Lamps are a relatively new trick Ive acquired, Ive been aware of them for a long time, but never really bothered with them much. Ive always used candles instead (much easier and less messier), however after a little persistence, the extra effort to make them really pays off and Ive found them to be a fantastically powerful ritual technique and an elegant addition to any spiritual altar.
(here is a simple lamp for healing a minor crossed condition, made with the help of st michael.)
You can use them in the tradition of the long term setting of lights for specific requests (unlike candles they can be kept going pretty much indefinitely if you keep them topped up with oil.), they can be used to "heat up" spirits, i.e filled up with the favourite oils and herbs associated with a particular spirit and used as an offering to whatever entity you are invoking. They can also simply be used as a focal point for your prayers and rituals.
Because the making of lamps is something I have only recently got the hang of, I feel i should credit the people and sources that have helped me develop this practice.
The first person is a vodouisant (voodoo practitioner) friend who is a devotee of the Vodou spirit Erzulie Dantor, she has used lamps successfully many times over the years in service to this spirit. I am not going to talk about the use of lamps in Haitian Vodou here, as I feel I don't know enough about the specifics of them because Haitian Vodou lamps are a complex ritual practice in their own right.
However much of the practical advice of about getting a lamp lit and keeping it going safely with a big fat juicy flame has come from her.
The second source comes from one of my favourite blogs written by an American conjure practitioner, he has some fantastic ideas surrounding ritual techniques that I've incorporated into my practice with great effect.
The third is my root worker friend and his partner who own a fantastic little old school style botanica, they often keep lamps going for their clients, they were the ones who inspired me to give lamps another go.
So, what exactly is a lamp? A lamp is just basically a flame proof container filled with oil and then a wick is placed in the oil and lit, producing a bright flame, they are safe as when done properly the oil gets warm but not hot and are much more contained than candles.
CONTAINERS FOR YOUR OIL
Almost any flame proof container can be used for an oil lamp, Ive found a small iron cauldron or an enamel breakfast cereal bowl works best, though others use all manner of container from half cut coconuts to tin cans. Try and choose a container that speaks of the work you are doing, e.g an iron pot for "hot" aggressive works such as crossing or perhaps a white ceramic bowl for "cooler" works such as blessing etc.
BASE OIL FOR YOUR LAMP
Ive found coconut oil (for cool works) and red palm oil (for hot works) works best, some folk recommend olive oil but I've never been able to get this working, olive oil always seems too heavy to be drawn up through the wicks I use, it also stinks to high heaven. Other oils I've seen recommended include sweet almond oil, vegetable oil and grape seed oil, I've never tried any of these but feel free to experiment. I found that the Anna Riva sprinkling powders (yes, yes I know everyone thinks they are crap) are useful as they stain the oil a bright colour, this is useful as you can stain the oil a nice colour related to the work you are doing, for example I once put some Anna Riva love powder in a love lamp and it stained the coconut oil a bright pink, perfect as a focus for love and romance work.
Ive seen all manner of things being used as wicks, from gauze to specialised ghee lamp wicks from Hindu hardware stores. Ive had the most success with a wad of pure virgin cotton (don't use cotton wool!), I simple take a small ball of cotton, give it a bit of a twist to form a wick poking out of it and stick it in the oil with the wick poking above the surface (this was taught to me by my vodouisant friend), this burns with a large bright yellow flame that does not go out and saves for messing around with bits of tin foil to keep the wick afloat.
THINGS TO PUT IN YOUR OIL LAMP
You can put anything you like in your oil lamp relating to the work you are doing, herbs, conjure oils, powders, prayer cards, lodestones, seals, sigils....get creative, though try and place an odd number of items in your lamp, multiples of 3s, 5s, 7s and 13s are all auspicious and powerful.
A very sweet and clever thing I've seen is the use of baby dolls carved from wax being placed in oil lamps as part of love magic. Two baby dolls are carved from candle wax representing the targets of the spell, they are tied together in red thread and placed in the oil, as the oil warms, the wax gently melts the dolls so they become liquid, they mingle together and with the magical ingredients of the oil, they are then drawn up through the wick to be burnt in the flame.
ST JOSEPH LAMP
Here's a very watered down version of a little work i recently did for someone, you can try it to get yourself a new job or promotion. It can also be modified slightly to make a house sale go easily. St Joseph loves helping people find work or a nice place to live.
This lamp calls on the power of st Joseph. If you are a man with a family to support (especially a foster dad or a step father to someone else's children) then St Joseph is likely to favour you, but if you are a woman or a man with no dependants, don't worry, you can still invoke him for this working as he is a kind and charitable spirit, always willing to help the needy.
Take a white ceramic cereal bowl and give it a good scrub with salt water, then dry it off and wipe it over with Florida water (this is how I cleanse most ritual objects).
Take a large dry bay leaf (bay leaves are for victory, think the Olympic games) and carefully write your intention on the leaf with dragons blood ink, something along the lines of "pass my job interview" or "find work" is fine. Drop this into the bowl along with a catholic medal of St Joseph and a liberal amount of crown of success oil.
Take a bottle of coconut oil and run it under the hot water tap until the oil becomes liquid, pour it over the items in the bowl until the bowl is about 2/3rds full, add a sprinkle of Anna Riva crown of success powder or powdered yellow chalk to the oil to colour it yellow (i.e gold, the colour of success) if you wish.
Place your oil lamp somewhere safe on a flat surface (make sure its away from anything that might catch fire, St Joseph doesn't want you to burn your house down!), add your cotton wick, light it, get on your knees and pray to whatever God you worship asking for his/her/its blessing.
Then speak openly and humbly to St Joseph, imploring his favour, tell him your problems, remember he is your friend waiting to help you (but only if you're willing to help yourself! pray till the cows come home but if you don't get off your arse and get sending your CV out, nothing is likely to happen), tell him you have made this lamp in his honour, state your request clearly and ask him to grant it.
Return daily and speak to him or just leave the lamp to burn, I personally recommend a novena (pray and speak to him everyday for 9 days) and then leave the lamp to burn as long as it takes to fulfill your request.
St Joseph is the patron of workers, the dying, housing and fathers, so if he grants your request thank him by letting his spirit do its good work through you and ensure you make a donation to a charity that deals with the homeless, orphans, the terminally ill or struggling families.