Photo courtesy of Lee Laa Ray
A Candle Ritual to Attract Love
How does a successful lawyer become a brilliant spiritual practitioner?
Jo-Ná Williams was a musician first. When she didn’t get compensated for work she did, she became interested in contracts, how creatives build and protect careers, and advocating for artists. In 2006, she went to law school. She thought about different kinds of law—“the law of gravity, the law of attraction, spiritual laws, the laws of land”—and how we’re all connected through these laws. Her favorite class was on business law.
In 2012, after practicing entertainment litigation at another firm, she founded J.A. Williams Law, a business and intellectual property law firm that helps entrepreneurs and companies create, grow, and secure their wealth legally. “We believe entrepreneurship builds freedom, fosters innovation, and supports creativity,” says Williams. Entrepreneurs started seeking Williams out for business coaching in addition to her legal services, and she began advising both individuals—for example, on how to be a more effective CEO—and companies. (Right now, she is fully booked for one-on-one mentoring, but see her open courses and VIP sessions and keep an eye out for upcoming business master classes.)
In 2006, Williams realized she had a different kind of gift. “I could see and read energy and connect with people’s guides and ancestors,” she says. Williams connected with spiritual mentors and people who could help her. She’s been studying (again) since 2007 to hone her own skills as a spiritual counselor.
In 2016, she took time off to reassess the plan for her business. In 2017, she started spending time in New Orleans, where people began to seek her out for things beyond legal and business services. By 2018, she was spiritually counseling people and giving them candle work: custom candles and personalized rituals to complete around the burning of the candles. By 2020, anyone could book a session with her online.
How does she divide her time now between these different worlds and roles? Sundays are for energy and spiritual work. “I practice many things,” says Williams. “However, my base is Ifá, Hoodoo, and Indigenous healing traditions.” (She also practices Nichiren Buddhism. She’s practiced yoga since 2000, is a certified instructor, and has plans to incorporate movement into her work. She meditates. “And I am an avid astrology enthusiast!” she says.)
Ifá,1 explains Williams, is a Yoruba traditional African religion based on sixteen tenets. (If pressed, Williams says that at its core, Ifá boils down to the belief that your life has a divine calling but can shift based on the choices you make.) “Different religions stem from it—for example, Candomblé, Vodou, and Santería, among others,” she says. “Ifá is practiced around the world, but its origin is in West Africa, specifically with the Yoruba people of Nigeria.” (Williams clarifies that she’s a practitioner of Ifá, but she’s not formally initiated into the tradition.)
Hoodoo,2 explains Williams, “is an African American magical tradition and practice using the earth’s materials, spirit, and in some cases household items to create a connection to yourself and to spirit, and to bring about certain practical outcomes in your life and in the world at large. Many people claim that it’s a mix of European traditions and Wicca, etc. But it is not.” Williams traces much of the misinformation about Hoodoo back to colonization. “In its purest form,” she says, “it is a practice born of people who were enslaved and brought to America during the transatlantic slave trade—Black American people—and mixed with Indigenous practices through slavery. The practices moved from the southern United States into the North via the Great Migration.”
Although her family didn’t call it Hoodoo at the time, Williams grew up watching her Black American great grandmother, grandmother, and mother practice Hoodoo rituals. “I just thought everybody’s family put eggs on the windowsill,” she says, with her great, warm laugh. And her grandfather, who was of Blackfoot ancestry, began teaching her about Indigenous healing traditions when she was seven. She also learned about Christianity from her grandfather.
If pressed to summarize Williams’s spiritual approach, we’d say it’s about helping people connect more deeply with the intelligence of their own body and intuition. She creates custom candles and bath mixtures using herbs and flowers. She sends them with rituals for you to follow, depending on what kind of clarity, energy, or emotional support you’re looking for. Her readings tend to be accurate and resonant—don’t get on the phone with her if you’re trying to hide something from yourself, because it will surface. (Williams is sensitive and sharp: She doesn’t dance around with her words.)
Why candle work? Candle work is not traditionally Hoodoo, but it is a magical practice, says Williams. She was drawn to fire: “It ignites things. You can use fire to get rid of things. You can use fire to invoke things.” (Also, she has a Leo moon and a Leo rising sign—double fire. But her sun sign is cancer. “So these two elements, fire and water, I feel very connected to,” she says. Hence the baths she’s incorporated into her work.) She joined and studied rituals conducted around fire. “But there was something I loved about candle work—it felt very individual. You’re having a relationship with your own spirit. And doing something to bring about the changes that you want to see in your life, while honoring what is happening in your life.” It’s a ritual you can do, one that brings you into the process—something that can help connect you back to yourself. It relies on you and the intention you bring to it.
Working directly with Williams is an exceptional experience—you can see her candles and baths and sign up for a reading on her site—but anyone can do candle work on their own, she says: “Don’t be intimated by ritual. Candle work is just working with the elements and your own energy. Don’t expect some big wild thing—the candle can’t do anything on its own. Come as yourself, bring your intention, and do the work to cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself.”
Ready to try? Follow the simple candle ritual Williams shared—it’s good “for newbies,” she says. “Even if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, it’s okay. Just bring yourself and the candle.”
Basic Candle Ritual to Attract Love
by Jo-Ná Williams
- 1. White seven-day candle (you can get these at a local botanica or most large chain stores in the candle section, and you can also use any unscented white candle)
- 2. Lighter
- 3. Cinnamon, rose petals (dried preferred), honey (if you’re vegan, you can use simple syrup or agave nectar)
- 4. Bowl of water (for the candle to sit in)
- 5. Sheet of paper and pen
- 1. Do what you need to do to feel good in your body. It could be dance or other movement that feels good or taking a walk. It doesn’t have to be sensual. Basically, do this candle ritual when you’re in a good mood.
- 2. Next, write out your desires or intentions for love. Trust your intuition. Take the paper and fold it toward you into a couple squares until it’s flat enough to sit under the candle. Maybe seal your intentions with a little kiss on the paper.
- 3. Think about your desired intentions. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and dried petals on top of the candle and one or two dollops of honey in the candle. Make sure you keep them away from the wick so they don’t get burned. It’s okay if it gets a little messy. It’s all about intention.
- 4. Optional step: As you think of your intentions and speak them at the candle, rub the outside of the candle with any oil you have handy, like a scented oil or a diluted essential oil.
- 5. Take your bowl and fill it with water, enough to cover the bottom of the candle. Place your intentions under the bowl.
- 6. Sit the candle in the water and light it. Place it somewhere it can remain undisturbed. Call on your guides, spirits, ancestors, or whomever you feel drawn to and ask them to assist your intention of attracting love into your life.
- Let the candle burn out (safely). If you need to blow out the candle during the day, if you’re uncomfortable leaving it burning, or if you have pets or small children, just relight it once you get home or it’s safe to do so.
- Discard the candle once it’s burned out. It’s okay to throw it in the garbage (but thank the candle for assisting you before you do).
- You can leave your intentions on your altar or put them somewhere sacred in your home.
- Note any shifts in energy or changes in your life over the next few months.
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