A good post was made at the Rue’s Kitchen Facebook Group today, asking about candle colors and magic.
Historically, candles didn’t come in colors till the 19th century. So what did folk magicians do before then?
Historically, if candles were used then there was no color choice to worry about. Just use get a candle and use it. This means a white or “unbleached” candle can be used for any and all purposes.
Before candles, there were tallow and olive oil lamps, depending your part of the world. There’s also a fish in the Pacific Northwest called a “candlefish,” a kind of smelt that native peoples in the region once burned to provide lighting. In short the human ingenium always found a way to illuminate the dark.
While I don’t suggest burning fish, what I’m saying is there’s a wide-open assortment available to you, and your candle magic doesn’t strictly have to involve candles.
Remember that candle magic is a variety of folk magic, and folk magic – throughout most of human history – has traditionally been the magic of the very poor, people who usually couldn’t afford the “good stuff.”
So if you’re looking for reconstructionist purity, to do things exactly as the practitioners of old did, then you want to limit your supplies to the cheapest available or what you can make yourself, with no dyes, or limit your use of candles to the votive rack at the local church.
If, on the other hand, you’re more interested in what works best for you, then feel free to experiment with all the options available: dyed candles, oil lamps, electric lightbulbs, even lighting a candle at the church and linking it to a candle you have lit at home (how many of you have tried that one?).
Ultimately, it’s a question of what your philosophy emphasizes more: whether you place more emphasis on doing things exactly as the ancestors did, or more emphasis on getting results.
See Christian Candle Magic for more information on the different types of candles and how to use them.