your workings and a positive result!

Dancing Flame- Meaning that it has a lot of good energy but it is chaotic. You’ll likely be successful in your working but prepare for some complications. It also can mean someone is working against you if it is a small dancing flame.

Small Even Flame- Your working and yourself have lower energy but steady. This may mean a delay in the result.

Flickering Flame- This is when the flame gets dim and bright over and over. It can mean that spirits are present. If you were doing work with a deity then it means your prayers or invocation worked.

Noisy Candle- Popping and snapping mean that there was interference and/or communication from an outside energy. It can mean someone is working against you if it also has an uneven burn.

Goes Out- Your working is done or that there is a bigger force stopping it. Can also mean that the end result has already been attained.

Won’t Light- This can mean the spell isn’t going to give you what you need, find another way.

Won’t Extinguish- This means you aren’t done yet, or maybe you forgot something. Pause and re-think your working and try again.

Reading The Smoke

Ton of Smoke- The Element of Air is present and communication is flowing well.

Black Smoke- Often represents negative energy, a conflict, or someone/thing is opposing your workings.

White Smoke- Means your wish has/will be granted and blessings.

Smoke Towards You- This can mean success! If it was a curse, hex, or binding it can mean that you can’t escape the effects of your working.

Smoke Away From You- Not a positive sign generally. But if it was a working to manipulate others it means it’s working.

Blue Flame- Blue is the color of the Angelic and Faery Realm and that a higher consciousness is present.

Reading The Wax

Perfect Burn/No Drips- This is the perfect result and means your working went exactly as needed and positive results will follow.

High Sides- When the candle burns and leaves high sides and a hole in the center it is a bad sign, your working fell short and/or has been blocked.

Fast Burn/Puddle of Wax- Can mean an accelerated energy and fast acting results.

Wax Drips On One Side- This means an incomplete result. Or can also mean if on the left, there’s an emotional imbalance. If it falls on the right it was your thoughts or beliefs blocking you.

Black Spots- Piecing of black stuff can mean that you will have some consequences to deal with.

Black Soot- That black stuff that gets on glass candles means that there are negative forces working against you, a lot means you need to try again and just a little soot means you’ll be able to overcome it.


Please use caution when burning candles! Always have a fire extinguisher nearby and only burn on fire safe surfaces. I always use a fire safe container or stand to be safe. Never leave a candle burning unattended! Always fully extinguish the flame when you are finished!


You can listen to this week’s episode with candle information here:

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