Magickal correspondences are considered to be a very important to many magickal paths, but just how important are they?
A correspondence is a connection between one thing and another. In magick, correspondences usually refer to the connection between various items and their spiritual energies. For instance, Green, four-leaf clovers, almonds and pearls are all said to correspond with luck. If you’re doing a luck spell, using these elements would increase the energy, and make the spell more successful.
Now, here’s where it gets complicated: First off, not all systems use the same correspondences. A Wiccan and a Druid might argue over what an herb or stone is good for. An eclectic might see a correspondence differently than a Hellenic. Then you have the fact that things have gotten quite muddled over the years, and it can be hard to know what tradition or path originally came up with a correspondence or who uses certain ones now.
So how do you know which correspondences are the “right” ones? Does it matter? Well, some people will disagree with me, but my belief is this: It matters as much as you believe it does. If you think that using correspondences that your tradition believes in is important, then you should learn those correspondences from trusted sources and use them. If you think there’s room for interpretation, then there is. If you think “whatever works is good” then that may well be true. Your beliefs have a tremendous effect on your magickal workings, so you have to do what’s right for you, not anyone else.
Let’s just say that your tradition believes that pink roses are associated with death and crossing-over type magic. That’s what you’ve been taught, and what you’ve been told is right. Unfortunately, you can’t think of anything but happiness and friendship when you see pink roses. For you, pink roses are going to correspond to happiness and friendship, and any other use probably isn’t going to work. However, if you’ve never had any particular ideas or feelings about pink roses, then following your tradition’s beliefs will work just fine.
Another example is that you’re about to do a spell to help your family deal with a tragedy. You’ve got a geranium on your windowsill that your grandma raised, and it always makes you think of love and family. Using petals or leaves from that plant in your spell will give it quite a boost. It doesn’t really matter that geranium is usually associated with prosperity or breaking bad love spells. Your feelings about it matter more than what anyone else has ever believed. Or let’s say that you’re trying to open your third eye and connect to your inner abilities. Amethyst is supposed to be great for that, but every time you see an amethyst, you remember that time you broke a piece that cost $60, and you feel awful. That’s going to get in the way of your practice. Amethyst may be considered the “best” for the task, but it won’t be for you. You’ll need something else.
At this juncture you might be wondering “Is there even any point in learning correspondences?” My answer to that is yes, absolutely. The more you know, the more you can do. If you believe that using herbs, stones or other items in your practice enhances you work, then you want to know what those things are used for. If you follow a tradition, learn their correspondences. You may want to broaden and learn others as well. If you don’t follow a specific tradition, learn all that you can. Most of the time you’re not going to have a specific feeling about the element you’re using. Not too many people have a specific feeling attached to chrysocolla or holy thistle. However, if a correspondence feels wrong to you or you do have an emotional connection with it, pay attention to that. Let that guide you as to what you should or shouldn’t use.
As with everything else in magick, how you feel and where your energies are aligned matters more than anything else. Use your own judgement. Educating yourself is incredibly important and you should learn all that you can, but in the end, your heart will tell you if a choice is the right or wrong one for you at that moment.