What Are Correspondences?

Whether you've mindfully lit a candle, hand-selected herbs & crystals, or designed a sigil for your ritual workings, chances are you've already been using correspondences in your spiritual practices. So, what exactly are they? To put it simply, magickal correspondences are tools, objects, words and symbols used to amplify the energy of a ritual or magickal working. These can be physical objects, such as the aforementioned herbs and crystals, or colors, cardinal directions, numbers, animals, angelic names, and even days of the week. Think of them as ingredients that can be added to your spell-works to make them more potent.

 How Do They Work?

Correspondences provide points of focus for the practitioner. They are symbolic representations of desired energies and spiritual influences.

 For example, let's say you wanted to do a spell or ritual that had to deal with helping you give an important speech for work. First, you'd set your intention (eg: "I am eloquent and articulate with my words and give excellent speeches"). So now, when designing the ritual, you'd want to include as many things that had to do with communication, clarity, and inspiration as you could.

When working with the cardinal directions, the East is associated with the element of Air, which is aligned with communication, thought, and information. It is all to do with the realm of the mind. You could choose to hold your ritual facing this direction and use other correspondences to "boost" the energy of your work. In this example, some related correspondences would be the color yellow, feathers, incense smoke, the Queen of Swords tarot card, the Archangel Raphael, the alchemical symbol for air, woodwind instruments, or fragrant flowers and herbs. You could choose crystals that target and amplify the energies of the throat chakra, Vishuddha. You could choose to appeal to the god, Hermes/Mercury, or hold your ritual on a day devoted to the deity (Wednesday). 

All of these things bring their respective energy into your work. They are long-used symbols strengthened by mass belief. When brought together, they amplify the energy put into your spell or intention. It is also possible to do spellwork without correspondences, but they are certainly useful. As far as how many you should use, that's up to you, what you have access to, and what you feel is enough. These are tools to assist you, after all. Again, think of them as a boost.

How Do I Know Which Ones To Use?

Study! There are a variety of books on the subject, including Llewellyn's Complete Book of Correspondences, that you can find here in our store, as well as online resources to help you out. You'll find that several modalities and belief systems share correspondences, and many have become well-recognized and standard. However, it's possible to find or create your own, as well. After all, these are magickal focuses that also depend on your intuitive perspective. 

For example, say you're trying to figure out what incense is best for the example ritual above. I suggest grounding yourself, centering, then focusing on the magickal intention and, while holding that in your mind, smelling through your options until you find a smell that resonates. It's a smell that makes you feel like it fits. For me, personally, it has the same feel as when two musical notes harmonize. There's a tangible, goosebumpy sensation similar to the ones some people feel when listening to or watching ASMR content. Of course, your experience will be your own.

When envisioning your desired outcome, what does that success look like to you? Is there a particular outfit you picture yourself wearing when you're knocking that speech out of the park? Do your ritual wearing it! Some people use vision boards as part of their rituals (funny enough, the idea behind vision boards is related to working with correspondences!); they serve as a visual element that connects with the subconscious and primes it to manifest the desired outcome. 

If you're doing fertility work and have a uterus, using a bag to represent the womb and filling it with fertility symbols, or even a baby figurine, would be another example of creating relevant correspondences. Maybe anoint the baby figurine with oils dedicated for protection and health and add motherwort for maternal energies and blessings. When constructing correspondences, it helps to creatively think about symbolism. 

To add correspondences is to mindfully cultivate the spirit of the work. 

Want More?

For more information on correspondences, I recommend checking out Llewellyn's book above as well as RitualCraft, by Amber & Azrael Arynn K. These will give you lists of correspondences,  overall guides to their use, and ideas on how to structure a ritual. For more specific information, check out our books section for more on candles, herbs, elements and more. 

March 10, 2023 — Madii Gilbert

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