Something for my geomancy-reading readers: Geomantia Dice Kickstarter

It’s not very often I do shout-outs or calls for support on my blog for crowdfunding; I’ve only done it the once before for the Sigil Arcanum Tarot Kickstarter (which, I have to admit, turned out exceedingly well, and for which Taylor Bell has my sincere thanks for bringing it to the world).  However, as I said then, there are still times that there’ll be something neat or nifty on Kickstarter that crosses my path or which someone brings to my attention that not only I want to support but which I think the readers of my blog will, too.  So, if you’ll indulge me, dear reader, I think there’s something nice to consider for you to back.

I raise to your attention the Geomantia campaign on Kickstarter:

From the campaign page:

Historically, Arab geomancers began their divinatory exercise by first praying and then entering into a trance-like state, while focusing on the question being asked of them. By making random points in the sand and counting them up as odd or even numbers, they would obtain their first set of geomantic figures.

Qirra dice were created to generate these figures at random (see antique Qirra Raml Dice sets in museum collections here and here).The use of the Qirra set will provide the geomancer with all four figures in one throw of the dice, making it a very pragmatic and also beautiful divinatory tool to use.

[…]

Brass Qirra dice are the traditional divinatory tools of geomancy (see examples here and here) and elevate the diviners craft to bring it inline with the prestige of this highly efficacious magical practice. Tools like this are only available in museum collections.

The unique pattern of Qirra dice set indents provide the diviner with the first four geomantic figures in one single throw. This is exceptionally useful in face-to-face readings with clients, as it allows the geomancer to quickly assess if the chart or pattern being cohered is fit to be judged, or for checking the cardinal houses for a figure that matches the planetary hour within which the reading is taking place (as per Agrippa) if that is the geomancer’s method for ensuring radix (radicality or whether the chart is fit to be judged as this is one of many geomantic methods to insure accuracy in a reading). Aside from being a divinatory tool, the set can also be steeped in planetary materia magica to align the dice with the spirits and or planets that governs the question being asked prior to a reading, which is a ritual I have adopted in my own practice. Using these classical geomantic tools is to partake in a magical divinatory practice that stretched from the East to the West and was second in popularity only to astrology.

Our goal is to raise funds to produce 250 deluxe, limited-edition sets of traditional Arabic brass Qirra dice. Each set will be hand made and proportioned according to classical Qirra pieces in museum collections.

This is not a mass-produced item. Once the initial run is sold out, no additional sets will be created; making this both a highly collectible item and a professional divinatory tool. Each set will be numbered and come in a custom Geomantia box. Included will be a poem, written as an ode to the spirits of this practice, and a black velvet drawstring bag to protect your dice set. Additionally, each purchase of a dice set will include a link to downloadable PDF reference of traditional house and shield charts, used to incorporate the Geomantic figures generated by the dice sticks.

A while back, I talked about the various ways geomancers across the world have produced the figures for geomantic charts and for divination making use thereof.  One of the most common ways seen across lots of the Arabian-style geomantic traditions, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, are the use of qirra, or what I call “geomantic spindle-dice”.  These are a pair of spindles, each of which has four cubes on it, each face having two, three, or four dots arranged in a pattern so that, when both are spun and laid out on a surface, reading a pair of cubes “vertically” gives you a geomantic figure.  In the following historical example of a set of Persian qirra, we could read the figures Albus, Rubeus, Cauda Draconis, and Rubeus (from right to left).  Although we don’t see this used very often in European geomantic practices to generate figures, this is a very common approach used in Arabian ones.  To that end, this Kickstarter aims to create sets of such qirra, which are otherwise extremely hard to come by in any Western context.

This project (being created by Johann Faust and Jonna Shaw) has lots of tiers and lots of things to provide:

  • PDF templates of Shield Charts and House Charts
  • A beautifully-designed geomancy-themed poster
  • Geomancy readings
  • A set of brass museum-quality geomancy spindle-dice
  • A brass, hand-etched “Plate of the Seven Planets” containing images of the seven planets, twelve Zodiac signs, and their magical characters

Images from the Kickstarter campaign page, in case you might want an idea of the beauty of what Johann and Jonna are planning (with, of course, far more information and details on the Kickstarter itself):

This is a project that Johann himself reached out to me about, even from its early prototype stages, and this is a project that I myself definitely want to see succeed (and have chipped in to help with as well).  The project aims to hit its US$20k goal by mid-December, and if all goes well and there are no hitches with production, everything should be ready and sent out no later than June next year.  As of this post, the campaign has already hit $7.3k, so it’s well on track to hitting its goal.  Note that only a limited number of these spindle-dice are planned to be made, so if you’re interested in getting yourself such a set, consider contributing to the Kickstarter soon before time and slots run out!

Here’s hoping for a successful campaign!

Something for my Tarot-reading readers: Sigil Arcanum Tarot Kickstarter

On occasion, there’ll be something nifty on Kickstarter that crosses my path that I’ll throw money at.  Most of the time they’ll get funded (to my joy), and sometimes not (to my disappointment), but a little bit of advertising and spreading the word tends to go a long way.  If you’ll indulge me, dear reader, I think there’s something that you might consider nice to back yourself.

Now, I’m not a big Tarot reader myself; I started off with Tarot back when I was in middle school and high school, but geomancy’s been my thing for far longer than I ever used Tarot.  I can read Tarot if I need to, sure, and I’ll use some Tarot cards for scrying or magical purposes, but it’s not really my thing when I have other tools at my disposal.  That said, many of my colleagues, friends, mentors, and readers use Tarot for pretty much anything and everything, and I totally get and see why: it works, and particular Tarot decks can often be beautiful as well as symbolically powerful.

To be honest, how many Tarot decks are there out there?  Hundreds in common use, thousands that are easily accessible?  And how many do my readers actually have?  Some people have crates full of decks they’ve collected, some which haven’t even been opened yet!  I don’t collect Tarot myself (I have two decks to my name, and I only ever use one of them maybe a handful of times a year), and it’s not common that one strikes me as particularly nice or that elicits an “omg I need that” reaction.  But then, I’ve rarely come across something as beautiful and absolutely my aesthetic as the Sigil Arcanum Tarot project on Kickstarter.

I won’t go into too much detail here, as the good Rev. Erik Arneson over at Arnemancy already did a review on some of the cards, style, and design choices of the deck that Bell is making.  From the Kickstarter page itself, Bell is structuring the deck according to the principles behind the well-known Thoth deck:

This deck can be considered a Thoth compatible deck since it follows the same order in terms of the Major Arcana, and all of correspondences match the Thoth system. This choice was made to ensure that the attributions are as close to accurate as possible, a task which turns out to be more difficult than it may seem at first, because many tarot decks deviate from standards, and the two primary decks of the modern day (Thoth and Waite) deviate slightly from each other.

Each of the Major Arcana features a spectrum gradient of colors that relate to the energies of the card, and are particularly situated around each of those relative symbols; e.g. XVII The Star features a pentagram, hexagram, and double-heptagram. Inside the heptagram are the seven planets of alchemy, each colored according to their Sephirotic attributions (Mercury is orange, the Moon is purple, Venus is green, etc).

The Minor Arcana feature a two-tone color scheme to match the element. The core pips are the color of the element, and the special design is a shade darker, while the numerals and symbols at the bottom are white.

 

In addition to a colorized version, Bell is also making a Blackout version, which replaces all the colors with a glossy black paint on a matte black background:

The Blackout Edition of the Sigil Arcanum Tarot–which will feature all the same cards–will be printed with rich glossy ink offset on a substantial matte black paper stock. The result is a mesmerizing and sleek appearance which is best read by candle light. The deck appears entirely black on black, and you must shed light on the cards to reveal their hidden meanings.

The edges of the cards appear matte black due to the card stock, which adds to the dark effect. The box will be printed on the same matte black cover, with thicker, more sturdy paper, and will be printed offset to give the same illusory appearance. The booklet, however, will be printed normally, because let’s face it, nobody would want an all black instruction booklet.

As of this writing, it’s sitting at about $18.2k, and it needs $25k to get funded.  That being said, there are two stretch goals involved here, which would be fantastic for us to get to.  The first is for $30k which enables Bell to upgrade the packaging/storage quality, card quality and protection, and an upgrade to the Little White Book that comes with the kit; this is what I’m really hoping for.  But, even better than that, if we can get to $50k, there will be a full-size complete book on the Tarot that fully dives into the symbolism of each card, the historical significance of each symbol, more interpretations, ample examples of spreads, and more.  While having the whole book would be great, and while I’d be happy with just the decks themselves, I think the $30k stretch goal is more than enough to make everyone happy.

I may not read Tarot all that much, but hot damn, this deck makes me want to start.  With 12 days to go in the campaign, there’s still plenty of time to reach the goal, but that’s no reason to wait; hurry up and make your pledge today!  If you want a Thoth-structured deck that’s sublimely potent and elegant in its refined simplicity, head to Kickstarter and back the Sigil Arcanum Tarot!  Probably the best choice most people would go after is the US$42 option, which gets you one deck of cards, but there are lesser options and greater options available (including a US$70 option for two decks).  For more information, go head over to the Sigil Arcanum website proper!

Here’s hoping for a successful campaign; all luck to you, Taylor, and here’s wishing you all the best for this beautiful project!