More about Geomantic Perfection
June 5, 2014 4 Comments
The idea of perfection comes from horary astrology, considered to be the primary and foremost divination system of the antique, classical, and premodern periods; you can find good descriptions of astrological perfection here and here, among elsewhere. In horary astrology, where the planets move through the 360° of the Zodiac at different rates, the planets make certain aspects to each other at different times; noting how these aspects take place, where they take place, and what other planets make aspects at the same time can indicate different types of perfection or different ways that perfection cannot be obtained. Geomancy, however, uses sixteen figures that can appear at 12 discrete places in the House Chart instead of smoothly moving through 360°
So, with all that in mind, let me get out the basics first starting from first principles.
What is perfection? Perfection is a technique used in geomantic divination where a House Chart and not the Shield Chart is used. This technique helps indicate different types of connection, or the lack thereof, between different actors, events, or goals in a situation. While the figures themselves describe what a given actor, event, or goal may be like, perfection indicates how these things relate to and work with or against other things. The things that play a role in a situation are represented by figures called significators, and these figures are found by inspecting a particular house of the House Chart that best represents the thing. For instance, the querent (person asking the query, or question of divination) is represented by house I, so the figure that appears in house I represents the state, quality, and person of the querent. If the querent is asking about something in specific, such as a marriage, job, health problem, or debt, we would look to other houses to see what those things are represented by in the chart, which are houses VII, X, VI, and XII, respectively; the thing being asked about is the quesited.
Because any given figure can appear in multiple places in the House Chart, it is possible that one of the significating figures can appear in multiple places, as well. Different houses that share the same figure indicate a strong connection between the two areas of life, actors, events, or goals. For instance, if the significator of the querent appears in houses I and VI, we might say that the querent is heavily involved with matters of health, service, or working for others in addition to those things having qualities similar to the querent since they share the same figure. A figure can appear in more than two houses; in one rare case, the same figure can even appear in all 12 houses, but it’s more common that a figure appears in one to three houses at a time, depending on the chart.
All this puts geomancy in an unusual place in divination systems generally; unlike Tarot, runes, astrology, or other forms of divination, where any given symbol can appear at most once in a reading, a geomantic figure can appear multiple times in a reading. This allows us to make use of this repetition of figures to indicate relationships between significators based on how they repeat, or pass, around in the chart in relationship to each other. This is where geomantic perfection is superficially similar to astrological perfect, where the latter relies on aspects being made between planets to form contacts between significators, the former relies on repetition of figures to do the same. Say the querent wishes to know about marriage, or marrying a particular person; in this case, the significator of the querent is in house I, and the significator of the quesited is in house VII. If the querent’s significator passes from house I to house VI, then we note that house VI and house VII are neighboring each other; the querent’s significator comes into direct physical contact with that of the quesited. This is a type of contact made that illustrates perfection.
There are four types of perfection used in geomancy, and I went over those in an earlier post, which you should read up at this point. To review, there is occupation (the same figure appears in both the house of the querent and the house of the quesited), conjunction (either significator appears in one of the two houses neighboring the other), mutation (when both significators neighbor each other at some other location away from their own houses), and translation (when the same figure which is neither significator appears next to both). If no method of perfection applies, then we say that the chart is in denial, or lacking perfection. Where the figures pass to, such as before or after the significator, or whether a figure passes to both before and after, or a mutation-conjunction combination, can all offer variants of these four methods of perfection, but the same basic rules apply. If a chart has perfection between the significators, then we say that the chart perfects for those signficators; otherwise, we say that the chart denies perfection.
What does perfection answer? To speak floridly, perfection indicates the connection between different realities, the experienced reality of the querent (represented by the significator of the querent) and the hypothetical reality of the query (represented by the significator of the quesited). If the chart perfects, then the hypothetical reality will come to pass; if the chart denies perfection, the hypothetical reality will not come to pass. In more direct terms, perfection in a chart indicates a simple “yes” to the query, and denial of perfection indicates “no”. So, if Jane Doe asks “will I get married to John Smith?” and the chart perfects between houses I and VII in any way, then the answer is yes, Jane will marry John; if the chart denies perfection, the answer is no, Jane will not marry John. It’s important to be clear on phrasing the query, because perfection answers about the situation inquired; if Jane asks “will I not marry John?” and the chart perfects, then the answer is yes, she will not marry John. In other words, perfection affirms or denies the query put to divination. Learning how to phrase the query clearly and concretely is an important aspect of divination generally, but especially so when perfection is used.
Being able to phrase a query clearly and directly is important especially if one phrases a query in a negative light. Perfection will affirm whatever is asked, and denial of perfection will deny whatever is asked. So, if one asks a question negatively, like “will X not happen?” or “should I not do X?”, then the query will be answered as it is. Thus, if one asks “will X not happen?” perfection says “yes, X will not happen”, and denial says “no, X will not not happen” (or, more directly, “X will happen”). Thus, the more directly one can phrase the query, reducing all ambiguity and complexity to its barest, the more clear and easily accessible the answer will be.
Now that you understand (hopefully) what perfection is, let’s talk about the limits of this technique. For one, perfection does not answer whether something is good or bad; it only indicates whether something will or won’t happen. It indicates a connection between different realities, but it does not indicate whether it’ll be good or bad, pleasing or displeasing, or any other qualities besides whether there exists a connection and how that connection is forged. For understanding the qualities of the situation, you’d need to look at the figures themselves and whether they’re good or bad, how those figures relate to the rest of the chart, the Court figures, and so forth. You can envision a kind of 2×2 table that shows this:
|Good figures||Bad figures|
|Chart perfects||Will happen,
situation will turn out well
situation will turn out badly
|Chart denies||Will not happen,
situation will turn out well
|Will not happen,
situation will turn out badly
There are lots of techniques in geomancy, and perfection is only one of them. Perfection really comes in help when a query is phrased in a way that “yes” or “no” will answer it, i.e. if the query expects a binary answer. Anything that is asked in a way like “Will X happen”, “Should I do X”, “Can I do X”, and the like are all things that can be answered directly and easily with perfection. Other queries, such as “When will X happen”, “What will X be”, “Where is X”, and the like are not answered by perfection; in this case, the use of perfection simply doesn’t apply to these queries and will produce nonsense answers. For instance, if Jane Doe lost something, she might ask “will I find my lost object?” and use perfection for that reading; if she wants to know the answer to “where can I find X?”, she should use another technique entirely, since this isn’t a yes or no question. Perfection is only one tool in the toolkit of the geomancer; just as one wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail, perfection isn’t the best tool for the job when the query is best answered in a non-binary way.
Many binary queries put to divination are straightforward: whether I can get such-and-such a job, whether I’ll find my true love in the next five years, whether I’ll flunk out of college even if I study hard, and so forth. In many instances, it suffices to use only two significators in the reading, one for the querent and one for the quesited. However, some queries are more nuanced and complicated, and to fully answer it require a nuanced and complicated reply from the reading. This is most easily done by considering multiple significators, where one figures out how different actors (plural) relate amongst themselves as well as with the querent in a situation. Consider a situation where a querent wants to know how a new medical treatment prescribed by their doctor will help a health issue they’ve had for some time now. We know of several factors here: the querent (house I), the doctor (house VII), the medical treatment (house X), and the health issue itself (house VI). Any of these significators can perfect with any other, and since there are six different ways perfection can be forged between the significators (I and X, I and VII, I and VI, X and VII, X and VI, VII and VI), the answer could get quite complicated, indeed! In this case:
- Perfection between I and X indicates that the querent will carry out the medical treatment prescribed to them. Denial indicates that they won’t or it simply won’t be available to them.
- Perfection between I and VII indicates that the querent will be in contact with their doctor to work with them. Denial indicates that their relationship may be blocked, broken off, or obstructed.
- Perfection between I and VI indicates that the health issue will be resolved or will be helpfully controlled. Denial indicates that the health condition will continue unmitigated.
- Perfection between X and VII indicates that the doctor is the one prescribing the treatment and understands it. Denial indicates that the doctor isn’t in control of the treatment or has no clue what he’s doing.
- Perfection between X and VI indicates that the health issue will respond to and be helped by the treatment prescribed. Denial indicates that the issue will not be changed or helped by the treatment.
- Perfection between VII and VI indicates that the doctor understands the health issue and is actively working to help it. Denial indicates that the doctor has no idea what’s going on and doesn’t really care.
These types of readings with multiple significators can be deeply involved, and there’s no simple yes or no to be had with these. Instead, one has to develop a nuanced, qualified answer that might be yes in some ways and no in others, and build a complete message from that. For instance, say that in this hypothetical health reading, say that perfection exists between I and VII (querent and doctor), I and X (querent and treatment), I and VI (treatment and health issue), and VII and X (doctor and treatment); the chart denies perfection between X and VI (treatment and health issue) and VII and VI (doctor and health issue). In this case, the querent is getting along fine with the doctor and will take the steps prescribed by the doctor to change the situation. However, the treatment prescribed by the doctor will not have any effect on the condition since the doctor doesn’t really understand it well enough to prescribe something useful; even then, however, the treatment will still be cleared up on its own or due to the personal actions of the querent. So, in some ways, the query of “will the treatment prescribed by my doctor help this health issue?” is answered by “no”, and in some other ways “yes”, but it’s hard to answer that query fully in a single word if the whole story needs to be communicated.
Perfection is a useful tool, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also one of the most difficult to understand for many beginners due to its complexity. I ascribe this to the mechanics of geomancy itself, since this isn’t your standard oracle deck-fare divination; there’s math and analysis involved that go far beyond intuitive readings of the figures themselves as you might normally do in other divination methods. Many people don’t pick up geomancy as their first divination system, so they’re used to systems that are simpler, more rudimentary, and less mechanical in their own ways; this is not a bad thing, but it ill-prepares them to study geomancy in a proper way. It’s important to know the limits of perfection here, as well as when to use it and when not to use it, to fully understand how the technique works and what it represents in a chart.