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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Correspondences, Table of

A table of correspondence is a comparative list of properties of different systems, structures or organisms that are analogous or have affinity with each other. The science of correspondences is the logical outcome of the law of ANALOGY which is based on the principle that there are essential similarities between structures or systems in nature that when we understand one system, we are enabled to better understand the other through analogy or a table of correspondences.

In esoteric philosophy, the law of analogy and the science of correspondences are important foundations in the study of the hidden side of nature. They are founded on the doctrine that all things in the manifested universe were emanated on the basis of common laws or principles that govern their emanation. As such, there are essential similarities in their internal processes, parts or stages. Such analogies may be found between a system on a macrocosmic scale (e.g., a solar system) and one on a microcosmic scale (e.g., a human being), or between properties of objects (e.g., numbers, sounds and colors). Such comparison leads not only to a better intellectual understanding of a lesser known structure, but it can also lead to the discovery of affinities that may have practical uses.

 

ELEMENTS LOKAS TALAS HIERARCHIES PRINCIPLES SENSES COLORS ORGANS OF SENSATION ORGANS OF ACTION SPIRITUAL CORRESPONDING ORGANS
Earth Bhurloka Pātāla Abode of human beings and animals Body Smell Blue Nose Organ of generation Root of nose
Water Bhuvarloka Mahātala Abode of elementals, nature spirits, etc. Astral image Taste Violet Tongue Hands Spleen and liver
Air Svar-loka Rasātala Devachanic state Kama Sight Red Eyes Feet Stomach
Fire Maharloka Talatala Abode of highest Rupa Devas Lower Manas Touch Green Body Organ of excretion Region of umbilical cord
Ether Janaloka Sutala Abode of Kumaras Higher Manas Hearing Indigo Ears Organ of speech Heart/Throat
Divine Flame Taparloka Vitala Abode of Vairajas Buddhi Spiritual understanding Yellow Astral body and heart Soul Pineal gland

Table of Correspondences by H. P. Blavatsky (CW XII-660)

We may take as examples certain demonstrable correspondences validated in science. Certain vibrations correspond to specific shapes, as demonstrated on a Chladni’s plate, where fine sand is strewn on a metal plate and exposed to predetermined vibratory rates, resulting in distinct patterns of particle arrangements, such as concentric rings, square cells, etc. Colors are also known to correspond to levels of temperature.

In esotericism, tables of correspondences are usually concerned with analogous properties of structures not presently known to physical science, such as the chakras, levels of consciousness, primordial elements, sounds, colors, organs, superphysical beings, psychical energies, etc. Such knowledge of correspondences are used to better comprehend superphysical structures or beings, but it may be used for practical purposes in magical rituals, healing, invocations, divination, and similar practices.

In healing, for example, Anton MESMER attributed some of his remarkable cures to his knowledge of the correspondences and affinities between the human body and metals, woods, stones or plants. Some forms of meditation in India make use of the affinities between the chakras and certain sounds and shapes.

Traditional ASTROLOGY relies heavily on such tables of correspondences in the interpretation of the horoscope or astrological chart. Thus, for instance, Aries corresponds to Mars, and both correspond to an energetic or active quality, whereas Taurus corresponds to Venus, more inert, less aggressive. The zodiac signs also correspond to specific parts of the body, such as Aries for the head, Leo for the heart, Sagittarius for the thigh, etc. In practice, astrologers use such correspondence for medical astrology, or the prognostication of physical conditions based on the astrological chart.

Tables of correspondences must be used with discrimination, for even if they are valid, one must distinguish between literal correspondences and esoteric correspondences. H. P. Blavatsky, who made various tables of correspondences in her writings, warns that

The correspondences given in our Instructions are purely esoteric. For this reason it follows that when the planets of the solar system are named or symbolized, it must not be supposed that the planetary bodies themselves are referred to, except as types on a purely physical plane of the septenary nature of the psychic and spiritual worlds. A material planet can correspond only to a material something. Thus when Mercury is said to correspond to the right eye it does not mean that the objective planet has any influence on the right optic organ, but that both stand rather as corresponding mystically through Buddhi. Man derives his Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) from the essence of the Manasaputras, the Sons of Wisdom, who are the Divine Beings (or Angels) ruling and presiding over the planet Mercury.

In the same way Venus, Manas and the left eye are set down as correspondences. Exoterically there is, in reality, no such association of physical eyes and physical planets; but esoterically there is; for the right eye is the “Eye of Wisdom,” i.e., it corresponds magnetically with that occult centre in the brain which we call the “Third Eye” while the left corresponds with the intellectual brain, or those cells which are the organ on the physical plane of the thinking faculty. (CW XII:545)

The accompanying table is an example of a Table of Correspondences drawn up by H. P. Blavatsky. It is a simplified version of Diagram V in Volume 12 of her Collected Writings.

V.H.C.

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