Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

September/October Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Ask a Witch - Witchy Update - May/June 2008

This article was written by Llewellyn
posted under Pagan

From Witchy Update, Issue 30, April/May 2008.

“I've always wondered why so many witches snuff or pinch out candles instead of blowing them out (I prefer letting them burn down, of course, but sometimes that's impossible). I've heard/read many varied reasons behind this, but haven't found one underlying philosophy behind the practice.”—sent in by Sapphire from Georgia

Dear Sapphire,

Great question! You’re absolutely correct, there are many varied reasons and, as with anything regarding Witchcraft, there is no one right answer. So while some might never blow out a candle because they adhere to their personal tradition, others will tell you to do whatever feels right in your heart for that spell or ritual.

Raymond Buckland sent this answer via email: "Whether to blow out, pinch out, or use a candle-snuffer is a matter of personal choice. Some people say ‘Oh, never blow out the candles!’ while others say ‘Never pinch them out!’ It's really up to your personal beliefs. All are actually fine, since they do the job of extinguishing the candles. However, some of the reasoning is that to blow out the flame is to blow away all the positive energies of the rituals. Or that to snuff or pinch out is akin to snuffing out life itself. If you hold such beliefs strongly, then by all means avoid those practices. But after all these years I myself use a candle-snuffer and don't think anymore about it!"

In Candle Magic for Beginners, Richard Webster explains candles are not supposed to be blown out “because it is supposed to be an insult to the candle. I disagree with this, and sometimes deliberately blow out a candle, especially if I am sending the candle’s energy to someone else. Most of the time though, I use a brass candle snuffer. [It] adds to the ritual, as it symbolically seals in your intent.” He also notes he, too, prefers to let candles burn down completely, but it’s not always practical to do so given the fast pace of life today.

Ellen Dugan expresses her views on extinguishing quarter candles (as spell candles would be allowed to burn down) in her book Natural Witchery: “Now, I have read the debates and heard people screech about how “disrespectful” it is to blow out a magickal candle. But if you have to put out candles and somebody forgot to bring along the snuffer or is afraid to pinch out the flame, you may not have any choice in the matter. (I personally hate to pinch out candles—I always get burned. Don’t bother giving me tips on how to do it. I always wimp out and get nervous, then scorch my witchy fingers.) Truthfully, the sky will not fall in. I’d hate to imagine you running around the circle like Chicken Little, in a panic because you are worried about offending the gods by blowing out a quarter candle. Be practical and do what works best for you.”

Deborah Lipp wrote in via email, “I like snuffing candles out for practical reasons. The altar is often at waist height, so using a snuffer is convenient. Blowing out candles isn't always reliable, whereas snuffing candles invariably puts them out. Plus a snuffer is a nice, pretty tool to have (I like tools).”

Furthermore, Lipp writes, “Some people are taught that you mustn't use Air to put out Fire, as it insults Fire. I never heard that until I'd been practicing many years, and it's not a notion I subscribe to.” I’ve heard that one as well, and it seems to indicate that it is in poor form to cause tension between the elements during ritual. But is that really valid? Aren’t the elements always caught up in an intricate dance with each other? Watch the sun melt the ice off your windshield, or witness how air and water have worn down powerful mountains over the centuries, and you’ll see what I mean.

So, to paraphrase the Wiccan Rede, do as you will. Unless you really feel you’re doing harm to the candle…in which case maybe you shouldn’t have lit it in the first place?
Llewellyn
Llewellyn Publications has grown and expanded into new areas of personal growth and transformation since it began as the Portland School of Astrology in 1901. Along with the strong line of astrology books the company was founded upon, Llewellyn publishes...  Read more

RELATED PRODUCTS

Advanced Candle Magick
Advanced Candle Magick
More Spells and Rituals for Every Purpose
Raymond Buckland
$15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN | Add to Cart
Candle Magic for Beginners
Candle Magic for Beginners
The Simplest Magic You Can Do
Richard Webster
$13.95 US,  $15.95 CAN | Add to Cart
Practical Candleburning Rituals
Over 200,000 sold!
Practical Candleburning Rituals
Spells & Rituals for Every Purpose
Raymond Buckland
$13.99 US,  $15.99 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

While Llewellyn's Classic Tarot has my name on the cover, I did not so much design this project as direct it. Llewellyn wanted a deck that was designed to be faithful to the traditional tarot images, symbols, and meanings recognizable to most modern tarot readers and students. Creating a faithful yet new expression of timeless tarot imagery is... read this article
The Union Screaming House: The Haunting Continues...Long After the Doors Are Shut
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck
The Oracle of the Angels
Tarot: Group Dynamics Spread
Evolutionary Astrology: What the Moon's Nodes Mean in Your Chart

Most recent posts:
Part 1: Why is Satan in the Grimoires?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

A Spread About You
This spread, called Alive, Dead, and Undead, is from the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night book. It was created as a companion to the deck and thus...

A "Thank You" to BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar passed away today. In the midst of a frantic morning I heard the news and suddenly paused, realizing the great impact one person can...





Easy Tarot Reading Easy Tarot Reading
The Process Revealed in Ten True Readings

By: Josephine Ellershaw
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN
$10.47 US,  $11.87 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
You Are the Answer You Are the Answer
Discovering and Fulfilling Your Soul's Purpose

By: Michael J Tamura
Price: $16.95 US,  $19.50 CAN