Log in

How-To: Using Double-Action Candles

Love me some double action candles!  I use them all the time, and you should too!  I posted a cleansing and clearing ritual for New Year's, or really any time you're wanting to make a change, and in this ritual i suggested using a double action (DA) candle.  Here's a bit more info and a photo on the subject as using these types of candles can be a little confusing for the first-timer.  I also encourage you to Google "double action candles" as well, as there are other surely far more eloquent and far more thorough how-tos out there, probably with different tips and techniques.

So, double action (DA) candles are candles with two colors of wax sandwiched on top of each other - half black and half another color, usually white, red, or green.  You use these candles to move out the bad - banish, cleanse, reverse, remove - and invite in the good - bless, attract, improve, honor.  This is a very nice thing, and its usefulness should be apparent.

I use DA candles several times a year:  on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day (read the ritual linked above), during certain lifetime events involving change, and whenever i need to move out a bad spell of luck or sadness or an unfortunate event.  I find these candles are also nice for married folks or folks in a committed relationship, as there are rough spots from time to time which, when over and done with, are best cleaned up and swept away and a new chapter entered into.  When i quit smoking cigarettes i used a black and white DA in a ritual similar to the one given.  When i vowed to stop spending on my credit cards and start paying them down and basically be more financially responsible, i did some spiritual work using green and black DA.  When i made healing a priority in my life i used these candles again.  So they're quite useful, at least to me.

If you haven't already gathered, the different color choices for DA stand for different conditions.  Red and Black candles are used for love and relationship matters (marriage problems, divorce clearing, moving past a broken heart, removing damaging personal habits before starting a new relationship, etc.); Green and Black candles are for money and employment-related workings (changing irresponsible financial patterns, money worries, picking yourself back up after bankruptcy, living without alimony, monetary lawsuits, job concerns, etc.); and White and Black DAs are for everything else (spiritual work, healing, bad habits, miscellanea, etc.).

The black wax signifies that which you desire removed from your life.  The colored wax represents that which you desire and what you wish to attract/affirm in your life.  When you burn these candles, you first have to remove the bad/undesirable which means the black half first.  Now, i don't know what super genius first created these candles and why the major commercial suppliers haven't remedied this, but for some stupid reason, most DA candles have the black half on the bottom as shown in the candles on the right in the photo below.  It is then up to you to prepare your candle so the colored or white part is at the bottom and the black part is the top half with the wick.  This process is called butting the candle.

(About the photo: (Left to right)  Two taper candles, and while they are obviously not Double Actions, you can use them in a similar manner addressed below; a very special DA votive hand-made at Karma Zain Spiritual Supply, note that this candle is made correctly with the black on top and the white on the bottom - i highly recommend this brand both for ease of use and the fact it's righteously made; lastly, three traditional, commercially-available DA candles in white, green, and red - these are the guys you have to butt since the black is incorrectly on the bottom)
Now, butting the candle entails cutting off the existing colored/white tip of the candle, leveling that off so it makes a good base, and then whittling a new tip from the black end.  It sounds easy enough, but it's a bit more work than you'd think.  Don't let that discourage you, though, but keep a few things in mind:
~ Use a proper knife.  This is not the job to tackle with some sort of ritual knife - you know the ones with the decorative handles such as dragons and wizards, rhinestoned eyes, brass celtic knotwork, etc.  You need a real knife such as a chef's knife or a working bowie knife, something like a Ka-Bar.  To chop off the tip cleanly to make the new base I use a smooth-edged kitchen knife which i hold over a hot burner to heat the blade.  I then, pressing downward, use it to push through the candlewax, then re-warm the knife blade, turn the candle, and press down again, making my way around the candle.  I find this more effective than sawing through it with a serrated blade for this wax is usually brittle and prone to chunking off.
~ Butting a DA candle is not necessarily hallowed high ritual work - it's not overly glamorous, witchy-poo, incense smoke and chanting type work, at least to me.  I actually prepare the candle before i start the working as a separate chore.  I just find sawing through a thick candle and whittling a new tip not conducive to prayer and meditative altered states.  To me this is prep work, sort of like wiping down your working altar and gathering bowls and other mundane equipment.  It takes about 15 minutes to do the job, and the colored candle wax dye rubs off on your hands making a mess - not to mention the pile of wax shavings from whittling the new tip.
So do this a few times just because it builds experience and character,  but then you may want to search out a candlemaker like the one i linked above who makes DA candles with the black half on top.
There are numerous ways to dress a DA candle.  Here is one such method:
After butting the candle, carve the things you wish to remove into the wax on the black half.  It can be words or a short statement, a list, names, and you can repeat these negative conditions once or over and over covering the black part of the candle.  Next, carve the things you wish to invite or things you wish to replace the bad with on the white/colored half.  Again, this can be a list or some statement such as "My Perfect Lover" or "Financial Freedom" or "Good Luck," whatever.  Take a removal-type oil such as Banishing or Cast Off Evil and use it to anoint the black half with.  Use downward strokes while speaking your removal petition, being careful not to get any oil on the colored/white half.  Wash your hands.  Then use your "good" oil on the colored/white half.  This can be a Blessing or Healing oil or it can be specific to your desires such as Love Come To Me, Wealthy Way, or Fast Luck.  Anoint this half working upwards and speaking your blessing/attraction petition.
These jumbo double action candles (the ones pictured to the far right) can take anywhere from six to twelve hours to burn.  They also need a special holder for they're about twice the width of a normal taper, and i recommend putting the whole thing, candleholder and all, in a metal cake pan or rimmed cookies sheet as this candle puts out a lot of wax drippings.
On the subject of wax drippings, it is traditional to remove the candle of its black wax drippings and remnants.  This is done once the black half of the candle is burnt down.  Just pick off the trails of blak wax and the puddles surrounding the candle being careful not to upset the candle or burn yourself.  It makes sense to do so as the black wax signifies the condition(s) you're removing, and you want to have no trace of it.  If you do not remove these black wax drippings, they will mix with the white wax and you will be left with a big puddle of gray wax.  Gray wax is not what you want as a future outcome; you want shiny, virginal, pure white wax.  Just pick of the trails and puddles of black wax and dispose of them; i'd suggest burying them off your property or at a crossroads.  You can also throw the black wax away in a dumpster - not your own trash containers - or use this black wax immediately in other removal/cleansing spellwork.  Once the black wax is removed, the rest of the wax remnants will be white and these can be used in a number of ways: add them to a mojo bag, make up a packet amulet, place them on an altar, or bury them by your front door.
SInce the jumbo candles take so long to burn, you can burn these types of candles in stages - a little bit each day.  Divide the candle into seven equal sections and mark them off with little lines dug into the wax.  The fourth section, the middle section, will be half black and half white.  This is a particularly nice way to burn these candles as it gives you time to pray and reflect on your changes.  For the first three days while the black part of the candle burns, you pray/focus/do spellwork on removal.  On the fourth day, as the black wax gives away to the white, you shift your focus to saying a final goodbye to the old and then welcome in the good.  On days five through seven, the white wax days, your work is on blessing and change.  In this way it is kind of like working with a glass-encased vigil light.  You have seven days of intense prayer and focus on your goal.  I like to combine this with spiritual bathing, especially one days one, four, and seven.
The votive light in the middle of the photo has a lot of benefits.  One, you don't have to butt the light since the black wax is on top; two, the candle burns in far less time, around two to five hours.  This may be just what you want: a candle to burn all in one day.  When working with a DA votive, you obviously have less space to carve your petition, but still do so because there's still plenty of room.  Also dress it with the two different oils being careful not to mix them.  I also recommend not burning a DA votive in a typical glass votive holder.  If you do, the candle will melt into the holder as it's designed to do, and you won't be able to pick out the black wax when it comes time to do so.  When you're burning magical votives that are all one color wax, as most are, it's fine and preferable to burn them in a votive holder; it's just the DA's that get treated differently.  Burn them in the middle of a metal cake pan or a rimmed cookie sheet and they'll be safe and you'll be able to happily pick away at the black wax remnants.
Now, if you really want to burn a double action but you don't have one on-hand, then by all means use two separate taper candles: one black and one white.  You can do exactly the same thing and have the same end result; it's just not as cool-looking or as novel, but two separate candles does have its benefits.  For one, you don't have to butt the darn things; two, separate candles are easier to carve and anoint; and three, collecting and disposing of the black wax remnants is also way easier.  So don't let your lack of a special DA jumbo or votive prevent you from doing this type of work.  Treat the two tapers as instructed above; then once the black candle is just about to go out, say a prayer of transformation, that out of the bad the good is birthed, then light your white candle from the almost-extinguished black candle-puddle, and do your thing.
Okay.  I think that's about all.  Any questions?  Ask away.  Have anything to add?  I'd love to know.


Happy chance! I hadn't visited here in some weeks, and just recently I ordered some double-action candles and was looking for more info about how to use them. A friend of mine had said to use the green/black for money but he wasn't very detailed in the method and for some reason seemed reluctant to answer all my questions -- basicaly he said he dresses the black with rue and the green with plain olive oil, and he burns them in 2 parts: black first, then when it hits the middle he pinches it out, flips it, and burns the green. (Although to me, it seemed like it was kind of contrary to the point, to stop and flip the candle, kinf of "why not just use 2 candles?")
I know, that is weird. People have their own ways, i guess. Rue is a good herb for the black part too.

There is something cool about these candles that keeps me coming back. One could totally just use two candles and have a perfect go at it, but there's something mysterious and wonderful about a double action.

Let me know how you like working with them if you wish.

All hail the double action candles!!!