I’m getting ready to teach a few classes at Sticks and Stones, the local new age and earth spirituality book store I do readings at, for the rest of this year. Later this month, on September 23 and 30, I’m teaching a two-part course on geomancy, since apparently I know things and can teach them. I dunno why people trust me to do this for them without, like, burning down the state of Virginia in the process. Either way, it’s an awesome opportunity for me, the local occulture, and the art of geomancy as well, since this really is an art that deserves more love than it gets after being neglected for a few centuries.
Well, as usual, I’m pretty much winging it, and don’t really have a structure yet for the course. Regardless if they go well, I’d like to keep teaching about geomancy, perhaps offering the course several times a year or offering special workshops on detailed topics within geomancy. If the courses go well, fantastic! If not, I hope to tweak the courses around and figure out what went wrong, what went well, and what can be improved upon. To that end and to help me prepare, I’d like to ask the occult blogosphere and you, dear reader, to help me out.
Each session is two hours long, and there are two sessions. I’ve decided to break the material up into the first session:
- What geomancy is and is not
- History of geomancy: Sahara, Middle East, Africa, Europe
- Basic figure meanings
- Figure groupings: stable vs. mobile, odd vs. even
- Geomancy and astrology: planets, signs, elements
- Making the figures: traditional sand-and-stick method, pen-and-paper, coins, dice, cards
- Pairwise interpretation: two parents and a child
…and the second session:
- Practice of divination: ethics, state of mind and conditions, query vs. querent vs. quesited
- Generating the Mothers, the Shield Chart, and the House Chart
- Interpreting the Shield Chart: the four groups of figures, via puncti, sum of the chart, figure triads
- Interpreting the House Chart: the houses, perfection, aspects, favorability, company
Attending the first session is a requirement for attending the second, which makes sense to me. I want the first session to give a solid foundation for geomancy and its symbols while giving them a taste of what they can do, with the full art and technique being explored in the second session. I’m also planning on giving a set of handouts for the course, so people can take something home with them, have some premade notes, and some references to guide them as they start working with geomancy:
- Basic terms, symbols, definitions
- Figures, meanings, correspondences
- Shield Chart template
- House Chart template
- Perfection and examples
Knowing the above, what do you, dear reader, think? Is the course inclusive enough to get a basic but firm grip on geomancy? Is there anything I missed you’d like to see included? Is there anything you think doesn’t need to be gone over?
I think four hours is short to cover all that. and people may feel overwhelmed. Your challenge will be to keep from digressing or drilling too deeply on any one thing, as I am sure you could talk for 30-60 minutes on almost any point in your outline.
I’m working on a syllabus and references for a general Hermetics Study Group that I’m starting at my local equivalent of Sticks and Stones. There, I have the same problem and its opposite: some areas I can talk about to exhaustion, and others I get to tiptoe around or wait until someone joins who knows more about them.
Granted, it is a lot of information to go over; I figure 15 minute chunks or so for each topic should be sufficient. I’m also offering to stick around for questions and detailed one-on-one sessions after the classes, and workshops later for specific topics. The class is a crash course introduction to geomancy, is my goal.
That would cover it. You may well be a more disciplined speaker than I; it would not be hard.
I find that, as a professional teacher, I have to chunk things by eight-minute segments or so: Eight minutes of explanation, eight minutes of guided practice, eight minutes of solo practice, eight minutes of explanation, eight minutes of guided practice, eight minutes of solo practice, etc.
I’ve thought about how I would do Geomancy, and what I would do is have a whiteboard, and guide one person through the process of making a geomantic sign using random-dots on paper. Then, have everyone generate four signs — their four mothers. Then, you can prepare a chart ahead of time with the names of the signs, the arrangement of dots in them, some of the information about them…
You know… I just realized. I’m trying to teach the class for you, and that’s dumb. I’ll say this: humans can receive about 6-8 minutes of information before they need to switch gears a little; so change things up about every eight minutes, and you can cover a lot of ground in a little time. Preparing some hanging-wall-charts, whiteboard notes, worksheets or handouts ahead of time makes a lot of difference, too; because you can jump right to what you want to make your “Tradition Handed Over.”
Don’t neglect the magical aspect, either: If you can have an altar space set up, have the altar set with candles and materials for FORTUNA MAJOR, so that people have the sense 1) that they’re in sacred space for this class, 2) that they’re joining a lodge or a magical tradition, and 3) that they’re being specifically empowered and blessed to join this circle of practitioners.
Hey, maybe we should read Greer’s INSIDE A MAGICAL LODGE, and figure out how to teach Geomancy in a lodge context. :-)
Having an altar might not be a bad idea, but I dunno if it’s exactly a preferred idea, either. This is decidedly not a lodge-type atmosphere, and from what I’ve seen, the number of people who usually attend these classes stay on the level of mid-size study group. Unless I’m lucky, I’ll stick to subtle examples using Fortuna Major in the charts. :3 I do like the idea of having individual-led group practice, though, and the advice about study “chunks” is fantastic.
I think he’s on to something, too. I will plan to take a breath every “7 ± 2” minutes in my Hermetic Study Group.