To explore and navigate a territory, we need a map. Most maps have correspondences, of which the most notable are the cardinal directions. Going north may take us by a school and later a group of stores. Afterwards, in our minds, “North” corresponds to the high school and the local strip mall. If we go east, we will not encounter those particular landmarks but instead other ones. A map preserves these landmarks for us and sets the correspondences for us to follow.
In magick, correspondences act as a map to the Cosmos. By aligning a direction with an element, color, animal, et al., we can move from place to place in the Universe. With each correspondence, we can come closer to the particular place where we want to be.
It is similar to taking a bus to a destination. Each stop along the way informs us of where we are. Sometimes, we have to change buses at transfer stations to reach our destinations. Like certain correspondences which serve more than one direction or purpose, we can move through the Cosmos changing at their point of nexus. At other times, we end at the terminus, which can be the major correspondences of the Upper or Lower Worlds.
Metaphors that I often use in magick are Roman or at least Indo-European in nature. The most important is the Pomerium (the boundary between sacred space (the Templum) and profane space. Like most Roman sacred space, this boundary is usually a square.
Within the Pomerium is the Focus (the Fire), which crosses all the worlds. Supported and fed by the Earth, the Focus reaches up to the Celestial Realm and down to the Celestial Waters. Fire exists in all the Worlds from the magma of the Earth to the stars of the Sky. The Focus sets the Cosmic Center of the Universe for us.
The Hearth Fire of the Middle World welcomes the Gods and other Kindreds to rest and partake of our hospitality. The Hearth Fire offers our sacrifices to the Gods, and carries our words to Them as well. The Focus as the Hearth Fire becomes the center that we can orient ourselves in the Cosmos, when doing our rituals.
The Mundus (the Pit) opens to the Lower World of the Chthonic Gods and Lemurs (chaotic spirits). The Mundus also connects us to the Well of Wisdom, from where the waters flow. In the Mundus are the treasures of the Earth as well as the dwelling places of the Dead and Other Kindreds. Removing the lid of Mundus is fraught with danger, and care must be taken lest an unfriendly spirit or entity comes into the Middle World. Offerings are made to the Mundus to keep the entities from leaving.
The Portus (Door) creates the portal between all the Worlds. Because of the Portus, within the Templum, all the worlds at once come together at one place. Unlike the Circle which for many Neopagans moves through space and time, the Portus opens the Gate to all the Worlds. Guarding the Portus is the Gatekeeper, Janus of the Two Faces. Like the Janitor of old at the door, Janus watches the comings and goings of the beings, protecting Middle World from harm.
The Mundus (Pit), Portus (Door) , and Focus (Fire) are the triple axis of the Sacred Center. At the Center burns the Focus (which is for Romans is the living flame of Vesta). The Door is the sacred portal, and the Mundus the eye and mouth of the earth. These are the magickal metaphors that work for me.
Dangler, Michael (Rev.), “Nine Central Tenets of Druidic Ritual”, Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF), http://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nine-tenets.html
-------, “The Druid’s Cosmos”, ADF Dedicant Path Manual, http://www.adf.org/members/training/dp/dp-manual-web/01-druids-cosmos.htm, 2008
Newberg, Brandon, “Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites”, PDF, ADF Publications, 2007.
Scheid, John, “An Introduction to Roman Religion”, Indiana University Press, Indiana, 2003.