Last month Sew Witchy was discussed and reviewed by Rhomany’s Realm on Youtube. In the comments section I was asked about the magickal correspondences I gave for the stitches and how someone would go about assigning magickal correspondences to those stitches not covered in the book.
This is a topic that I spent a lot of time pondering when I was writing the book. There is a wealth of information in books and online covering the magickal energies and uses of nearly anything that can be used as materia magica. My copy of Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is well thumbed through and I have various websites bookmarked for color, number, herb and crystal correspondences. Those resources have their limits, though, and a lot of the information was repeated over and over again (I got really good at spotting who had just cribbed the entire contents of Cunningham for their “Magic of Herbs” pages).
I tried to cast as large of a research net as possible, when I was writing Sew Witchy. I consulted dream meaning dictionaries, books on symbolism, and correlated various bits and pieces of folk wisdom related to sewing, in order to divine the correspondences that I wrote down.
Research and relying on others has its limitations, though. I believe strongly in magick being personal, and I have in the past come across correspondences for various items that didn’t resonate with me. Tables of correspondences are useful, but they are only starting points. As witches, we need to listen to our instincts and use our own practice and understanding of the universe as the deciding factor in how to use items in our spellcraft.
That said, there are various ways to go about discovering the magickal signatures of materia magica, actions, rituals and tasks. Like any other magickal activity, they take time and effort. But the more you do them, the easier it is; and since most of the ways I discuss below are practices that are useful in other aspects of witchcraft, mastering them strengthens your practice as a whole.
Intuition is the first level of tool I use when discovering the magickal correspondences of an item. When I was writing Sew Witchy, for example, I realized that the split stitch was good for spellwork that is meant to break up the status quo because the stitch is made by “splitting” the stitch that comes before. This spoke of disruption to me. Similarly, the individual stitches of the chain stitch look like eyes to me. The image of an eye is often used in protection magick, so I concluded that the chain stitch was a good one to use for protective sewing projects. Both ideas intuitively made sense to me, and so I added them to my book.
Intuition is that “aha” moment, when something just feels right. If you’ve never had a strong relationship with your intuition, it can be hard to feel it at first. It can help to start off working with known quatities, listening to your favorite music, for example, or smelling your favorite perfume or oils and taking note of how they make you feel. Perform a ritual or a spell that you are familiar with and like and pay attention to the sensations that surface as you work. This can provide a guide to what it feels like when something resonates wtth you.
Once you are familiar with your intuition, you can exercise it by looking over a list of correspondences and seeing if they make sense to you. Any that don’t resonate you can sit with longer. You might even try brainstorming: writing down the item and adding whatever comes to mind as you think of it. Keep track of any correspondences you come up with in your Book of Shadows (if you have one) to return to when needed.
Journey & Dreamwork
While I consulted dream meaning dictionaries while writing Sew Witchy, I don’t use them with regards to my own dreams. That’s because I have found they all have very personal meanings that align with my inner vocabulary that rarely lines up with the experiences of others. I do find dreamwork and journeying very useful for exploring my own personal connections to magickal energies. The two can often give me a wealth of meanings and symbolisms that I can then run past my intuition to create a refined correspondence to use in my magick.
For dreamwork, you can set up a conducive atmosphere through the use of crystals and incense that promotes prophetic dreams. I also like to drink tea made from herbs that help promote visions and dreams right before bed. As I lay, preparing for sleep, I will focus on what it is that I want to learn. I recommend having at least a dream pillow or crystal nearby to protect your dreams when you go about dreamwork.
Journeying is a topic too large to tackle in this post, however, I recommend it for when you want to commune with your helping spirits, dieties or other entities that can pass on wisdom to you. While working on The Scent of Lemon and Rosemary, I talked often with Hestia during journeys about materia magica for spellwork.
When working on the Sewing Tin Oracle, I spent time with my runes when researching the meanngs behind the various charms I used. Any form of divination can be used in this way. I find it easiest to just ask the tool what insight it can give on whatever I am researching. I pulled one rune for each charm, not returning them to the bag between pulls because I didn’t want overlap when it came to meanings. For things like correspondences, you could either ask general questions, “What does this item correspond to, magickally?” or you could be specific, “What element (earth, air, fire, water) does this item correspond to?” Your approach will depend on the divination system you are using.
However you go about creating a table of personal correcspondences, approach the task like a fun activity. Remember, nothing is set in stone. Witchcraft is, more often than not, a system that does not recognize one, single authority. It is, and has always been, made up as one goes along. I see that as a strength rather than a weakness, and I encourage you to take the time to build up your own magickal vocabulary to fill in the gaps where the correspondences of others falls short.