Since one of my most favorite topics in occultism and magic is divination, specifically the divinatory art of geomancy, why not talk about that? I know a lot about it, and not many do, so let’s go with it. If nothing else, you’ll come away slightly more educated, and I’ll come away with something looking like productivity. With that in mind, let’s continue this little series of posts on geomancy, “De Geomanteia” (On Geomancy). This week, let’s talk about this figure:
This is the figure Coniunctio. In Latin, its name means “Conjunction”, but is also named “assembly” or “meeting” in some Islamic traditions, as well as “crossroads” or “sail”. If you (quite literally) connect the dots, you might come up with a figure that looks like an X, two figures joining hands, or a bridge.
First, the technical details on this figure. It’s associated with Mercury in retrograde motion, the astrological sign Virgo, and the sephirah Hod. It has both the air and water lines active with the fire and earth lines passive, making this a wet figure and associated with air (the primary quality of which is wetness). It is an even figure with six points, relating to objective situations rather than internal or experential events. It is a mobile and liminal figure, showing things to be dynamic, hesitant, and able to be changed at a moment’s notice. In the body, it signifies the belly, intestines, arms, and hands. Its inverse figure (everything this figure is not on an external level) is Carcer, the Prison, showing that this figure is not isolated, not restrained, and not permanent. Its reverse figure (the same qualities of this figure taken to its opposite, internal extreme) is the same, Coniunctio itself, showing that this figure is the same from all points of view. Its converse figure (the same qualities of this figure expressed in a similar manner) is Carcer, showing that it is cyclical, pausing, and foundational. It is a middling figure, but generally held to be good with good figures and bad with bad figures; it is favorable in matters of discussion, meeting people, making decisions, short travel, and unions of love and partnerships, while it is bad in matters requiring isolation, stability, and fixidity in opinions.
In my meditations of this figure, I picture myself in a wagon in a caravan with another, older man. We’re just talking about future plans, what-ifs and what-could-bes, shooting the shit about nothing and everything in particular, where we’ve been, what we like and dislike, and what we have to go on later on. We’re both travelers, there only for the duration of the ride, and neither of us is particularly sure about where we’re going, together or separately. That said, we were happy with this, and once the wagon stopped, we got out and saw a crossroads, four roads leading out to the four corners of the world, each drastically different. Another two wagons were present, with the first having disappeared, and we sat by the edge of the intersection and kept talking. The road can wait, we figured, and we really have the entire world ahead of us. We weren’t finished with our journey, but neither had we really begun. We weren’t badly off, but we weren’t content. We had potential and possibility, but we had nothing definite or planned out yet.
This is one of my more favorite figures, probably because of its ambivalence and directionlessness. Crossroads are sacred and powerful places in many religions and folklores because, when you’re at a crossroads, you’re not going along any one road, you’re not part of any one territory (think of Four Corners in the western US), and so you’re really between thresholds. In a sense, the crossroads is a place between worlds, belonging to none, leading to all. This is why you’d find statues of protection or heraldic gods (like Hermes’ hermai) at crossroads, watching over the passage of people, cargo, and spirits going from place to place. Coniunctio, being a figure of a crossroads, lines up with this: it’s a figure of a decision just before its made, a choice just before it’s finalized. Anything can go anywhere with this, and it’s hard to tell which way it’ll go.
The two elements that are active in Coniunctio are water and air, the sociable elements able to freely mingle and flow from here to there. Earth is solitary, heavy, and immovable, while fire is caustic and focused only on rising upward; these dry elements are not conducive on their own to actually moving around. Water, however, flows, as does air, and are able to go up, down, sideways, inside, outside, and anywhere else. They help facilitate communication, relationships and relating to others, empathy, sympathy, and telepathy (yes, I went there). Coniunctio, the conjunction or meeting, is really a figure that shows an intermingling of forces, bridging the gap between the heavens and earth or between two corners of the world, where communication and chatting can occur freely and helpfully. It represents meetings of all kinds, especially sexual union and conjunction; as a symbol of marriage or sex, Coniunctio represents the combination of opposites (female Puella and male Puer, or slow Albus and fast Rubeus).
While Albus represents Watery Mercury, Coniunctio represents Airy Mercury: the talkative, thinking, discussing child that hasn’t yet figured out where to go but knows that he wants to go somewhere. By reasoning things out with words and discourse, plans can be drawn up, maps drawn out, and all the information one needs to make a decision can be obtained with only a few moments’ work. The downside is that one can get caught up in the decisionmaking to such a degree that one gets lost in the details and fails to see the big picture; it’s as if one gets too obsessed with how the roads looks from the intersection instead of considering where the roads actually lead. Without keeping a broader or more intuitive eye on things, the energies of Coniunctio can get so bogged down in the logical minutiae of life that nothing ever actually gets accomplished due to all the micromanaging of itineraries and decisions. Making a well-informed decision is one thing, but knowing everything about absolutely nothing at all is quite another.
Coniunctio is, as I’m sure you may have guessed by now, a figure of reason and deliberation. It nearly always signifies a meeting or interaction with outside forces, often with past choices being questioned or drawn-up plans redrawn and refigured. It’s a figure of change, much like the other figure associated with the roads, Via, but unlike Via, Coniunctio doesn’t utterly change things, but merely reconsiders them for the better. However, it’s hard to do that kind of reconsidering on one’s own, so outside opinions are not only appreciated here but necessary to make the most out of Coniunctio’s force. It’s through a meeting of minds, separate worlds in and of themselves, that progress on one’s path can really be accomplished.