(I made rather a good job using a marble and an oyster shell to create a sound sleep spell, even though I do say so myself....)
The more serious message underlying what turned into a very interesting and amusing thread was that traditional witches are not limited to specific resources when using magic and that indeed the more spontaneous, use anything at hand approach can often work out better than poring over books and lamenting the lack of specific and expensive ingredients.
Correspondences are spell builders if you like. They can be found all over the internet (including my site) and can be general or personal to the witch. Correspondences can relate to oils, woods, colours, candles, incense, moon phases, pretty much anything you might use in working a spell. They work on the basis of association, for example the colour orange is associated with luck so you may choose to employ an orange candle in a spell designed to boost your luck.
Not all witches use general correspondences, some will only use associations based on their own experiences and intuition. Other witches will use them to some extent but improvise where necessary and make substitutions with what is at hand. Think of it as like cooking, you wouldn't bow out of making a chicken casserole just because you've run out of basil, you'd just stick tarragon or oregano in instead.....
But there is a third type of witch, usually quite an avid reader of spell books and undoubtedly new to witchcraft who believes that spells are like sacred recipes which don't work if varied or changed in any way. So I'm earnestly told that they can't do a luck spell tonight because they need to go into town tomorrow and buy orange candles.....
This kind of witch is missing the point a bit. If spells were just as simple as lighting the right coloured candle then who wouldn't be a witch? Everyone would be witches! If witchcraft was merely just about matching up the right candle and the right oil from a list on the internet to the spell you want to cast, it would be a simple craft lacking any mystery at all. And believing witchcraft is nothing but the memorising of correspondence lists gives practitioners of the craft very little credit for what they do.
And what do we do? Well we think and we improvise. Magic is about guiding your intent into actuality. Whatever works for your intent will work for your spell. I made an extremely powerful protection spell the other day in a washed out jam jar. The spell would not have gained any more power from being cast in a jewel encrusted antique bottle. It was my intention that was important.
And its the same with correspondences. Use what you've got. If you only have blue candles then for goodness sake, your luck spell won't suffer just because your candle isn't the colour someone on the web said you needed. It WILL suffer if you only believe spells will work if they are lifted straight from the correspondence sheet, but then, with the greatest of respect, if you are holding fast to that belief, your magic isn't going anywhere very fast anyway.....
So I honestly believe its time to put the spell books down and think about what you do have and how you can use it (believe me, when I suggested the peace spell with the peas and the sugar I had a very definite idea about what I would do with those items to achieve the result). Don't let yourself be limited by the associations and beliefs of others. If you think something will work for you, try it and keep on trying and experimenting and improvising until you've crafted out your own foundations for the magical path you want to follow.
Part of Pagan Blog Project 2013