2. Color is very powerful energy, so choose your color/s carefully. Use either the color of the element that best represents your goal or check Color Correspondences for the appropriate color. Use your intuition - if you *feel* a particular color is best for your purpose, regardless of it's traditional use, use it. Intuition is an important part of any magick.
3. If you're doing a spell that calls for the candle to completely burn down at one time, you may use a short candle. It's okay to cut the bottom off a longer taper.
4. Extinguishing a flame: Never blow it out - this is considered disrespectful of the Spirit of Fire. Use a snuffer or the blade of your athame (or knife.) You may even want to thank the Fire Spirit for its presence before extinguishing the flame.
5. When doing candle magick, always use a new candle, so as not to bring in confusing energies from another spell. Far a sabbat or esbat ritual, again it's best to use new candles.
6. Disposing of the leftovers. Candles are seldom burned down completely; and so there's the problem of what to do with the leftovers. If you're doing a banishing spell, bury the candle stub and drippings off your property. (Urban witches - if you have no place to bury it, a public trash receptacle will work.) If you are trying to bring something to you (such as prosperity, healing, etc.) bury the leftovers on your property. If you have no place to bury anything, a potted plant or a pot of soil will work in a pinch. You can always carry the leftovers with you, as an amulet, or put in a medicine bag. Use your imagination.
7. Lighting the candle: Some believe that a candle should never be lit using a match. Matches contain sulphur, which calls in Mars energy, and this may not be compatible with what you're trying to do. Others believe that the actual lighting of the match is part of the ritual and would never use anything else. Do what feels right to you. I have a special lighter that I use to light the altar candle. All other candles are usually lit from that candle.
8. You may inscribe your candle with names or symbols to further enhance your magickal working. Runes, astrological symbols, whatever you like. Use your athame and make the inscribing of the candle part of the ritual.
9. Dressing the candle, or anointing it with oil. This adds extra oomph to your working. There are variations, but this works best for me.
I use a vegetable oil base with some essential oils added. See Anointing Oils. Put some oil in the palm of your hand - you won't need much - and rub your hands together to distribute the oil over both palms.
Now, grasp the candle in the middle with both hands. Your power hand is near the top end, and your other hand (receptive) is on the bottom end. With your power hand, rub the candle from middle to tip, twisting the candle, then place your hand back in the middle. Repeat with your receptive hand to the bottom. Repeat this procedure until you feel your candle is fully charged. Of course, (need I say it?) keep your goal in mind during the whole procedure.
At this point, you may roll the candle in the appropriate crushed herbs, if you wish.
10. Empowerment. Very important. During each step of preparation - inscriptions, dressing, etc. - keep clearly in mind your goal. See this as if it's already happening. See this energy pouring into your candle, to be released when you light the flame. If you want, you can use a verbal affirmation or chant. This also helps focus the energies. Note: a chant doesn't have to rhyme. This is good to know if you, like me, are terrible at poetry.
11. The spell: Have a clear goal in mind. If you've written your own spell, be precise in what you want to have happen. If you're using someone else's spell, be sure it fits your purpose.
12. Think first. What could possibly happen when the spell is completed and it works? What if it backfires? Be sure it will harm none; and this includes you.
13. Focus: Focus on your goal as if it has already happened, for it has. Know that before you ask, it has already been answered. A favorite phrase of mine: