Q: A customer asks how long a candle will take to work, how to use the oil s/he bought, and whether a spellbook is necessary to do hoodoo.
A: There is no way I can answer a question about how long a candle is going to take to work – it depends on the situation. If you are lighting a single votive candle for a million dollar lottery win, I’d be pretty surprised if it ever worked. If you are lighting it as part of a larger and continuing working to improve your business, you should generally see some signs of positive movement within a month or so if the spellwork you’re doing is going to work, or else you ought to adjust the way you’re working or get a reading. A sign might be an omen, or just an increase in foot traffic even if you haven’t seen the sales at the level you like yet, or an offer from somewhere for some good word of mouth or low-cost advertising – some sign that things are moving in the desired direction. (See the comments section for some sage words: it’s probably not going to be the hand of God writing a message to you in the fog of your bathroom mirror. If that happens, please call me. I would like to hire you.)
If you see nothing, it’s time to adjust fire. If you’re burning candles to change a very longstanding situation, though, or work towards something huge like the sale of a home, a month just might not be long enough. There are too many variables in anybody’s case for anybody to be able to tell you how long a candle burning will take to work, or even if it will. Spellwork just doesn’t work like that, and you’ll probably find that many rootworkers will say they do their work but are always careful to phrase things “if it be God’s will.”
If all you’ve done is have a light set for you, and you and your worker have not gone over your situation and how it got the way it got in any depth, and/or your worker has not read on the situation for you, then a few words of caution may be order:
“How long will this candle take to work” is a nearly impossible question for me to answer before the candle burns, without having done a reading for you and without having any background on how things got like this and without knowing what other spellwork you are doing. A one day light setting that burns for a few hours is not going to change a long-standing situation all that much by itself, in many cases, and certainly not quickly. Most of my clients who order one day taper or votive settings do so to have them set three times a week for several weeks running, on a honey jar or sour jar, or else to be offered as thanks to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, saints, angels, spirits, etc. for favors granted. One-day light settings (or, more often, vigil lights) are often used as backup work or kick-starts to other types of spellwork being done by the client, or perhaps spiritual baths being done by the client, as the rootworker “backs up” the work or baths on his or her altars.
However, keep in mind that candle burning spells often report on themselves and give you information about what you can expect; any indications like this that come through in the burning would be reported on upon its completion. So the candle both influences the situation AND reports on the situation. Here’s some description from one of my eBay listings:
The burning candle will be “read” and reported on via a process known as ceromancy.
What the heck is ceromancy?
When rootworkers and spirit workers burn candles for client petitions, we pay attention to how the candle burns. Does it burn faster than usual? Does it sputter? What do the shapes in the wax tell us? Does the flame blacken the glass? These signs tell us something about how the work is going to go and what conditions are surrounding the situation. Ceromancy is the reading of the wax, and by extension, of the process of the candle-burning itself.
This listing is three-part.
Step one: Order your candle burning service. You must include your name and DOB and at least a few words about the situation you would like a candle burned for, so I know how to make the name papers or petition, which colors to choose and which oils and herbs to use to anoint the candle, and what to watch for. Your candle is dressed with appropriate oils and herbs, blessed, and burned on the appropriate altar.
Please allow me to select your candle color and/or type in consultation with you for appropriate saints, specific tricks, etc as I work within the traditions of Southern-style conjure and rootwork; color correspondences from other traditions, such as Wicca, often do not apply. Some typical options:
- St. Joseph candle for things relating to the home
- St. Expedite candle for luck in a hurry
- Five Finger Grass candle for success in anything you do with your hands
- Uncrossing candle for removal of negative junk in your life
- Money Drawing candle for, well, money drawing
- Road Opener candle for removing obstacles
Step two: Your candle burns. I read the burning. The commercially available seven day candles typically burn for 5-7 days but may burn longer or shorter.
Step three: I send you an email report of observations and a photo of your light in progress, after ritually disposing of your spell remains in an appropriate manner.
Here’s what a candle burning service is good for:
– attracting love, luck, money, business, friendship, etc into your life
– banishing unwanted influences
– working to get rid of troublesome people
– dedicating a new resolution and blessing it (such as the commencement of a new job or diet program)
– blessing for new home or baby
– calling on the aid of a saint or spirit
Here’s what a report might indicate:
– working and situation are favorable
– further work is advised
– there is competition or spiritual interference
– one person is more interested than the other in reconciliation
– results will be quicker than anticipated
Here is what a candle wax reading is NOT going to tell you:
– on what date will I meet the person of my dreams?
– what color hair will my next lover have?
– what kind of car should I buy?
– should i take job x or y?
Often a light setting will indicate that more work is advised, though just as often it will indicate favorable influences. This is NOT a scam and I will never send you your report with a note that says “You are cursed miserably; you must pay me a thousand dollars to have your aura cleansed.” (You should run away from anybody who who responds like that.)
THIS SERVICE BOTH CALLS WHAT YOU DESIRE INTO A SITUATION *AND* REPORTS ON THE INFLUENCES SURROUNDING THAT CALLING. However, it is first and foremost a candle spell; if you are seeking in-depth information on your situation, you will want to book a reading or consultation instead of this service, or in addition to this service. The candle wax reading reports on the present and future of the situation for which the candle is being burned, and it reports on its own success and/or any obstacles it encounters in the process.
ETA: the Ninja Cat has a post talking about signs that is well worth a read. Scroll down to the “let the sign find them” part.
Regarding how to use a product:
I don’t send instructions for anything that doesn’t say it comes with instructions (and that’s mostly just bath salts, as lighting a candle is fairly self-explanatory, but taking a spiritual bath isn’t). There are as many ways to use these items as there are people using them.
For candles, generally people carve their names and petitions on them, unless they set them on photos or name papers, or unless they affix photos to the candle itself. But beyond that – fancy altars, no altars, saints, no saints, powders, no powders, one day burn right through, burn a bit for seven days – the possibilities are nearly endless. My supplies are building blocks, but the architectural plans are yours. I am always happy to comment briefly on any plan you have for a spell that you want my feedback on; if you bring me an idea and ask for feedback, I can probably answer. If you write me asking me to give you a spell, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Even when I do give “instructions,” that terminology is a bit misleading because it implies a “one correct way to do things.” So I think of these “instructions” more as “suggestions” than “instructions” in the majority of cases.
No book is necessary. Rootwork is not a bookbound tradition but an oral tradition (that doesn’t mean nobody read or reads books, it just means that this is not your whole “passed down the grimoire full of sigils that must be drawn just so and rhymes that must be said just right” tradition). The book you are most likely to find an old time rootworker using most often is the Bible.