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 Fortuna Maior. In Latin, its name means “Greater Fortune”, but is also named “inward fortune” in some Islamic traditions, as well as “going forth of fame” and “inside/hidden help”. If you (quite literally) connect the dots, you might come up with a figure that looks like a tree growing upward, or a river going through a deep mountain valley.
First, the technical details on this figure. It’s associated with the Sun rising, at daytime, or in northern declinations, and the astrological sign of Aquarius or Leo (depending on whom you ask); due to its solar connections, it’s associated with the sephirah Tiphareth. It has the air and fire lines passive with the earth and water lines active, and is overall associatd with the element of Earth. It is an even figure with six points, relating to objective situations rather than internal or experential evens. It is a stable and entering, showing it to be slow-moving and long-lasting where it appears. In the body, it is associated with the heart, the circulatory system, and the chest generally. Its inverse figure (everything this figure is not on an external level) is Fortuna Minor, the Lesser Fortune, showing that this figure is not dependent, not temporarily successful, not weak without outside help. Its reverse figure (the same qualities of this figure taken to its opposite, internal extreme) is also Fortuna Minor, showing that there is no other kind of state between independent success or success dependent on others except those very things. Its converse figure (the same qualities of this figure expressed in a similar manner) is itself, showing Fortuna Maior to be unique in how it expresses its geomantic symbolism. It is among the most favorable of all the geomantic figures, showing success coming from within and conquering all things, though it might be slow in coming. It is a figure of slow growth and sure success, though the path to success may be difficult especially in the beginning; it is a figure of facing adversity and overcoming it, and not by evading or avoiding it.
The imagery of the Fortuna figures, both Fortuna Maior and Fortuna Minor, can be best associated with wheels, circles, and cycles. After all, they’re both ruled by the Sun, which moves in a circle around the sky from its highest daytime zenith to its lowest nighttime nadir, around the heavens from its highest summer northern declination to its lowest winter southern declination, from its hottest and most powerful point in Leo to its opposite and weakest point in Aquarius. Fortuna Maior represents the Sun as it rises from the bottom to its height, from midnight to high noon, from bleak blackness to bright light, its ascent from southern declination in the Sky to their northern declination. It only increases in power, in heat, in light, and even though it may start the process in the darkest time of the year, the Sun will always win. Fortuna Maior really is the Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun.
In all ways, Fortuna Maior is the complete opposite of Fortuna Minor, keeping in the theme of success and its different types. While Fortuna Minor represents fleeting, decreasing, or dependent success, Fortuna Maior represents permanent, lasting, increasing, independent success. It’s not a figure of easy success, though, since the difficulty of laying the foundations of success are nontrivial. To use the metaphor of the Wheel of Fortune, Fortuna Maior gives the image of someone starting at the very bottom of the wheel headed to the very top. However, in order to spin this massive Wheel, one has to really put in the armwork to get the Wheel started, pushing with all their might slowly, slowly, faster, ever faster to get the Wheel of Fortune moving. Once one’s built up that kind of momentum, it’s a swift and sure ride to the top, but it’s getting to that point that takes time and effort. This isn’t some minor task, and it wouldn’t be far to call it herculean. However, just as the toil and labors of Hercules were mythically awesome, so too were his success and permanent station in the heavens.
Fortuna Maior is success through adversity, hardship, and natural strength. Just as the Sun has to undergo death and a travel in the underworld every night, according to the ancient Egyptians, fighting his way through hordes of undead and tortures, the Sun is always successful and continues to shine again in the morning. Looking at a larger timeframe, the Sun has to go through the dark time of the year in winter and build himself up again through cold and cloud before summer can arrive. Christ, the Son of God and Light of the spiritual cosmos, had to go through pain and tortures of his own, both in this life and in the underworld for three days after his death, until he was finally resurrected and took up his rightful everlasting Throne in Heaven. It’s always darkest before dawn, and once dawn arrives, the Sun has risen and the Sun will be king forever. The success of Fortuna Maior is phenomenal, but there’s lots of work to be done before one can arrive at that kind of success. The thing is that all this has to be done on one’s own, by one’s own strength, and by one’s own mettle; not only will outside help not, well, help, but it won’t be available. On the upside, though, outside help won’t be needed.
The elemental structure of Fortuna Maior has the earth and water lines active, dark and slow elements, as opposed to the more fiery and lucid fire and air lines. This seems an odd match for this solar Leonine figure, but it’s these two elements that form the material world we live in, with Fire being the most celestial and Air being the most fluid and conversant between the rest. However, as Fortuna Maior is a stable and entering figure, these work surprisingly well: water plus earth yields fertile harvest (with the proper work), rivers plowing through canyons (with sufficient time), the mixture of materials to form monuments (with the right planning and effort), and the complete foundation of a human’s body and soul before they can arise to higher matters (with experience and meditation). The Grand Canyon is a good example of this: what were originally high mountains and flat plains were brought to deep gashes and gorges in the Earth, starting with only a simple trickle of water that kept going and going. The ruling element of Fortuna Maior, Earth, gives the constructive, permanent, lasting force that grows up from the Earth, or the strength that grows out from oneself, to conquer any darkness or trouble.
When Fortuna Maior appears in a reading, get ready for work, but also get ready for assured success. This is the most beneficial figure in geomantic symbolism, with the blessing of the highest Light shining down on your efforts. However, it indicates trial and effort to work that blessing out, so don’t expect things to happen fast or with much help from others. This is a figure of winning the one-hour race with months of training instead of a one-shot steroid, the semester final exam with weeks of study instead of a night of cramming, winning the battle with perseverance and courage instead of evading it entirely. Anything that requires hard work, strong foundations, nobility, courage, internal strength, and continuous development and progress will benefit from Fortuna Maior, whether in divination or in magic.
Also, Happy New Year! I figured, after the dour and slow post on Fortuna Minor last week, its uplifting reverse and inverse figure should start off the new year of 2013. May the blessings of the Sun and Fortuna Maior shine down on you this year, giving you the strength and success to reach up and make the Sun and the cosmos ever brighter and beneficial for all.