It's not unusual to find magic spells -- especially Wiccan style ones, or older hoodoo works -- where objects are thrown into a fire and burnt in order to unleash their effect. This is often done indoors in a small cauldron or fireproof bowl that will fit atop an altar.
If you've ever done this, however, you might have found most of your mental energy devoted to simply keeping the fire going and getting your items to actually burn. Common fuels like paper scraps, lit charcoal and piles of matchsticks often don't produce adequate heat to really burn ritual items -- even in cases where the item being burnt is just more paper and dried herbs!
Recently I had the disappointment of a spell that requires burning small pieces of onion proving too moist for the pathetic piece of charcoal I had going (which the spell's original author had even recommended for creating the fire.) Not only did the coal make the house stink of lighter fluid, but it wasn't proving any better at producing heat than scraps of computer paper -- themselves barely effective at producing even a small, short-lived flame that I found quenched at once by even the tiniest piece of onion peeling.
And so, I had to figure out something better for getting fires going. And after a few tests, I found the answer!
These look like delicious Easter candy, but make no mistake -- these are powerful firelighters that can keep your cauldron burning full blast.
They are very simple to make: melt some wax in a double-boiler, and simply dip cotton balls into it, then set the balls on tinfoil to cool. Make sure when you dip that you leave some of the cotton free -- this exposed cotton is what you will light later on. Any wax at all may be used for this project -- I happened to have a lot of leftover yellow wax from a large candle I'd reshaped, but any wax at all will do: old candles, spoiled lipstick, leftover paraffin treatments -- I have even seen someone make these from a box of melted down crayons.
If you plan to use these indoors, I advise no more than two be used. Trust me, these burn very hot and very high! You might need additional kindling depending on what you are burning.
|Bright flames compared to the meager fizzle of the fire without the lighting balls.|
As always, use caution when burning fires indoors -- keep a pan of water or a fire extinguisher handy just in case things get out of hand, and of course don't light fires near curtains, clothing, books or other flammable objects. See my article on Candle Fire Saftey for more info.