How to Interpret Candle Flame Meanings for Rituals & Spells

If you know what to look for in the way your candle's flame is burning, you might start to see more success with your intentions.

Updated October 30, 2023
 Lit Candles

For many, fall is a time to start burning a lot more candles to cozy up your home. But did you know that candle flames can actually have specific meanings? It's all about the way the flame burns, and when you know how to interpret these flames, it can help you manifest your life's intent. 

Learning How to Interpret Candle Flame Meanings

Most candle meanings come from ancient cultures and practices, such as the Romans, Babylonians, Greeks, and Celts. Over the centuries, various religions, such as Hoodoo rootwork, have added to the candle divination meanings. In fact, many of the candle flame meanings were adopted and incorporated into numerous practices, including Wicca.

Colored Flames

Not all candles burn the same colors. Sometimes, the flame can be blue, red, or yellow. As you can imagine, each of these colors holds a symbolic meaning.

Close-Up Of Colourful Candles

Blue Candle Flame

According to Grove and Grotto's The Candle Signs Dictionary, a blue flame symbolizes the presence of a spirit. This can be an angel, fairy, or other highly evolved spiritual entity.

Red or Yellow Flame

Grove and Grotto state when a flame burns red or yellow that mundane energy, not spiritual, is fueling the burn and can also be powerful.

A Tall Strong Flame Is Ideal

This flame bodes well for candle magic or spells. It's strong enough to push through any obstacles and tall enough to reach the height of goals and intentions.

Close-Up Of Lit Candle In Darkroom

Dancing Flame

Grove and Gotto advise that a sporadically burning flame that dances about is indicative of a spell that has the power to work, but not without possible problems. The interpretation depends on other factors, such as the flame being tall or short. It could mean resistance; the higher the flame jumps, the greater the resistance, according to Spiritualists at Original Botanica.

Dancing Flame

Flickering Flame

Some believe that a flickering candle flame announces the arrival of a spirit. But it can also mean you're experiencing strong, raw emotions, which may lead to arguments. In A Little Book of Candle Magic, author DJ Conway explains that a flickering or sputtering candle's communications can be interpreted by the four compass points.

Flickering flame
  • North: If the flame flickers toward the north, it's said that the cause is a physical one, not from a spirit.
  • East: A flame flickering toward the east indicates the mental part of your spell is working.
  • South: If the flame bends toward the south, there is a great deal of physical energy surrounding your intent.
  • West: When the candle flame tilts to the west, it reveals the depth and energy of very strong emotions in the spell work.

Beware of a Sputtering and Crackling Flame

Conway also writes that a flame that sputters and crackles can indicate a form of communication. The intensity of both will hint at what type of messaging you'll experience. For example, loud crackling and frequent sputtering are signs of negative arguments coming your way. 

Opposing Forces

A noisy and continuous sputtering flame may mean that someone or other forces oppose you. You can try lighting additional candles to provide greater energy. If the sputtering continues, it's best to end your work and try another time.

Popping Flame

A flame that produces a popping sound is considered another form of negative communication. The type of communication depends on the reason you're burning the candle and what it represents to you. For example, if you're conducting a protection spell, many believe the popping sound means someone with bad intentions is talking about you, planning something against you, or planning to harm you.

Dual Flames

In Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs, author Jacki Smith discusses candles that burn with more than one flame. Aside from the natural physical causes, Smith says that the traditional interpretation of two flames burning from one wick involves two energies or energy that is cut in half.

Two Energies at Work

The most common interpretation for dual flames is that there are two energies either working together or against each other. It will depend on the kind of spell you are doing, such as a protection spell or a hexing spell. With a protection spell, dual flames would mean you are reflecting a hexing magic back to the spell worker. If you're doing a hexing spell, dual flames would be a sign that you and another spell worker have joined forces in the positive intent of protection.

What It Means When a Flame Self-Extinguishes

According to Candle Magic for Beginners: The Simplest Magic You Can Do by Richard Webster, when a flame self-extinguishes, it puts an end to your work. This can mean your prayer or spell was received by the spirit world, or that your spell was opposed by either the spirit realm or an individual.

Red candle blown out

Low Flame

Grove and Grotto state that a low flame doesn't have the energy to fulfill a spell. If a low flame is steady, you're being reminded to be diligent and expect a good result. If the flame weakens, the spell won't work. If it gradually begins to grow taller and stronger, the energy to bring your spell to fruition has been released.

Short Weak Flame

Webster writes that a weak flame will produce weak results. The time simply isn't right. It could also be a sign that the spell is wrong, especially if it flickers. It might mean that your timing is off, or your spell needs more work before it can be powerful enough to complete your intent.

Need to Know

Regardless of the reason, a short weak flame means there isn't enough energy to bring your intent into reality. Jacki Smith advises the flame should be extinguished. You can try to strengthen your spell another time.

A Steady Flame Is a Good Sign

Conway states that a steady, normal flame is considered a positive indication the candle is doing its job. There are strong supportive energies behind the intent.

Fast-Burning Candle

There are two different types of fast-burning candles. Each has a specific meaning that can help you to assess the success of your spellwork.

Uneven Fast Burning Candle

A candle that burns unevenly, with one side melting down faster than the other, indicates your spell wasn't properly grounded before you cast it. You'll need to cast the spell another time. If on your second try, the candle once more burns fast and unevenly, stop your work and try your spell at a later time.

Even Fast-Burning Candle

A candle that burns faster than normal but is an even burn can be a good omen as long as the candle doesn't have any other unusual attributes, such as sputtering or popping. When a candle seems to burn out of control, it can be a symptom that something within your work isn't correct. You should stop and repeat your spellwork, paying close attention to each step to ensure it's correct.

Need to Know

If your second attempt results in the candle burning evenly but fast, consider the spell successful.

Know What Your Candle Flames Mean to Find Better Success

There are traditional standard meanings for most candle flame behaviors. You can use these to interpret if your intent for lighting the candle has been successful.

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How to Interpret Candle Flame Meanings for Rituals & Spells