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Uncovering the Mystery of Candles Meaning and Symbolism

Ancient Theory

Author: Ancient Theory

Published: February 25, 2023 / Updated: April 27, 2023

Candles have long symbolized light and are often connected to the spirit and matter through the melting of wax and the flickering of a flame.

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Uncovering the Mystery of Candles Meaning and Symbolism

Candles meaning is a fascinating topic that has been debated throughout history. 

The burning of candles has been associated with magical and religious ceremonies since ancient times, making them an enduring symbol in many cultures and traditions.

Many religions practice lighting candles to commemorate a deceased person, demonstrating the enduring and significant nature of candles in spiritual practice. 

Candles also symbolize hope, love, and peace, often illuminating a soul filled with despair or fear of death.

Candles Meaning and Symbolism in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Candles meaning and symbolism in Antiquity and the Middle Ages are especially intriguing. 

In ancient Rome, the goddess Juno Lucina was honored by lighting candles, which spread light and sweet fragrance in the darkness. 

Juno Lucina controlled the Sun, Moon, and stars and was believed to have gifted newborn children with the “light” of their spirit. 

A festival of lights was celebrated in her honor every year during the winter solstice. 

The winter celebration evolved into the Christian celebration of Saint Lucia, still celebrated in Sweden, where a young girl impersonating the bride of Lucia or Lussibruden carries a wreath of candles.

The custom of lighting the Yule candle originates in the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. 

While Christians light a big candle on Christmas Eve, hoping it will burn all night long and bring good luck in the upcoming year, ancient Scandinavians burned a bundle of logs and held a religious ceremony to encourage the Sun to rise again after a long winter night.

For centuries, candles have been popular in performing certain magical rites. 

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that lighting a candle in the shape of a woman and uttering certain incantations would draw the love of the woman personified by the candle. 

According to tradition, a red candle provided the best results. 

The candle was anointed with perfume to suggest femininity. After burning for a few minutes, a short incantation was addressed to the souls of love to bring the woman in question forever to the man in love with her. 

The ritual required the invocation to be done at sunset, once above the candle flame and then again after blowing in the flame above the smoking wick. 

The process had to be repeated every sunset until the candle was consumed.

A black candle in the shape of a skull was often used in ceremonial magic to disseminate curses. 

The skull candle was burned at midnight, and a proclamation was read above the flame, formally written on paper, asking for the removal of any curse sent upon the magician. 

The candle was anointed with oil and burned exactly at midnight.

If a mage felt that a spell with candles had been sent against him, he believed he could annul the spell’s effects by resorting to burning candles for five consecutive nights. 

The mage would light two large black candles right when the sun was setting, reciting an invocation as the candles burned, calling upon good spirits to remove the curse and redirect it to the one who summoned the powers of darkness against him. 

The ritual required the complete burning of two candles each night.

Candles Color Meanings

Candles Color Meanings

Candles symbolize ascending life and are at the heart of celebrations. 

You light one candle for each year of your life, and each candle is a step toward perfection and happiness.

Blowing out a candle with a single breath does not dissipate its burn in the past or throw it into the night of oblivion but instead proves the persistence of a breath of superior life to all that has been experienced.

White candles meaning and symbolism

White candles are a symbol of truth and purity. When lit, they are used to pray for emotional balance, purification, release from old problems or the past, protection, and the health of family members. 

White candles can replace any other color as they are universal and bring unity and harmony. They work best on Mondays and are specific to the Cancer zodiac sign.

Yellow candles meaning and symbolism

Yellow candles support your intellect and imagination. They help you focus, clear your mind, communicate well with those around you, and succeed in learning. 

Yellow candles also drive away dark thoughts and bring a note of optimism. Yellow is the warmest, most expansive, and most spirited color. 

These colored candles work best on Wednesdays and Sundays and are specific to the Leo and Virgo zodiac signs.

Red candles meaning and symbolism

Red is considered the fundamental symbol of the vital principle and is the color of fire and blood. 

Light red is explosive, centrifugal, diurnal, masculine, tonic, encourages action, and throws its light everywhere, like the sun, with vast and invincible power. 

Dark red is, on the contrary, nocturnal, feminine, and mysterious. It represents not the expression but the mystery of life.

Red candles are ideal for romantic meetings as they symbolize love. 

They enfold the couple in sensuality and passion, bring self-confidence, energize, and offer courage to face any enemy. 

Red candles work best on Tuesdays and are specific to the Aries and Scorpio zodiac signs.

Green candles meaning and symbolism

Green is located between blue and yellow, resulting from their chromatic interferences. 

It enters into a symbolic game of alternations with red. The rose blooms among the green leaves. It is a soothing, refreshing, and human color.

Green candles support progress and material prosperity, intensify the fire of financial success, and light your way for a new beginning. 

They work best on Wednesdays and Fridays and are specific to the Gemini and Libra zodiac signs.

Black candles meaning and symbolism

Contrary to general opinion, black candles meaning and symbolism are not related to pagan practices.

Lighting black candles provides protection against negative energies, wards off bad luck, obstacles, and failures, ensures safe travels, and aids in professional success and achieving goals, such as exams. 

They work best on Saturdays and are specific to the Capricorn zodiac sign.

Candles hold a powerful significance in our lives and can be used in various ways. 

Understanding candles meaning and symbolism, especially of each colored candle, can help you achieve emotional balance, success, and protection in different aspects of your life. 

By incorporating candles into your daily life, you can bring harmony and positivity to your surroundings.

At Ancient Theory we only use trusted sources to document our articles. Such relevant sources include authentic documents, newspaper and magazine articles, established authors, or reputable websites.

  • The ceremonial use of lights. [Source]
  • Candle Color Meanings.
  • Lee Na Kyoung - Candlelight: Symbol of Consciousness in Holy, Protective Space.
  • Barbara Y. Martin and Dimitri Moraitis - The Spiritual Power of Candles.
  • Garvin Brod and Jasmin Breitwieser - Lighting the wick in the candle of learning: generating a prediction stimulates curiosity. [Source]