Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Correspondences / Associations

There are many references to correspondences and associations in all Pagan books - they refer to Gods, Days of the Week, Planets, Animals, etc. Generally speaking a correspondance or association is relating 1 or more things together. For instance: Saturday was named after the God Saturn, and so it is associated with him, also it is associated with the planet Saturn - meaning the traits that correspond to Saturn the Planet / God will also correspond to Saturday. Essentially associations and correspondences are the same thing - the relating of individual characteristics, so I will use the term correcpondences throughout this post. Even more confusing is the fact that not all the books jibe with the same what should a neophite make of that?

There are 4 main classifications of Correspondences.

1) Personal: Each of us views the universe and all that inhabits it, a little differently. Its part of what makes us unique - and its definately what makes our path's unique. Over time you may find that amythist (for instance) is a healing stone and is calming - therefore it has those correspondences....whenever yuo with to invoke calm or healing you pull out an amythyst. Also, we view certain days as different from others. For some the New moon is a time of great power and reflection, for others the feel at their weakest when the moon is dark - therefore each person will assign different correspondences to these moon phases. Accoringly, we've each lived vastly different lives, therefore the date of our childrens births (for instance) will hold great meaning for us, and may allow us to access our power in reguards to parenting - guidance, soothing, love, etc. Therefore, over time we may make a list of correspondences that are entirely unique to ourselves. These are no less powerful than any other correspondence because power comes from our Belief - as long as you whole heartedly believe in something it has great power.

2) Familial. Just as we make our own associations to days, moon phases, etc as we live our lives; we also carry on traditions that were past down to us from our parents and families. If you always have a family reuinion on a certain day than you may associate that day with family activities and feelings. If you have been taught from birth that bears are dangerous and frightening, you may have a hard time connecting to their power as a totem, etc. So, families can instill in us correspondences we maynot even be aware of, but that are unique to our families heritage.

3) Magickal Tradition. Each tradition has a different set o correspondences. For instance the Wiccan believes in the law of 3 and The Rede. A Celtic, like myself, does not, we follow an honor tradition. Therefore there are not the same consequences and associations for actions or behavior. Celtics also put great power into nature - not just nature as a whole but each individual piece; Trees have great power depending on what type of tree it is and each has different correspondences attatched to them. Wiccans have a great respect for nature and have correspondences associated with each piece of nature - but there are not as long and complex as the Celtic tradition. Therefore, each tradition may have its own correspondences - largely based on region and the people who practiced the tradition bringing the above two types of correspondences to the table.

4) Regional. Depending on where you live, and were raised, you will associate different correspondences to everything. Someone from the North East United States may feel a great connection to the White Birch tree and utilize a more complex list of correspondences (or uses) for it since it isreadily available in that region. But, someone from the south west, while recognizing ther are uses for the tree, won't rely on such a comlex list of uses as it is not easily available...but they may have a longer list for the various types of cacti. Therefore, the region in which you were raised and now practie your craft will impact the correspondences you associate with the tools around you.

How does this help you in establishing your own Path?

Remember there is no right or wrong in establishing your own practices...even if you subscribe to one of the more specific traditions, I believe we all make little adjustments to make the tradition fit us more personally - if not we wont have as strong a connection to all of the pieces of the tradition, and that will weaken any of our workings.

Correspondences are easier to make than you realize. Think of a watermelon and make a list of words you associate with it:
* Wet / cold / summer / hot days / family picnic / happiness / messy / etc
Our brains make lists of these such correspondences daily and have done since we were in our mother's womb. Some aspects of the craft will be entirely new, from out of your element. For instance, you may have never touched or worked with a Tarot deck. In this instance you simply can not buy a book and start divining the future by making a list of the cards and looking them up. Any elder will tell you to first meditate with your deck, study each of the pictures, become acquainted with it. Make notes on your findings....essentially make your own list of personal correspondences. Yes you may still use the universal definition of each card - but with this greater understanding of each card you will be able to understand truly what it means...the difference between book smarts and street smarts.
According to Amber k. and Azreal Arynn K. of the book Ritual Craft, Correspondences, in fact all symbols, are stand-ins for a reality that is not present, but could be. By manipulating these symbols we tell our [Deep Mind} what we want to happen; by sending energy into a new pattern of symbols, we give our Higher Selves the plan and materials to manifest that new reality.
What the heck did that mean? Well, think of this. You're totally stress out and need to find a new job. You're running low on money and your kids are sick. You're feeling the pressure both external and internal. So, you decide to do a ritual to help you in finding the perfect job. As parts of this ritual you may have water, communion, maybe some music, you concentrate on all the aspects you wish to have in your new job, as well as the parts of your personality you wish to focus on to help you during interviews. The very act of going through the ritual steps helps you focus, and release tension. The act of communion is to replace energy - so you feel revitalized, etc. Each of these steps remind the brain of past experiences and things it associated with each event and sequence. I feel my most powerful after a short round of meditation to clear out the stresses of the day - therefore I use it whenever I'm stressed....not only to relieve the tension (because my brain recognizes it is a soothing act) but because I feel most connected to the Goddess when I open my eyes and my brain remembers each and every time I connected wit Her and how wonderful that made me feel.
A great many of the correspondences for Deities come from mythology. For instance lets take a look at Mars - he is associated with the day Tuesday, his correspondences include: Courage, self-interest, activity, action, assertiveness, passion, adventure, decisiveness, aggression, anger, violence, etc. Mars was a Roman God, one of the most widely celebrated. According to Encyclopedia Mythica { }
The god of war, and one of the most prominent and worshipped gods. In early Roman history he was a god of spring, growth in nature, and fertility, and the protector of cattle. Mars is also mentioned as a chthonic god (earth-god) and this could explain why he became a god of death and finally a god of war. He is the son of Jupiter and Juno. According to some sources, Mars is the father of Romulus and Remus by the Vestal Ilia (Rhea Silvia). Because he was the father of these legendary founders of Rome, and thus of the Roman people, the Romans styled themselves 'sons of Mars'. Mars is portrayed as a warrior in full battle armor, wearing a crested helmet and bearing a shield. His sacred animals are the wolf and the woodpecker, and he is accompanied by Fuga and Timor, the personifications of flight and fear. The month March (Martius) is named after him (wars were often started or renewed in spring).
So, it is apparent where these correspondences originated. When the Planet Mars was named after him - it was also given the same correspondences. This is another example of a traditions correspondences. Each traditions has different myths and deities...if you were Greek you would use Ares for the above correspondences, or if you were Norse you would use Tiw, etc.

Other Types of Correspondences:

Deities: I have already explained how each tradition cam by the correspondences associated with each deity. For most it come through ancient myth - or, for some traditions, the stories of the Gods' lives.

Symbols: This would include runes, alphabets, and other symbols. Each has a different correspondence; meaning, each symbol stands for some intangible idea or feeling. Most of the symbols developed over time - many before true writing was established. Priests & Priestesses needed a way to convey the intangible to a people who did not have a lot of time to devote to the spiritual, so simple symbols were developed to represent each item. Even the elements have a symbol associated with them - when out side of the circle, you can draw the sigil to invoke the strengths of each of the elements. When in circle using the sigil can help you connect on a deeper mystical level than just calling the quarters.

Astrology: This is another form of correspondences. First of all, the planets in our solar system each have a Deity associated with them giving them personality correspondences. For instance the moon is connected to the Goddess - by observing the phases of the moon you can vary the strength for your connection to Her. The same goes for the other planets in our solar system - depending on their orbit around the sun (this would fall under the Zodiac and Sun/Moon Signs) on the day of our birth we may carry certain characteristics that are similar to these correspondences. Therefore by observing the heavens, we may build on the strengths or ease the weaknesses from those traits.

Using Correspondences in Ritual:

The following list is a very small sample of the thousands of correspondences available to us in Ritual. Now that you have a greater understanding of what correspondences are you can utilize your books on your tradition to their utmost.

The Following List is from Amber K. and Azrael Arynn K in Ritual Craft.

GODDESS: Brigit, Hygeia
GOD: Apollo, Asclepius
COLOR: Green, Rose
STONE: Clear Quartz
DAY: Sunday, Monday
MOON PHASE: Waning to Banish; Waxing to Restore

GODDESS: Aphrodite, Venus
GOD: Eros
STONE: Pearl
DAY: Friday

RITUAL THEME: Prosperity
GODDESS: Lakshmi
GOD: Dagda
COLOR: Gold, green
STONE: Lodestone
DAY: Thursday

GODDESS: Saraswati, Minerva
GOD: Odin, Thoth
COLOR: Black, Royal Blue
STONE: Apatite
DAY: Wednesday

RITUAL THEME: Spiritual Growth
GOD: Any
COLOR: Violet
STONE: Lapis Lazuli
DAY: Any

Using Days / Planets / Deities in the Craft - Shannon's Example of Correspondences

Sunday: Obviously associated with the Sun, it is a good day to do rituals/spells related to enlightenment, expansion, power, logic, brilliance, healing, and music. The Sun is a ruling force over us all - but it feeds as warms us too. The energy of the Sun is very much directed to confidence and achievement, joy, illumination, ruler-ship, etc.
Incense- mix equal parts of - cinnamon, angelica, rosemary, sandalwood, and frankinsense.
Oil: Cinnamon Oil

Monday: The day of the moon. Appropriate for dream work, psychic power, the sea and water, and woman's magick. Remember the moon is all about cycles - menstruation, the tides, moon phases, etc. So obviously the power of the moon is strong in taking next steps (following a path) as the moon calls to us, our power, if is an excellent time to develop your power.
Incense - mix equal parts of - Lemon Balm, myrrh, eucalyptus
Oil: Myrrh Oil

Tuesday: Named for Tiw, the martial god of the Norse. Work related to assertiveness, strength, battle, legal issues, protection and self-defense are strong on Tuesdays due to its association with Mars, which is all about decisiveness, action, war, etc.
Incense - mix equal parts of - Allspice, basil, hops, High John the Conqueror
Oil: Allspice Oil

Wednesday: Named for Woden, the Norse father-god and master of magick. Due to its association with Mercury, this day is strong for travel, and although Mercury is a god of thievery it is really not recommended on Wednesdays. Mercury's energies are about Communication, information, thought and reason so utilize this in your rituals and spells for extra power.
Incense - mix equal parts of - Lavender, marjoram, mint, clover.
Oil: Lavender Oil.

Thursday: Nameds after Thor, the Norse god of slaves and the common people. He as famous for his magick hammer and could smash all obstacles with his great strength. Rituals to remove barriers, as well as career/prosperity rituals do well on Thursdays. These are also good as Thursday is associated with Jupiter. Jupiter's energies are focused on Expansion, growth, generosity, enthusiasm, exploration, and networking.
Incense- mix equal parts of - Cinquefoil, clove, hyssop, nutmeg, sage.
Oil: Nutmeg Oil

Friday: Named for Freya, the primary goddess of the Norse. She is a goddess of youth, love and sensuality; but she is also a war goddess and the chief of the valkyries. Work related to love, relationships, or battle, are appropriate. Friday is also associated with Venus, which is associated with love, pleasure, happiness, sensuality, attraction and money.
Incense- mix equal parts of - Lilac, rose, valerian, vetivert.
Oil: Lilac Oil

Saturday: Obviously named for Saturn, one of the elder gods from Greek mythology. Saturnian energy defines, limits and controls, but also brings order out of chaos. Work should focus on getting organized or bringing things under control. Saturn energies also include: boundaries, rules, order, discipline, also limitation, contraction, delay, resistance to change, criticism.
Incense- mix equal parts of - Comfrey, mullein, patchouli, Solomon's seal..
Oil: Patchouli Oil

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