Book Review – The Big Book of Candle Magic by Jacki Smith

Book Review

The Big Book of Candle Magic

by Jacki Smith

Publisher: Weiser Books

309 Pages

Release Date: July 1, 2022





The latest addition to Weiser’s increasingly well-populated Big Book series, The Big Book of Candle Magic is a wonderful deep dive into the world of candle magic and spellwork of all kinds. Like the other Big Books, this one takes on a single focused area of magical practice, and explores it thoroughly, from the most basic manifestations of this magical art to more advanced and complicated methods. Jacki Smith starts from the ground up in this book, introducing her own approach to magic in the opening chapter, “The Magic Hour is Now.”

If you’re really focused on the candles you can probably skip this chapter, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Smith’s approach to magic is simple and accessible, and this introduction forms a basis that will explain and support the practice of the rest of the book. Taken on its own, “The Magic Hour is Now” lays out a wonderfully concise method for approaching magic, explored through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help the magician pinpoint their own magical needs and intentions, and engaging with several divinatory practices and reflective exercises to help the magician focus and explore.

In the next chapter, “The Joy of Spellcrafting,” Smith explores the styles and types of candles (blessed and dressed; pillars, tapers, and votives; container candles; figure candles), types of wax (paraffin, beeswax, soy wax, and other waxes), and colors of candles. Because I have seen a lot of unsafe use of magical candles online, I truly appreciate that Smith takes a moment to address the safety of heavily dressed candles that may be covered in herbs and charms — and explains how to safely work with such candles, by removing unwanted items before burning and removing items from the candle as it burns. Then Smith delves into oils and herbs to dress your candle and bless it; how to inscribe it with sigils or add images; and how prepare it for magical use that is ordered towards your specific intention and target. Smith also discusses timing spell-work through hours and weekdays, moon phases, and astrological influences; and combining candle spell-work with crystals, pendulums, Tarot, natural items, and other charms and curios that can lend extra power to your work.

In the next chapter, “The Art of Cocreation,” Smith discusses working with other people and ancestors through altar work, and then lays out exactly how candle magic can work in action. She covers some important safety tips here, such as trimming wicks and keeping candles away from drafts during magical use, but also discusses how to interpret and use some of the different ways that candles can burn, as well as scrying in melted wax (wax reading). She also lays out a method of thoroughly journaling your work with candle magic in this chapter.

The book concludes with “The Index of Inspiration.” This is the grimoire-iest part of the book, with a bunch of pre-formulated spells laid out, along with individual indexes of moon signs, colors, magical herbs, crystals, stones, Tarot cards, symbols, intentions, and botanical classifications. All of these are useful guides that will help the magician craft their own candle spells.

Smith’s approach to candle magic is praxis-based, requiring no prior magical experience of any kind, nor mandating relationships with spirits and deities, or work with an extensive arcana. You don’t have to be particularly psychic or intuitive to do this work. Additionally, most of the ingredients and tools used in this book are items that can be easily found in most stores, making this a very accessible practice.

There is one aspect of working with candles that I wish had been included in this book that wasn’t: making candles. While I realize that candle-making is complicated, and a sufficient topic for its own book (and there are many books about it already), I guess I was just surprised that “The Big Book of Candle Magic” didn’t touch on this particular topic at all, since it does seem like one way to engage more deeply with the work of crafting candle magic. Still, I realize that that is an aspect of candle work that many magicians don’t have the time, energy, or inclination for, and this book really does seem to cover everything else. It’s also a really thorough exploration of the world of candle magic, and, because of the accessibility and the fact that there is a basic magical approach discussed in depth in the first chapter, it could easily be a new practitioner’s first book of magic.


About the Author:

Jacki Smith is the founder of Coventry Creations, an internationally known maker of spiritual products, and co-owner of Candle Wick Shoppe in Ferndale, Michigan. In 1992, Jacki was the first on the national market with her Blessed Herbal Candles. In addition to teaching and podcasting, she is the bestselling author of Coventry Magic and coauthor of DIY Akashic Wisdom. Jacki has dedicated her entire life to the mission of normalizing the words witch and magic in everyday life.


The Big Book of Candle Magic on Amazon



About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is a visionary artist, author, and witch. Pulling inspiration from trance states, dreams, auras, psychedelia, and the natural world, she weaves together themes of nature and the occult in her artwork and writing. She has created art and written for books, magazines, games, and more, as well as producing digital fine art prints and acrylic paintings. 
She is the creator of The Entanglement Tarot, a hex-shaped occult Tarot deck designed for spell-craft. 
She is co-runner of Pagan Pages, for which she also writes articles and book reviews, and she also publishes art on her Portfolio site and other work on her Tumblr.