RE:Lets look into this further - Candle Magick
(Date Posted:01/24/2009 21:58 PM)
Types and History of Candles
candles were made of vegetable waxes produced from plants such as
bayberries, candelilla leaves, candletree bark, esparto grass, and
various varieties of palm leaves such as carnuba and ouricury. They
were also made of animal tissue and secretions, such as
spermaceti(whale oil), ambergris, and beeswax (insect secretions).
Sometimes entire animals such as the stormy petrel and the candlefish
of the Pacific Northwest were threaded with a wick and burned as
candles. Tallow candles were made of sheep, cow, or pig fat. All these
candles were rather crude, time-consuming to make and smoky.
the two kinds of candle fuel, beeswax was considered the better since
it burned cleaner than tallow and had a lovely odor compared to
tallow's rancid, smoky smell. Being scarce, beeswax was expensive. Only
churches and the wealthy could afford beeswax candles.
By the 17th
century, European state edicts controlled the weight, size and cost of
candles. In 1709, an act of the English Parliament banned the making of
candles at home unless a license was purchased and a tax paid.
were invented in 1827, using poisonous phosphorus but were improved by
the end of the century, eliminating the need for sparking with flint,
steel, and tinder, or for keeping a fire burning 24 hours a day.
most important of all, Paraffin was refined from oil around 1850,
making petroleum based candles possible. The combination of paraffin,
which burns clean and without odor, and stearins, which harden soft
paraffin, with new wick technologies developed in the nineteenth
century, revolutionized the candle industry, giving us the tools and
materials we still use for candle manufacturing. Candle Shapes
Any candle that is poured into a container and intended to be burned in
the container is a container candle. These candles are often made of
soft wax and would not be able to stand on their own outside their
The container also prevents soft wax from dripping.
Since these candles are safely contained in a vessel, they are often
used in restaurants and in religious rituals that require long-burning
A thick candle with a geometrical cross section such as a circle, oval,
or hexagon is called a pillar. It is usually referred to by its
diameter followed by its height. For example, a 3-by 6-inch pillar
would be 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches high. Some pillars come in
standard sized for commercial and religious use but you can make many
variations of pillars by using molds.
Novelty: These are irregularly shaped candles made by molding, sculpting and/or pouring.
These are the long cylindrical candles that kindle memories of historic
candle-dipping. Tapers can be made by dipping wicks into melted wax, by
pouring wax into a mold, and by rolling wax around a wick. No matter
the method, the result is always candles made to fit into a holder.
are generally made 1/2 inch or 7/8 inch in diameter at the base because
most holders are designed to fit these two sizes. There are, of course,
exceptions, such as birthday candles (3/16 inch) and Danish tapers (1/4
inch). Some specialty candleholders are designed to hold a taper larger
than 7/8 inch.
Votive and Tea Lights:
these candles originated in the church, the term now refers to small
plug-type candles that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter by 2 to 3 inches
high. This shape has become popular for scented candles because their
small size allows them to fit easily into small rooms, such as
bathrooms. As votives melt and become liquid in their containers, the
wick uses up all the liquid fuel. If you burn a votive on a plate, the
burn time will be shorter because the wax will drip and the wick will
be unable to use it.
Tea lights are small votives used to warm pots of potpourri and to heat foods. They fit in smaller-than-standard votive cups.
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RE:Lets look into this further - Candle Magick
(Date Posted:01/24/2009 21:59 PM)
The History of Candles
the darkness was one of early man's first concerns, along with finding
a source for heat on cold dark nights. Gaining control of fire solved
both the illumination and heat problems. Archeologic records reveal
that Paleolithic humans began to the creation and use of fire. It is
speculated that by this period in history, early man had begun to use
fire for cooking. Cooked foods, particularly meats, improved the diet
of early humans, because fire released proteins in food. While fire was
being used for cooking, our ancestors would have discovered the unique
ability of animal fat to burn as a fuel. How often have we in modern
times had to run out and douse a barbecue grill because grease has
caught fire? Those who have ever cooked with grease in the kitchen are
well aware of the quick ability of fat to burn. The precursor to
candles would have been a torch or lamp.
portable source of flame such as a greasy torch, in addition to a fire
pit, would have provided a much more efficient method of lighting a
cave. The candles of early man were plants, like reeds or grasses, in
animal fat. Some have speculated that the soot caking the walls of the
famous Paleolithic caves of France and Spain may have been caused by
torchlight while the artists were creating the cave paintings. Others
have hypothesized that the indentations in the cave walls were used as
sconces to hold the torches. Soot was a common drawback to the use of
of animal fat for lighting. Things would not improve until the modern
Egyptians have been credited for both the inventive use of soaking
pithy reeds in animal fats for "rushlights", and the early use of
beeswax. As early as 3000 BC, beeswax candles looking pretty much the
same as our beeswax candles do today--cone shaped and with a reed as a
wick, have been found placed in tombs of rulers. Romans quickly adopted
and improved the methods of candle making, adding a "wick" of woven
fibers. Romans used these "candles" to illuminate their homes and
places of worship. Although many ancient cultures also used clay type
oil lamps for illumination, the principles were the same, a "wick"
usually made of flax to hold the flame and "fuel" of animal fat, plant
oils (such as olive oil) or beeswax. The word "candle" comes to us from
the Latin candere, meaning "to shine."
there is more information readily available for the Mediterranean
civilizations, people all over the world had a history of illumination.
The Chinese extracted oils from the seeds of the tallow tree for this
purpose. Also in Asia, wax was derived from insects called "Cocus" as
well as plant oils, and molded into paper tubes. As ancient man became
aware of the uses for, and methods of, deriving oils from animals and
plants, he was also learning about herbs, spices and fragrance, all of
which was later to develop into the spice and oil trade. In India,wax
was made from boiling cinnamon and skimming the remaining wax to make
candles for temple use.
India, there was a ban on the use of animal fat candles in temples. On
the other side of the world, native people were also using things like
Jojoba nuts for oil, and learning how to use shrubs like the wax
myrtle, bayberries. Animals were also discovered to have an oily wax
content, and Native Americans made use of "candlefish" (a very oily
species of fish) which could be threaded with a wick impaled on forked
stick and used as a torch.
the archeological finds of Egypt and the Mediterranean countries of
early candle and oil lamp use, illumination took on a whole new
religious significance. A light in the darkness became hope for the
ancients. Light symbolism of many of the ancient pagan religions
included that of the Ancient Hebrews. In the Temple of Jerusalem, God
occupied the Holy of Holies as a cloud of light. Oil and light figure
heavily in the Chanukah story of "everlasting flames" on the sacred
menorah. When Hellenistic Greeks seized control of the Temple, the
defending Jews regained control and rededicated their Temple. There was
but ONE vial of precious oil to keep the sacred flame lit,which would
have burned for only one day. Instead of only one day, however, it
lasted a miraculous eight days...long enough to allow the Jews to make
more oil. Modern celebrations of Chanukah have replaced the ancient oil
menorah with candles, in celebration of the miracle of those eight
days. The menorah of nine branches holds a candle for each day, with a
ninth branch for the shamash or "servant" light.
Christianity shunned the use of lights, because of the popularity of
honoring the divine with light was viewed as pagan. Indeed, the Greek
funeral custom was to accompany the dead with torchlight or candlelight
so that the soul of the dying could not be seized by demons. Many
church leaders in the first three centuries of Christianity spoke
openly about the disdain they had for candles and lights. At this time
Rome also had a competing salvation religion that centered on the
Egyptian goddess, Isis. The followers of Isis kept her temple lamps lit
at all hours, both day and night, to symbolize constant hope. Despite
the fact that Christ called himself the "Light of the World," the early
Christians resisted adopting anything obliquely seen as pagan into
their religion. At the turn of the third century, Tertullian is
credited with saying "on days of rejoicing, we do not…encroach upon the
daylight with lamps." However, those who converted still celebrated
with lights. They simply adapted their pagan ways and lit the darkness
in celebration of the new religion. When the frustrated church leaders
met at the Spanish council, the Synod of Elvira in 305, Lactanius,
scoffed, "They kindle lights," he said of the pagans, "as though to one
who is in darkness. Can he be thought sane who offers the light of
lamps and candles to the Author and Giver of all light?"
early Christian leaders were upset about the multitude of candles being
used, and condemned it as an abuse of superstition to burn them during
the daytime in cemeteries. Evidently, the new Christians were lighting
candles in memory of their dead loved ones. The people loved candle
lighting so much they did not want to give it up. They continued to do
what was labeled as a "folk custom" by church leaders - lighting
candles for the dead at funerals and, of course, in the catacombs of
Rome. Vigilantius made it a reproach against the orthodox to light
candles while the sun was still shining. Finally, due to the efforts of
Saint Jerome and Constantine (who reportedly changed day into night
with "pillars of wax"), cooler heads prevailed towards the end of the
third century, and candle lighting became an integral part of the
church. Although Saint Jerome thought it wrong for the pagans to light
candles for their gods, he saw nothing wrong with people using candles
to celebrate joy. As long as believers were lighting their candles for
the presence of God, everlasting life and hope, Saint Jerome was
supportive, and finally candles and lights became part of the early
Roman church. In fact, the church became quite stringent about candle
usage by the time of the fourth century, putting forth guidelines on
candles and their functions for the various services provided by the
church. New symbolism of candles and flames emerged to coincide with
the church beliefs. Primarily the focus was on beeswax symbolizing the
virgin mother, the wick symbolizing the soul of Jesus Christ, and the
flame representing the Divinity which absorbs and dominates both. By
the twelfth century candles had become the norm in churches, rather
than oil lamps. The word ceremony comes from the Latin word cermonius,
meaning "the person who carries a wax candle at public rituals". Pope
Gelasius in the fifth century established a feast day called Candlemas,
during which all of the church's candles were blessed, though the
blessing of the candles did not come into common use until the eleventh
century. In Dorsetshire England, the custom of giving the poorer
tradesmen a large candle at Candlemas continued up until this century.
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RE:Lets look into this further - Candle Magick
(Date Posted:01/24/2009 22:00 PM)
are simple to make, require few special tools or materials, and are
powerful focal points for visualization and personal power. You can
certainly run to the store to purchase candles for rituals, but those
you've made yourself will personalize your magic to an even greater
Step #1: Decide what kind of candle you'll be making.
Step #2: Purchase either paraffin or candle wax from a crafts store.
Assemble all your materials before you start melting the wax, i.e:wax,
containers, wicking, wax coloring, herbs, oils, wooden spoon,
saucepot(to be used only for melting wax!), coffee can or a can large
enough to fit in saucepot and leave space enough for water,
Fill the pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Break the wax into
smaller pieces and when water boils place can in water and wax inside
can. Turn heat down to medium. Watch closely to make sure wax doesn't
get too hot. Turn heat down if necessary. Once wax melts turn heat down
Depending on what type of candle you are going to make; Add color to
wax, add oils or herbs and blend well.(If you used herbs you should
decide if you're going to strain the wax or leave the herbs to
burn(Warning-burning herbs don't smell the way you think they should!).
Prime your wicking by saturating it with melted wax and letting the wax
harden before using. Cut wick to the size you want plus 1-2 inches.
If you are using a container to pour the wax into be sure the mold is
warm before you pour. If you are going to make taper candles pour wax
into a dipping can (one that's as long as you want your candles to be).
Begin dipping. Hold a length of wicking between your thumb and
forefinger. Dunk it into the wax. After dipping, hold it in the air for
a moment or two until the wax has set. Dip again, and again until the
candle has reached the width you want. When done, hang the candle in a
spot where it won't be touched for several minutes. A cabinet is a good
spot, stick the top of the wick under the bottom of the cabinet door
allowing the candle to hang freely.
Test the candle after 20
minutes or so. The wax should have set but still be warm. Lay a piece
of waxed paper on the counter and roll the candle back and forth
GENTLY!. This straightens the taper and reduces irregularities on its
surface. When the candle is fairly straight, cut off the inverted cone
at the bottom of the candle with a sharp knife. Dip the taper two more
times and hang to dry until hard.
If you poured the wax into a container; attach a base to the wick, wait
until the wax has formed a thin skin on the top then drop wick down the
center and hold in place until skin forms around it enough to hold it
itself.(I've been know to use a couple chop-sticks to keep the wick
from moving, that way you can get on with things). After about 20
minutes or so, you'll notice a dent in the top of the wax. If the top
is firm to the touch pour wax into the depression to make a flat
surface. Let wax set completely(8-24 hours) and trim the wick to 1/3
***It was recently brought to my attention that I left out a few necessary instruction in this candlemaking guide.***
When melting wax, it is important to bring it to the appropriate
temperature; for basic gulf-wax paraffin like you get at the hardware
store that's about 130-150. But if you make it too cool, tapers come
out lumpy and cast candles are very difficult to remove from the mold
because they don't contract enough. If it's too hot, tapers take
forever to build up, and cast candles shrink too much and exhibit white
marks on the outside and sometimes tiny crackle effects and/or
cracking. so, right wax, right temperature. You know it's too cool if
it isn't perfectly clear and it's too hot when you start seeing heat
swirls in it - like it's behaving like cooking oil when that starts to
get HOT. But a candy thermometer for 5 bucks is probably the best
insurance you can get for producing consistent candles
For a container candle the container works better if its warm. But if
you will be unmolding the candle, it better to get the wax temp right
and have the mold cold. It gives a smoother finish and helps the wax
set up quicker. It also causes the outside layer of wax to shrink
quickly even before the mold is completely filled, so it makes to
easier to remove.
When you make a molded candle, tie a tight knot in the wick. Thread the
wick UP through from the bottom to the inside and pull it up taut so
the knot is pressed against the bottom of the mold. Put the wick-rod
across the top of the mold and tie a half-hitch keeping the wick taut.
Now, on the bottom of the mold if its metal, find a small screw and
tighten it into the hole around the wick (professional molds actually
comer with a wick screw and it's easier to just wrap the wick around it
instead of knotting it). Then no matter what type of mold, put some
sticky putty (candle putty is best, but others work) or even krazy glue
if this is a disposable mold like a milk carton, anything to make it
water tight. Test the seal with water, and be sure to dry the mold
completely afterwards. If the mold is metal, put it into a bath of
water to get a really smooth finish (this also helps keep the bottom
from leaking because it sets the wax real quick)
This is REALLY important. The wick type and size MUST be matched to the
diameter of the candle and the type of wax. Braided wicks should always
be used in pillar candles. An undersized wick will give a really weird
burn... it'll drift through the center of the candle and never give a
complete burn but it's more annoying than dangerous, and the candle may
become self-extinguishing. But if done properly and undersized wick can
create a wax shell that can be refilled with tea-lights or votives.
This is what i do on my carved unity candles so they can be
everlasting. but an over-rated wick IS dangerous. It burns too hot and
causes the shell of the candle to fail too soon, thus the melted fuel
is not contained within the shell until it is consumed and it will
spill out. Also the wick will not properly bend over on itself and
consume itself, so it will need to be frequently trimmed or it will
become a real smoker. If you've ever used a Yankee candle. you've seen
this. but as best i can tell, that's done on purpose. The wick is
properly sized to the container, to give a complete burn, but the wax
is very soft because of the amount of scent oil so, in effect the wick
is slightly over-rated. It seems people would rather have it smoke a
bit and trim the wick than have a bunch of really expensive wax that
didn't melt. Metal core wick should be used in votives, tea-lights and
other container candles so that when there is a lot of liquid fuel, the
wick doesn't tip over or collapse. Also, if you use a metal core wick
with a wick holder at the bottom when pouring cast candles the way you
described, it's much easier because it'll pretty much stand on its own
with just a bit of support and it won't float out of center the way a
wax primed wick will. Since you have to get wicking somewhere and most
places that have normal braided wick also have metal core and wick
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RE:Lets look into this further - Candle Magick
(Date Posted:01/24/2009 22:01 PM)
Cast and Molded:
These candles are made by pouring wax into a preformed mold or shape.
Molds can be made of disposable materials such as milk cartons and
sand, purchased in metal or plastic, found at garage sales and on the
beach, or created by you out of rubber, latex, or silicone rubber. You
can make any of the candle types mentioned in the previous section with
the molding and casting method.
These candles are made by repeatedly dipping a piece of wick into
melted wax in a container, or dipping can. The results are called
tapers because this is the natural shape that occurs as a result of
This is an old method made new by modern technology. It involves
pulling long lengths of wick (thousands of yards) through melted wax.
This method works well for making small diameter candles such as
birthday candles, or the long waxed wicks used to light multiple
candles called wax matches. In earlier times, some lamps were designed
to hold wound lengths of waxed wick, which were unwound as they burned
down. This method allowed a long burning candle without a thick wax
This is a machine method that pushes wax out through a shaped template,
much like making cookies with a cookie gun. Once they're extruded,
these very long candles are then sliced into their proper lengths. This
method requires accurate heating and cooling of the wax in order to
ensure that the intended shape holds as the wax comes through the die.
Poured: This term refers to an old-fashioned method of pouring wax repeatedly over a wick to build it up to candle size.
This is a newer method of making commercial candles in which wax is
atomized onto a cooling drum, forming wax beads or granules. These
beads are then compressed into molds, where they bind to form a candle.
The commercial advantage of pressed candles is that they can be removed
from molds much more quickly than molten-poured molded candles.
candles are made by rolling sheets of wax around a wick. Tapers,
pillars, and novelty candles can be made with this method.
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