The meaning of candle colours in the spiritual practice of sangomas: How to use each type and colour

The meaning of candle colours in the spiritual practice of sangomas: How to use each type and colour

For people who are not informed, any candle besides white can be viewed in a negative light and often be associated with the dark world. It is essential to note that various candles can be used for good or bad. Furthermore, candles are a vital tool in traditional healing, popularly known in South Africa as uBungoma.

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Meaning of candle colours
A collage photo of different candle colours. Photo: @lightcandlesza on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

Each colour of candle used by sangomas (traditional healers) has a meaning and use that is specific to it. Some are used for protection, ukuphahla (speaking to the ancestors), divining and more. In the world of traditional healing, they have the power to influence how rituals turn out.

Colours of candles

The white candle is popular among South Africans as it is used for prayer, during funerals or load shedding when power is off. However, many other colours of candles are central to the fraternity of traditional healing.

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They include yellow, blue, purple, black, brown, pink, orange, and red. Importantly, these different candles need to be used for a specific reason, as using some without proper understanding is explained as opening up one's space to unwanted energies or spirits.

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Candles and their meanings

The candle that features mostly in traditional healing processes is white, and this type of candle stands for purity and provides light. In a state of confusion or questioning, the white candle is a great tool to ask for clarity from God or one's ancestors.

Yellow is popularly known for representing the sun's light. It is also used to connect to one's ancestors, even when the person using it does not have a calling to be a traditional healer.

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Additionally, a pink candle is associated with innocence since the colour pink is soft. Traditional healers use this candle to help female clients with fertility issues. The pink candle also paves a path of connection to the spirits of miscarried babies.

What is the meaning of a red candle according to sangomas?

A red candle is said to represent the strength of fire and is used for protection purposes. For people who feel like they are being spiritually attacked, sangomas mostly recommend using a red candle during prayer to ward off negative energies, protect oneself and space and counter the spiritual attacks carried out by their enemies.

The meaning of a green candle

Green candles symbolize fertility and provision for life. The colour green is associated with nature, and the use of this candle is said to restore life. For other healers, the green candle is recommended to clients for manifesting money opportunities and other material gains.

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What is the power of a candle?

What is the power of a candle
A photo of a lit white candle. Photo: Pinterest (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A candle plays an influential, supportive role in providing a particular unequalled force in redirecting energy that has gone astray. It helps users communicate with God's angels and express their faith. Above this, a candle can also play a vital role in aligning one's chakras.

Which candles to use for ukuphahla?

Ukuphahla, known in English as speaking to the ancestors, is the process of invoking and speaking to the ancestors. The reason for ukuphahla can include seeking a solution to a client's ailment, making requests, and giving thanks, among others.

The colours of candles that are primarily used are white, yellow and blue. Yellow can stand for maternal ancestors, while blue stands for paternal ones. However, other types of candles can be used as well. Accompanying the candles would be incense, tobacco, plus a glass of water.

What time is perfect for ukuphahla?

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This ritual is specific to each family and differs accordingly. Some traditional healers advise their clients to speak with their ancestors between 00:00 AM - 03:00 AM as these hours are believed to be the times when a person connects better to their ancestors.

One healer argues that no one should be told when and when not to speak with their late family members. He believes that the only people who have the answer to this question are people within the family, as they are the custodians of this practice.

What do the seven candles symbolize?

Seven candles, particularly in the practice of uBungoma, can symbolize the inclusion of different ancestors that a healer has. The combination of these candles can be white, yellow, blue, red, orange, pink or purple.

From a Christianity point of view, seven candles represent the seven stars that Jesus is holding as he is walking among the lampstands. Biblically, the number seven is symbolic of completeness.

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What does a blue prayer candle mean?

A blue prayer candle means the user is seeking a connection with their prophetic and water spirit guides. This is primarily the case when one seeks divinity or a revelation of something. Besides this, the blue candle is also used to open communication lines with one's ancestors.

What does praying with a candle do?

What does praying with a candle do?
Different colours of candles burning by the riverside. Photo: (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

Praying with a candle has a different meaning for users. Of course, for non-believers, there is no importance in praying with a candle. But for those who believe, praying with candles bears much significance, such that it helps the person using it put their minds to the intention of the prayer and not be affected by negative energies lurking in their space.

Different colours of candles hold specific uses and remain integral to the spiritual practices of sangomas. Candles are essential for sangomas and their various processes or rituals since they shine a light on them.

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