The Chaplet of Eight Dragons, or, the Rosary of the Geomancers of Allahabad

More surprises from 20th century French geomancy texts, but this one caught me really by surprise.

As I mentioned the last time I brought up these modern French geomancy texts, there’s an interesting mix of elements that are both plainly familiar and starkly unfamiliar in terms of the usual tradition of Western geomancy.  Obviously, the bulk and foundation of these works are from the usual Western sources from the medieval and Renaissance periods, including Robert Fludd, Henri de Pisis, Christopher Cattan, and others; that much isn’t surprising.  What is surprising is that there’s so much different in them that we don’t see in the modern English geomantic literature, which I assume is due to the introductions of African and Middle Eastern geomantic techniques and concepts that resulted from French imperialist and colonialist activity.  There’s no other European examples of some of the techniques and associations these French texts make, even if it’s not explicit—but sometimes it is, as in this interesting little thing, Le Rosaire des Géomanciens d’Allahabad or “The Rosary of the Geomancers of Allahabad”:

It’s a kind of beaded necklace, in an interesting pattern broken down into eight sections, each of which is composed of one segment of white beads and another of black beads, sometimes of one bead per “slot”, sometimes of two.  For reasons that we’ll discuss soon, another term for this device is Le Chapelet des Huit Dragons, “The Chaplet (or Wreath) of Eight Dragons”.

The moment I laid my eyes upon it, I knew immediately what this was based on.  Years ago, I had come up with the notion of geomantic “superfigures” (which I later called “emblems”), combinations of 16 rows of single or double points that, for every consecutive set of four rows (plus three “hidden” rows at the end duplicating the first three), contain all sixteen geomantic figures.  As a mini-example, consider a series of seven rows: single, double, double, double, double, single, single (·::::··); rows 1 through 4 gives the figure Laetitia, rows 2 through 5 Populus, rows 3 through 6 Tristitia, and rows 4 through 7 Fortuna Maior.  If we extend that, we can come up with a series of single/dual point sequences that contain all sixteen geomantic figures exactly once, which was what I intended to do with my superfigure/emblem idea.  Unfortunately, even after coming up with a (really stupidly complex) way of assigning rulerships and correspondences of the 256 emblems to the base 16 figures, as well as thinking of ways to actually use the damn things, I never really got all that far with them.  (If you’re not familiar with this notion, at least read the first two posts linked above in this paragraph, which explain about the structure and what “hidden” means for those final three lines.)

I had no idea nor any means at the time to find out whether such a concept had ever before arisen in the minds of other geomancers, but given that geomancy is a thousand years old and spread across so much of the world, I would have been surprised if I were truly the first to come up with this idea.  Still, I hadn’t encountered anything of the like in any geomantic text I had come across, nor had I yet—until I came across these French geomantic texts, which finally gave me something to work with.  The two texts I’ve found this in (there may well be more that I just haven’t come across yet) is Francis Warrain’s Physique, métaphysique, mathématique, et symbolique cosmologique de la Géomancie (1968), along with the highly eclectic Joël Jacques’ Les signes secrets de la Terre Géomancie (1991).  Interestingly, however, it does not appear in Robert Ambelain’s La Géomancie arabe (1984), which takes a good chunk of its information from his earlier La Géomancie magique (1940), which suggests a different origin entirely (which isn’t to say that Ambelain’s later text was an accurate or precise representation of Arabic geomancy, because it’s not, but it does have a few other different interesting things in it related to jinn lore).

Warrain’s book includes a lengthy chapter, Cycles des seize figures Géomantiques Emboitées (“Cycles of the Sixteen Nested Geomantic Figures”), which talks about these sorts of things; I’m going through it slowly with the generous help of Google Translate, because my French isn’t exactly up-to-par for casual reading.  However, the following chapter (my translation) talks directly about this interesting rosary, albeit only briefly, as it seems to be more of a note in a later edition of Warrain’s manuscript.  (The edition of his book I have is from 1986, while the esotericist and metaphysician Warrain himself died in 1940, making this a posthumous release of an earlier work.)

Editor’s note: We found in one of the last manuscripts of “La Géomancie”, revised and reworked rather late by Francis Warrain himself, the following additional text, concerning this present problem of “The Nesting of Figures” to which he provides additional documentation. We give below this complete amending text:

Oswald Wirth succeeded in representing the complete sequence of the sixteen Figures on a circle divided into sixteen equal parts, each carrying a single point (“monopoint”) or a double point (“bipoint”), these points being distributed so that starting from any radius and traversing the circumference always in the same direction (“dextrogyre” or “sinistrogyre”) the points located on four consecutive rows give, when one reads them successively four to four, and progressing each time from a point (monopoint or bipoint), the sixteen different Figures of Geomancy, without any of them being repeated.

It is possible, by doing so, and by modifying each time certain successions of points, to obtain 8 different combinations in the grouping of the Figures and to produce materially, using wood beads or glass beads or vegetable seeds, eight different “geomantic rosaries” of 24 grains each, which can close by butting on themselves, or which, abutted to each other and closed in a closed cycle, constitute a long “rosary” made of 128 successive rows of monopoints and bipoints, 64 rows from one and 64 rows from the other, or 192 beads in total.

Other researchers than Oswald Wirth (I learned only late) had also realized this problem in a very complete way, in all its generality.

Mr. Marcel Nicaud, renowned painter, xylographer, and famous fresco artist, attached to the Musées Nationaux Français, and had fully achieved this by a simple and precise mathematical process which was personal and invented by a special technique. (1)

I will present this problem of “Sixteen nested geomantic figures” in general, and as I have personally conceived and solved it. Are there other solutions to discover? I don’t think I can say!

The singular designation of “Rosary of the Eight Dragons” is given to this “Rosary” because, arranged in a circle on a plane, it comprises, placed in the 8 directions of space, the unchanging representation of the Figures of Caput Draconis and of Cauda Draconis separated from each other by the Figure of Via, that is to say the symbolic representation of 8 “Amphisbenes” or mythological tantric two-headed dragons.

(1) It is to Marcel Nicaud, skillful engraver and subtle esotericist, that the illustration of this astonishing masterpiece of arithmology and symbolic esotericism is due, due to the prodigious traditional knowledge of one of our last “Authentic Masters” which is entitled From Natural Architecture, or Report by Petrus Talemarianus on the establishment, according to the principles of Tantrism, Taoism, Pythagorism and Cabal, of a “Golden Rule” used for the Realization of the Laws of Universal Harmony and contributing to the accomplishment of the “Grant Work”. Les Editions Véga, Paris, 1950.  It is from this “summa” that we extracted the “Geomantic Rosary” illustrating the text opposite.

(2) These “rosaries” are commonly used, it seems, in certain and highly secret tantric sects as supports for very complex metaphysical meditations, as well as for geomantic divinatory uses, and also for subtle purposes of “recognition initiation”.

It’s a short section, admittedly, and doesn’t say a lot, but it does give some names of other Western esotericists (especially the famous Oswald Wirth, contemporaneous with Warrain) to look up for future research regarding the geomantic emblems (however they phrased or worded the concept).  The Nicaud book is extant, both in French and in English, but it’s difficult and expensive to find, so it may be some time before I can get my hands on it.  I don’t know which Wirth book Warrain refers to, but I’ll see if I can dig it up.

In Jacques’ book, on the other hand…well, Les signes secrets de la Terre Géomancie is, like I said, a rather eclectic text.  It places a good amount of emphasis on the transnational, transcultural role of geomancy, by which I mean equating Western geomancy with Ifá and I Ching, which isn’t a great approach in my opinion, and it makes a lot of the usual New Age jumps between Hinduism and Buddhism and this and that and the other into one confused mess with questionable numerological and etymological leaps of logic.  Still, eclectic and spastic as it can be, it also has a few good points on this particular topic (capitalization preserved from the original text, my translation):

To return to a more particularly cosmogonic research: to this desire to inscribe the Geomantic Figures in the astral cycles, at least to give them a representation which could represent the Sky, to this desire to unite the mantic arts around the divine Revelation of the origin of things, we will dwell for a moment on what appeared to us as an African contribution to Geomancy, an external contribution to the Mediterranean basin which can be considered as a bridge between the worlds, from one culture to another: the Rosary!

There is a form of representation of the distributing Figures of traditional Geomancy that it is possible to compare the lunar cycles which we spoke above: it is the geomantic Rosary which is said to serve as a sign of recognition to some magicians of the East. This geomantic rosary also bears the names of “Rosary of Allahabad”, “Rosary of the Geomancers of Allahabad” or “Rosary of the Eight Dragons”.  With regard to this designation, it is quite difficult to formulate an exact explanation because no ancient rosary has been found in this city in the north of India.  However, in Arabic, Allahabad means “the City of God” or, in other words, “the Heavenly City”.  It therefore seems somewhat random to us to want to link this name to a current geographic reality; the Agharta concept would be more acceptable…

The total number of beads composing the rosary is 192, making it therefore possible to link the reduction to the name of JERUSALEM (Yod-Resh-Vav-Shin-Lamed-Mim = 93, which is 99 less than 192) which leads us to think that the name “Rosary of the Geomancers of Allahhabad “, since Jerusalem is also a holy city of Islam, is a rather recent name indeed for the rosary.   The rosary is in the form shown in the figure above.  Each DRAGON is red, the color of fire, and made up of three elements: AIR-FIRE-WATER, in this order, i.e of a coupling and an opposition.  The total number of points in each DRAGON is eight.  Eight is the first female cubic number, and eight represents the EARTH (the element absent from the composition of the DRAGON), the element in which has the deepest mysteries. It is a conventional chthonic symbol called number of Pluto (the One who lives under the Earth).  It is a sacred sign among the Japanese, representing multiplicity, shown in the form of an eight-petaled flower, a representation of the Lotus also found in many Western representations of Romanesque art.  Eight is the letter Ḥeth of the Hebrews, the first letter of the word Ḥai (Ḥeth-Yod-Heh) which means LIFE (8 + 1 + 5 = 14 = 5⁷), and is also the first letter of the name of the eighth Sephirah, HOD, or Glory.  Eight is the symbol of infinity, but let us also remember: the eight arms of Vishnu, the eight spokes of the Wheel of the way of Buddhism, the eight paths of the Tao, the eight forms of SHIVA.  “The one whom Christ brings to life is placed under the figure EIGHT”, wrote Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century; this is not surprising because, if 8 is turned onto its side, it represents infinity, but it also takes the form of a stylized fish, a primitive symbol of Christianity, the religion which by epiphany connects man to eternity.

These eight deployments represent ALL the composition possibilities of the 16 Distributing Figures of Geomancy preceded or followed by the DRAGON. Symbolically, they connect the first two male and female couples (1 + 0) by the 10 lines of each of the cycles to the essence of the Zodiac, the Ouroboros.  10 is Malkuth, the Kingdom.  The dragon bites its tail, which in no way means that the theme at rest, i.e. that in which each Figure is in its place, is among these cycles.  Each now has the keys that will allow him to discover the riches of the rosary and especially why it is also called “rosary”.  Six rows of the DRAGON among eight red points, ten rows for the cycle among sixteen black points: note, however, that in the sacred language of Christians, Hebrews, and Arabs, red has always been associated with FIRE and divine love, but black symbolizes the night and everything that is more malicious than death.

Interestingly, Jacques uses that possibly Arabic but definitely French system of elements and elemental associations to pairs of rows of figures, both in the passage above and throughout his book, but Warrain doesn’t appear to use the system at all.  Warrain, likewise, didn’t mention anything about colors for the beads; although Jacques may have found another text that talks about it, he doesn’t list Wirth or Nicaud in his bibliography, so his use of colors might well be an innovation or extrapolation from the image on his part.

So, with those introductions out of the way, let’s talk about the structure of this device.

• The “Chaplet of Eight Dragons” (hereafter “the Rosary”) is broken down into eight sections, each section an emblem of itself, all starting with the binary structure 011110 (:····:), itself consisting of the figures Caput Draconis, Via, and Cauda Draconis.  The other rows of a given section provide the rest of the emblem.
• The draconic points/beads (for the 011110 segments) are always in another color (e.g. red) compared to the non-draconic beads that provide the rest of one complete emblem (e.g. black).  The draconic segment 011110 of each section is important, as it grounds and anchors the Rosary to eight directions, with the gaps between them consisting of the same number of beads/points but in an irregular way.
• Each section consists of 24 points/beads, eight from the draconic segment and 16 from the non-draconic segment.
• There are sixteen total emblems that start with 011110, but there are only eight sections on the Rosary.  In the depiction above, those eight sections are the following emblems (with their corresponding geomantic figure breakouts), starting with the 011110 segment at the top and proceeding clockwise around the Rosary, with the “hidden” final three lines (which are the first three of the following 011110 segment, which fully completes the emblem) in parentheses:
1. 0111101100101000(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia (, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior)
2. 0111101000010110(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio (, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior)
3. 0111100001101001(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer (, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella)
4. 0111100101101000(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia (, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior)
5. 0111101100001010(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio (, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior)
6. 0111101000011001(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer (, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella)
7. 0111100001001101(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer (, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella)
8. 0111100100001101(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer (, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella)
• The other eight emblems that start with 011110 are also present on the Rosary; they simply need to be read counterclockwise around the Rosary.  Starting from the 011110 segment at the top and proceeding counterclockwise from there in the depiction above, these get us the following emblems (with their corresponding geomantic figure breakouts), with the “hidden” final three lines in parentheses:
1. 0111101011000010(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus (, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior)
2. 0111101011001000(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia (, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior)
3. 0111101001100001(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia (, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella)
4. 0111100101000011(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior (, Coniunctio, Puer, Puella)
5. 0111100001011010(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio (, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior)
6. 0111101001011000(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia (, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior)
7. 0111100110100001(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia (, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella)
8. 0111100001010011(011): Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior (, Coniunctio, Puer, Puella)

That’s what we know from looking at this thing at a glance.  The next big thing to figure out would be why this specific order of emblems is used on the Rosary, and for that, we need to pick up on a few other details looking at the general structure of the Rosary:

• Proceeding clockwise around the Rosary from the topmost draconic segment, the emblems used follow 011110 using an odd-odd-even-even-odd-odd-even-even pattern for the first non-draconic row, i.e. the first non-draconic row in the first two segments have a single point each, the next two double, the penultimate two single, and the last two double.
• However, the final non-draconic row of each section has double, double, single, double, double, single, single, single points.  This leads to an interesting asymmetry where if we go clockwise around the Rosary, we have a regular pattern, but no such pattern if we go counterclockwise.
• There’s almost a perfect symmetry with the first full figure from the non-draconic segment clockwise around the Rosary: the first and fifth non-draconic segments start with 1100 (Fortuna Minor), the second and sixth 1000 (Laetitia), the third and seventh 0001 (Tristitia), but the fourth starts with 0101 (Acquisitio) and eighth with 0100 (Rubeus).  However, at least for the first three non-draconic rows, the symmetry is perfect.  Following the initial Caput Draconis-Via-Cauda Draconis breakout of every section, this gives the first and fourth sections (which start with the non-draconic 110) an initial figure breakout of Puer-Puella-Coniunctio; the second and fifth sections (100) Puer-Amissio-Rubeus; the third and sixth sections (000) Fortuna Minor-Laetitia-Populus; and the fourth and eighth sections (010) Fortuna Minor-Carcer-Albus.
• This also means that the first, second, fifth, and sixth sections, because the first non-draconic row has a single point/bead, have Puer as the first breakout figure following the initial Caput Draconis-Via-Cauda Draconis breakout of every section, and that the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth sections all have Fortuna Minor as the first breakout figure.
• There’s much less symmetry counterclockwise, however: the first and fifth non-draconic segments counterclockwise have 1011 and 0001 (Puella and Tristitia), the second and sixth 1011 and 1001 (Puella and Carcer), the third and seventh 1001 and 0110 (Carcer and Coniunctio), and the fourth and eighth have 0101 and 0001 (Acquisitio and Tristitia).  The only symmetry I can find here is that the first non-draconic row of the first and fifth segments are opposed (1 and 0, yielding the figures Puer and Fortuna Minor), the second and sixth aligned (1 and 1, both yielding Puer), the third and seventh opposed (1 and 0, again yielding Puer and Fortuna Minor), and the fourth and eighth aligned (0 and 0, both yielding Fortuna Minor).
• Looking at the two rows on either side of the draconic segments clockwise as “bounds” for each “dragon”, then going clockwise, then the first dragon is bound double-double, the second double-single, the third double-double, the fourth single-double, the fifth double-single, the sixth double-single, the seventh single-double, and the eighth single-single.  This means that there are two double-double bound dragons, one single-single bound dragon, two single-double bound dragons, and three double-single bound dragons.  No real symmetry here to speak of.

All sixteen 011110-starting emblems are represented, eight clockwise and eight counterclockwise; this is why this is a “Chaplet of the Eight Dragons” and not “Chaplet of the Sixteen Dragons”.  However, based on the lack of symmetry going counterclockwise around the Rosary, or at least given how little symmetry there is going counterclockwise compared to there is going clockwise, it seems that there really is directionality involved in the Rosary, and that it seems stronger going clockwise.  This means that the eight emblems read clockwise around the Rosary are probably more important than those going counterclockwise, or that the eight counterclockwise emblems arise as an effect from the positioning of the eight clockwise ones.

What doesn’t rely on directionality, however, is something I hadn’t noticed before when it came to the geomantic emblems: starting from any point of any emblem and taking the first four figures drawn from the seven rows starting from the one chosen, if you take those seven rows as representing four overlapped geomantic figures and then take them as four Mother figures for a geomantic chart, the four Mother figures will be the same as the four Daughter figures.  More concretely, say you randomly choose a point on the Rosary, and you end up at the first row of the segment 1000010.  Breaking that out, you get the four figures Laetitia (1000), Populus (0000), Tristitia (0001), and Albus (0010).  If you use those as Mother figures for a geomantic chart, then the four Daughters that result will also be Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, and Albus, in that same order.

This is a fascinating property that I hadn’t picked up on before, and yields a special class of geomantic chart I call “repetitive charts”: charts where the four Mothers are the same as the four Daughters and in the same order, and thus the first two Nieces are the same and in the same order as the last two Nieces, the two Witnesses are the same, the Judge is Populus, and the Sentence is always the same figure as the First Mother.  There are 1024 (2¹⁰) such repetitive charts, and there’s a particular way you can construct one based on the sixteen rows of points of the four Mother figures.  First, remember that the sixteen rows that collectively comprise the Mother figures are the same as those that comprise the Daughter figures, just read horizontally across from top to bottom instead of vertically down from right to left:

 Daughter 1 ← Row 13 Row 9 Row 5 Row 1 Daughter 2 ← Row 14 Row 10 Row 6 Row 2 Daughter 3 ← Row 15 Row 11 Row 7 Row 3 Daughter 4 ← Row 16 Row 12 Row 8 Row 4 ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Mother 4 Mother 3 Mother 2 Mother 1

In order to create a repetitive chart, certain rows have to be the same, reflected across the top right-bottom left diagonal:

 C B A ∗ E D ∗ A F ∗ D B ∗ F E C

Thus, Row 2 must be the same as Row 5 (A), Row 3 must be the same as Row 9 (B), Row 4 must be the same as Row 13 (C), and so forth.  Thus, if the third row of the First Mother has a single point, then the first row of the Third Mother must also have a single point.  Rows 1, 6, 11, and 16 are marked by asterisks (∗) and can be anything, single or double, and won’t affect the repetitiveness of the chart.  Thus, there are ten distinct choices to make here: the six mandated-repeated rows A, B, C, D, E, and F, and the four wildcard rows (∗).  Because there are ten choices to make between two options, this means that we have 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 2¹⁰ = 1024 repetitive charts.

Turning back to the Rosary, we know that there are 128 rows on the Rosary, which means that there are 128 options for picking out such charts if we use it clockwise, and another 128 options counterclockwise, which means we have 256 possibilities total for picking out charts using this method.  However, not all these charts are distinct, because the same sequences of seven rows (e.g. 0111100) appear multiple times in the Rosary.  If we focus on just all possible combinations of single or double points among seven rows, then this means that there are only 2⁷ = 128 possible distinct charts, but not all combinations of points among seven rows are present on the Rosary, either (e.g. the case of 1111111, where all four Mothers are Via).  In fact, based on the figure breakouts given above, we know there are only 74 possible distinct charts using the Rosary, formed from the following Mothers:

1. Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer (2 repetitions)
2. Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia (2 repetitions)
3. Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via (6 repetitions)
4. Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor (4 repetitions)
5. Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Puer (2 repetitions)
6. Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus (4 repetitions)
7. Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis (4 repetitions)
8. Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio (4 repetitions)
9. Albus, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior (2 repetitions)
10. Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus (2 repetitions)
11. Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis (2 repetitions)
12. Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio (2 repetitions)
13. Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Albus (2 repetitions)
14. Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior (4 repetitions)
15. Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus (6 repetitions)
16. Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor (8 repetitions)
17. Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer (8 repetitions)
18. Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio (2 repetitions)
19. Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella (4 repetitions)
20. Carcer, Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia (2 repetitions)
21. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via (4 repetitions)
22. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor (1 repetition)
23. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer (3 repetitions)
24. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus (3 repetitions)
25. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior (1 repetition)
26. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus (4 repetitions)
27. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio (2 repetitions)
28. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus (4 repetitions)
29. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella, Coniunctio (2 repetitions)
30. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus (3 repetitions)
31. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior (1 repetitions)
32. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus (4 repetitions)
33. Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio (2 repetitions)
34. Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus (4 repetitions)
35. Coniunctio, Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis (2 repetitions)
36. Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis (8 repetitions)
37. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer (1 repetition)
38. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia (1 repetition)
39. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio (4 repetitions)
40. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Puella (2 repetitions)
41. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio (4 repetitions)
42. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Rubeus (2 repetitions)
43. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis (1 repetition)
44. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio (1 repetition)
45. Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia (8 repetitions)
46. Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus (8 repetitions)
47. Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior (8 repetitions)
48. Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio (6 repetitions)
49. Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus (2 repetitions)
50. Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis (4 repetitions)
51. Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio (4 repetitions)
52. Puella, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis (8 repetitions)
53. Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer (3 repetitions)
54. Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia (3 repetitions)
55. Puella, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio (2 repetitions)
56. Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella (4 repetitions)
57. Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer (4 repetitions)
58. Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia (4 repetitions)
59. Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via (2 repetitions)
60. Puer, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor (2 repetitions)
61. Rubeus, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio (2 repetitions)
62. Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis (3 repetitions)
63. Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio (3 repetitions)
64. Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia (8 repetitions)
65. Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio (2 repetitions)
66. Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella (3 repetitions)
67. Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Carcer (2 repetitions)
68. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via (4 repetitions)
69. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor (1 repetition)
70. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer (3 repetitions)
71. Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer (4 repetitions)
72. Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia (4 repetitions)
73. Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio (6 repetitions)
74. Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella (2 repetitions)

Organized by how many repetitions there are for each set of Mothers:

1. One repetition (8 sequences)
1. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor
2. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior
3. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior
4. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer
5. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia
6. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis
7. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio
8. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor
2. Two repetitions (24 sequences)
1. Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer
2. Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia
3. Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Puer
4. Albus, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior
5. Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus
6. Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis
7. Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio
8. Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Albus
9. Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio
10. Carcer, Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia
11. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio
12. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella, Coniunctio
13. Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio
14. Coniunctio, Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis
15. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Puella
16. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Rubeus
17. Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus
18. Puella, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio
19. Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via
20. Puer, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor
21. Rubeus, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio
22. Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio
23. Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Carcer
24. Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella
3. Three repetitions (9 sequences)
1. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer
2. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus
3. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus
4. Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer
5. Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia
6. Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis
7. Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio
8. Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella
9. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer
4. Four repetitions (21 sequences)
1. Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor
2. Albus, Acquisitio, Amissio, Rubeus
3. Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis
4. Albus, Acquisitio, Puella, Coniunctio
5. Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior
6. Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio, Puella
7. Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via
8. Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus
9. Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus
10. Coniunctio, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus
11. Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Rubeus
12. Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio
13. Fortuna Minor, Carcer, Albus, Acquisitio
14. Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis
15. Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio
16. Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella
17. Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Carcer
18. Puer, Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia
19. Tristitia, Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via
20. Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Carcer
21. Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, Laetitia
5. Six repetitions (4 sequences)
1. Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via
2. Amissio, Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus
3. Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Acquisitio
4. Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer, Amissio
6. Eight repetitions (8 sequences)
1. Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor
2. Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Puer
3. Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis
4. Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia
5. Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus
6. Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Fortuna Maior
7. Puella, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis
8. Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia

Now, 74 is a really strange number that doesn’t really appear otherwise in geomancy, and the distributions here are a little unusual, so maybe there’s something to investigate along those lines more.  Perhaps there’s significance to these 74 charts in some way, but I’m not so sure.  For that matter, there could be other significance or meaning attributed to the whole emblematic order of the Rosary, but it’s not clear to me.  Still, even if this post raises more questions than it answers regarding this intriguing little device, at least all this is something to note, whether for my or future geomancers’ research, so maybe someone can do something with this information.

De Geomanteia: Caput Draconis (looking for someone to share in an adventure)

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:

Caput Draconis

This is the figure Caput Draconis.  In Latin, its name means “Head of the Dragon”, also the name for the North Node of the Moon, but is also named “inner threshold” in some Islamic traditions, as well as “coming in of fortune” or “stepping inside”.  If you (quite literally) connect the dots, you might come up with a figure that looks like heading to doorway with a path leading to it.

First, the technical details on this figure.  It’s associated with the North Node of the Moon, the place where the Moon’s orbit around the Earth crosses and rises above the ecliptic of the Sun, or further into the northern celestial sphere; it’s one of the two places where eclipses happen (the other is the South Node of the Moon).  Due to its benefic nature, it’s associated with Venus and Jupiter, and due to its transitory nature, it’s associated with the sign of Virgo.  The closest qabbalistic association that can be drawn, having effects only on the sphere of the Earth, is with Malkuth.  It has the earth, water, and air lines active with only the fire line passive, and is overall associated with the element of Earth.  It is an odd figure with five points, relating to subjective, inner states of the soul and experienced reality rather than objective, independent, or external situations.  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 right arm, when associated with the body at all, but can also be associated with the mouth and sensory organs that take things in.  Its inverse figure (everything this figure is not on an external level) is Laetitia, showing that this figure is not fast-moving, not openly successful, not transient.  Its reverse figure (the same qualities of this figure taken to its opposite, internal extreme) is Cauda Draconis, showing that this figure is not ceasing, not calamitous, not unfavorable.  Its converse figure (the same qualities of this figure expressed in a similar manner) is Tristitia, showing that this figure is similarly slow-moving and self-building through adversity.  Caput Draconis is a figure representing beginnings of all kinds, and is open to any possibility.  Like Fortuna Maior, Caput Draconis bodes well for upcoming adventures and undertakings, though with some difficulty at the beginning; it tends to be good with good figures and bad with bad figures, and is unfavorable for ending, closing, or getting rid of a situation.

My meditations on this figure feature mostly the image of being in the cockpit of a racecar, the first time on a track in a race.  Quoth Cake, “reluctantly crouched at the starting line, engines pumping and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flags go up. churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.”  The race begins and you head on out.  Anyone who’s done any kind of racing knows the fear, the anxiety, the rush that goes along with the training and the seconds just before the race, and how it prepares them for what’s actually to come.  There’s reluctance, unwillingness, and concern about whether there’s enough to go on going, not just in racing but in any ordeal or adventure: starting a new semester at school, starting a new job, starting a new relationship, starting a new phase of one’s life.  In the same moment as those fears arise, though, the process that involves those fears begins, and life goes on.

Just as a newborn dragon hatching from its egg, Caput Draconis is all about beginnings, births, newness, and possibility.  Will that dragon be a rampaging wyvern razing the countryside, or will it be a wise solitary hermit once it grows out of its drake stage?  It doesn’t matter at this point, because we haven’t crossed that bridge: it’s still just a hatchling, with all the hopes, dreams, fears, and omens that it brings.  How it’ll be raised, on what it’ll eat, with what it’ll observe will all change what this little lizard will be; sure, dragons have instincts, but as greater creatures nurture also has an effect in addition to nature.  With experience, the drake becomes a dragon, and figures its place out in the world.  Just so, Caput Draconis describes all beginnings, all new things, and all hatching of opportunity and possibility into reality.  Over time, the fear, anxiety, and potential energy will become magnanimity and wisdom or terror and regret, not to mention kinetic energy to accomplish tasks unseen or barely hoped for as yet, but just now, things are just new.  Good things starting off tend to get better, while bad things tend to get worse; still, things can be fixed for the better in their beginning, so Caput Draconis is much more good than bad, often being ranked as among the most fortunate of figures in geomancy.

Unlike Tristitia, seen as a peg nailing and holding things to the ground against their will, Caput Draconis can be seen as the image of a seed being planted in the earth.  Although seeds are elementally ruled by Fire, Caput Draconis has that one element passive, indicating that the process from seed to tree is just beginning: its earthy, material basis is set in the ground; its spiritual, watery nature is beginning to flow; its active, airy nature is beginning to interact with the rest of the world.  However, though it has all the resources available to act, it still needs the input of energy, drive, will, and Fire to become complete.  Because of this stable, slow pace of growth, Caput Draconis is given to the element of Earth as a whole.  Plus, due to its transitory nature, it’s also associated with the mutable earth sign of Virgo, known for being detail-oriented, micromanaging, and resource-gathering to maintain and perfect things from inception to finalization.

When Caput Draconis appears in a reading, it usually indicates things starting off or something new having begun.  Children being born, health improving, a new job, or a new lover are all reasonable things to expect with this figure depending on its placement, and it brings in the influence of Venus and Jupiter to a minor degree.  Though things may be difficult, things also look good at the very outset, and will likely be better when seen all the way through.  It isn’t good to have around when things need to finish, die off, or gotten rid of, but beyond that, Caput Draconis is definitely one of the good figures.  Sneak it into banners, logos, or business cards for startups or new businesses for good luck, or engrave it into the cornerstone of a new building to ensure its future prosperity.  So long as something’s starting off or something is desired to begin, Caput Draconis is a good figure.