The 4 triplicities are a means of extracting more information and insight from the geomantic shield chart. If you are familiar with astrology, you might think this relates to the triplicities in astrology which deal with a division of signs into the 4 elements. This is not connected however. In some ways this makes a good transition from the shield chart and it’s interpretation to interpreting the house chart.
The 4 triplicities are achieved by taking the first twelves figures and dividing them into four groups of three. Thus why there are four triplicities. Each triplicity either has 2 mothers or 2 daughters and a niece, and are arranged similarly to how the two witnesses and judge are set up. You read these triplicities similarly to the two witnesses and judge, but relating to specific areas relating to the client. The 1st triplicity is made up of Mothers 1 and 2, and the 1st niece. This triplicity gives information relating directly to the client and their personal make up. It could include appearance, health, general outlook and personality.This is also why the 1st Mother gives indications to the intent or mindset of the client and if the figures of Cauda Draconis or Rubeus show up, those indicate that the client is engaged in deception. With Cauda Draconis it is self deception, whereas with Rubeus, it indicates it could be to deceive the reader.
The 2nd triplicity consists of the 3rd and 4th mothers and the 2nd niece. This indicates events and direct influences acting on the client at the time of the reading. If the client isn’t engaging in deception, this would give indication why the client is seeking a reading at this time.
The 3rd triplicity consists of the 1st and 2nd Daughters and the 3rd Niece. This triplicity indicates the personal and private environment of the client. Parents, siblings, spouses, roommates,and lovers and close personal friends are indicated here, as is the home environment, interactions of immediate family, and personal interactions of the client in an intimate environment.
The 4th triplicity indicates public relations and public environments. The workplace, co workers, casual friends and acquaintances, chance meetings, business dealings with non-family members, and interactions with government and its representatives from judges and politicians (or in the past kings and princes) but also judges, the police, lawyers, neighbors, bureaucrats etc… but also the places where these interactions may happen like government buildings, markets, parks, etc…
These four houses obviously help in greatly expanding the information you can convey to the client in the reading just from the shield chart. With the judge and witnesses, way of points, sum of points, Sentence and the four triplicities you could give a very full reading to any client, and if signs repeat themselves within the triplicities, and the judge of witnesses and sentence could show connections between the question and where help or opposition or underlying causes can be shown.
Example In this chart the client is asking about their current illness.
The judge is Fortuna Major, a fortunate sign. It doesn’t indicate that the client will recover completely, but in this case it will not happen quickly. As the Right Witness is Populus, showing that the client is open to anything. The Left Witness is again Fortuna Major, showing that the coming influence will assist the client in their recovery.
In looking at the triplicities, in the first triplicity we see Fortuna Minor, Conjunctio and Amissio. As this is about the client, it shows that they tend to rush (fortuna minor) and perhaps not take care of their health, which caused them to meet with the source of infection (Conjunctio) causing the loss of their health (Amissio).
The Second Triplicity is made up of Albus, Laeticia, and Amissio. This shows the current condition of the client. Albus indicates they are resting, as it is a figure of rest and peace. Laetiticia indicates that the client is in high spirits and looking to the future when they are well, a generally positive thing, but the end result is again Amissio or loss. The client’s condition is not improving as they would like.
The third Triplicity is made of Carcer, Fortuna Minor, and Acquisitio. This is about the client’s immediate environment. Carcer (Prison) indicates that they are and recently have been isolated. Maybe they live alone, or have no one to care for them directly. Fortuna Minor indicates some help may come his way, if they only ask or just accept it. Acquisitio indicates that he may gain something, and that perhaps it may see improved recovery from the possible assistance.
The fourth Triplicity is made of Conjunctio, Populus, and Conjunctio again. As Conjunctio was present in the first house, this suggests that by repeated exposure to the public, there is a chance of another infection. Maybe the client should be careful and not exposes themselves to crowds of people in order to avoid re-infection.
Now that you are familiar with the signs and the charts, let’s look at how to interpret the chart in order to get answers. First we will examine the shield chart. The most basic way to interpret the shield chart is to look at the Judge. In a simple yes or no question, the judge will provide the answer. When you handle more complex questions, the judge is still the primary figure to look at, as the favorable or unfavorable nature of the judge will color the whole of the answer.
What is a favorable sign? Well that depends upon the question. However, the names should give you an idea of what is favorable. As there are only 8 possible judges which are made up of the previously listed impartial figures, it can be pretty easy to break it down. To recap, here are the only figures who can be judges
Populus, Via, Carcer, Conjunctio, Amissio, Acquisitio, Fortuna Major, Fortuna Minor
In a general sense we can say that Fortuna Major and Acquisitio are fortunate in most things. The other two figures that could be seen as generally fortunate are Populus and Conjunctio. But again, this depends upon the question. For example, if the issue is regarding being released from prison, Fortuna Major is a bad sign, as it indicates slow progress, although, you will eventually be released, and probably be well and whole, but it may take a while. If you want to lose something, then Acquisitio would not be favorable either, because it indicates gain and increase. So, it stands to follow that the general unfavorable signs are Via, Carcer, Amissio and Fortuna Minor. Via is seen as unfavorable because it indicates changes, which can cause good things to turn bad (although bad things can also turn good, but it seems the first quality is more emphasized) Carcer or Prison because it indicates solitude, confinement and restriction, Amissio because it signifies loss and losing things, both physical and metaphysical. Fortuna Minor is considered bad because it is less than Fortuna Major. It also indicates a short term or short lived fortune, one that could be quickly lost, or that has a limited window of opportunity. But, again, it depends upon the question. If you want to lose something, Amissio is your good friend. If you want to be alone, Carcer is going in your favor.
Past Present Future You can read the Past, Present and Future from a Geomantic shield chart. The common method and perhaps traditional method is in looking at the Right Witness, the Judge, and the Left Witness. The Right Witness is the Past, the Judge is the Present, and the Left WItness is the Future. Personally, I don’t favor that method. To me, it doesn’t line up with the flow of the chart in how it presents things.
I like to see the witnesses, both right and left, as the past. The Right Witness is the client’s personal past. The left Witness is the Environment around the client and its past. Obviously it is possible that a fortunate client and a supportive environment could create a fortunate present. But just as well, many combinations could create a fortunate or helpful present situation. The present is indicated by the Judge. This is after all, the culmination of all the prior figures and will indicate the impartial situation that the client is dealing with. The future is indicated by the Sentence (ie adding the 1st Mother with the Judge together). It is kind of a deep symbolism for me that the future is indicated by using the 1st Mother, the kind of primal seed figure for the chart when combined with the present, indicated by the Judge, creates the future, as indicated by the Sentence.
If you don’t wish to calculate the Sentence, as some people don’t, another method that I prefer is to read the Left Witness as the Present, and the Judge as the Future. It is for me, a feeling of how the chart flows and leaves the Judge as the ultimate decider, giving indications of how your desired or undesired actions may turn out.
Way of Points
There are two other practices that can be done in the shield chart that I feel are simple and easy to understand. The first of these is called the Way of Points of Via Puncti in Latin. This simple process is done by looking at the headline in the Judge and then examining the head lines in the Right and Left Witnesses. If the headlines match up (that is, if they are single points or double points) you then progress to the next row of signs, the nieces. If the niece’s heads match with the witnesses, you then progress to the Mothers and Daughters Line. Any Mothers or Daughters that match give indications of subtle, underlying or hidden influences in the Shield chart. If the head lines don’t match, that is the end point and you don’t move on. So, if the Head Line of the Judge doesn’t match the Witnesses, you don’t progress to the next higher level. That serves as a further indicator showing that everything is up front and forward, and there are no hidden or subtle motives or actions in relation to the client’s question or situation.
An interesting quirk of geomancy is that when the Way of Points is formed, the single point will always start it, and it will always lead back to one specific figure in the Mothers or Daughters. One and Only one. If the head line has two points in the judge, it is possible that every mother and daughter could be indicated. It could just as easily stop short in the witnesses, or nieces as well. This is a handy technique to know and use if it seems like there is more going on than the client indicates.
Sum of Points Another useful technique is called the sum of points. Similar to the Index and Point of Fortune in the House Chart, the sum of points involves counting all the points in all the figures in every line, including the sentence if you have one. The sum total of the points gives an indication to the nature of the chart. This indication is in relation to the number 96. 96 is the total sum of every point of all 16 figures. If the sum of points in the chart is less than 96, this indicates a quick but unstable resolution to the client’s question. If the sum is equal to 96, this indicates a resolution will come without slowness or obstacle or doubt and will be stable and reliable. If the sum is greater than 96, this indicates that the resolution will experience delays, and only resolve slowly. That resolution will also be fixed, regardless of favorability of the outcome.
There is an additional interpretation technique known as the four Triplicities. However, it is not as simple, and can easily fill a post explaining it as well, and will be explained in the future..
In this first example, the client is asking about if they will win a lawsuit. It is given as a simple yes or no question.
In looking at the Judge, the figure is Amissio, indicating Loss. In regards to their question the answer is No, they will lose this lawsuit.
For more information you can look at the Witnesses. The Right Witness indicates the client who is asking the question. They are indicated by Caput Draconis, The Dragon’s Head. This is generally a favorable figure, indicating new beginnings and positive results. The client has some pretty high hopes for their lawsuit.
The Left Witness indicates their opponent in the lawsuit, aka the Defendant. In this case the defendant is indicated by Puer, the Boy. This indicates that the opponent is strong and energetic, they use their intellect and in this situation are rather unemotional. This is also a figure of Mars, a planet associated with conflict and conquest, including legal battles. This explains why the defendant is going to win. They are just stronger and more powerful than the client is. It confirms the Judge of Amissio, indicating loss.
In this example, the client is asking if their dream is significant and if they should heed what they dreamed of. They didn’t wish to provide details to the geomancer, but only wanted an answer.
The judge in this chart is Conjunctio. As a simple yes or no, Conjunctio does fall into the more favorable indication, but it’s not very strong. This is where looking more into the chart in order to clarify the answer is needed.
In looking at the Right Witness as the Client, we again have Caput Draconis. This client is hopeful and looking for a positive outcome. The Left Witness gives us Tristitia. While this indicates sadness, it also indicates the keeping of secrets. Whatever this client is sitting on, they are not giving up their secrets easily. The dream itself may involve a secret that they are keeping, and its significance may have something to do with that. This still doesn’t really give us an answer to the question however.
Using the Way of Points, we can track the head line of Conjunctio, leading to the 4 daughters ultimately, and the Right Witness. That it goes to the Right Witness really underscores that this is something very personal and close to the client. The Four Daughters (from right to left) are Acquisitio, Albus, Caput Draconis, and Tristitia. This repeats the pattern found in the witnesses, but with additional information. Acquisitio indicates Gain and acquiring something, while Albus indicates peace, purity, rest and intellect. Acquisitio gives a greater indication of a positive response to the client’s answer. Albus is also considered favorable, but weak, requiring assistance to bring favorable results. It may also give an indication of what the dream was about, something was gained, that is giving the client rest. Conjunctio may help explain it as a meeting. Perhaps the client was reunited in a dream with a lost loved one who passed away. The dream may have indicated that the loved one is at peace, and free from pain and suffering, and wished to also convey this message to the client. While the client is hopeful for a positive message, their grief over the passing wracks them with doubt, and so they sought out someone to give an answer to their question brought on by the dream. The answer to give is yes, the dream was significant and you should heed the message given to you.
The next example is a question regarding real estate. The clients wish to buy property for a home, and if they will succeed in gaining what they desire.
The Judge in this question is Acquisitio. From a simple answer, it is quite clear that the clients will succeed in their goal. However, the clients want more information, not just a quick yes. To that we will look to the Past, Present, and Future, and the Sum of Points for this Question. We will also include the Reconciler or Sentence to give further information and clarity. In the Right and Left Witnesses we see the client’s past. To the Right, Tristitia. To the Left, Rubeus. The client’s pasts have not been easy. Tristitia indicates sadness, suggesting that they have been dealing with some heavy stuff. Rubeus is easily considered one of the most evil of signs, Violence, Bloodshed, Perversion, Addiction are all indicated by Rubeus. There is one sliver of goodness from Tristitia however. It also indicates secrets, and laying solid foundations. One could interpret that even while all the bad stuff was going on, they have been hiding away money, saving up in order to get something, laying the foundation for something new. Preparing to take themselves away from the awful experiences of their past.
The Present is indicated by Acquisitio. This indicates Gain, and is the second most fortunate sign. They will get what they want.
The Reconciler or Sentence is Conjunctio. This indicates a meeting and coming together. In seeing that their 1st Mother is Fortuna Major meeting with Acquisitio, the two most fortunate figures in geomancy, this meeting indicates that Great Luck and Gain will meet, probably creating the life they have dreamed for, and being able to put the ugliness of the past behind them. Truly a blessing.
The sum of points in this chart, including the Reconciler is 96. This is truly a fantastical chart. They won’t have delays, and things will turn out in good time, and without doubt. When they do acquire their house, it will be theirs completely, and be a stable and lasting gain for them. This chart is also an example of the Way of Points, when every Mother and Daughter is indicated. This suggests that a lot of situations and forces and effort have been put into what they have been working for. While it has been difficult, it is all going to pay out in a big and wonderful way for them.
In the European practice of Geomancy, the next step is to generate a house chart. The house chart is a chart taken from Astrology. This is often the reason why Geomancy was called the “Daughter of Astrology” in European works describing Geomancy.
This process is also where you will see some variation of methods. While the shield chart method is old and pretty consistent, the house chart was an innovation with various authors using various methods.
The House chart uses twelve houses. These houses loosely correspond with the 12 signs of the zodiac, but don’t confuse the houses with the signs. They are not the same. While in astrology, the houses can be smaller or greater than 30 degrees, but the order of the houses and their general location never change. In geomancy, there are no degrees, just a format that uses a 12 part division. You can literally use any structure you want to display this division, but most geomancers that I have come across use a classic house chart structure that was used in the middle ages and renaissance. Such as the image in this article.
THE BASIC METHOD
This method is the easiest and most straightforward of methods. Take the shield chart you have already generated. Starting with the 1st mother, that becomes house one, the 2nd mother is house two, the 3rd mother is house three, etc. Continue this until you fill all the houses, ending with the last niece as house twelve. The witnesses and judge and sentence are not placed into the house chart.
In the 4th Book of Occult Philosophy, Agrippa lays out a method of placing the figures into the house chart. The mothers are placed in the cardinal houses, that is houses 1 house 10, house 7, and house 4. These houses are associated with the cardinal directions (house 1 is east, house 10 is south, house 7 is west, and house 4 is north) and so the 1st mother goes into house 1, the 2nd mother into House 10, the 3rd Mother into house 7, and the 4th mother into House 4.
The Daughters are then placed into the Succedent houses. The 1st Daughter goes into House 2, the 2nd Daughter goes into House 11, the 3rd Daughter goes into House 8, and the 4th Daughter goes into House 5.
It is the Cadent houses where Agrippa diverges from the shield chart, having you generate new figures for the cadent houses. Agrippa indicates that the remaining houses should be derived from their triplicity rulers, that is in Astrology, there are 4 triplicities, based around the elements. The fiery signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagitarrius, The Earth Signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, the Airy signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius, and the Watery signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. He applies this to the houses as well. Which Aries, being the first sign, is aligned with the first house, Taurus, the 2nd house, Gemini the third house, etc… This makes an alignment between the houses that the 1st, 5th, and 9th house are the fiery triplicity, the 2nd, 6th, and 10th house are the Earthly triplicity, the 3rd, 7th, and 11th houses are the Airy Triplicity, and the 4th, 8th, and 12th houses are the water triplicity. Agrippa’s reasoning is that this should remain consistent, so to populate the last four houses in the chart using Agrippa’s method as follows::
To fill the 3rd house, you would add together the figures in the 11th house and the 7th house.
To fill the 12th house, you would add together the figures in the 4th house and the 8th house.
To fill the 9th house, you would add together the figures in the 1st house and the 5th house.
To fill the 6th house, you would add together the figures in the 2nd house and the 10th house.
Basically look at the houses that have been filled as part of the triplicity and those two added together create the figure for the remaining triplicity house. This will create new figures for the cadent houses, which will be different from the figures in the shield chart. There is more that Agrippa does relating to the house chart, but his method is unique in this area, and not commonly found in generating house charts.
My method is a variation on the Agrippa method. I like the harmony of the Mothers equating the cardinal houses, the daughters being the succedent houses, but creating new figures for the last houses seems awkward to me, especially when you already have 4 figures ready to fill that role from the shield chart, i.e. the nieces. I place the 1st niece into the 3rd house, the 2nd niece into the 12th house, the 3rd niece into the 9th house, and the 4th niece into the 6th house. I feel that this connects the shield and house chart more fully, and I personally find the answers are more accurate, but this is my personal innovation as I didn’t care for the basic method as much. It worked, but it made it easy to predict exactly what figure would go in what house, whereas applying the mothers, daughters and nieces to respective positions in the house chart of cardinal, succedent, and cadent houses just seems very elegant to me.
Just as in the shield chart you could get the sentence, there are some additional methods that you can do with the house chart. These are taken from astrology as well, but are different from their astrological source.
The Index – The Index is an indicator of hidden things in the house chart. Depending upon where in the house chart it is located, or the nature of the question being answered, what the hidden thing indicates will vary. To determine the house location for the Index, you need to take all the single dots in all the figures in the houses and add them together. Once you have that sum, divide it by 12. Whatever the remainder is, that is the house where the index is located. If there is no remainder, then the index is located in the 12th house.
Point of Fortune – This is an indicator of good luck and fortune in the house chart. Similar to the index what that means exactly depends upon the question and where in the chart it is located. To determine this location, you need to add all the points of the figures in the house chart. Take that number and divide it by 12. Whatever is the remainder indicates the house where the point of fortune is located. If there is no remainder, then the point of fortune is in the 12th house.
There is an interesting relationship I discovered between the Index and the Point of Fortune (PoF). They will also be in houses that when added together, make twelve. So, if you have calculated the Index and it is in the 2nd house, the point of fortune will be in the 10th house. This also means that if the Index is in the 6th house, the Point of Fortune will also be in the 6th house, and both will also occupy the 12th house as well. There is also a great tendency for these indicators to usually be in even numbered houses, but I have had an odd numbered house show up on occasion.
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:
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.
In Geomancy, we use sixteen signs that are interpreted to give indications. These signs are made up of four lines in which there are either one or two dots. It is essentially like binary code, in that you could consider the single dot indicates something as being “on” or active and the two dots is the equivalent of “off” or “inactive”. This combination of dots shapes the figures. The four lines are considered like a body, with a head line, neck line, body line and feet line. That is top line, second from the top, the second from the bottom, and the bottom line.These are also associated with the elements, with the head/top line equated with fire, the neck/second from the top is Air, the body/second from the bottom is Water, and the feet/bottom line is Earth.
This combination of active and inactive lines in the four sections creates the sixteen signs of geomancy.
These combinations have given values to certain signs, interpreted in various ways. One of these ways is elemental. Depending upon the active elemental lines, the figure has been assigned a certain element correspondence. These same signs have also been assigned to the seven classical planets of astrology, which has also given them an additional set of elemental correspondences. While the elemental values given upon the active lines in the figure are fairly consistent, the addition of the planet qualities are not as consistent, and so this elemental quality changes depending upon the author. This variation between elements caused the planetary elemental quality to be considered the outer elemental quality, while the more consistent elemental value is considered the inner elemental quality. The arrangement of the figures also creates several more categories of signs. A stable and mobile sign, entering and exiting signs, and partial and impartial signs. A stable sign is one that indicates long term influences, and events that aren’t changeable. A mobile sign is one that indicates short term influences, and events that are more changeable.
An entering sign is similar to a stable sign, while an exiting sign indicates a mobile sign. Some signs are neither exiting or entering, and need to be considered in relation to the signs around them. Because these signs are made of combinations of one or two dots, some of these signs have even numbers, and some are odd numbered. The even numbered signs are considered impartial, and these numbers are the only ones that become judges. If you get an odd numbered sign as a judge, it means that you have miscalculated the shield chart and should go back. It makes it a kind of failsafe, knowing that an error has been made. That is why the even numbered signs are considered impartial, representing objective, factual conditions that are apparent to anyone. All the odd numbered signs are thus considered partial, and represent subjective and emotional states.
The sixteens signs are as follows:
Puer (Latin for Youth, or a Adolescent Male) – Inner element Air: Outer element: Fire Planet: Mars Sign: Aries Mobile Exiting, Partial
Puella (Latin for Maiden or an Adolescent Female) – Inner element: Air Outer Element: Water Planet: Venus Sign: Libra Stable Entering Partial
Albus ( Latin for White) -Inner Element: Water Outer Element: Air Planet: Mercury Sign: Gemini Stable, Entering Partial
Rubeus (Latin for Red) – Inner Element: Air Outer Element: Water Planet: Mars Sign: Scorpio Mobile, Exiting, Partial
Amissio (Latin for Loss) – Inner Element: Fire Outer Element: Earth Planet: Venus Sign: Taurus Mobile, Exiting, Impartial
Aquisitio (Latin for Gain) – Inner Element: Air Outer Element: Fire Planet: Jupiter Sign: Sagittarius Stable, Entering, Impartial
Populus (People or Crowds) – Inner Element: Outer Element Water: Planet: Moon Sign: Cancer Stable, Both, Impartial
Via (The Way or Road) – Inner Element: Outer Element: Water Planet: Moon Sign: Cancer Mobile, Both, Impartial
Carcer (Latin for Prison) – Inner Element: Earth Outer Element Earth: Planet: Saturn Sign: Capricorn Stable, Both, Impartial
Conjunctio (Latin for Conjunction) aka a Meeting or Crossroads – Inner Element: Air Outer Element: Earth Planet:Mercury Sign: Virgo Mobile Both Impartial
Fortuna Major (Latin for Greater Fortune) – Inner Element:Earth Outer Element: Fire Planet: Sun Sign: Leo Stable, Entering, Impartial
Fortuna Minor (Latin for Lesser Fortune) – Inner Element: Fire Outer Element: Fire Planet: Sun Sign: Leo Mobile, Exiting, Impartial
Laetitia (Latin for Joy) – Inner Element: Fire Outer Element: Water Planet:Jupiter Sign: Pisces Mobile, Exiting, Partial
Tristitia (Latin for Sadness) – Inner Element: Earth Outer Element: Air Planet: Saturn Sign: Aquarius Stable, Entering Partial
Caput Draconis (Latin for Head of the Dragon) – Inner Element: Earth Outer Element: Earth Planet North Node of the Moon: Sign: Virgo Stable, Entering Partial
Cauda Draconis (Latin for Tail of the Dragon) – Inner Element: Fire Outer Element: Fire Planet: South Node of the Moon Sign: Sagittarius Mobile, Exiting, Partial
You will also notice another pattern with the signs, based upon how I presented them above. The combinations above show opposite pairings. Youth and Maiden, White and Red, Gain and Loss, etc… You will also notice that these signs are either Reversions or Inversions of each other. This expresses a relationship between these signs that when they are found together may influence your reading.
One of the practices done in generating a chart (which we will cover in another post) is the adding of the signs together. This creates a third sign from their combination, creating new active and inactive lines. It also expresses a relationship between those signs that is a little tongue and cheek. For example, Puer and Puella when added together creates Conjunctio or Meeting. This could be interpreted as literal meeting of a man and woman, or as “sexual union”, depending upon the reading.
One of the types of divination or fortune telling I use is called Geomancy. It is a very old method of forecasting future events, that in the medieval period and renaissance, was second only to Astrology, and in many ways much more accessible. Mainly because it wasn’t as complicated as astrology and didn’t require as much knowledge, education and well, funding in order to learn and practice it.
Geomancy’s origins are actually in what we now call the Middle East. While we don’t know exactly where it came from, the basic method was developed in those lands, and it is actually a translation of the arabic name for it that we call it geomancy. ‛ilm al-raml (a more exact translation would be the science of the sand) was translated into Greek as geomanteia, which from latin and into English became geomancy. This is of course, not to be confused with the other geomancy, which would be reading literal omens by looking at rocks, the earth, and natural events, which was included in groupings of pyromancy, hydromancy, aeromancy etc… I came across geomancy purely by accident, seeing a book being published in my local bookstore and finding i’s cover and back interesting. It was hooked by the unusual method of doing geomancy, compared to the familiar methods of cartomancy using Tarot and playing cards, which parallel reading and casting runes in some ways, and many other methods of divination. In a sense, the more comparable, but in no way the same, methods would be I-Ching readings, divination using astragalli, or knuckles bones, or diloggun.
Later, this method of divination would fall out of favor, and as playing card games arose, it would be forgotten almost completely. However, as only medieval manuscripts would be translated, the plethora of geomancy books that were written would ensure that it would be noted. With the occult revival of the 19th century, this caused geomancy to be revived in a limited scale. The Order of the Golden Dawn actually had a means of practicing geomancy as a means of divination, and it’s pamphlets that initiates received detailed the complicated process of making a set to practice geomancy, essential creating a ritual sandbox where marks would be made and formed into a reading. However, those early translations were often very mechanistic and lacked the depth that later translations would provide, and so this geomancy would be often overlooked. Although interestingly, an often overlooked source of geomantic education was the much recommended Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson, which in its first chapters on divination described a simple method of casting a geomantic chart and the meanings of the signs, although without much detail beyond that.
There are now many more books about geomancy, and quite a few academic publications about it, from a history of the occult perspective, to understanding it culturally in its different iterations around the Middle East and Africa, and more. If you want a practical manual that can help you get started and give detail to really work it, I recommend The Art and Practice of Geomancy by John Michael Greer. I also run a group on Facebook called Geomantic Campus, which has various files of translated works describing Geomancy to those who are interested, among other things.
Geomancy is the word which I use to refer to a method of divination. It was a method that seems to have originated from Arabic lands, where it goes by the name khat al raml and many others. From this name it was translated into Greek as Geomancy meaning “earth divination” It reached it’s heyday in Europe during the middle ages and the renaissance, and like many other occult arts, dwindled with the flowering of the Age of Reason. During it’s hey day, it was widely practiced and a number of authors wrote treatises about it, even more so then most other methods of divination. It was mainly very easy to use, unlike astrology which required complex calculations and instruments to view the sky, or other methods of sortilege, like card reading, which means you needed to have cards on hand (which not everyone did). At it’s simplest all you needed was some kind of blank field that you could use to make dots which could be used to count and create the figures that build a geomantic reading.
There are sixteen figures used in geomancy. During the middle ages and Renaissance in Europe, these figures were identified with astrological forces, with each classical planet being given two figures, and two more figures attributed to the North and South nodes of the Moon. Each of the figures are composed for 4 lines, which will have either one or two marks. One mark is an indication of active energy in that line and the presence of that force. Two marks are the indication of passive energy of that line, and the absence of inactivity of that force. From top to bottom the lines are named Head, neck, body, feet. They are also identified with the four classical elements from top to bottom of Fire, air, water, earth. These lines and their elemental values, combined with the planetary symbolism, help to give depth to a reading, but also in understanding the symbolism of each sign and it’s interaction with the world and with other signs.
The two methods of using the figures were in generating charts. The oldest and most traditional method is known as a shield chart, which requires one to generate 4 figures, however you wish to do that. These four figures are identified as “mothers” and from them the rest of the figures of the chart are created, about 11 or 12 figures, depending upon the inclusion or exclusion of a final figure. From the mothers one generates 4 daughters and from the mothers and daughters are generated the Nieces, which are then used to generate two witnesses, which are combined to form the Judge. The Judge is considered the answer to the question, sometimes with an additional figure formed by combining the judge and first mother to form the Reconciler, which makes a total of 16 figures used in the chart. Additional methods of shield chart interpretation help to give more precise and particular answers through the relationship of the judge to other elements in the chart.
From the shield chart, a second chart can be generated, known as the house chart. This chart is based upon the 12 house system of astrology, where each sign is placed into a house. The most basic ordering is taking the 1st mother which is given to the first house, 2nd mother to the second house, 3rd mother to the third house etc… There are other methods of assigning figures, depending upon whose treatise you read, or your own insight from gaining proficiency and skill with it. From the house chart it is also possible to answer questions, which can further influence the indications given in the shield chart and also given more depth and precision to a reading.
I came into geomancy a few years ago when I discovered a newly published book by John Michael Greer. It talked about Earth magic and divination, and as I was very much feeling the earth magic vibe, I was very intrigued by the book title. That introduced me to this method and I quickly took to practicing it and using it as often as I could, in order to become proficient with casting charts and understanding the signs. I also was very taken to how simple the signs were, which can be easily used in making talismans for magic, calling upon the forces symbolized by the geomantic signs.
There does seem to be a rebirth for geomancy occurring right now. While this practice did disappear in the West (although it did survive in some interesting ways and get small revivals during other blossoming of interest in the occult) there are a good number of sources available. Quite a few books have been written, as well as academic research into it as a item of historical interest. It also seems that in Arabic countries, the practice of geomancy has never fulled disappeared. It also bears some resemblance to I Ching, but also methods if Ifa divination. Whether they are related, or only bear passing resemblance is not fully decided or clear yet to researchers. There are some geomancy groups in existence right now, which can be found in Yahoo and also on facebook, where people can share techniques, and get assistance with their interpretations of charts they have cast. Another great resource and modern intrepid explorer is Polyphanes over at Digital Ambler. His work with geomancy is quite fantastic and he does contemplate it in order to advance this once forgotten divinatory art.