What is dressing a candle and what does it do? Dressing refers to coating the candle with oil while concentrating on the intention for which you will be burning the candle. This is done after you inscribe it. This adds additional vibrations of the oil, and also your own body oil from your hands. Using an oil appropriate to the work you are doing (this may take some research on your part - do it, remember you only get out what energy you put in.) sprinkle the number of drops of oil on the candle (also using a number appropriate to the work you are doing) and gently stroke the candle that same number of times from bottom to top. Then repeat the strokes from top to bottom. Repeat the third time from the middle out to the two ends.
One thing to remember, and this is never written in any books that I have seen, is that there is a definite direction to rub the candle. You always should do the dressing in one direction. For example: If you are doing a spell to bring something TO YOU then always rub the candle towards you. When you rub the candle from top to bottom, rub it towards you. When you have to rub it from bottom to top, then TURN THE CANDLE AROUND so it is still rubbing towards you.
It is also common practice to inscribe your candle prior to adding the oil, using your athame (or your "sacred toothpick"!) or any other sharp object. Inscribe it with a symbol of your objective, your name & birthdate, your sun sign, and any other symbols or sigels or seals which seem appropriate to you. One of my favorites to use for a money ritual is dollar signs! Those definitely speak to my Younger Self!
If you are using a 5 day candle (in the glass), then you won't be able inscribe anything on the sides of it in the wax. The top of the candle can be inscribed with what is commonly called the "Star of David" which is two triangles inscribed over each other and with the points opposite each other. This symbol stands for "as above, so below" which means that what is in the cosmos is reflected here on earth, and vice versa. It is a common magickal symbolism for this concept, and can be found in many other magickal traditions.
Also using oil in a candle encased in glass will be different. Use just a few drops of oil, as too much may cause the candle to smother itself. Using a long letter opener, or other long, sharp tool CAREFULLY push down into the wax at each of the points of the star. Be extremely careful not to crack or break the glass. Use a slow, steady pressure, and if there is a lot of resistance, stop. This gives a channel for the oil to go into and will help the candle to burn it off more evenly. When you are done with the oil, wipe the letter opener or whatever tool you used on each of your wrists to attach this candle to your energies even further. This is especially important if you are dressing a candle for another person, wipe the oil on THEIR wrists to link the candle to them.
You can also sprinkle the candle top with colored sprinkles if they are appropriate to your spell, like gold sprinkles for money, for instance. A little imagination can dress up your candle to a work of magickal art that will delight and inspire you.
If the candle smothers itself more than once, and keeps going out - take it as a sign that you should stop, especially if you are working a ritual for someone else. If the glass cracks, or if it explodes, you may be getting a message. Go with what you feel the message is.
Whatever you are asking for, you must see it as already manifested for you (put money on the altar for a money spell) see it there for you already. See you spell's outcome in your mind's eye as having already occured.
This means that whatever you dwell on, positive or negative, you are "feeding" energy to, namely, the energy of your thoughts. So be sure that the thoughts you dwell on are the positive things you want to see manifesed.
Observation is critical (and could save your ..ahem..assets). You should keep a magickal journal of your observations. For example: If you are doing "XYZ ritual and this is the result, and noticed this when..." WRITE all this down in your BOS or a magickal diary. THIS WILL PROVE TO BE INVALUABLE !!! At some time in the future, you may need to do a spell again. It is critical that you know exactly what happened, and when. If a spell was ineffective, you certainly wouldn't want to waste your time doing it that way again, would you? A magickal diary will also document and show your grouth, both spiritually and as a magickal worker.
Whenever you do a spell, give yourself an out, by saying
"if it be for my highest good...."
"and with harm to none....."
and "this or something better for me.."
This is to prevent ourselves from trying to outsmart your Self by asking for something you may want badly, but which is really not conducive to your well-being. Remember, your Higher Self, or Guardian Angel, or Spirit Guide (whateer you choose to call this force/being) is looking out for you. Given the chance, He/She will guide you to the correct path.
It is alright to have a SMALL amount of alcohol to relax you if you feel very tense. Of course, getting drunk or high will not make your magick better!