Appalachian Lychnomancy: Internal and External Meanings
Lychnomancy is a form of symbolic divination by candle flame, and a great introduction article on lychnomancy can be found here.
As a youngster, I had the pleasure of keeping company with an Appalachian wise woman. She shared a few insights about lychnomancy with me. Namely, she maintained candle flame is an extension of larger energy. She described a singular flame as a 'chip off the block of the Sun.' She reasoned in this way, mammoth solar echos will whisper out of a single flame.
Furthermore, energy works from a position of interconnectivity. That means Light - in all its forms - is an oracle. It touches everything, thus it knows everything.
With this broader view in mind, you can move into candle flame with your Inner Vision to acquire fathoms of radiant knowledge.
Here are some meditative suggestions to spark internal illumination with lychnomancy:
- Light a candle with intent to be nurtured by its golden glow
- Enter the energetic aura of the flame with the sight of the soul
- With inner eyes, encounter the layers of luminescence indwelling your flame
- Loosely linger in the warmth and embrace the amber lushness and movement of the fire
- Let your awareness slip smoothly over the flickery flame
- In time, you will notice a softening of the hard edges of reality
- As this happens, accept the candle flame as a reflection of your own inner light
- Realize the physical flame is a small piece of a larger whole - a Divine Light within & around you
- Purposefully adopt attributes of warmth, inclusion, empathy, healing and energy
Continue to free-associate in this way. Be soulful in your contemplation of the flame. With a bit of time and loose observation your awareness will begin to unify. Meaning, the candle flame will be at once, external and internal. That's how magic works. When the edges fall away and everything morphs into unity, that's when we see divine connections.
My Appalachian elder also prescribed lychnomancy for guidance in everyday matters too and offered these external symbolic portents of candle flame based on Appalachian lore:
- Flame curling or looping at the tip is a portent that someone is talking about you (are your ears burning too?)
- Blinking or sputtering flames are a plea to take a break, be patient otherwise you may be disappointed
- A flame moving or swaying from side to side is a portent for travel opportunities on their way to you
- Accidentally tipping over a candle (aside from being alarmingly dangerous) is a sign of a wedding or partnership to come
- Travelers will be coming to you if the flame is burning straight and tall
- Predominance of blue within the flame indicates a frost is coming and/or you are being paid a visit from a non-local energy
- Not being able to light a candle supposedly foretells a storm will blow over
These are topical messages from candle flame. Surface views that border on superstition - entertaining but impermanent in value.
My Appalachian teacher encouraged casting intuitive vision into candlelight for the purpose of securing natural wisdom. She knew the time and place for each form of oracle (everyday use and mystical).
Because She also knew candlelight as a shard of larger Energy sources, she advised me to always keep reverence intact when practicing lychnomancy. In fact, she told me a candle's flame is a miniature version of Solar Royalty, a holographic piece of Radiant Soulfulness, a metaphor for Divine Light. With this vastness associated with candle flame, there is good reason to approach these matters with respect.
Above all, be mindful of your indwelling soul-flame as you are working with candles. See your candlelight as a reflection of the greater Source of illumination and inspiration.
In this way, lychnomancy can serve as our greatest messenger of our potential energy and clarity.