In many ways, 2016 is a year I will be glad to see the backside of. While it has actually been a wonderful year for me personally and professionally, in all other respects it has been a Dumpster Fire.
Maybe that is why I want to burn all the things. In previous years gone by, I would hold on to candles and incense as though they cost thousands of dollars. In fact, the last time I went to visit my mother, I found an unused candle that a friend gifted to me on my fifteenth birthday, and I turned 33 this year! Now, however, I get a lot of pleasure from lighting up a few candles when I get home from work. This has also been reflected in my magical practice, where suddenly all I want to do is candle magic.
Over the past year, I think I must have gone through five pounds of beeswax between all the candles I’ve lit in the name of magic. It’s not always for a full on ritual; in fact, I’ve lately gotten into meditatively using chime candles to ‘tweak’ my mindset on things. For example, when I am feeling uncharitable to my students, I anoint a candle with some oils that help me feel loving, light it, and think upon all the things the kids have done in the past that have helped me connect with and love them. If I am having issues getting a paycheck to stretch, I anoint a candle with oils that make me feel wealthy, and I think upon ways I can modify my budget as the flame burns.
As this year has plod on, I realized that most of what I had been doing in this respect was either to help me feel love and compassion, to help me relax when I was stressed, to help me feel happiness when I was sad or angry, to give me fortitude to see another day through, to improve my finances, and to tweak my heath. Not long after I realized this, I had a long phone conversation with a magically-schooled friend. While my friend is now a rabid atheist, he was once a member of the O.T.O. and continues to read and interrogate all things occult. He can also identify patterns and references as well as any literature Ph.D. I’ve met. During this call, he asked me about how my witchery was progressing and I began lamenting about how categorized and predictable my magic had become. He laughed when I told him what I had been doing and said “Do you realize you just described pretty much all the blessings in the Gnostic mass? ‘Bless this spiritual food unto our bodies, bestowing upon us health and wealth and strength and joy and peace and that fulfillment of will and of love under will that is perpetual happiness.’ What more do you want?”
I realized, of course, that he was right and that these six areas are excellent core foci for magical workings. Once I had “names” for the workings I’d been doing, I decided to make pre-mixed candle anointing oils for each. This was entirely self-serving on my part: the one thing that keeps me from doing magic when I need it and when I’m overwhelmed is the ‘chore’ of pulling together correspondences. It seems that I find spellcraft a beautiful and creative outlet when I have no spells that need doing, and an insurmountable hurdle when I need it the most. By pulling together correspondences and charging a blend when I feel fine, I am able to pull on that “battery” when my own reserves and creativity are low. I’ve also found that in just working with these six oils and some fairly regular candle magic, I have been able to see just what areas I need more help in. I’ve run through my “love” dram twice now, and my “Peace” dram three times; but I’ve only used a quarter of my original “Health” bottle. Clearly my life right now is making me a stressed-out cynic!
My own blends for these areas are below. I did not want to utilize anything that would require infusing an oil because I wanted these blends to be made quickly and in small amounts (1 dram, or about 3/4 teaspoon). So I first created a list of commonly available and generally inexpensive essential oils. I then cross-referenced a few different texts on magical herbalism and aromatherapy to list out associations for each oil. Then I did a bit of research into perfumery to figure out what scents generally complemented each other before playing around with proportions.
The one exception to this practice was the “Health” blend, which is essentially a “Thieves” oil blend. In fact, 10-16 drops of a Thieves-style blend could be used instead of counting drops of the five component oils. I have taken to using this blend so much during the school year to help keep germs at bay that cinnamon and clove now seem to me positively salubrious. This, of course, meant that I did not want to use cinnamon in my “Wealth” blend, even though it is the backbone of a lot of wealth powders and oils in many different traditions. The blend I did develop, though, reminds me oddly enough of the smell that bills and coins acquire, and I find it quite effective.
Any neutral oil could be used for the jojoba oil, I suppose, but I am very partial to jojoba for candle anointing. It is actually not an oil, but rather a liquid wax. Therefore it sort of ‘adheres’ to the candle and becomes part of the surface layer of the wax rather than just sit atop it. It also is close to the composition of our own skin’s sebum, and absorbs very well into our skin without leaving a feeling like we’ve just been given a massage with Crisco. I certainly don’t want to have to bring a tea towel into a ritual with me to mop up greasy hands! Fractionated coconut oil would work well, too; after all, it is usually what rose and jasmine are diluted with.