Blog  »  The Black Candle

All entries

Filter by category: RSS Feed

The Black Candle

February 4th, 2014 at 3:08 am

I decided to add this short story to the blog.  I wrote it a while back--too short for AP or Voices, but just right for a B-log.





                                                                                        The Black Candle

  Swirls of sage leaf smoke fills the room with its pungent, stinging aroma; a large black pillar candle atop   a makeshift altar, flickers and bounces, its flame reaches high into the air, then sinks down to a twinkle.  A fortyish woman dressed in a black Tau robe speaks a prayer to the ancient gods, asking for healing and protection for her father, who lies ill with cancer, one thousand miles away. 

  A neighbor in the apartment complex happens to spy in on this scene through an open and unheeded vertical blind, and quickly rouses the other neighbors that  a ‘dangerous’ witch is raising spirits on the premises.  The black clothing, tall, thick black candle, spicy sage smells and muttering of prayers surely are something heathen and evil.  Those he told either laughed, discounted his story, or took warning to stay away from the woman in that particular apartment. 

  ‘Wicca’ and the practice of ritual has become a sort of integrated part of spiritual life even in house-holds which carry a conventional religion like Catholicism or Judaism.  Elements of ritual can include meditations, prayers, affirmative statements, self-discovery or soul-searching components, symbols, rites, tools and pageantry to help contact the subconscious and even unconscious mind in order to tap its potential. 

  The occult and alternative religions such as Voodoo, Santeria, Wicca, and other magico-religious beliefs* have long been feared and mistaken by spectators as something to beware of due to its usage by gangsters, unsavory characters from history and in the present.  To be correctly stated its misuse by such people. Criminals will often use mystique, religion and symbolism to frighten and intimidate rival gangs or other peon drug traffickers.

  The color black is most always construed as something bad, whether it is a candle, or a human being.  As in the example above, the spying neighbor of the woman has taken into context that the spiritual work being conducted is automatically evil because of the black robe and large black candle.  Had the woman been wearing a white robe and the flickers were popping up from a white pillar candle, this may have eased the spy’s suspicions; it is all within how pictures are perceived.

  Had the spy only known that the black candle is a powerful ritual tool for focusing the arrest and banishment of illness and danger, he may not have been so apt to gossip or conclude.  The garment worn is to represent the mysteries of the universe and the depth of the subconscious mind.  The Tau robe may also coincide with the ritual itself, which is banishment of death and darkness.  Just as gargoyles were used on church landings in medieval Europe to drive away demons rather than winged seraphs defending every arch and wall, the color black may be used to nullify the powers of darkness. 

  The black candle has had a negative annotation when aligned with occult practices throughout history.  Some magical texts contain specific instructions to cause harm and peril to an intended victim. No question can be raised that the figure of a man or woman molded from black wax, on occasions, has indeed been used by many a scorned lover, friend, spouse or relative to impair another.  The law of magic in the words of the famous occultist, Aleister Crowley: Do what thou wilt,** denotes the will of the magician is what determines the nature of the magic as black or white. 

  Throughout the dawn of Christianity, priests, pastors and leaders of this faith have condemned all paganism as evil, and in this event, the burning of a black candle along with donning of black robes presumably instills fear in most who should behold the likes of it.  Little or no thought is given to the latter paragraph: The will of the magician is ultimately what determines if such a practitioner is in fact, a good witch, or a bad witch.

  The power of magic and ritual may tap into the subconscious mind to help achieve a goal, give focus to energy being directed to a person or thing, and is a potent tool to be used with care.  Just as a gun may be used to protect from intruders in the home or from animals on a wilderness hiking trip (rather than brandishing it about to harm and frighten innocents) so must the black candle be used as a powerful device discreetly and with correct intentions.



*(Magico-religion is a type of belief which contains parts of pagan ideas combined with conventional religious thought, as with Santos or Santeria)

** Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.  Aleister Crowley, 1904 The Book of the Law