In the various mystical traditions all over the world, it is a strange truism that everything that exists physically has its own occult correspondences. Sometimes these mystical correspondence bleed over into the wider cultural; though the human heart plays little role in our emotional lives, ancient beliefs correlating the heart to fiery feelings persist in our language among all but the most literal people. Different belief systems have their own correspondences between the mystical and the mundane; a number of First Nations tribes associate owls with malevolent ill fortune, while other tribes were in agreement with Western European notions equating the owl with wisdom.
Even the human body and its many working parts have their own occult meanings and correspondences in a most of the world’s mystical beliefs. The pharaonic Egyptians equated the heart with the seat of the human soul and with it, human consciousness, and as such left it in the human body when mummifying their dead. The Jivaroan tribes of Ecuador and Peru considered the head to be the seat of the human spirit, and as such severed their enemies’ heads and shrunk them down to harness their fallen foes’ spirits. Palm readers have for some centuries discerned correspondences between fate, consciousness and the supernatural by reading the lines of a person’s palm. And the nazar charms of the Middle East that ward off the evil eye, traditionally involve the image of a human hand and eyeball.
One particular text detailing the various occult correspondences of the human body was Manly P. Hall, a philosopher, theologian and writer of the 1920s and 1930s who wrote a book called “The Occult Anatomy of Man” detailing a number of occult correspondences in the body. In this seminal text, he used Da Vinci’s famous sketch of the Virtuvian Man and correlated it with elements of a number of mystical traditions. The Western Zodiac, the various correspondences of the tarot, the chakras of the Indian subcontinent and the Jewish Kabballah are a few of the mystical correspondences Manly Hall tried to sync up with the ideal human body.
In his book on occult anatomies, Manly Hall draws a number interesting correspondences between not just the human body and various beliefs systems, but also between various belief systems themselves. The anahata chakra, associated with the cardiac/solar plexus region of the human body, a somewhat vulnerable aspect of the human form, is also associated with the Fourth Sephiroth of the Kaballah. The region is also tied to the Western Zodiac signs of Leo and Cancer, among other correlations in the human body.
Some elements are a bit surprising. The brain for instance is linked to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, with Cain, the first murderer, being associated with the left hemisphere of the brain, while Abel, his slain brother, is associated with the right half of the brain. The various vertical sections of the human body are also correlated with a number of angels, with Gabriel associated with the bottom of this scale and Cassiel being associated with the top. To study these correspondences can get quite complicated, though the dedicated student will likely find it quite fascinating.