🕯️ Flickering Magic: How to Read Candle Flames, Meanings and Interpretations

Reading candle flames is usually called pyromancy. This practice is deeply rooted in Greek mythology as fire was a very important part of life. :fire:

Finding spiritual meanings in the flame of a candle is a type of divination that has been around for thousands of years. In classical Greek times, people would “gaze” searching for enlightenment or visions. Let’s see how to read candle flames.

How to Read Candle Flames

Candle Burning Meanings :candle:

According to Richard Webster in his book Candle Magic for Beginners, the shapes, colors, and dancing motion of the flames, and the varying patterns that candle wax creates can all be interpreted.

The Greek system for divination used four candles. Three created a triangular shape, and the fourth was placed in the center. All four candles were lit, but only the center one was interpreted.

Candle Flame Interpretation

  • If the flame burns brightly, it is considered a sign of success.

  • A dim flame indicates disappointment.

  • A flickering flame shows wavering fortunes.

  • A spark means an important message will be heading your way.

  • Jumping candle flames represent that there is a lot of energy for the spell to work with and that raw emotions have been unleashed with the spell.

  • Dancing flames indicate change.

  • A spiral-like effect is a warning.

Sometimes candles go out for no apparent reason. A sudden breeze can do this if you are working outdoors. All you have to do in this case is to relight the candle and continue with the ritual. If there is no apparent reason for the candle to go out, abort the ritual and conduct it again later.

Grimoire Page: Candle Flame Magic

Here’s a printable page that can go along with the printable Tarot spreads or the Lunar calendar on your Book of Shadows


I made another printable page for scrying with a mirror which you may find useful too.

Flame Magic: Brightness

The brightness of the candle can be interpreted too:

  • A flame shining more brightly than the others is a sign of good luck.

  • If a candle is easy to light, it is a good omen. Especially if then it burns with a strong flame.

  • When candles are hard to light, and then burn with a weak flame, it is a sign that the time is not right for the magic.

If you have to proceed with your spell, be aware of this and remain as clearly focused on your intent as possible.

Flame Magic Language of Candle Burning

Language of the Candles’ Flame

If you have two or more candles that represent people on your altar, see if they have equally strong flames. If one is stronger than the others, it is a sign that he or she is potentially more powerful or important than the rest.

  • A flame may also be weak because the person it represents is unwell or lacking in energy. Alternatively, this person may not be receptive to your magic.

  • Candles that burn cleanly, and leave little wax, are an excellent sign. It means that the ritual has gone well.

  • A small puddle of wax left as residue should be examined. The shape of it can often give a clue as to the outcome.

Candle Flame Meaning

Reading the Wax

Ceromancy is the art of interpreting the shapes that are formed by melted wax. You’ll need:

  • 1 candle
  • Bowl of water

How to read the wax for a Ceromancy session:

  1. Think of a question as you light the candle. After the candle has been burning for a few minutes, titl slightly and allow some molten wax to fall into the bowl of water.

  2. The first drops will be attracted to the side of the bowl and create a border. These are not interpreted directly, but give clues as to the nature of the outcome.

  3. As more wax drips into the water, various shapes are formed, and these are interpreted.

Candle Burning Meanings

  1. Some shapes will be obvious, while others need a degree of imagination to determine what they might represent. Some people are naturally good at reading symbols, while others have to practice to develop the skill.

The Flickering Flame

The flickering flame of a candle has been given many different meanings, so it will almost always depend on context. As you interpret the flame of any candle, make sure your mind is clear and you are focusing on your question.

Flickering Candle Flame Spiritual Meaning

“A flickering flame may be burning off the bad wishes of others, or there may be spirits present. It may not be interfering with your spell yet, but you can take action to make sure it never does. Light a reversing or protection candle if you feel the interference is others’ green eyes of envy. If it is the spirit trying to communicate, take a moment and ask them to talk to you in a way you can understand. Some people use candles to communicate with spirits, so give the spirits their own candle with which to play and through which to talk to you.”

From: Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs by Jacki Smith

Mundane Explanations of the Candle Meanings

There can be perfectly rational explanations for candles and flames behaving in certain ways.

  • All candles flicker in wind, burn more slowly in cold weather and burn faster in hot rooms.
  • A wick that is too small for the size of the candle will naturally burn with a slow, low flame.
  • A wick that is too thick for the width of wax will burn extra fast.

Candle Scrying Spell: Spiritual Candle Burning :candle:

Here’s a spell you can repeat as you focus and watch your burning candle:

"Candles that flicker and flames that dance,
Show me the truth with a simple glance.
By the sound of the flames, their shape and hue,
Reveal to me how my magick will do."

From Practical Prosperity Magick by Ellen Dugan

Tips for Scrying

Last year I shared a video I made about my scrying technique using a glass marble. The basic concepts remain the same when reading candle flames:

  1. Surround yourself with white light and focus on your intention, clearing your mind.
  2. When you are ready to begin scyring dim the lights or if possible turn them off entirely electricity interferes with divination.
  3. Light some candles and burn some incense.
  4. When you are in a calm and meditative state with all the tension released from your body focus on your scrying tool (candle).
  5. Do not strain, do not try to focus staying relaxed and open is the key to success, letting your thoughts flow freely keeping your eyes slightly out of focus.
  6. When scyring you can also ask questions and look for the answers in the images that appear. The images that appear can be anything words, colors, numbers, symbols, etc trust yourself and what you see.
  7. The more you practice the easier it will get.

This has been my entry for the Catch-Up Witchy Challenge. I picked the theme of this previous issue: 🔮 Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE- Fortelling the Future


WOW. Very cool information @Francisco! Thank you, kind sir, for sharing!


That was an amazing read! I’m so happy there’s a printable for it too! Thank so much! Good entry!


@Francisco Thank You so much for this information. I love this🥰


This is a treasure trove of helpful advice, @Francisco ! Thank you so much for the great explanations about pyromancy :fire:, ceromancy :candle:, and scrying tips- they are much appreciated :grin:

Hooray for more methods of divination! :crystal_ball::sparkles:


When I was first learning the ways of Wicca in a Coven; one of the Homework assignments was sitting in a very dark room with incense burning and observing, meditating on a burning candle. The exercise is about visualization.
The goal was to memorize the end of the burning candle and then closing my eyes and seeing it again in my eye. It was so dark that only the end was visible.


Thank you, @Francisco. I was wondering about these things the other day and here you’ve put this together for all of us. Bookmarked for the time I’ll definitely need it. :grin:


Yes! I love divination practice the most!!


Look at all this useful information! I need to pick up other divination practices. I may try the candle wax scrying. Thank you!


Thanks Francisco,
Never knew what the flames meant and you read my mind thanks so much! We are very excited to do this new challenge! I wrote it in my book of Mirrors! And thanks for the pdf for our BOS!


Thanks for the comments! I’m glad the page was useful too! I had fun researching all the different possibilities in the candle-flame reading.

I’m excited about the Element Water Weekly Challenge! :droplet: Probably a very good chance to try other forms of scrying…!


I saw a wavering flame & it was a good flame!


That’s a great homework assignment, @john4! :blush: Sometimes people post about struggling to get into meditation/visualization practices- candle meditation is a great and beginner-friendly way to get started! It’s also very relaxing too :woman_in_lotus_position::candle:

Ohhhh water, crystal, or maybe even ice scrying would go hand-in-hand with the current challenge! :star_struck::droplet: I’m also very excited to see everyone’s water-themed magickal talents come to life :grin:


Cool post :strawberry::strawberry::strawberry::strawberry:


Welcome, @taylor13! :two_hearts:

So glad you liked this post- for you (and anyone else!) who is looking for a continuation of the fire magick Francisco talks about above, Silverbear recently posted a great topic about Scrying with Smoke :fire::cloud:

Happy fire magick! :candle::blush:


Hi @taylor13! It’s great to meet you! I hope you have a great time & enjoy everything about Spells8! I look forward to talking to you more in the forums!


I love candles - only burn them for ritual though… I am a little afraid of having them burning around the house…(especially after the night of the black candle explosion) This is AWESOME information. I am so grateful for the hard work and effort to organize this knowledge for us @Francisco !
Reading about the dripping wax divination and my mind went nuts thinking about making pictures by floating different colored wax droplets and seeing if I could then lift the image onto cardboard…Yea… I think I missed the point on that one… anyway…
I admire ALL of you with divination skills. I think I need to try @john4 's suggestion of sitting in a dark room with a lit candle and meditating. That may help calm my busy brain.


The artist in you is shining through, Berta! :grin: I bet your creative talents could make some stunning wax art- I would love to hear how it goes if you ever decide to give it a try! :candle: :framed_picture: :two_hearts:


@praecog29 I found it! The candle we were discussing, has a large, straight up, flickering/dancing flame. It’s a good sign that it is working. I think. @Francisco could probably clarify, but from what I read it means that it is working for the person that it was lit for.


@Francisco , thank you very useful information, great to know. I always wondered, if the way a flame burned, meant anything.