Whether it’s your first time doing candle magic or it’s your 50th, one thing you’ll learn quickly is that no candle burns the same. (This is true even if you’re just burning candles because you want your house to smell good.) Some candles burn fast, some burn with a double flame, some get knocked over by the cat.
Are these signs or omens? Some people (including myself) believe there are meanings behind some of these candle signs. Reading the flame behaviors may give you more insight into what is to come from your candle spell or manifestation.
Should I Read the Candle Signs?
I’m always a big proponent of you doing what feels best for your spirituality. If you are called to read the signs, read the candle signs! If not, don’t. Trust your intuition.
There are at least two schools of thought here. On the one hand, it’s possible to say that the candle burns the way it does because of how way it was made. And, that’s true. If you burn a candle with a long wick, it might burn faster. If you burn it near an open window, it might burn down on one side faster than another.
But, I think there’s a second level at work here. You chose that particular candle for a reason. Perhaps subconsciously, your intuition guided you to it because of the way it was made. Or, perhaps something higher was guiding you towards that particular tool.
Candles encased in glass, chime candles, and freestanding taper or pillar candles all burn differently. Once you start working with the same type of candle regularly, you’ll discover what’s “normal” for that type so you know what to pay attention to and what you might be able to ignore.
Here are some of the common candle signs and flame meanings. These divination signs are derived from a variety of cultures and belief systems and may use one of three types of divination:
- Pyromancy: Divination using fire
- Ceromancy: Divination using wax
- Capromancy: Divination using smoke
Pyromancy Signs (Candle and Flame Meanings)
Dancing, jumping, or flickering flame. This means that there is a lot of energy around your spell. Pay attention to other signs to see if this energy is moving in your direction. Make sure to check for drafts as well.
High flame. Either your wick is very tall or your wish is supported and may come to fruition.
Small weak flame. Either your wick is too short or your spell is facing a lot of obstacles.
Blue flame. If your candle is burning hot with a blue flame, the energy is on your side. This is a good sign.
Dual flame. This generally means another presence has entered the working, and generally not in a good way.
Popping or crackling. It’s said that if your candle is popping or crackling or otherwise making a lot of noise, that spirits are trying to talk to you. It’s up to you to figure out if their intention is beneficial or malicious.
Candle wick curling. A curled wick is generally a good sign. Your intention has probably hit the mark.
Candle won’t light. If your candle refuses to light, if your match keeps going out before you light it, or if it won’t stay lit, this is not a good sign for your workings. It means you’re being blocked for one reason or another. It’s essentially candle equivalent of the eight ball message “try again later.”
Candle burns quickly. If your candle burns very fast, your intention is likely to come to fruition. It may, however, not last as long as you wish.
Candle burns slowly. If your candle burns slow and steady, this is a good sign things your workings will be granted. If it’s very very slow, it may mean that there is an obstacle in the way or that it might take much longer for your desire to manifest.
Candle is destroyed or glass breaks. If your cat, an earthquake, the wind, or some other entity or natural force knocks over your candle or destroys it, this is generally a good sign to stop your work. If your candle explodes, go find somewhere else to live and mind the plates your friendly poltergeist is hurling at you. But, seriously, these are all signs the universe is begging you to please stop.
Capromancy Signs (Soot and Smoke Meanings)
Candle glass gets black around the top. When you’re working with candles, it’s pretty typical for them to get some black soot around the top. You know, because science. If there aren’t many additional ingredients (oils, herbs, etc.) on the candle and the top is very dark, it can mean there obstacles or blocks in the way of your intention.
Black soot all the way down the jar. This generally isn’t a good sign. Something might be working against you and if you want your intention to manifest you might have to do additional personal, interpersonal, or magical work.
Black soot on one side of the glass. I tend to interpret this that there is a block in the element the soot appears on. If, for instance, it’s only on the West side, then I wonder if I’m bringing an emotional block to the situation or, if the candle if connected to someone else, they are.
White soot on candle. Some believe that if you see white soot, this means the universe or spirits are supporting your intention. The more white soot, the better.
Smoke from candle. I look at what direction the smoke is heading in. If it’s moving in the direction that needs the most help, then I interpret this as a good sign. Others believe that if the smoke moves towards you it’s a good sign, and if the smoke moves away from you, less so. If this feels correct to you, go with it. If you’re working with undoing a curse or removing something negative, look for smoke to be heading away from you. Just make sure to check for drafts if you’re using this as a sign.
Black smoke from candle. If you dressed your candle with a lot of herbs or oils, you’re probably going to see a lot of black smoke, at least at the beginning of the burn. Otherwise, it can mean something is blocking your spell.
White smoke from candle. This as a sign your intention has been received and will be granted.
Lots of smoke. Some people believe that if the candle is letting off a lot of smoke, this is a sign your guides, spirits, or the universe is trying to communicate with you. If you’re working with an energy or someone connected with the air element this could also be a good sign. Some examples of this could be doing a spell during Gemini season, manifesting something related to a Gemini, or doing working connected with someone who has one of the sword court cards as a significator.
Black soot around flame. Did you touch your candle wick? Did you? This happens to me when I get annoyed that there’s wax on the sides and instead of just being patient push it down and then I spill the candle wick soot into the candle. Signs I have Sagittarius rising include… If you didn’t do this TK.
Ceromancy Signs (Wax Meanings)
Candle doesn’t burn all the way. Most candles don’t burn without any leftover wax, and glass encased pillar candles rarely do. If there’s a lot of wax left, usually half an inch or so in a glass encased candle, this could mean you have things to work through before you can complete working.
Clean burn, no wax left. If you have no wax left and all other signs are good, then your spell was successful. Be patient for it to come to fruition, but it should be on its way.
Candle burns on one side only. Your intention is blocked by all elements or forces except the one on the side that is clear.
Candle burns on all sides but one. The energy of that element (earth, water, air, or fire) is blocking your ask. Ask yourself if there is an emotional (Water/West), physical (Earth/North), communication (East/Air), or will-based (Fire/South) obstacle in the way of your intention.
Candle crater. Sometimes only the middle of the candle burns. This happens regularly if you’re not working with a pillar candle, but it can mean your intention wasn’t strong enough to work through the blocker.
Wax signs. If wax remains after the burn, take a look at it to see if there are any shapes or symbols within it.
Clockwise candle wax burn. This is a good sign and means that your intention is on its way to you.
Counter clockwise wax burn. If you are doing an uncrossing or banishing, this is a good sign as it’s moving that energy away from you. Otherwise, this is not a good sign.