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, just to keep things exciting, let’s talk about technique instead of figures. Specifically, let’s talk about the seemingly-simple difference between affirmation and fortunate in a geomantic chart.
And boy, is this ever going to be a talk, so get a soda and a snack. I can wait. You ready? Good!
When a querent asks a query to a geomancer, they’re probably wondering about how something will go, whether something will happen in the future that is not here yet, whether something possible actually did happen in the past, or so on. All these queries ask something along the same lines of “will my present reality and hypothetical reality X sync up?” In other words, I want to know whether some event (from hypothetical reality X) will or has happened (in my present reality). Asking whether one will end up in a relationship with a specific person, whether one will lose their job at their current workplace, or similar questions all follow this pattern, and they’re all perfect for geomantic divination because, like its internal structure, it delivers a binary answer: yes or no. It’s the geomancer’s job to find out whether the querent’s reality and their quesited reality are going to merge.
In a geomantic chart, specifically the astrological or house chart, different factors in a situation relevant to the query are assigned to one of the twelve figures in the chart. These special figures are called significators, figures that signify the querent (the person asking the query) and the quesited (the thing asked about in the query). For instance, if a querent asks whether they and some other person will be married, the querent is assigned to the first house (the house showing the querent) and the quesited (the other person and being married to them) is assigned to the seventh house (the house showing relationships and marriage). In a sense, these significators show the different realities the querent is asking about; the querent’s significator shows their reality, and the quesited’s significator shows the hypothetical reality. More generally, the same figure can appear in more than one place; this contrasts with astrology, where a planet can be in only one place (house, degree, sign, etc.) at any given time. When the same figure appears in more than one house, that figure is said to “pass” from one house to the other. A figure may not pass at all, or can pass to every house of the chart (e.g. when all four Mother figures are Populus). Houses that share the same figure as a significator often show that features and things related to the nature of that house are tied up with the nature of the significator and the circumstances of the query.
Astro-geomantic charts make finding out whether there’s a connection between these different realities simply by showing whether there’s a physical or symbolic connection between the two figures in the chart. This method, called perfection, relies on the movement or passing of figures around the chart; if the two significators appear next to each other or have a similar physical link, then the different realities will link up and the chart affirms the question (i.e. the answer is “yes”); if the two significators have no such link, the different realities will remain split and the chart denies the question (i.e. the answer is “no”). The concept of perfection was taken from horary astrology, which used the motion of the planets as significators to determine whether something was possible or not; the earliest reference to perfection in geomantic practice I know of comes from Pietro d’Abano’s “The Method of Judging Questions” written in the late 13th or early 14th centuries, but may have been incorporated earlier as geomancy was being blended with astrology.
There are four main methods of perfection, each giving a “yes” answer to the query asked but with different hints at how that “yes” will come to pass.
- Occupation: the same figure appears as both significators. This is the strongest method of perfection, and shows a complete agreement and natural harmony between the querent and quesited from the initial mindset down to the physical approach to the situation.
- Conjunction: one of the significators passes to a house neighboring the other significator. This is the next strongest method of perfection, and shows that one party is going to work more for the end result than the other. There are two kinds of perfection by conjunction:
- Conjunction from the querent to the quesited: The querent’s figure passes to the house just before or just after the quesited’s house. The querent will be the primary force in bringing about the situation, putting in the most work.
- Conjunction from the quesited to the querent: The quesited’s figure passes to the house just before or after the querent’s house (i.e. the second or twelfth houses). The querent won’t have to do much to bring about the “yes” situation, since the quesited’s side will work more for it.
Besides noting what figure passes into conjunction with the other, the house the passing significator passes into also is important:
- Significator passes into the house before the other: Work will be done behind the other’s back, in secrecy, or without the other party’s knowing.
- Significator passes into the house after the other: Work will be done in clear sight of the other, in open knowledge, or with acceptance and agreement between the two.
Note that if the significator of the quesited is the one right before or after the significator of the querent (e.g. house 2 or house 12, considering that the house of the querent is in house 1), then the rules for conjunction change a little because of the close proximity of the significators. If we look at houses 1 and 2, perfection by conjunction can only occur if the significator in the first house passes to the third (into conjunction after the significator of the quesited) or if the significator in the second house passes to the twelfth (into conjunction before the significator of the querent). Same goes for any other pair of neighboring houses.
- Mutation: both significators appear next to each other but not in their own houses. This shows a random or casual happenstance situation where the two parties end up in the right place at the right time to bring about the situation; neither of them are in their proper or usual places, but are present elsewhere in unexpected or unusual ones. This random happening of fate will then bring about the situation asked about. The specific houses the figures pass to will give a clue as to how this might be brought about. Because both figures pass elsewhere in the chart, it can be thought of as a conjunction where both parties need to put in work or need to be out of their own comfort zones in order to bring something about.Mutation can also occur as part of a conjunction. If we’re looking at houses 1 and 7 for a particular query, if the significator in house 1 passes to house 6, this is a conjunction from the querent to before the quesited; if the significator in house 7 passes to house 5, this along with house 6 forms a mutation, because both figures are still found next to each other but outside their own houses. Same goes for other mixtures of conjunction and mutation for different houses.
- Translation: a third figure neighbors both significators in their own houses. In this case, neither the querent nor quesited will have an active role in bringing about the inquired situation, but a third party will step in to bridge the gap between the parties/realities. In a sense, translation is like conjunction, only with a third party taking up all the work instead of the querent or quesited. As with conjunction, the houses that the translating figure passes between has potential implications:
- Before the house of the querent and before the house of the quesited: The third party operates in relative secrecy or behind both parties backs.
- Before the house of the querent and after the house of the quesited: The third party is working closer or in tighter or explicit alliance with the quesited than with the querent, behind whom the third party works in secrecy or without their knowing.
- After the house of the querent and before the house of the quesited: The third party is working closer or in tighter or explicit alliance with the querent than with the quesited, behind whom the third party works in secrecy or without their knowing.
- After the house of the querent and after the house of the quesited: The third party operates with the open, explicit, and willing agreement of both the querent and quesited, or with their full knowledge and acceptance of doing so.
It is possible that a geomantic chart may have more than one method of perfection, showing that the situation inquired about will come around in several ways or with the possibility of happening in several ways, depending on the course of action the querent can take. For instance, it can happen that there’s both a translation and mutation between the querent’s and quesited’s significators, showing that a third party is instrumental in achieving the situation asked about and that the querent and quesited will need to be out of their own comfort zones or will randomly achieve things together; adding these, we might infer that the third party will help the querent and quesited meet up, facilitating their fortunate meeting without their direct involvement in setting things up.
So long as at least one method of perfection is present in the chart, the chart perfects and affirms the query with a “yes”. If the chart has none of the above methods of perfection, then it’s said to lack perfection entirely, also called denial. In this case, the chart denies the query, giving a “no” answer.
Consider Jane Doe asking the query “will I marry John Smith next year”. Let’s look at the different ways perfection might answer this question, taking the first house to represent Jane and the seventh to represent John and the possibility of marriage to him:
- Occupation: The same figure appears in houses 1 and 7. Both Jane and John want to marry each other and will both naturally head towards that situation, working equally and probably effortlessly in bringing it about.
- Conjunction from the querent to before the quesited: The querent’s figure in house 1 passes to house 6, before the quesited. Jane is the real pusher in this situation, and sets things up behind John’s back to get all the paperwork, social contacts, and financial situations on board before getting him to agree with it. She’s using more of her resources and skills than his, because she’s still trying to operate behind his back.
- Conjunction from the querent to after the quesited: The querent’s figure in house 1 passes to house 8, after the quesited. Again, Jane is the primary force in getting married with John, but she’s operating with John’s full knowledge and maybe a bit of his help, and probably making use of his resources, as well.
- Conjunction from the quesited to before the querent: The quesited’s figure in house 7 passes to house 12, before the querent. Similar as conjunction from the querent to before the quesited, but this time it’s John working for marriage instead of Jane.
- Conjunction from the quesited to after the querent: The quesited’s figure in house 7 passes to house 2, after the querent. Similar as conjunction from the querent to after the quesited, but this time it’s John working for marriage instead of Jane.
- Mutation: The querent’s figure in house 1 passes to house 10 and the quesited’s figure in house 7 passes to house 11. Neither John or Jane really expect or have a clue as to how the marriage might be brought about, but by random or fortuitous happenstance, they end up married all the same. Since Jane’s figure passes to the tenth house (house of career, public life, government, social standing) and John’s to the eleventh house (house of social contacts, colleagues, friends, patrons), they might bump into each other frequently in the public eye, in the workplace, or amongst colleagues and friends. (Note that I’m only using houses 10 and 11 here as an example, mutation might occur elsewhere as well, with the interpretation changing depending on the houses in question.)
- Combination mutation and conjunction: The querent’s figure in house 1 passes to house 6, before the quesited, and the quesited’s figure in house 1 passes to house 5. Although Jane is the real pusher in this situation, and sets things up behind John’s back, John finds himself wound up with Jane through random happenstance and works with her through an easy-going or sexual means to accomplish the marriage.
- Translation before the querent and before the quesited: The figure in house 12 before the querent appears in house 6 before the quesited. A third party, perhaps some of their friends, will set things up between Jane and John so that they’ll be married, though both Jane and John aren’t necessarily aware of it.
- Translation before the querent and after the quesited: The figure in house 12 before the querent appears in house 8 after the quesited. A third party, probably in league with John or one of his friends, will set things up between him and Jane so that they’ll be married.
- Translation after the querent and before the quesited: The figure in house 2 after the querent appears in house 6 before the quesited. A third party, probably in league with Jane or one of her friends, will set things up between her and John so that they’ll be married.
- Translation after the querent and after the quesited: The figure in house 2 after the querent appears in house 8 after the quesited. A third party, perhaps some of their friends, will set things up between Jane and John so that they’ll be married, perhaps both of their friends working together closely and in alliance with each other and with Jane and John together.
- Denial: There’s no occupation, conjunction, mutation, or translation in the chart. Jane and John will not be married in the next year.
Now, here’s the big thing: in a binary (yes/no) query, perfection does not determine whether something is good or bad, helpful or harmful, fortunate or unfortunate. Perfection only affirms or denies whether an inquired situation will come to pass, whether something is possible or impossible, either “yes, X will happen” or “no, X will not happen”. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings to novice geomancers, and I can’t emphasize it enough that perfection affirms or denies a query, not whether it makes it positive or negative in its influence. To determine how fortunate a chart is, the geomancer must look at the figures in the houses themselves and how they relate to the query (along with other things like aspect, joy, the elements, and the like). When not interpreting a binary query (e.g. “when” queries or forecasts), perfection indicates a connection or link between significators, and can be fortunate or unfortunate depending on whether the link is desired or not.
- Perfection with favorable significators of the querent and quesited: The situation will come to pass and will be good for both the querent and quesited.
- Perfection with a favorable querent’s significator and an unfavorable quesited’s significator: The situation will come to pass and will be better for the querent than the quesited.
- Perfection with an unfavorable querent’s significator and a favorable quesited’s significator: The situation will come to pass and will be worse for the querent than the quesited.
- Perfection with unfavorable significators of the querent and quesited: The situation will come to pass and will suck for both the querent and quesited.
- Denial with favorable significators of the querent and quesited: The situation will not come to pass but will be good for both the querent and quesited.
- Denial with a favorable querent’s significator and an unfavorable quesited’s significator: The situation will not come to pass but will be better for the querent than the quesited.
- Denial with an unfavorable querent’s significator and a favorable quesited’s significator: The situation will not come to pass but will be worse for the querent than the quesited.
- Denial with unfavorable significators of the querent and quesited: The situation will not come to pass and will suck for both the querent and the quesited.
For instance, in Jane Doe’s query above, let’s say that Puer is found in house 1 (her significator) and Tristitia is found in house 7 (John Doe’s significator). Puer is favorable in matters of love and war, and shows that she’s highly intent and set on marrying John. Tristitia is unfavorable in matters of love, and intimates that John is not in the mood or mindset for marriage. If the chart perfects, then Jane will ger way though John may not feel too sanguine about the marriage; if the chart denies perfection, then they won’t marry and Jane may just be set on being his boyfriend or unmarried partner or some such. On the other hand, if Jane is represented by Amissio and John by Fortuna Major, then both of these figures are fortunate given the query (Amissio, ruled by Venus, is favorable in matters of love); if the chart perfects, then John is married to a woman who loves him dearly and Jane is married to a successful and constant husband; if the chart denies perfection, then Jane will likely pine away for a bit before regaining her senses, while John will go on his own and resume life independently, weathering out this emotional storm.
Again, perfection only says “yes” or “no”, while the figures themselves say “good” or “bad” and for whom. This is probably one of the most important differences to keep in mind when evaluating an astrological geomantic chart that involves these kinds of queries. When a query doesn’t involve a “yes” or “no” answer, such as in a location reading or a geomantic forecast, perfection isn’t as much help but is still useful in showing what’s directly affecting or being affected by other factors in the chart, or where one’s sphere of influence is strongest in affecting other parts of reality.
The same rules above go for when there are multiple significators beyond just the querent and quesited. Just to show how complex a geomantic reading can get with a few simple rules, consider a query relating to a disease and potential treatment for it. In such a medical chart, several houses come into play: the first house refers to the querent, the sixth to the disease or condition, the seventh to the doctor, and the tenth to the regimen or treatment. If there are favorable figures for the querent and doctor and unfavorable figures for the disease and regimen, with perfection between the querent/doctor, doctor/disease, querent/disease, querent/regimen, and doctor/regimen, I could say that the querent and doctor are getting along well and amicably and the querent understands the nature of the regimen the doctor is able and willing to provide the querent; however, the regimen is nasty and distasteful, and won’t have an effect on the disease in question, which is known to the querent and doctor but is painful or awful to deal with.
Some geomancers (John Michael Greer, notably) like using aspect to indicate perfection or denial thereof; if one significator passes into trine (four houses away, e.g. houses 1 and 5) or sextile (two houses away, e.g. houses 1 and 3), this means affirmation, while a square (three houses away, e.g. houses 1 and 4) or opposition (six houses away, e.g. houses 1 and 7) indicate denial. I haven’t found this to be helpful in determining perfection or affirmation of a chart in my own practice. At best, sextiles and trines indicate opportunity or ease in accomplishing something, but fall short of a “yes” answer on their own; squares and opposition indicate difficulty or rivalry in accomplishing something, but fall short of a “no” answer on their own. I keep aspects in the category of techniques that indicate fortunateness and favorability, and separate from perfection proper. In a pinch, I’ll take a favorable aspect to indicate a very qualified “yes” or a potential for a “yes” and an unfavorable aspect to indicate a very qualified “no” or a potential for a “no” answer, assuming a favorable influence is what the querent is looking for, but this is without any other kind of perfection going on to give me something more certain to go by.
I understand that this can get a little complex, though with a little guidance and practice, the rules of perfection will be pretty easy to understand. If you have any questions or examples you’d like me to help sort out what’s perfection and what’s not, please feel free to post them in the comments. (The same goes for any post I write, but just making this explicit here.)
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1) When we have more than one house of the quesited, do we have to
look for perfections / denial of perfections for every one of these houses?
Let’s say for example we have 3 houses to check because there are 3 main
areas embedded in the question. If there is a perfection with one house,
but denial of perfection with the two other ones, that means we get
one “yes” and two “no”, or it is a general “yes” about all the query?
2) When we ask questions whose the answer is not really a yes or a no,
for example “What will happen to me if I do (that thing)…?”, do we still
use denial of perfections? I suppose we use denial of perfections only
when the answer is a clear “yes” or “no”, right?
3) It seems to me that denial of perfections are statistically much easier
to get than perfections, so does that mean we get negative answers in
geomancy more often than positive ones?
Thank you so much for explaining!
1) Yup, that’s correct, but I describe this more in the post above towards the bottom. If you have to have more than one significator of the quesited, then your question is going to be nuanced and complex, which will be answered by an equally nuanced and complex reply. It’s not about an overall “yes” or overall “no”, though that can be answered by the Court.
2) If you’re not asking a yes or no question, then perfection doesn’t really come into much use. You can use perfection to indicate how different actors in a situation affect multiple things at once or can help others to affect things, similar to how aspects work in astrology, but if the query isn’t yes/no, then perfection (which largely indicates yes/no) isn’t the tool you want to use. Geomancy has many other tools to pick from in these instances, and not every one will come into play for every query.
3) I don’t really know the statistics of this, since this is a fairly complicated question to answer. I suppose I could write up a program to calculate all possible charts, though, with different rules for perfection. Besides, although we like true randomness for divination inputs, does it really matter what statistics say? The spirits are going to rig the answers anyway for us, which is quite the point of it all. ;) You might also look at the statistics of I Ching yarrow-stick divination for similar ideas.
Thank you very much! And as for the so-called randomness, yes, you’re totally right in what you explain about the spirits.
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can I have your Whatapp number or you should add me up with . so that u could practically teach me how it works along with football. I so much appreciate you
I do not have WhatsApp, and I am not currently taking students. However, if you’d like a one-time mentoring or consultation session to learn some of the finer points of something, take a look at my Services page for my prices.
Also, I actually know nothing about football, as sports were never a pastime of mine, but it’s a sport, and I know how sports play out on the field of geomancy. ;)
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I am currently in the process of reading all of your Geomancy posts from the beginning. This was a really good post because I, as a brand new geomancy (not even a week old in the practice yet), was confused on how the chart was supposed to work. I have questions that you probably answered in later posts but I don’t want to forget them, so here they go…
1) If the above outlined is the method of finding out ‘yes’ ‘no’ questions in a chart format (which are the only questions that I’m daring to touch as of now), then what purpose do the Judge and 2 Witnesses serve? For instance, if I ask a question on whether a business will be successful, receive a good conjunction on my chart with good figures to describe the success of the business…what happens if I receive a bad or neutral figure as a final Judgement? And what do the Witnesses do, period?
2) Are you supposed to turn the chart whenever you are asking a question on behalf of another person (like one does in Horary Astrology)?
Thanks for the work and I look forward to digging through these articles. Do you have a book or something?
Welcome to the art of geomancy! Good to have you aboard. :D
1) Geomancy has many techniques at its disposal: perfection, aspects, company, triads/triplicities, Way of the Point, Part of Fortune and Spirit, and so forth and so on. Each technique is suited to give you some detail in the chart, but all are technically secondary to the Judge and the Court. The Judge, in all cases and in all charts, will always give the answer to the reading, and all other techniques help fill in the blanks. To be pithy about it, the Judge/Court says what generally will happen, and all the other techniques say what specifically will happen; the Judge/Court answers “what”, and all the other techniques answer “how”. In other words, the Judge sets the context for all the other techniques to fall within. Learning how to correspond the different information and details provided by all the different techniques is where the whole intuitive/storytelling aspect of geomancy really comes into play. These posts have some more explanation about that:
1.5) Perfection only answers yes or no, not whether something is good or bad. This is one of the things that can really be confusing for new geomancers or for those first using this technique, and I’ve written several other posts about that specific notion and how to go about properly using it:
2) Yes. A post about that topic, too:
I am, as a matter of fact, working on a book on geomancy! It’s been and continues to be a multi-year effort, but I’m finally in the editing stages and hope to have it published/self-published and on sale later this year.
Ah, and one more question I elided over:
1.25) The Witnesses are vital to the process of understanding the Judge. The Judge is the ultimate distillation of the entire chart, and speaks to the matter as a whole, but the Witnesses are…well, just that: they witness the Judge’s position, and the Judge rules in favor of one or the other (usually). One simple way of understanding the Witnesses is to take the Right Witness as representing “your side” (so you, your family, your allies, your past, your resources, everything known and under control by you) and the Left Witness as “the other side” (enemies, rivals, partners, the future, everything unknown or uncontrolled by you), and see which of these two figures the Judge is more amenable, similar to, or in favor of. The Judge “rules in favor” of that side, so if you’re asking whether or not you can do something, and the Judge seems to “favor” the Left Witness, you can say “no”, taking into account also what the Judge is saying on its own.
Plus, there’s also the use of the Witnesses as forming a simple past → present → future (Right Witness → Judge → Left Witness) interpretation, or a you + them = interaction (Right Witness + Left Witness = Judge) interpretation.
In all cases, though, the Witnesses show how the Judge comes about. If a good Judge comes from bad Witnesses, the situation really won’t be as good as you may be given to hope. If a bad Judge comes from good Witnesses, the situation won’t be as bad as you fear. Etc.
I appreciate the thought out responses. I am keeping a book of all of my Geomantic Divinations so that I can study them as the questions I ask resolve in my life. I’m starting to get that the Mother row is really dominant in determining a question (especially when I ask a question on my own behalf)…which may be obvious I guess in retrospect. For instance, I asked if I would get a job that I recently interviewed for. The first Geomantic Figure (which would be me) was Carcer while the tenth was the Conjunction. I ended up not getting the job even though the Judge was the Lesser Fortune, which I thought was a pretty good sign because I did have outside help in terms of my references. I have a couple of other examples of questions that did not go the way I thought they would looking at the Judge.
I will continue reading and will look forward to your book!
Good job, well explanatory enough. How can we align it with predictions sport outcome of Team A winning Team B?
Let’s put the query to be, “Will Team A win the match against Team B today?