De Geomanteia: Geomantic Magic (let this spell last forever)

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 (last and final) week, let’s talk about technique instead of figures. Specifically, let’s talk about how to apply geomancy and geomantic figures to magic.

Yes, dear reader, magic. That fabulous art and science of causing a change in conformity with will, the thing I talk about near non-stop on this blog.  This (yet again) lengthy post on geomantic technique will review just a few of the ways one might apply geomancy to magic, since the sky is literally the limit here (at least in terms of celestial spheres).  So get a drink and a snack, put on your robe and wizard hat, and let’s begin.

Just as the planets in astrology can lend themselves to either divination or magic, so too can geomancy by incorporating the figures and their associations in magical ritual, talisman creation, and the like.  Keep in mind that a geomantic figure is nothing more than a collection of elemental forces, where each of the four elements is either active or passive, present or missing, on or off. In one sense, each geomantic figure can be seen as an alchemical formula that reveals a particular state of the cosmos.  Further, by figuring out the ruling element of the mixture, we can divine the overall elemental nature of a certain combination of elements. For instance, Coniunctio (air and water active), with its fluidity in emotional response and mental communication, lends itself very well to the element whose primary nature is wet: Air.

In addition to their elemental formulae and overall correspondences, the geomantic figures are also associated with the planets and signs of the zodiac.  Through these, they’re tied into the ancient and well-known field of planetary magic, which can incorporate the geomantic figures as well into their rituals.  For instance, when I want to work with the darker, more destructive side of Mars, I’d probably pick Rubeus or Cauda Draconis; for wealth magic, I’d go with jovial Acquisitio.  This also ties the geomantic figures into the planetary sephiroth in Qabbalah, which is an extensive set of systems in its own right.  For instance, Coniunctio is associated with Virgo and Mercury, and through those the sephirah Hod, the number 8, the color orange, and the like.  If you’ve forgotten what those are, review the other De Geomanteia posts on the figures for their elemental, planetary, zodiacal, and qabbalistic associations, the paragraph on the “technical details” of the figures near the start and the last paragraph that describes their divinatory and magical interpretations.

Another way to understand the figures is by expanding them to entire charts.  Due to the nature of geomantic chart construction, there are 16×16×16×16 = 65536 possible legal charts used in geomancy, but subsets of them have special properties.  One set, which I call “unique charts”, is the set of all charts that make use of 15 geomantic figures without repeating (excluding the Sentence figure, which of mathematical necessity must repeat from the foregoing 15 figures, and none of the figures in the first 15 figures of the shield chart can be Populus, which would induce repetition).  There are 16 such unique charts, which makes the prospect of linking each one to the sixteen geomantic figures tempting.  One of the members on the Geomantic Campus Yahoo! mailing list (which everyone interested in geomancy should join), Frater Pyramidatus, uncovered a way to assign these 16 unique charts to the 16 figures of geomancy as a way to expand and fully capture the “essence” of the figure in a whole geomantic chart.  Though I won’t reproduce the method or the full set of charts here, the Mother figures to generate each chart are as follows (in order from First to Fourth Mother):

  1. Populus: Caput Draconis, Amissio, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  2. Via: Puer, Caput Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  3. Albus: Fortuna Minor, Rubeus, Puer, Amissio
  4. Coniunctio: Laetitia, Fortuna Minor, Puer, Coniunctio
  5. Puella: Cauda Draconis, Caput Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  6. Amissio: Fortuna Minor, Rubeus, Carcer, Cauda Draconis
  7. Fortuna Maior: Puella, Cauda Draconis, Tristitia, Albus
  8. Fortuna Minor: Acquisitio, Puella, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  9. Puer: Rubeus, Laetitia, Caput Draconis, Puer
  10. Rubeus: Caput Draconis, Carcer, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  11. Acquisitio: Rubeus, Laetitia, Cauda Draconis, Caput Draconis
  12. Laetitia: Coniunctio, Puella, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  13. Tristitia: Rubeus, Laetitia, Cauda Draconis, Puella
  14. Carcer: Rubeus, Laetitia, Puella, Puer
  15. Caput Draconis: Puella, Puer, Tristitia, Albus
  16. Cauda Draconis: Laetitia, Fortuna Minor, Acquisitio, Cauda Draconis

Further, because of the mathematics of geomancy, whole charts can be added to each other to yield new charts by adding each figure in one chart to its corresponding figure in the other (e.g. chart 1 First Mother + chart 2 First Mother = chart 3 First Mother).  Based on this, we can obtain charts (not unique, but still significant) that similarly reflect the force of whole planets.

  1. Moon (Populus + Via): Amissio, Puer, Albus, Fortuna Maior
  2. Mercury (Albus + Coniunctio): Rubeus, Laetitia, Populus, Fortuna Minor
  3. Venus (Puella + Amissio): Albus, Fortuna Maior, Laetitia, Fortuna Minor
  4. Sun (Fortuna Maior + Fortuna Minor): Cauda Draconis, Acquisitio, Fortuna Maior, Tristitia
  5. Mars (Puer + Rubeus): Fortuna Maior, Tristitia, Acquisitio, Cauda Draconis
  6. Jupiter (Acquisitio + Laetitia): Albus, Fortuna Maior, Puer, Coniunctio
  7. Saturn (Tristitia + Carcer): Populus, Populus, Acquisitio, Coniunctio
  8. Lunar Nodes (Caput Draconis + Cauda Draconis): Fortuna Maior, Tristitia, Rubeus, Fortuna Minor

These charts can be used as talismanic images in their own right or augmented to other talismans to represent the entire force of a particular figure or planet.  Frater Pyramidatus also managed to link up the whole system of unique charts assigned to each geomantic figure into a more overarching diagram called “the Geomantic Pyramid”, which combines the geomantic figures, elements, and notions of the Male Principle and Female Principle.  It’s an interesting read, though I haven’t found a way to incorporate it into my own practice; Frater Pyramidatus operates (I believe) in a stricter Thelemic current, so maybe students of that tradition will get more out of it.  Still, I’ll leave the interested reader to join the group above and read for themselves.

In a similar manner, you might also use the geomantic emblems, or sequences of 16 lines like a geomantic figure that contain the essence of all 16 geomantic figures in a cohesive, single icon.  There are 256 such emblems, which can be analyzed elementally on their own, or grouped into 16 cycles of emblems.  Each cycle is associated with a particular figure, giving whole families of emblems a particular geomantic force underlying its nature.  If individual geomantic figures, which are combinations of the four classical elements, represent different states of the cosmos, then the geomantic emblems can be used to represent whole cosmoses or processes of the universe from one state to another fluidly.  The magical uses of these emblems is still mostly unexplored, but it wouldn’t do any harm to find a particular emblem structurally associated with a particular figure you want and elementally associated with a particular stage you want in a given situation and incorporate it into talismans or subtly-occult jewelry.  The notion of order, transition, and flow within the geomantic emblems does beg more investigation, especially in terms of “universal geomantic descriptors” of the cosmos.  You might do well to check out some of my meditations on how they might be explored and understood.

I once mentioned, long ago and separate from De Geomanteia, a particular set of geomantic mudras, or shapes and gestures one can make with the hands to concentrate and meditate upon the figures.  They can also be used as magical gestures, as well: in ritual, when wanting to direct the force of  a particular geomantic figure outward, one would make the mudra with the right (dominant) hand; when wanting to direct it inward towards yourself, one would make the mudra with the left (submissive) hand.  Consider the ASL sign for “I love you”, which is the mudra for Coniunctio, or the standard gesture used for Christian blessing, which is the mudra for Fortuna Maior.  When wanting to cause destruction or to lay a curse on someone, you might use the mudra for Cauda Draconis towards the target (like the surfer shaka/hang loose gesture).  These mudras can be thrown up in formal or informal ritual to act as a focus or “geomantic weapon” in their own right, depending on the need and context.  As a rule, the mudra should be selected based on the force desired: if one wants to start something new, one might throw the mudra of Caput Draconis, but if one wants someone to cut something out, one should use that of Cauda Draconis.  Based on the ruling elements of the figures and the natural motion of the figures (fire and air tend to go upward, water and earth tend to go downward), one could hold the mudra at different heights to affect the motion of the force:

  • Fire (burns upward): held high to “catch” and pull in Fire energy, held low to “burn away” and send out
  • Air (moves around but tends upward): any height works, but similar to Fire
  • Water (flows around but tends downward): any height works, but similar to Earth
  • Earth (falls downward): held low to “catch” and pull in Earth energy, held high to “drop” and send out

Plus, due to the “pure” elemental nature of the figures Laetitia (Fire), Rubeus (Air), Albus (Water), and Tristitia (Earth), these mudras are especially powerful for invoking and working with the elements.  Due to their internal, subjective nature, mudras for figures ruled by Fire and Water are more naturally suited to the left hand, with the right hand more suited to the external, objective elements of Air and Earth.  These attributions of right and left are assumed for a right-hand dominant magician; they may be kept the same or reversed for a left-hand dominant magician.

Every time I’ve talked about a figure in this series, I mentioned how you might get a certain shape or image if you play connect the dots with the figure. That method of making images or pictures by connecting the dots in different ways to form a variety of sigils; depending on the figure and depending on the method, a number of different sigils can be devised for a single figure.  Cornelius Agrippa gives a plentiful list of geomantic sigils in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy (book II, chapter 51) which can be used directly in magic or incorporated into talismans, either on their own or in conjunction with other signs and symbols, such as planetary squares, images and occult art, statement-derived sigils a la chaos magic, or qabbalistic diagrams or patterns.

Another use of the sigils, though I haven’t experimented with it personally, is to conjure the intelligence of the individual geomantic figure itself.  Beyond calling them “spirit of Puella” or “angel ruling over Fortuna Maior”, I had an idea to use the Hebrew names for the figures (based on Stephen Skinner’s Geomancy in Theory and Practice) and append the requisite -(i)el onto the end of the names.  Though I haven’t had experience with calling on these angels in relation to the geomantic figures, they should get good results, considering that their names are directly tied to those of the geomantic figures.  Instead of using these angels, one might conjure the angels ruling the zodiac signs or the planets associated with the figures (e.g. Malchidiel, angel of Aries, for Puer).  Instead of using the sigils for the geomantic figures as the seals for these angels, one might also draw out their names on their associated planetary qameas (using the Qamea of the Earth for the angels of Caput Draconis and Cauda Draconis).  These are names based off the traditional names of the figures; should you contact them and get different names or sigils specific to them, let me know, because it’d be nice to have a set of standard names for these guys.

  • Populus: Qehilahiel (QHLHIAL, קהלהיאל)
  • Via: Derekhel (DRKAL, דרכאל)
  • Albus: Labaniel (LBNIAL, לבניאל)
  • Coniunctio: Chiburel (ChBURAL, חבוראל)
  • Puella: Halechiel (HLChIAL, הלחיאל)
  • Amissio: Abodel (ABUDAL, אבודאל)
  • Fortuna Maior: Elihiel (OLIHIAL, עליהיאל)
  • Fortuna Minor: Sheqiohel (ShQIOHAL, שקיוהאל)
  • Puer: Nilchamel (NLChMAL, נלחמאל)
  • Rubeus: Adomel (ADUMAL, אדומאל)
  • Acquisitio: Hashigiel (HShGIAL, השגיאל)
  • Laetitia: Nishoiel (NShUAIAL, נשואיאל)
  • Tristitia: Shefeliel (ShPLIAL, שפליאל)
  • Carcer: Sohariel (SUHRIAL, סוהריאל)
  • Caput Draconis: Rashithiel (RAShIThIAL, ראשיתיאל)
  • Cauda Draconis: Siumel (SIUMAL, סיומאל)

There are records and methods of assigning different letters to the geomantic figures, whether in the Roman, Greek, Hebrew, or Enochian languages.  Examples can be found in Golden Dawn’s use of Enochian Chess (images of the “chessboard” can be found here) as well as John Heydon’s Theomagia (book III, pp. 15-18, or pp. 323-325 on Scribd).  John Michael Greer also gives examples of assigning Roman letters to the geomantic figures in his book Art and Practice of Geomancy, perhaps based on Fludd’s or Heydon’s associations.  However, like with assigning numbers to the figures to tell time, I haven’t gotten good results in assigning the geomantic figures to letters to indicate names of people, places, or the like.  I’ve heard of others do so well enough, so your mileage may vary.

One way to incorporate geomantic divination into magical planning or geomantic magic involves the inspection of a given geomantic chart.  Say a querent wants to know whether something will happen that they really want to happen, but the chart denies the query and says “no, it won’t” (review this post on perfection, affirmation, on denial if you’re foggy on this).  By inspecting the significators of the querent and quesited, one can see what can done to “edit” the reality described by the chart to induce a perfection (though it might be best to limit this to the significator of the querent).  One might consider “adding” or “removing” elements from one’s life to change their significator into another one (such as “adding” Air to Puella to change it to Via, or “removing” Water from it to change it to Carcer), and see what effects that would have in the geomantic chart (either redrawing the whole chart from scratch or just superficially editing the house chart).  Doing the same with whole geomantic figures can also be done, such as adding Puella and Puer to form Coniunctio.

An old style of Arabic geomantic magic involves the use of taskins, or specific orderings of the sixteen geomantic figures as a kind of talisman.  One shown in Stephen Skinner’s book was used to find water, and there are references to other taskins to find treasure or similar objects.  I haven’t found very many of these, since it seems to be really old or obscure geomantic knowledge (at least as published in English or European publications), but one could use such orderings (say, four sets of four figures aligned to the four quarters based on their elements) for altar arrangements, geomantic Tables of Practice, or similar talismans.  Such orderings might share similarities with the geomantic emblems I mentioned above, but due to the dearth of information on the Arabic, African, or Middle Eastern uses of taskins in European languages, this is pretty much an unknown.  Unfortunately, until I learn Arabic or until someone who does is willing to take on a few translation projects for me, not much is going to change in this situation.  Although some taskins might be ordered by astrological principles (ruling planet, ruling sign, etc.), other takins might be derived from the unique charts above or the geomantic emblems.  Definitely something to experiment in the future with.

Arabic Geomantic Talisman

To give an example of geomantic magic, say Jane Doe wants to marry John Smith in the next year.  Marriage can be benefitted magically from a number of figures, but Coniunctio is probably the best.  So, to achieve her desired goal, Jane might do any or all of the following:

  • Make a talisman of the figure Coniunctio with associated mercurial, Virgoan materials and timing, since Coniunctio is a figure representing union, a coming together of forces and people, and marriage; such a talisman might have a sigil of the figure on one side and its associated unique chart on the other.
  • Conjure Chiburel, the angel watching over Coniunctio, perhaps under the guidance of the angel of Mercury Raphael, to invoke and manifest the forces of Coniunctio between herself and John.
  • Intone the vowel epsilon (associated with Mercury) in a day and hour of Mercury over an image of her and John put together, with a sigil of Coniunctio drawn over them, perhaps incorporated with yet other sigils a la chaos magic.
  • Throw the geomantic mudra for Coniunctio (which looks a lot like the ASL sign for “I love you”) around in John’s presence, perhaps visualizing a sigil for Coniunctio directed or “thrown” at him.
  • Make a small hemp or chain bracelet tied or knotted in a manner that makes use of the geomantic emblem for Coniunctio, starting at the position where Caput Draconis appears, repeating a short incantation to lure, tie, and conjoin John to her.
  • Cast a candle spell that uses six candles set out in the dot pattern of Coniunctio in a day and hour of Venus, placing a picture of her between the candles of the earth line and a picture of John between the candles of the fire line.

Assume for a bit that a geomancer throws a chart to see whether it’s possible that they can be married in the next year; the chart comes up with a negative answer, with Tristitia as the significator for Jane and Fortuna Maior for John.  There’s no perfection, but the structures for Tristitia and Fortuna Maior are similar, differing only in the water line (i.e. Tristitia has water passive, Fortuna Maior has water active).  Jane might consider “adding” the elemental force of water to her own self and life, perhaps by reaching out emotionally to connect with John more than she is or swimming more and being surrounded by blue and watery things, which would have the effect of transforming Tristitia to Fortuna Maior, which would induce perfection by occupation, turning the negative answer from the chart into a positive one.  The same could be accomplished by working with the figure Albus similarly, since Albus and Tristitia combine to form Fortuna Maior, perhaps by being more reflective and in touch with oneself, or by working with the angel Labaniel to make one more watery and spiritually deep.

At their core, the geomantic figures are another set of symbols that can blend or bind with other symbols in magic.  You might incorporate the geomantic figures into sigils, or use the sigils of the geomantic figures themselves, in a sigil web.  Drawing the geomantic figure on consecrated paper or scrolls to keep as talismans, or using candle arrangements in the form of geomantic figures, would be good ritual uses of the geomantic figures.  Conjurework and hoodoo might also benefit, by using the geomantic figures as talismans on paper or clay, burning or crushing them up into dust, and mixing them in with other powders to lay over someone as a target/victim/beneficiary.  The ability to use geomantic figures and geomancy in magic is as wide and varied as the kinds of magic out there entirely, so feel free to experiment and use the geomantic figures in whatever way might seem useful or interesting.

As a rule, before performing any magic working (geomantic or otherwise), it’s suggested that the magician perform a divination to make sure it’s both advisable and feasible to use magic to a particular end.  In other words, the magician should always ask “can I use magic to attain my goal?” before actually using magic as a part of planning.  To understand these charts, see whether the Judge is favorable to the working and whether perfection exists with the proper house.  Magic is related to four houses in geomantic charts:

  • Sixth house: magic you ask others to do on your behalf as a service
  • Eighth house: magic you do generally, e.g. those that involve lesser spirits, demons, witchcraft
  • Ninth house: magic you do with celestial, theurgic, divine, or philosophical forces, e.g. astrological talismans, prayer to attain a desired end
  • Twelfth house: magic done by others against you, especially without your knowledge

Additionally, you might want to inspect the seventh house (anyone working with you, a partner, a consultant, a spiritual worker, etc.) and the fourth house (the end result of the magical operation) to get a feel for other factors in magic-related situations.  The Part of Spirit, or Index, often indicates spiritual considerations related to queries and their resolution, which is doubly important in questions of magic.

And that concludes my 20-part series De Geomanteia, a weekly series of posts on the sixteen figures that constitute the alphabet of geomancy as well as four posts on geomantic technique. This series was a lot more fun to write than I expected it to be, and you guys gave some really good feedback during the whole process both on the blog and off.  Thank you, dear readers, for sticking it through with me, and I hope you learned at least a bit about this venerable and ancient divination system, if not inspired to use it in your own work. Would you guys have any other questions, queries, quandries, or comments to make about geomancy?  Or would you have anything to share in addition to what I’ve posted, especially about incorporating geomancy with magic?

Understanding and Employing the Geomantic Emblems

Alright, so now that we’ve gone over what the geomantic emblems are, how we can analyze them elementally, and how we can assign cycles of the emblems to the sixteen figures of geomancy, I wanted to give a bit more analysis and start getting into how we can use these emblems.

First, we know we can take a 16-line emblem and break it down into four 4-line geomantic figures.  We can assign each of these figures to the four elements, and take lines 1, 6, 11, and 16 to form an essential figure that represents the geomantic emblem elementally.  For instance, the Fire Subelemental Figure of a given geomantic emblem can be constructed by taking the fire lines in order: fire of fire (line 1), fire of air (5), fire of water (9), and fire of earth (13).  The Air, Water, and Earth lines can be constructed similarly by taking those respective subelemental lines.  By adding the subelemental figures together, we can obtain an “elemental sum” figure that represents how the elements interact in the emblem as a whole, as opposed to the overarching essential elementa figure that defines the emblem elementally.

We can also use these four figures as four Mothers in a geomantic chart, and use the chart as a whole to understand the emblem.  Just by adding the four figures together, though, we can obtain a “sequential sum” figure, which is the same as the Right Witness from the geomantic chart generated by the emblem.  As it happens, only even figures can ever be the sequential sum of an emblem, with Populus happening twice as many times (64) as any other sequential sum (32) except Via, which never happens.  Although the Judge of the geomantic chart generated from the emblem (we’ll call it the “Judge sum”) indicates how the emblem effects itself in the world (qualified by its elemental essence), the sequential sum indicates from what perspective or what cause it wants to act (Right Witness vs. Judge).  Coincidentally, the elemental sum figure of the emblem represents the Left Witness, just as the subelemental figures represent the four Daughters of the geomantic chart (fire subelemental figure is First Daughter, etc.).

When we go to cycles, there are several operations we can perform on a geomantic emblem just like how we can perform on a geomantic figure: inversion (flipping the bits from 1 to 0 and from 0 to 1), reversion (reading the emblem from the 16th line to the 1st), and conversion (inversion + reversion).  Unlike geomantic figures, which may have themselves as conversions or repeat the same figure between their inversion and reversion, the geomantic emblems have unique inversions, reversions, and conversions that don’t repeat.  Just as the emblems fall into specific emblematic cycles, so too do their inversions, reversions, and conversions.  The cycles have a specific pattern of this:

  • Populus: inversion Caput Draconis, reversion Fortuna Major, conversion Rubeus
  • Via: inversion Laetitia, reversion Fortuna Minor, conversion Cauda Draconis
  • Albus: inversion Acquisitio, reversion Tristitia, conversion Conjunctio
  • Conjunctio: inversion Tristitia, reversion Acquisitio, conversion Albus
  • Puella: inversion Amissio, reversion Puer, conversion Carcer
  • Amissio: inversion Puella, reversion Carcer, conversion Puer
  • Fortuna Major: inversion Rubeus, reversion Populus, conversion Caput Draconis
  • Fortuna Minor: inversion Cauda Draconis, reversion Via, conversion Laetitia
  • Puer: inversion Carcer, reversion Puella, conversion Amissio
  • Rubeus: inversion Fortuna Major, reversion Caput Draconis, conversion Populus
  • Acquisitio: inversion Albus, reversion Conjunctio, conversion Tristitia
  • Laetitia: inversion Via, reversion Cauda Draconis, conversion Fortuna Minor
  • Tristitia: inversion Conjunctio, reversion Albus, conversion Acquisitio
  • Carcer: inversion Puer, reversion Amissio, conversion Puella
  • Caput Draconis: inversion Populus, reversion Rubeus, conversion Fortuna Major
  • Cauda Draconis: inversion Fortuna Minor, reversion Laetitia, conversion Via

Now we have a number of ways to understand the emblems:

  1. figure sequence from expanding the emblem: the order of the figures as they appear within the emblem
  2. essential elemental figure: the condensation of the pure elements taken from the subelemental lines of the emblems in their proper places, representing the elemental force of the figure as a while
  3. subelemental figures: the condensation of specific elements taken from the subelemental lines of the emblems in their places, representing how each of the four elements within each emblem presents itself geomantically
  4. geomantic chart: the geomantic chart that is generated by taking the emblem as four Mothers in sequence
  5. Right Witness/sequential sum figure: the figure that appears as Right Witness in the geomantic chart generated by the emblem, or the combination of the four figures presented in the geomantic emblem in sequence, indicating from what perspective or what cause it wants to act
  6. Left Witness/elemental sum figure: the figure that results from adding the four subelemental figures of the emblem, or the Left Witness in the geomantic chart generated by the emblem, indicating how the elements interact in the emblem as a whole as well as how the emblem is affected by external situations
  7. Judge sum figure: the figure that appears as Judge in the geomantic chart generated by the emblem, indicating how the emblem effects itself in the world
  8. emblematic cycle: the structural basis underlying the
  9. inverse emblem: everything this emblem is not on an external level
  10. reverse emblem: the same qualities of this emblem taken to its opposite, internal extreme
  11. converse emblem: the same qualities of this emblem expressed in a similar manner

For example, for the geomantic emblem 1000010110100111, we have the following information:

  • figure sequence: 1000 (Laetitia), 0000 (Populus), 0001 (Tristita), 0010 (Albus), 0101 (Aquisitio), 1011 (Puella), 0110 (Coniunctio), 1101 (Puer), 1010 (Amissio), 0100 (Rubeus), 1001 (Carcer), 0011 (Fortuna Maior), 0111 (Caput Draconis), 1111 (Via), 1110 (Cauda Draconis), 1100 (Fortuna Minor)
  • essential elemental figure: Via (water)
  • fire subelemental figure: Amissio (fire)
  • air subelemental figure: Acquisitio (air)
  • water subelemental figure: Fortuna Maior (earth)
  • earth subelemental figure: Acquisitio (air)
  • elemental sum figure: Carcer(earth)
  • Judge sum figure: Carcer (earth)
  • sequential sum figure: Populus (water)
  • emblematic cycle: Populus
  • inverse emblem: 0111101001011000 (Caput Draconis cycle)
  • reverse emblem: 1110010110100001 (Fortuna Major cycle)
  • converse emblem: 0001101001011110 (Rubeus cycle)

This gives us a huge amount of information for each of the 256 emblems, and this is all still fairly preliminary research, too.  Now that we have all these tools and methods of interpreting and understanding the emblems, the big question is how?  And for what purpose?  What do the emblems represent, and how do they fit into the larger idea of the cosmos, divination, and magic?

Each of the geomantic figures is composed from the four elements, and whether those elements are active or passive.  In a way, the figures represent 16 states of the cosmos at any given time, little snapshots of how any situation is evolving and resolving into a new state.  The geomantic emblems combine all 16 geomantic figures into a cycle, representing whole cosmoses on their own, complete situations and how they can be represented through a process of continuously evolving geomantic figures.  Read one way, the force within an element becomes more and more subtle, first appearing as earth then as water, then air, then fire, eventually being left entirely above what it was, while other forces come into play to take the place of the ascended element.  Read another way, the forces within an emblem begin a process of descent from the highest and most subtle realms to the most dense and material, describing a process of materialization and concretization instead of reification and deification.

Each situation has a beginning, a process that leads from the beginning to the end, and the end itself which must reflect the beginning.  We know that, although our emblem analysis uses 16 lines, emblems as a whole were first discovered as 19-line superfigures.  However, the final three lines must be the same in each emblem as the first three lines, which provides the repetition that allows the emblem to overlap onto itself as a cycle and allows for the complete expansion of the emblem into 16 figures, which are both ways the emblem reflects the beginning in the end. Certain patterns always appear in each cosmic process, and some parts of each process have the same flow.  Consider the geomantic emblems: all the geomantic emblems have the same constituent parts (the 16 geomantic figures), but these don’t appear randomly within the emblem.  We know that Laetitia must always be followed by Populus which must always be followed by Tristitia, which can be followed by either Albus or Fortuna Maior.  Similarly, we know that Caput Draconis must be followed by Via which must always be followed by Cauda Draconis, which can be followed by either Puer or Fortuna Minor.

All this boils down to a simple(?) choice.  When one wants to influence a situation to go a certain way or to inspect a particular state of a situation/the world, look to the geomantic figures.  When one wants to create a whole system or investigate how cosmic processes work as a while, look to the geomantic emblems.  Whether it’s for divination, magic, planning, meditation, theurgy, or other occult work, emblems are systems, while figures are states within a system.  Knowledge of systems requires a wider view than any specific view alone; one needs to step back or have foreknowledge of what’s going on in order to correctly assess what process one finds themselves in, and then what can be done to proceed along the process in a desired manner (if the process is changeable) or in a manner that can at least be known in advance (if the process is unchangeable).

In a way, it’s like the difference between knowing the astrological forecast for a given event at a given time, and seeing how the interaction of the natal/electional horoscope for an event and its progression or transits affects a situation, process, or life across its duration.  The difference is state versus system, or single snapshot versus whole process.

So, how can the geomantic emblems be used?  Though this is still really new stuff that needs exploration and experimentation, I’ve got a few ideas:

  • Jewelry and talismans: incorporate the emblems into magical items, either graphically (drawing or writing the emblem onto the item) or structurally (knotting, braiding, or shaping the item to resemble the emblem).  The emblem can be used to bring about a prescribed process and flow of a situation.  Likewise, they can be engraved on wands or staves to represent a middle pillar of the world, kind of like a world-tree or similar central supporting force underlying a conduit of power.
  • Representations of the cosmos: by enlarging the definition of “system” to reflect the entire cosmos, entire cosmological processes can be understood on a grand scale as an interplay of the elements.  Alternatively, they can be seen as processes that define or mark a whole sequence of events, much as a person’s natal chart or a talisman’s electional chart, that indicates where strengths, weaknesses, and dignities lie.
  • Decoration and resonance: I’ve done some experimenting with using graphical presentation of the geomantic emblems as sigils or decorative motifs, including a set of armband tattoos that look like a cross between an arabesque lattice and a scifi data printout.  Generating infinite arabesques from the emblems or incorporating them in an area or on art by necessity also incorporates the energy of the geomantic figures, as well as their flow and elemental associations, that can subtly affect the nature or energies in a given place.

Your thoughts?  Hopefully the geomantic emblems aren’t too far above your head, dear reader, and maybe you might even be willing to share some of your thoughts and possible applications of them in divination and magic.

The Geomantic Emblems and their Rulerships

Last time I brought up the geomantic emblems (previously called geomantic superfigures, 256 16-line “figures” that each contain all 16 geomantic figures within themselves), I described a few bits about the elemental representation and force within each figure.  In the process, I described a method where each geomantic emblem can be elementally analyzed and given an “elemental essential” rulership, by taking the “pure elemental” lines, and also how to split up the emblems into four figures to give them an entire geomantic chart as background.  However, I also mentioned that all 256 emblems could be reduced to a set of 16 by rotating them around; in other words, there are 16 sets of 16 topologically equivalent geomantic emblems.  16 is a significant number in geomancy, as my astute readers may have noticed, and I brought up how tempting and tantalizing it would be to assign a set of rulerships that correspond these 16 sets of geomantic emblems to the 16 figures of geomancy.  I didn’t have the method done just then, but I’ve finally come up with a way to link the two sets of symbols.  The correspondences are, using the list from last time:

  1. Laetitia: 1000010011010111
  2. Carcer: 1000010011110101
  3. Fortuna Minor: 1000010100110111
  4. Puer: 1000010100111101
  5. Acquisitio: 1000010110011110
  6. Populus: 1000010110100111
  7. Coniunctio: 1000010111100110
  8. Albus: 1000010111101001
  9. Tristitia: 1000011001011110
  10. Rubeus: 1000011010010111
  11. Amissio: 1000011010111100
  12. Puella: 1000011011110010
  13. Fortuna Maior: 1000011110010110
  14. Caput Draconis: 1000011110100101
  15. Cauda Draconis: 1000011110101100
  16. Via: 1000011110110010

How did I go about finding these correspondences?  A lot of math, hand-wringing, and sangria, that’s for sure.  If, dear reader, you’re interested in finding out how I corresponded the figures to the emblems, please continue after the break, but I’m going to warn you.  This post is long and at times tedious, and is full of binary mathematics and lots of 1s and 0s.  This post is only for the hardcore geomancy geeks like me out there, and it helps to have a solid footing in computer science, basic/low-level programming exercises, and binary/discrete mathematics.  Even I’m kinda shocked by how lengthy and pointlessly in-depth this post is, if that’s any indication of what you’re in for.  If you want to stop reading now, I forgive you and completely understand.  If you want to find out why I allocated the above emblems and their rotated variants to the figures like I did above, read on.  Either way, expect another post in the near future on how to use these emblems, their geomantic rulership, and elemental analyses in magic and divination!

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Geomantic Superfigures (Emblems) Revisited

A while back, I mentioned something about geomantic superfigures, which has recently become another focus of mine.  The De Geomanteia posts I’m doing are awesome for getting me to revisit old topics in geomancy, and I feel like the superfigures (I should a devise better name than that, perhaps “geomantic emblems”?) are something to be worked on a little more.  In a nutshell, geomantic superfigures are 19-row figures that, if you take any four consecutive rows, yields one of the 16 geomantic figures, and all 16 selections of four consecutive rows yield all sixteen geomantic figures exactly once.  They’re basically microcosms of the universe represented geomantically.  I suggest reading the old post above on the geomantic superfigures to get an idea of what they are.  There are 256 different geomantic superfigures, which is significant since 256 = 16².

I developed the idea for geomantic superfigures emblems a while ago as an exercise in combining a particular problem from computer science algorithms and DNA sequencing with geomancy, and though it seems useful, I never really developed a use for it, and so the idea and the list of 256 emblems just sat there gathering dust.  Recently on the Geomantic Campus mailing list, the geomancer prunesquallori picked up the idea and did some more analysis on it, and came up with a few awesome observations:

  1. Each geomantic emblem has 19 lines, but the last three lines must always be the same as the first three lines, i.e. line 1 = line 17, line 2 = line 18, line 3 = line 19).
  2. Because of the repetition of lines, we can reduce the size of the geomantic emblem to 16 lines without losing any information.  This is a far more appealing number than 19, geomantically speaking.
  3. One can rotate the 16-line emblems line by line, i.e. old line 1 becomes new line 16, old line 2 becoming new line 1, … old line 16 becoming new line 15.  This, when combined with the above, will yield another valid geomantic emblem.
  4. Each emblem can be rotated a total of 16 times, which produces a cycle.  Because there are 256 emblems, each of which can be rotated into or is rotated from another 16 emblems, we can reduce the 256 emblems to 16 if we ignore what position we begin at.

Consider the geomantic emblem from the last post, which we described as the binary string 0000100110101111000.  This figure contains, taking successive groups of four consecutive bits (0 represents a passive line and 1 an active line), the geomantic figures Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Maior, Coniunctio, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis, Fortuna Minor, and Laetitia.  However, notice that the last three binary digits and the first three are the same; we can reduce the figure in size to the emblem 0000100110101111.  We can take for granted that the last three bits are going to be 000 since the first three are 000, so we leave them unwritten.  If we rotate the emblem by two bits to the right, we get 1100001001101011 in 16-bit form, or 1100001001101011110 in 19-bit form, which is another valid geomantic emblem.  This geomantic emblem contains, in order, the geomantic figures Fortuna Minor, Laetitia, Populus, Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Carcer, Fortuna Major, Conjunctio, Puer, Amissio, Acquisitio, Puella, Caput Draconis, Via, and Cauda Draconis.

Knowing that we can break down the emblems into 16-bit strings, or 16-line emblems, makes interpreting and using them a good bit easier.  For a simple elemental interpretation of the emblems, consider that a normal 4-row geomantic figure has one row for each of the four elements fire, air, water, and earth from top to bottom.  If we magnify the geomantic emblems into four groups of four rows, the first set of four rows can be assigned to fire as a whole, the second set to air, the third set to water, and the fourth set to earth.  Within these sets, we assign each individual row to an element as we would normally, so the first row of a set is assigned to fire, the second to air, and so forth.  By using this scheme, we can interpret the geomantic emblem as having whole geomantic figures representing how a particular element manifests.

Moreover, in using this scheme, we then can have lines that represent a particular element within a particular element.  The fire row of the fire quartet of lines would be “fire of fire”, or pure fire; the air row of the fire quartet would be “air of fire”, the interactive or mobile force of fire.  The system would continue so there’d be sixteen combinations: fire of fire, air of fire, water of fire, earth of fire, fire of air, air of air, and all the way down to earth of earth at the bottom.  By seeing how the interplay of elements works within the elements themselves, we can get a deeper understanding of the emblem they appear in.  Conversely, if we take the pure elemental lines out of the emblem and combine them, we can get a geomantic figure that can capture the essence of the emblem.  In this manner, there would be 16 emblems per geomantic figure.

As an example, consider the emblem 0000100110101111 from above.  Breaking it down into four groups of four lines, we have Populus (0000), Carcer (1001), Amissio (1010), and Via (1111).  Populus represents the force of fire in the emblem, Carcer the force of air, Amissio the force of water, and Via the force of earth.  If we took the pure elemental lines (fire of fire, line 1; air of air, line 6; water of water, line 11; earth of earth, line 16), we get the figure Tristitia (0001).   If we look at the emblem 1100001001101011, we have Fortuna Minor (1100) for the force of fire, Albus for the force of air (0010), Coniunctio for the force of water (0110), and Puella for the force of earth (1011).  Taking the pure elemental lines, we get the figure Puella (1011).  Fortuna Minor in this emblem would be especially powerful, since it’s a figure ruled by fire appearing as the force of fire in the emblem.

Also, consider that in having a 16-row emblem, we have the same number of rows required to develop a full geomantic chart, which can also help elaborate or expand on the nature of the sequence of figures that combine to form a geomantic emblem.  Given the emblem 1100001001101011, using Fortuna Minor, Albus, Coniunctio, and Puella for the four Mother figures, we find that the Judge is Coniunctio, the Sentence is Amissio, the Via Puncti doesn’t lead anywhere, the sum of the chart is 94, the Part of Fortune is in house 10, and the Part of Spirit is in house 2.  The rest of the chart I leave for the reader to derive, but interpreting this chart could yield even more information on a particular geomantic emblem that would help in unfolding its meaning or core.

Going back a bit, I mentioned above that there are 16 cycles of emblems, where if you rotate a particular emblem 15 times in succession you get another valid emblem.  Repeating this for all 16 emblems yields 256 total emblems.  Starting from an arbitrary point, the 16 16-bit cycles are:

  1. 1000010011010111
  2. 1000010011110101
  3. 1000010100110111
  4. 1000010100111101
  5. 1000010110011110
  6. 1000010110100111
  7. 1000010111100110
  8. 1000010111101001
  9. 1000011001011110
  10. 1000011010010111
  11. 1000011010111100
  12. 1000011011110010
  13. 1000011110010110
  14. 1000011110100101
  15. 1000011110101100
  16. 1000011110110010

Keep in mind that, because emblems can be cycled, you could all start these so that they start with the part of the emblem that goes 1111 and still have valid emblems.  It’s probably better to picture them as rings or bands instead of strings to emphasize their cyclic nature.  They’re presented above so that they start with 10001 for convenience.

Since there are 16 cycles, each of which can produce 16 emblems, I figured that there would be a way to link each cycle to one of the 16 geomantic figures, affording yet another way to classify the emblems but in a helpful non-elemental manner.  This would help in picking out specific emblems from the set of 256, such as by saying “the emblem in the Albus cycle beginning with Puella”.   However, doing this is tricky, since the cycles are independent of starting point, and so using arbitrary lines in the emblem is about as good as labeling two otherwise identical spheres A and B based on where you happened to touch them first.  A lot of the methods I first tried  made use of assigning a “start point” somehow, which defeated the whole purpose.  Other methods I tried allocated multiple emblems to a given figure but skipped over others entirely, which was also unhelpful.

However, in the end, a method of allocating the sixteen emblematic cycles to the sixteen figures of geomancy was found!  How, might you ask?  With a lot of work and structural analysis, that’s for damn sure.  Stay tuned to see what that method is and what the sixteen emblematic cycles are corresponded with.

A Little Light

I’ve been working a lot with the forces of light recently, in terms of the ring consecration and other ongoing works which are having a significant effect on me, my Work, and my life in general.  I received a short prayer today that’s supposed to help me focus on and help me in working with light.

Blessed is he that walks in the light.
Blessed is he that follows the path of the light.
Blessed is he that is guided by the light.
Blessed is he that walks in the light.

Holy Light, guide me.
Holy Light, surround me.
Holy Light, support me.
Holy Light, fill me.

It turns out that working with the force of light is something for me to work on for a good while more, if not a lifetime project, which is something for me to enjoy as well as focus on.  How fortuitous, then, that my magical motto reflects just this same notion: Lautitia Laborum Lucis Laetor, “I Rejoice in the Splendor of the Works of the Light”.  Even though I’ve kept my motto pretty much a secret and unused, I figured it was a good choice to announce it to the world today, especially what with my recent work and results with the light.  I didn’t choose the motto recently by any means; in fact, I chose it back about a year or so ago.  The motto’s been hovering on the blog this whole time, too: the letters LLLL forms the four corners of the sigil up at the top of the blog, my personal emblem.  It’s unclear whether I’ll choose to go with the grandiose appellation “Frater LLLL” anytime soon over the simpler “polyphanes”, but now it’s official.

UPDATE (6/29/2012): Since I’m bored, I decided to make a translation of the prayer in Latin.  Enjoy!

Benedictus qui venit in luce.
Benedictus qui sequitur luce.
Benedictus qui dicetur luce.
Benedictus qui vadit in luce.

Lux Sanctum, duce me.
Lux Sanctum, saepi me.
Lux Sanctum, sustine me.
Lux Sanctum, comple me.