Divination is the art and practice of obtaining knowledge about unknown things, and every culture in every area in every era has developed their own forms for it. As I’ve mentioned before, divination relies on both intuition and technique, though the amounts of each varies between different styles of divination. On the purely intuitive side, we have prophecy, being possessed by spiritual beings to communicate, and straight-up clairvoyance and clairsentience, things that just happen through purely spiritual means with no tools or symbols necessary. Somewhere in the middle, we have methods that interpret omens that are collected through a methodical way, such as the shuffling and setting out of Tarot cards, analysis of the motions of the planets in astrology, and the generation of charts of geomantic figures. Generally, divination is considered a spiritual practice, so we often consider intuition (the spiritual component of this method of obtaining knowledge) to be a necessary component of divination, with technique helping us to focus and sharpen our intuition.
However, this doesn’t preclude us from using purely technique-based methods to learn about the unknown, either, and this is where entirely nonspiritual people will happily join in on prediction. Methods that use mathematical or physical models, rely on extrapolation from historical data, and guessing at the interplay of different factors based on likelihood are all purely technique-based methods of “divination”, such as economic forecasts or the prediction of planetary motion based on astronomical models. This type of prediction is the most commonly accepted nowadays, given the general lack of spirituality in our modern culture, and one of the most common things we use to predict with these technique-only prediction methods is the weather through meteorological models and forecasting. Sure, it can be vague at times, and distant meteorological events can be near impossible to predict, but it has a pretty high rate of success especially in the short term.
Of course, you don’t need to be a meteorologist to predict the weather, and proper divination systems have their own means to determine the weather of future time periods. This makes sense, since the weather is among the most important factors shaping our daily lives for years at a time. Farmers rely on weather to grow their crops; sailors rely on weather to sail safely; commuters rely on weather to know to bring an umbrella or just take the subway. The weather is a vital part of our lives, and divination can step up to the plate quite nicely to predict the weather just as any Weather Channel or NOAA forecast can, and can be even more useful to get a good picture of the weather months in advance when meteorological models are essentially useless.
Geomancy, especially, is quite nice at predicting weather. In the astrological house of a geomantic reading, the weather is assigned to house X, the house of the midheaven. This house spatially represents the zenith of the Sun in the sky, and the sky generally, so it makes sense that the weather is given to this house. To figure out what the weather will be on a given day, or more generally for a week or any other timeframe, simply inspect the figure in house X. The two main qualities of the figure to check for are element and stability. The elements within the figure, and the overall element of the figure generally, indicate the general type of weather; the stability of the figure (stable or mobile) indicate whether the weather will stay the same throughout the day or whether it will change.
Generally speaking the figures indicate the following types of weather:
- Populus: Very rainy, cool
- Via: Good, but rain likely
- Albus: Wholesome, little to no rain, cool and calm
- Coniunctio: Unwholesome due to rain, little to no wind
- Puella: Fair but rainy at times, warmer than otherwise
- Amissio: No rain, clear and breezy, temperate
- Fortuna Maior: Excellent, wholesome
- Fortuna Minor: Fair and hot turning to bad
- Puer: Fair, clear, wholesome, tending to hot
- Rubeus: Windy, unwholesome, tending to coolness
- Acquisitio: Clear, fair
- Laetitia: Clear and bright, calm, hot
- Tristitia: Cold, dark, shadowy, dry
- Carcer: Not good, unwholesome, dry
- Caput Draconis: Clear, wholesome, cool
- Cauda Draconis: Bad, wet, stormy, unwholesome
Of course, you’d need to take in the time of year and climate into account depending on the timeframe and location of the weather forecast. For instance, a cold day in Seattle is different from a cold day in Houston, just as a cold day in January is different from a cold day in July. Precipitation, too, should be factored in as different types depending on location and climate; rain in a place where subfreezing temperatures are common can be well-expected to fall as snow rather than showers. Weather is not the same as climate, of course, and climate is generally known ahead of time. The climate and location of the place to be forecasted will help provide a context that can help whittle down the general types of weather indicated by the figures.
A note about the list above: some of the figures are mentioned as “wholesome” or “unwholesome”, and this goes back to an older idea that the weather and airs generally have substantial effects on our health and well-being. Wholesome weather is that which is good and healthy for us: neither too dry to suck the moisture from our lungs, nor too wet to weigh us down with extra moisture, nor too hot to burn and overly excite us, nor too cold to freeze us and keep us hunkered down. Unwholesome weather has a higher chance of making us feel unwell, out of breath, slow in mind and body, and the like. It goes back to the system of humours, where the human body is dominated by the four bodily fluids of yellow bile or choler (Fire), blood (Air), phlegm (Water), and black bile or melancholy (Earth). Keeping ourselves healthy requires keeping a balance of these humours, which can be influenced by food, drink, music, and the weather, amongst other things. Unwholesome weather has a higher chance of something extreme happening or provide conditions for us to get too wrapped up in one element or another that can cause us to be unwell.
Asking what the weather will be like is a simple enough question, but asking how and whether it will affect parts of our lives is quite another. This is where other rules of geomancy come into play, such as that of perfection. For instance, if you want to know whether the weather will impede your progress on a long-distance road trip, throw a chart and see whether houses X (weather) and IX (long-distance travel) perfect. If they do, the weather will cause problems; if they don’t, the weather won’t be an issue no matter what it is. Further, in charts like this, if the figure in house I (the querent) as well as that of house X perfect with house IX, then the weather will impede the journey but the querent will make the trip anyway; if house X perfects with house IX and house I but house I doesn’t perfect with house IX, then the weather will impede the journey so much that the querent won’t make the trip at all because of the weather. If none of the houses perfect, then the weather won’t affect the journey, but the querent won’t make the journey anyway.
Because we often want to know about how the weather will affect our plans in our lives rather than just what the weather is itself, weather predictions are some of the most common to use multiple significators in the chart besides house I and house X. Other houses for geomantically forecasting the weather include:
- House III: Local events, short-distance travel
- House IV: agriculture, land, crops and harvests
- House V: rivers, parties, growth of biennial/perennial plants (and plants generally)
- House IX: long-distance travel, seas, ships, planes
- House XI: get-togethers, work outings, well-being of friends or social groups, annual plants
John Michael Greer notes in The Art and Practice of Geomancy that house V should be inspected for rain, though the logic for this confuses me. Perhaps it’s just to confirm the likelihood of rain as described by house X, but I’ve never needed such a confirmation. His rule is that you check to see whether one or both of the figures in house X and house V are moist (Air and Water); if both are, rain is certain; if only one is, rain is uncertain but possible; if neither are, rain is not predicted.
Probably the most memorable experience I had using weather forecasting with geomancy was to predict the weather on my college graduation day. For years before my own graduation, graduation day was always marked by rain, oftentimes heavy enough to move ceremonies indoors, and when my college campus was already packed to capacity, this was a hard thing to coordinate at the last minute! Several months before my graduation, I ran a chart to determine what the weather would be like on my own graduation day, and the figure I got was Fortuna Minor. The interpretation I got would be that the day would start off good but turn bad later on, so yes, it would rain, but after graduation itself was over with (which was scheduled in the late morning, anyway). Graduation day came around, and the forecast from NOAA was to be clear for the whole day, and it started of bright, clear, and also exceptionally warm for a late May morning; we were thankful for our mortarboards and the orientation of the events to keep the sun out of our faces. Later on during the program-specific ceremonies, however, it began to cloud up, and it began to rain just as I finally took off my cap and gown and headed home to drop off my diploma. Exactly as I expected: it started off good and ended with rain after graduation itself was done. Not bad for a few dots.