The meaning of the phrase. . .Lets look at the history of this phrase that comes up occasionally in magic and Pagan circles. This phrase refers to a rite of the Roman Catholic Church, a movie (play & book), a couple of magick shops and much more.
The rite of the bell, book and candle of the Roman Catholic Church is associated with Witches because the Church considered them 'reprobate'. In modern times many people mistakenly use the phrase, believing it is in reference to the bell on modern Pagan or magickal altars, the book of shadows, and a candle used for magick or symbolism. The rite consists of the priest reading the following:
- We exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church, and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church.
Then the priest closes the book, rings a bell - a symbol for death, and extinguishes a candle or candles and throws them down - representing removing their soul from God's sight.
The Movie (book, play)
This phrase was recently made popular because of one of our favorite movies entitled "Bell, Book and Candle". It is a comedy about Witchcraft that began as a broadway play by John Van Druten. The book by Van Druten is also available. The 1958 movie was nominated for at least two Academy Awards and has some wonderful characters such as a warlock (Jack Lemmon) a high priestess type Witch (Kim Novak) a publisher (James Stewart) an author (Ernie Kovacs) and a black cat familiar named Pyewacket.
Pyewacket is a famous name in real life for Witches' familiars. The famous Witch hunter, Matthew Hopkins, stated that Pyewacket was a name that "no mortal could invent."
We highly recommend this wonderful movie that contains elements that may resonate with "The Raven" club of the "Forever Knight" series (only Witches instead of vampires) and the apartment of co-Witches (similar to the Satanists of "Rosemary's Baby" - but not so diabolical of course)
The story line is charming. Literally! Novak the Witch casts a love spell on Stewart the publisher who is engaged to a snobby uptown woman. The Witch's brother, Lemmon, pretends to help the author, Kovacs write a book about real Witchcraft for the publisher. The Witch's art store is on the first floor of her apartment building where another Witch resides. This 106 minute movie in color by Columbia is certainly not a documentary on Witchcraft, but it is funny and quaint.
This movie inspired the television series "Bewitched" much as the movies "Practical Magic" and "The Craft" inspired the television series "Charmed".
The Magic Shop
The magic shop named Bell Book & Candle was once located at 1104 Main Street, Webster Square in Worchester, Massachusetts 01603. Since the year 2001, this shop either no longer exists, or has changed names.
As of 2012, several businesses operate under the name. A magickal shop in Dover, DE operates under the name, and Robin Criswell is the proprietor of the Bell, Book, and Candle magick shop in Las Vegas. Bell, Book and Candle is a German musical group and is also the name of a New York restaurant.