23 March 2009

The Importance of Associations

One of the first things that one comes across when researching deities and mystical paths are various associations. What color is used for this goddess? What elements? What symbols, runes, and astrological signs represent her? Which numbers? Can she be tied into the Tree of Life?

When I first started learning the elements, some of the first questions asked were of the form What types of rocks do you associate with air?

It can get truly baffling and in many respects is wholly ahistorical in nature from our perspective as Norse Occultists--associations were likely made, but probably not in the way they are being made today. There is a history of associations being made in this way which tracks alongside occultist groups such as the Order of the Golden Dawn, and we can see table after table of associations in the work of their members, many of which we still use today for our own work.

Unfortunately, associations--while everywhere--have been increasingly losing their relevance and meaning to many practitioners. We run into the immediate danger of treating a Deity as merely a set of associations and abstractions: Call Freyja for your love problems! Trouble with leadership? Go see Zeus! Need victory in your upcoming business meeting? Odin's your man! Numerous books, guides, and tables seem to feel that the best way to summarize Odin is to give him a neatly compartmentalized domain, a color, and an astrological association.

Beyond being disrespectful, this superficial trap demonstrates a lack of proper education and training in the mystical arts.

Read the rest of this essay over at Weaving Wyrd.

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