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I recently bought black candles. This is not unusual. What makes this time notable is the look a friend gave me. A raised eyebrow, a smile both excited at the possibility of something taboo afoot and nervous that I am perhaps more wicked than I appear.

A little later the in-laws came to visit. Afterwards I remembered that the black wax, half melted, stands clearly visible on my altar and may have elicited a feeling of worry in this instance too. (True to British form, nothing was said even if it did.)

We have a pattern, a story we’ve learned, one of duality. Of Good vs Evil, of Kind vs Wicked, of light vs dark. I am a witch. I am a healer, first and foremost, – though I heal through inspiring joy and creativity (I hope) more than fixing physical ailments – which labels me a lightworker. And I honour, every day, the fertile darkness of sleep and dreams and space, and of the earth which nourishes all that we are.

The black candle on my altar is not there for wickedness, it is there for the darkness that carries the promise of light.