This is the basic summary of how correspondences work. There are many tables of references available that chart up what stone/plant/day/color/day/time/astrological/lunar/deity/sigils/glyphs/wood/etc. correspondence works for what purpose, so I really don’t want to add that here. I hope to do a bit more explaining of how and why they work as they do.
In large part, Correspondences are useful and effective because of an understanding of Sympathetic Magic. Sympathetic means ‘alike’ or ‘similar to’. Something you are using for your spell or ritual is similar to something else and likened to the target or focus of your magical energies. In order for sympathetic magic or correspondences to mean anything, and especially for a Witch to be able to create their own spells, one must know the different items or energies that are being used and how they connect. This is the purpose behind using a certain colored candle, herb, stone, day of the week, or element to align with your purposes.
I PERSONALLY DO NOT RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING SPELL FOR USE. IF YOU WISH TO DO A LOVE SPELL, IT IS BETTER AND SAFER TO DO A SPELL TO BRING LOVE TO YOU, OR TO OPEN YOURSELF UP TO RECEIVE LOVE, NOT TO NAME A SPECIFIC PERSON. I PRESENT THIS AS AN EXAMPLE TO EXPLAIN CORRESPONDENCES USING A SIMPLE AND POPULAR FORM. IF YOU USE THE SPELL AS WRITTEN, THAT IS YOUR CHOICE AND YOUR CONSEQUENCES TO ACCEPT.
Many times in a book on spells or magic, the reader will come across something like:
A Spell for a Lover:
Items needed are – a red rose, pink paper cut into a heart, a red ink pen, rose scented oil, a pink ribbon or yarn at least nine inches long, and a red candle.
The spell should be performed on a Friday, just after sunrise or just after sunset.
The spell should also be performed during a waxing moon phase as close to the full moon as possible. It also would be good if Venus is well-aspected to the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter.
Goddesses that could be invoked are — Aphrodite, Venus, Bastet, or Freyja
Gods that could be invoked are — Oengus, Adonis, Eros or Cupid
Begin by writing the name and qualities you love about another person on the piece of paper that you hope to draw to you. When you have done this, place the paper beneath the candle. Then, anoint the candle with three drops of the rose oil. while you do this, concentrate on the feelings of love and desire that you have and how much you yearn to be with this person. Finish by rubbing the remainder of the oil, or dabbing a bit more on your fingertips to place over your own heart. Light the candle. Hold the rose out like a wand over the candle and paper and circle it three times, going sunwise while saying, “Turn my love’s eyes and heart to me. This I will, so it shall be.” Ask for the deity’s blessing of love on this work and that they help to remove the obstacles to love that will allow you to be with this person. Lay the rose down at the base of the candle with the flower over the heart. Let the candle burn down, allowing the melting wax to drip and spread over the paper and flower. When it is finished melting away, fold the paper heart up, keeping the rose and wax inside. Wrap it with the ribbon, securing it by tying it into a bow. Then take the folded and wrapped paper and place it under your bed or between your mattresses until the spell has come to fruition. Once you have your desired love, move the spell items over to the opposite side of the bed and continue to keep them there.
Now, let’s pick this apart and see how it works…
The first things stated are a list of ingredients, most are red but two are pink. This is based in color correspondences. Each color vibrates at a certain frequency and gives off a certain type of energy. Red is the color of high energy and emotion, passion, urgency, and attention. Because love is an emotion of that fits these qualities, red is often used in spells for passionate love. But there is also pink used. Pink is affection, care, compassion, and love that has calmed down a bit from the heights of such urgent lustful focus. Ideally, one would want both in a romantic relationship. The shape of a heart (think Valentine, not organ) is also well-connected and deeply associated with love.
Roses are also featured heavily in this spell, the oil and the flower. Roses, especially red ones, have long been associated with love and romance. The flowers were often held sacred to different deities of love and in modern society, they continue to have this very strong connection. That is why roses are thought to be the flowers given to the one you love. By anointing the candle and yourself with the essence or oil of the rose, you are pulling in that energy and adding it to your work as well as linking yourself to the energies put forth in the spell casting. The movement of the rose in a sunwise direction is associated with drawing things in. Anti-sunwise is believed to be the movement used to banish or send things away. The number Three has many magical associations, but in this case, it is used to visualize the caster, the intended target, and the pair of them together.
The timing suggested for this spell pulls from both astrology and ancient associations of goddesses with Friday. In the English-speaking world, Friday is associated with the Norse/Germanic goddesses Freyja or Frigg. In nations where Latin was the root of their language, the goddess associated with Friday is Venus.
From the table above, we can see how the Latin names for the days of the week have developed into the French, Italian, and Spanish forms. The only notable differences are for Sunday and Saturday. Sunday in Latin has two different words: dies Sōlis (the sun’s day) and dies Dominica (our lord’s day). Dies Sōlis is the older form, and dies Dominica developed when Christianity became more prevalent in late Roman culture, so it is not surprising that the French, Italian, and Spanish words for Sunday follow the later Latin form. Similarly with Saturday, the classical Latin dies Saturnī (Saturn’s Day) gave way to the later form dies Sabbati (the Sabbath day).
The timing of doing the spell just after sunrise or just after sunset is based on a concept called Planetary Hours — I will be detailing that in a separate blog page in the future, but the basic idea is that the time just after sunset or sunrise on a particular day pulls in even more of that planet’s energy and power because that hour* is ruled by the planet as well. So, doing a love spell at sunrise/sunset on a Friday pulls in double the energy of Venus. As for the suggestion of using a waxing moon, again in just a quick summation, one wants to do magic to draw something towards oneself during the waxing phase, and works to send something away from oneself during the moon’s waning phase.
And finally, astrologically, Venus is the planet of love and romance. The sun is the planet** of outward personality, Mercury is the planet of communication, and Jupiter is the planet of expansiveness and luck, all of which one would hope to be in good positions for working love magic to draw a lover to oneself.
The deities given are associated with love, passion, romance, etc. However, I do not think that deities should be treated as just another energetic ingredient to pull into a spell because you saw his or her name listed in a chart that suggested they work well in this area. If you are going to bother a deity and bring he or she into your working, you owe it to them and to yourself to have built up a relationship with them before doing so. Think of it this way — if you know someone by reputation as being good at math and suddenly knock on their door one day with your W-2 forms and a stack of receipts and ask them or tell them that they will be doing your taxes for you, what sort of a response do you think you are likely to get? That’s just the basic courtesy one would extend another human… What do you think a GOD is going to expect or demand? What do you think a GODDESS is going to require?
All of these things combine to add more power and focus to the work being done. They aren’t all absolutely necessary, and sometimes they aren’t all available. But, when possible, using appropriate correspondences is very helpful and can assist the work in being more effective. This blog article is very basic, and does not go into complete detail, but I hope it will offer some clarification and insight into the deeper ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of magical practice.
*A planetary hour is not necessarily 60-minutes long
**Both the sun and the moon are considered planets in astrological terms.