I've been engaged in some intense practical work lately, which has re-affirmed an understanding gained over the course of my work in life; namely that we interact and commune with the world, with Spirit, through the manipulation of meaning. There is no action without doing this, meaning is the context, the rock we stand on when levering against obstacles.
Everything that is not ourselves also exists within our minds as a concentration of meaning. Everything--not just objects, people as well. Mystics speak of our senses as being illusory; that they lie to us. I used to agree...but now I know better. Saying this..and getting one to believe it...is a crippling measure, the old "blinds" people rant endlessly about in flashes of occult paranoia. Our physical senses give us true information, a lever. They just don't give us Objective information. The senses give us absolutely perfect personal information, and therefore a tool with which meaning can be constructed and manipulated.
Through our senses we create relation between things, and through this inter-connection the web of meaning is built. There are personal webs of meaning--our own, in which we sit in the center and understand through observation and reaction to the thrums of vibratory meaning that impress on our senses. There are cultural webs, there are societal webs, and there is the fundamental web that is at the root of all meaning. Powerful thaumaturgy manipulates the web of meaning--of existence--on multiple levels. The most powerful observes and grasps as close as possible to the root web of meaning, fundamental to humanity. In my own experience anyway.
The mystics often argue for the un-reality of the personal experience, that experience of the deep objective reality of Union with the great Spirit is the only reality. How silly this is; I've been this silly myself during my own mystical work. The clarity and power of experiencing the One leaves personal experience seemingly un-real in comparison, but that is often because the personal experience hasn't been approached and grasped correctly. Every single moment of the life, even the most mundane interaction, is interacting with the divine. Living with presence, being Awake, allows for transcendantal personal reality, and this is far more useful than the occasional and sharp moments of illumination received during intense moments of mediation. The key is taking the mind and anchoring it in true Union with the Body and Spirit. I'm digressing a bit, but it's important. We have to live our illumination, and bring that fire obtained during meditation back down into the earth of our bodies. If we leave that fire up on the mountain of deep meditation, we aren't doing it correctly.
Tailoring Thaumaturgic methods to desired Result
Effective personal sorcery requires deft manipulation of personal meaning. Correspondences from cultures/lives outside of our own for these purposes is near-useless without a huge amount of effort. Sorcery meant to act on one's own person--work done to eliminate a bad habit, or to change a work/wealth situation--is most effective if things of personal meaning are met with things of deep fundamental human meaning in construction of the "medicine". When creating a Spirit, small or large, to accomplish a work (talismanic work is the creation/manipulation of spirits, great and small....which is obvious if we truly understand what a spirit is) it's important that things of the correct meaning (virtue) are included in it's construction. It's also important that these meanings resonate with the practitioner. A correspondence read from a book about a material you have no experience with is near-useless. In one of the modern books of correspondences, you can find that the stone Citrine is one of wealth, and is good for money-related issues. How useless this is for the person--where else in life, outside of that book, are we to find Citrine as a symbol of wealth? It has no connection to wealth in our web of meaning, which doesn't divide itself up into occult/non-occult in our minds and spirits. One cannot go to the bank and exchange citrine for cash. Good luck using citrine to pay the electric bill.
Citrine is not a symbol of wealth. It's a symbol of a rock. You could go so far as to say it is a symbol of coagulation, of stability, of firmness...because of it's observed character and virtue. The senses and our relationship with a thing determine it's meaning, and a correspondence given without the connection to meaning is a dead one.
For an actual symbol of wealth, look no further than the Dollar. It's physicallaty is a near-worthless scrap of processed plant matter and ink. It's true power is in it's meaning. If you are looking for powerful physical talismans, look no further than paper currency. It is pure sorcery. It's entire value is connected to it's careful invocation and licensia of wealth on the web of meaning. A good counterfeit is just as valuable as a "real" dollar, because it's power comes from the meaning it communicates through symbol, and not necessarily through the simple body it inhabits.
Concentrations of meaning have a gravity; like attracts to like. This root Hermetic principle is one of those fundamental laws that enable us to manipulate meaning, and therefore Spirit. When I gather together my ingredients to work a bilongo (medicine) to cure an affliction for someone--like un-employment, or migraines--I gather ingredients that tune the completed spirit in such a way as to attract the necessary change into the persons life. A spiritual body made with, for example, dirt from a large bank or investment firm, a gold coin, a fast-growing seed from a tree with bountiful fruit, and the powdered remains of an animal I find to be an especially successful hunter would attract a spirit useful for increasing wealth and creating useful opportunity. The physical body is the container of meaning, and that meaning calls to the above from below, attracting the necessary spirit as we sing our mambos/incantations. Meaning is delightfully mercurial, being both physically embodied in the coagulated substance and subtle-bodied and ephemeral in it's reflection of virtue into the realm of mind and spiurit. Naming the thing in symbol and sound further intensifies the meaning, and therefore the effectiveness, of the spirit. Complication disperses the power of the meaning; if we make a spirit that can do a dozen things, it will do these things weakly. Intensity of meaning and power are equivalent.
Meaning is the framework the world is built upon, and symbol the language that the world speaks. We have to be careful not to think that "symbol" implies something that is drawn or written. A symbol is something that communicates meaning....everything is a symbol. Everyone outside of ourselves is a symbol. All can be manipulated, and life itself can be manipulated as well through carefully planned interaction with symbol and meaning. Meaning has Gravity. Rites and rituals are careful combination of meaning, so intense as to draw from the objective fundamental reality (our Azoth, our Kalunga) into our subjective personal reality. We don't just work thaumaturgically in ritual though....most of our work in life is a similar bit of sorcery. Our relationships are this sorcery. Every action is a communication of meaning. I rub my eyes when I am tired....this action does not make me less tired. It is a communication of my state to community and existence. A symbolic expression of tiredness, that somehow makes that state of tiredness more real. I pay attention to the delightfully senseless ramblings of my children so that they can see that I love them. This paying attention isn't actually love; it's a symbol of that love. Communication is the highway connecting webs of meaning, whether that communication is subtle (like, say, connecting with a person through useful hair or the like that you've obtained, or a name-paper) or forthright like conversation or body language. The more intensely meaning is communicated, the more powerful the effect.....so, the lines of communication are important as well. Indirect communication often leads to misunderstanding, and a meaning cannot be effective if it isn't understood. Instructing a newborn spirit to generally "increase wealth" will lead to generalized results. Instructing it to "increase wealth through giving me a raise in my job", and creating a bilongo of things related to that raise and company to work with, will result in more directed results. In my experience.
Hope all are well! --AIT