I have been away for the last week and have come back a little under the weather. There is one thing that I have had bouncing around in the back of my head that I want to clear out and that is the value of correspondences in magical and mystical work. Without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, this is one place that I think folks tend to get carried away on. They are absolutely essential, no doubt, because it is only through concrete and specific objects and concepts that we are able to generate an instance of the divine intelligence, but it is the relationship itself trumps all, trumps even and especially our ideas about that relationship.
We ought not want to generate and keep a massive list of what belongs where. The catalog is a propadeutic exercise, training wheels to help us begin seeing and playing with the way we can introduce differences between things and explore the dynamic relationships it makes possible. The work gets interesting when the catalog fails, when the effort to rely on it yields little to no results, when the honey sours love or the dead don’t touch the bone. That is the point where we set off on our personal work, seeking out how to live and magic in such a way that we create relationships that are more vibrant than those made possible by the catalog.
It is also in that personal work that magic becomes local and communal, a living network of crossings. That is when honey takes hold of the work and gathers to itself the scent of myrrh and the splash of pine or when the cross joins and separates the flash of a matchstick, a candle, a pile of earth, and a cup of water.
We come back to the catalog, sometimes add to it, but it is the movement beyond it which gives it value. The catalog has value as a center around which we can talk with each other, but if we hold our communication only with those who share that catalog, we hold it to a tight and narrow circle when it could rush toward the breadth of creation and wind into its most mysterious and subtle confines.
I’ve said the likes of this before, as have had others, but it bears repeating.