Traditional oil lamps have been used all over the world, throughout time and for many purposes, such as devotional lighting as well as powerful and effective magic.
Magical lamps run hotter than candles and by adding specially prepared herbs, oils and other ingredients to petition a specific spirit, you can speed up those magical workings and produce very quick results.
The construction of the lamps vary within traditions, but the fundamental process is basically the same. I will show you how to create a basic lamp using my own techniques which you can easily modify to fit your own tradition and practices.
You must first need the following items:
• Iron pot, cup, glass, or small mason jar. (I would recommend you use a container based on your own tradition since some deities do not like certain materials)
• Tin foil (The measurements will depend on the size of the container)
• Cotton ball (Make sure it is 100% cotton and free of impurities)
• Vegetable oil (Some people like to use olive oil but I find that it burns much faster which ends up needing to be replenished too often)
Unroll the cotton ball, but make sure that it is unrolled evenly so that you don’t have any clumping during the twisting. Cut the unrolled cotton in half (long ways) or you can use the whole strip, just know that sometimes a thicker wick will create a lot of soot. You can also cut the wick in half (width-wise) so that you get 2 strips, or 4 if you use the thinner wick, I personally like to have a long wick just in case I want to have the lamp lit for days without the need to replace it.
Take the cotton and with your middle fingers and thumbs pinch and twist in opposite directions, but do not make it too tight, you want air to circulate while the wick is burning. It might take a few practice rounds before you find the correct thickness. Also, while twisting the wick you should never use your index fingers unless the wick is being used for a particular working. In many parts of the world its taboo to point as the index finger is used mostly for cursing, and if you are just lighting a devotional lamp you do not want to inadvertently put a thought into it.
Take the tin foil and fold it a few times so that you get long strip about ¾” in width. Make a hole right in the center, I prefer to fold it in half and cut a small semi-circle or triangle so that when it unfold the foil there’s a hole big enough for the wick to go through.
Put the wick through the hole in the tin foil leaving about a ½” tip on the top.
Take the long strip of tin foil (with the wick attached) and place it on top of the container you will be using making a bridge. If you leave it like that you will notice that the oil will run along the foil and drip on the sides, so my trick is to fold the end towards the inside, that way the oil drips back into the container.
Once you have the foil with the wick in place, you can pour the oil in the container, leaving about ¼” gap between the oil and the foil. Wait for the oil to make its way towards the tip of the wick or you can just put a couple of drop of the same oil to soak it.
That’s it! Now all you need is to light it! If it doesn’t light instantly keep the flame going on it for a few moments as it sometimes takes time for the wick to light.
Depending on the work you are doing, you can add herbs, essential oils, resins, and even items! You can also add a piece of paper with a name or petition written on it, just be careful that the paper does not catch on fire.
If you are using essential oils, only add a few drops otherwise it will make the flame spark and make a lot of soot as well.
If you would like to add color to the oil, I personally like to use herbs and roots which are very effective in obtaining a rich color such as Alkanet Root which turns oil red, Yellow Dock turns it a golden yellow, Basil turns it green, etc. These can also be made in batches and added to the lamp later but DO NOT forget the property of the herb, root, or resin, if you are using the lamp on a magical work, you don’t want an accidental money curse! But, if you desire a color without the use of herbs/roots and want a neutral substance, oil based dyes are recommend.
Also, while you light the lamp you should state your petition or say a prayer, that will be the ignition of that particular magical work.
From the ‘The Magic of Oil Lamps’ Booklet.