The Geomancer’s Cross: The Framework Behind the Ritual

By my own admission, I don’t do a lot of energy work nowadays.  I used to in earlier forms of my daily practices, and I definitely engage in warm-up works and preparation before major rituals, but as part of my daily practice nowadays, I don’t do a lot.  Mostly it’s because of time, having to prioritize meditation and prayer before energy work; I would love to do more, but I can only get up so early in the morning before becoming non-functional for the rest of the day.  Still, this isn’t to say that I don’t do any energy work; I fold it into my prayers in a subtle way through vowel intonation, visualization, and some simple gestures that keep things flowing for me.

The way my daily practice is arranged basically goes like this:

  1. Wake up (hopefully after pressing snooze only once).
  2. Take a shower with prayers as part of my daily full ablution.
  3. Salute my ancestors and orisha.
  4. Do some light stretches.
  5. Anoint myself with holy oil.
  6. Meditate for 20 minutes (30 if I’m working from home or not working at all that day).
  7. Prayers (usually for 20 minutes if I have to go to the office, usually 30 or more if I’m working from home or not working at all that day).

During my prayers, based on how I’ve become accustomed to doing them, there’s a natural break that sorta separates the first part from the second part, each part having its own format and process.  The first part is centered on devotions to God and Divinity, while the second part is more geomantic and spiritual in general, and that’s where I weave in my light energy work.

Although I don’t really do Golden Dawn magic, there are some techniques and technology from Golden Dawn practices that I have adopted in my own way.  One of these is the famous Qabbalistic Cross ritual, a simple and short ritual that both energetically balances and cosmically centers the practitioner.  There’s much written about this short ritual, and in addition to being one of the very first ritual acts that initiates in the Golden Dawn learn, it’s also often used as part of the overall ritual process for any number of other Golden Dawn rituals.  Although I don’t have a reference ready, I recall John Michael Greer saying that this is the one ritual that basically provides the foundation for all Golden Dawn work, and while most Golden Dawn tech can be hotswapped to use Celtic, Nordic, Hellenic, Roman, or other pantheon-specific powers and aesthetics instead of Egyptian ones simply by changing names around, it’s the Qabbalistic Cross that needs to be truly replaced and reworked in order to have everything else flow from there, using the other tech more-or-less the same.  For instance, in this January 2018 post of his on his Towards Ecosophy blog, he gives an outright replacement called the “Circle of Presence” to replace the Qabbalistic Cross.  In this way, he’s made a Celtic Golden Dawn using “The Rite of the Rays”, a Heathen Golden Dawn using The Hammer Sign, and other such variants.

The point here I’m making is that the Qabbalistic Cross is an important ritual, but it’s not the be-all end-all of centering or balancing works.  I myself like using it for its centering purposes, though I don’t use the Golden Dawn “Atah Malkuth ve-Geburah…” chant for it; rather, I’ve been using the Greek form of the doxology from the Lord’s Prayer (Σοῦ ἐστιν / ἡ βασιλεία / καὶ ἡ δύναμις / καὶ ἡ δόξα / εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας / ἀμήν, Soû estin / hē basileía / kaì hē dúnamis / kaì hē dóksa / eis toùs aiônas / amḗn) to relatively good effect.  It’s simple, short, and sweet, and I find the Greek easier to intone than anything else.  I don’t do a lot of visualization involving colors that the Golden Dawn does for the proper version of the Qabbalistic Cross, but then, I’m not a Golden Dawn magician.  I just find this tech useful.

But I was thinking: since I use my little version of the Qabbalistic Cross shortly before my Prayer of the Geomancers (available in my Secreti Geomantici ebook, for those who are interested), into which I’ve incorporated elemental and geomantic visualizations as it is, and since the Qabbalistic Cross can be adapted or reworked into other things that are at least as good for my own practice, especially since I’m not a Golden Dawn magician myself, why not come up with my own take on the Qabbalistic Cross properly?  Why not come up with a Geomancer’s Cross ritual, a kind of geomantic centering that’s easy and quick to do, familiar to most in modern Western occulture?

And here we are.  Just to be clear: I’m not trying to come up with an exact replacement for the Golden Dawn’s Qabbalistic Cross ritual, but rather a similar ritual that does similar things along geomantic lines that anyone can use for centering and balancing, and if we can get the extra benefit of making this an elemental or planetary thing as well, all the better.

To start with, let’s review our “Geomantic Adam”, a diagram from MS Arabe 2631 from the Bibliothèque nationale de France that we’ve brought up before in our talks about the physical and subtle body according to geomancy along with some explorations into geomantic energy work:

(I really need to redo the edits of this photo to make it properly cleaned up to avoid the grotesquely obvious erasure marks.)

The image of the diagram is to be understood as the person facing away from the viewer; thus, Puer is the right shoulder and Puella the left, Acquisitio the right hand and Amissio the left, Fortuna Minor the right leg and Fortuna Maior the left, and so forth.  There’s more to be said about the logic behind why certain figures are given to different parts of the body along with some tweaks and corrections to my earlier attempts to understand this diagram, to be sure, but we can leave that aside for now and focus on the four main parts of the body relevant to the present ritual: the head given to Laetitia, the groin given to Tristitia, the right shoulder given to Puer, and the left shoulder given to Puella.

Note the planetary makeup of these four parts, along with the elemental rulership of each figure:

  • Head­ — Laetitia — Jupiter — Fire
  • Groin — Tristitia — Saturn — Earth
  • Right shoulder — Puer — Mars — Air
  • Left shoulder — Puella — Venus — Water

Each of these points belongs to a different element, with Fire naturally being at the highest point of the body and Earth at the lowest, and with the moist elements on the same level but on different sides.  Also note how, on the vertical axis of the body, we have the two “greater” planets, greater in the sense of being the greater benefic (Jupiter) and greater malefic (Saturn), while on the horizontal axis, we have the two “lesser” planets, the lesser benefic (Venus) and the lesser malefic (Mars).  This is a pretty neat scheme for energy work, but we’re not done yet.  The two axes meet up in the torso, which can be thought of as belonging to one of four figures:

  • Back ­— Populus — Moon
  • Chest — Carcer — Saturn
  • Ribcage and sternum — Coniunctio — Mercury
  • Upper belly and solar plexus — Albus — Mercury

The back is too big an area for a single point of contact, so we can throw out Populus/Moon for this.  While Carcer makes sense, since the two axes really do line up over the chest, note that Carcer is ruled by Saturn, and Saturn is already represented by Tristitia at the groin.  This leaves us with Coniunctio or Albus as the remaining intersection figure, and Coniunctio seems to be much more apt for this in both placement and in symbolism of such a thing.  With Coniunctio, then, representing the intersection of the vertical and horizontal axes of the body, and with Coniunctio ruled by the planet Mercury, this gives us all five non-luminary planets represented by these five points total:

  • Head­ — Laetitia — Jupiter
  • Groin — Tristitia — Saturn
  • Right shoulder — Puer — Mars
  • Left shoulder — Puella — Venus
  • Sternum — Coniunctio — Mercury

This is actually a really nifty arrangement.  This only leaves two planets out of the mix, the Sun and the Moon itself.  The solar figures of Fortuna Maior and Fortuna Minor are given to the legs (specifically the thighs and upper legs), while the lunar figures of Populus and Via are given to the back and belly, respectively.  Looking at the Geomantic Adam diagram above, we can see certain patterns about how certain figures are given to different parts of the body:

  • Figures with one active point (Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, Tristitia) are given to the center axis of the body from head to groin, representing the four parts of the body as they would the four parts of a geomantic figure (the head row, the neck/arms row, the belly row, and the legs/feet row).
  • Axial figures (non-directional, viz. Populus, Via, Carcer, Coniunctio) are given to the parts of the body that are also on the central axis of the body, e.g. the various parts of the torso (back, chest, ribs, belly).
  • Non-axial figures with more than one active point (Puer, Puella, Acquisitio, Amissio, Fortuna Minor, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Cauda Draconis) are given to the various parts of the body that are on the right or the left, all distal from the torso without being on it.

How might we include the Sun and Moon into our Geomancer’s Cross ritual?  Well, it wouldn’t be directly according to how we’re incorporating the five non-luminary planets.  There are three ways I can conceive of this:

  1. If the Sun and Moon form an axis of their own, then it wouldn’t be on a the vertical axis (Jupiter and Saturn) or the horizontal axis (Mars and Venus), but on the depth axis of fore and aft, with the Sun being before and the Moon being behind.  Consider that Populus is given to the whole of the back, the only figure on the “rear” of the body, which naturally puts the Sun before; connecting them gives a third dimension to the body, with different polarities of planets at each end or on each side of the body, leaving ever-mercurial Mercury as the true center of all things.
  2. The Sun and Moon could each represent one of the two main axes of the body.  Knowing that the figures of the Moon are both axial figures, this would indicate that the Moon would “own” the vertical axis of the body (where are aligned all the axial figures, as well as the single-active-point pure-elemental figures), while the Sun, with its non-axial figures, would “own” the horizontal axis of the body.
  3. Note that the figure Coniunctio = Puer + Puella (the two figures of the horizontal axis) while Carcer = Laetitia + Tristitia (the two figures of the vertical axis).  While we know that Coniunctio is our preferred understanding for the intersection of the two axes of the body, we do have to admit that the right and left shoulders are much more connected (by means of the ribcage and generally being in alignment with each other) than the head and groin are; the two planets of the vertical axis would remain separate (Carcer) without the planets of the horizontal axis stepping in to bridge the gap (Coniunctio).  Also note that Coniunctio + Carcer = Via, the geomantic Whole, the true combination of all powers in one.  In this light, by adding together the figures of Laetitia, Tristitia, Puer, and Puella, we get Via, a whole of the body, meaning that the body and all its parts are fundamentally ruled by the Moon.  In this light, where is the Sun?  The Sun would be the power that flows into and through the body to animate it, being the active principle of Spirit to the Moon’s passive principle of Matter.

I personally favor explanation #1 the most, but #3 also gives some really useful food for thought, as well.  I suppose any of these would work, but beyond that, the luminaries (and, for that matter, the nodes) don’t really play a substantial part in this present discussion.  What we do have, however, is already looking great—and already seems far more balanced in the use of all five non-luminary planets rather than the Golden Dawn approach of Heaven and Earth, Mars and Jupiter, and the Sun.

Also, there’s another nifty thing I want to note here about the relationship of the figures involved here.  We can see that all four seven-pointed figures—the pure elemental ones of Laetitia, Rubeus, Albus, and Tristitia—are on the direct center meridian of the body, while all the five pointed figures—Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis, and Cauda Draconis—are all tied to the lateral extremities (upper arms/shoulders for the first two, the feet for the last two).  We know that Puer and Puella convert (remember your geomantic operations!) into Rubeus and Albus, respectively, linking the right and left shoulders, arms, hands to the center of the body—or, seen another way, linking the horizontal upper axis of the body to the center midline.  Likewise, we know that Laetitia and Tristitia convert into Cauda Draconis and Caput Draconis, linking the center vertical line of the body from the head through the groin all the way down to the feet, on the left and the right respectively.  It’s interesting to see the reflection of figures here through the use of conversion, which preserves the element of odd figures, and that all eight odd figures can be thought of as involved in this body structure of elements and planets.

So, that’s the framework and foundation for the ritual.  It’s an interesting extrapolation from our Geomantic Adam diagram, and allows us to come up with a way to ritually center and energetically prepare ourselves for Work in a way that’s both planetary and elemental at the same time, while using the symbolism and technology of geomantic figures.  As for what the ritual itself actually is, we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

3 responses

  1. The way in which I currently work the qabalistic cross ritual is to visualize a third beam of light, for depth, at the line for “leh olam,” accompanying that with ‘cupped’ hands just prior to the prayer position and “amen.” What you’ve laid out here ignites a discussion regarding tradition versus change and has me really wanting to rexamine the ritual, why I do it, and how I can be free to make it more “mine.” That said, I do prefer explanation #1 which most closely relates to how I already think of the ritual plus most seamlessly integrates into the golden dawn method. Overall, I love that you’ve laid out a sound way to incorporate planetary work into this simple ritual that can at times, if I’m honest, become rote & boring unless continually reexamined/rediscovered.

  2. Pingback: The Geomancer’s Cross: The Motions and the Prayer « The Digital Ambler

  3. Pingback: A Simple Water Blessing for the Home « The Digital Ambler

Leave a Note

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: