Intro to Geomancy: Creating the Shield Chart

Shield Chart

The primary method of geomantic divination is done through creating a specialized table commonly known as a shield chart. The shield chart is made up of 15 sections, with various sections having specific names.

The first section is made up of four figures, called the mothers. The mothers are the only randomly generated figures in the chart, created by various methods. The oldest historical method was to use a smooth field of sand, which would then have dots tapped into by the geomancer or the client seeking answers. The dots would be counted, and the resulting odd or even count would generate a line of the figure. So either 16 lines would be tapped out at all once, one for each line to make up the four mothers, or a line would be tapped out one at a time, slowly creating this figure. Over time this process would get streamlined, either by using a field to write on, whether it was paper, or a board coated in wax, or a chalk board, or by using specialized tools that would have so many dots allocated on them. Unlike tarot or similar methods of divination where certain signs are unlikely to repeat, it is entirely possible for geomantic figures to repeat in the four mothers, or really anywhere in the shield chart.

Once you have generated the four mothers, those four figures are used to generate the next figures, called daughters. The method for doing this is that from the head lines of all the mothers, that becomes the head neck body and feet of first daughter. The neck lines of all the mothers becomes the head neck body and feet of the second daughter. The body lines of the all the mothers become the third daughter, and the feet lines become the fourth daughter.

Once this process is complete, the rest of the chart can be generated. This is done through a process of simple addition. The process is like this. Two signs, side by side and add the lines together. If the result is an even number (2 or 4) then you put two dots. If the result is an odd number (3) then put a single dot. For example:

Addition Geomantic Signs

You apply this process as follows. The 1st and 2nd Mothers. The 3rd and 4th Mothers. The 1st and 2nd daughters, and the 3rd and 4th daughters. This produces the section known as the nieces.
Then you add the nieces together in the same way. 1st and 2nd nieces, and the 3rd and 4th nieces. This produces the figures known as the witnesses.

The two witnesses are added together, and this produces the Judge. While historical examples often show that the Judge was the final figure, some geomancers would add the Judge to the 1st mother, which generates a figure known as the Sentence, or the Result of the Result. I often use this additional figure and I see many others use it as well.

The shield chart is the primary method for doing geomancy divination. The next post will discuss the house chart, a method that was added in Europe, but little used elsewhere.

With the shield chart you can effectively answer any question posed with little difficulty. Quite simply, the answer is the Judge. Especially for a yes or no question, the judge if it is a favorable figure, would indicate a yes, while the unfavorable figure would indicate a now. Since there are only 8 judges possible (Populus, Via, Carcer, Conjunctio, Amissio, Acquisitio, Fortuna Major, Fortuna Minor) the favorability or unfavorability will depend upon the question. Although in most cases, the figures of Acquisition and Fortuna Major will almost always be favorable indications.

There are additional methods that assist with interpreting the shield chart, but that will be for a future post. If you are interested, I highly recommend just practicing generating the shield chart and making yourself familiar with the process.

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