What is a Correspondence?
A correspondence is connecting one thing to another. Often an item to a feeling. Another word I like to use is association.
Some common correspondences include the color gold for wealth, green for nature, red roses for love, and clovers for good luck.
There are many types of correspondences including, but definitely not limited to:
- days of the week
- essential oils
- cardinal directions
- moon phases
What are they for?
Many people who practice magic use correspondences to add to the energetic power of spellwork or rituals.
Someone creating a spell bottle to attract wealth will include herbs, crystals, and colors that correspond to wealth.
Someone might also carry an item with a certain correspondence to boost that quality, like carrying a four leaf clover for luck!
Why do Correspondences Exist?
The idea of correspondence has its roots in many different places. One I particularly love is that all over the world people will connect with certain items in similar ways without having communicated about it. You see this in many older or ancient cultures as well as in modern times!
An interesting source of correspondences is in the Doctrine of Signatures. The idea in the Doctrine of Signatures is that when plants found in nature have a similar appearance to parts of the body, it means that they will be effective in treating those parts. Leaves that look like lungs are good for the respiratory system, beet juice is good for blood, walnuts are good for the brain, etc.
While some of these theories had good outcomes, a lot of them were completely inaccurate and would end up causing much more harm than good. Because of that, this system isn’t as commonly used in modern practices.
My new favorite resource for explaining correspondence is from Hermeticism. This is what blew my mind and makes complete sense to me.
The Hermetic origins of Correspondence
Bear with me here, this is a crazy one.
So Hermeticism is a school of thought independent from Christianity and other religions. It acts as a guide or framework for exploring existence which spans across multiple planes.
The three planes of existence are the physical, mental, and spiritual. You can think of them as being stacked, physical on the bottom, mental above it, and spiritual on the very top.
The Hermetic theory of correspondence uses the phrase “as above, so below” to describe the relationship between these planes. What this means is that what exists in one plane also exists in the others. As it is in the mental/spiritual (above), so it is in the physical/mental (below). Basically, all things exist in every plane.
So to apply this, say we have an apple.
You can see the physical apple in front of you, observe what color it is, how big it is – that’s physical.
You can hold the idea of an apple in your mind, think about the sweet taste, the crisp texture, all the things you know in your mind that it is, your perception of it – that’s mental.
You can also think about its qualities that aren’t something you can see or think of directly. Some people believe apples are important for health, some say they are good for protection. Those things are the spiritual existence of apples.
To take things a step further, and this is what really got me, you have to add the idea that everything is constantly vibrating. Which, I have to add, is an idea backed by modern science.
The planes aren’t separated by much, so an item vibrating causes it to tap into different frequencies and exist on all planes at once.
mind = blown
But how does this apply to correspondences?
The inherent vibrational energy of an item is the same no matter where it is or who has it.
Back to the apple.
If I hold an apple, let’s say it’s a red delicious, I am seeing and thinking similar if not the same things as someone else holding a red delicious apple halfway across the globe. It’s red (physical), We know its going to taste sweet (mental). The object has the same vibrations no matter what. The spiritual vibrations are also the same.
This is the base line of how we get correspondences. The vibrational energy of objects and how they present on the spiritual plane.
Finding truth for yourself
As with just about anything in life, it is important to determine what you believe through your own research and experience rather than to take other people’s beliefs without a second thought
While online correspondence tables are helpful and definitely useful, it is important to figure out what you think and sense .
You may find that what you read from a particular table makes sense to you, I would still encourage you to explore it. Figure out why it makes sense!
Sometimes the correspondences you find don’t resonate with you, they just don’t make sense. that’s okay too. Try exploring what it means to you.
You may feel significance in items that don’t have specific correspondences and want to create them for yourself.
Whether you are exploring an existing correspondence, or creating a new one, here are some things you can do to find what it means to you:
Research the item. Learn about its history and lore, find myths and legends about it.
Look into the science behind it! If its a stone, look at how it is formed, its density, what its made out of. If its a plant, look into any proven medicinal uses or if it is toxic or has some sort of natural defense.
Experienceing an item can happen both actively and passively.
Active experience may look like actually using the item. Cook with that edible herb you’re trying to figure out, carry around that mystery stone and observe how your day goes with it, wear that color you’re curious about and see how it makes you feel.
A more passive experience (though arguably still often pretty active) would be to sit and meditate with the item. Try to sense the vibrations coming from it. Maybe focus on it in a dream or in astral travel. Anything that gives you access to the subconscious and allows you to be more in tune with the spiritual plane rather than the physical or mental.
Also, sometimes you just feel a certain way about something. Maybe you always get a warm, happy feeling from this, or an angry feeling from that. Those are valid experiences too! I personally always feel balance when it comes to the color purple, I don’t often see purple associated with balance but that connection sure is there for me!
This is probably the most simple, yet most important part. Record what you learn and discover.
This could be in your grimoire or maybe its just in a notebook.
Where ever it is, make sure you take note of what you’re finding. Reflect on the day you experienced with your stone, or the meditation you had with an herb. Write down what you learned about the item’s history and science.
Did you notice there’s something there for every plane? Science for physical, history and lore for mental, meditation for spiritual. Take note of it all
Keeping track of all of this will help you figure out how you really feel about the item!
Once you start recording your findings, you’re on your way to creating your very own correspondence tables!
*I’m gonna be transparent here, this research lead me to a lot of clarity on this subject that I didn’t have before. A lot of things I was skeptical about I now have a better understanding of and stronger belief in. Not that I will completely abandon my skepticism, it just eased up a little and it’s exhilarating!*
Stay tuned for more posts about correspondences, including some of my own tables! In the meantime, please share any thoughts you have on the subject or personal correspondences you have!