The Geomantic Tableau (Shield Chart)

Performing a geomantic divination can be done with anything that can give an even-odd, yes-no, heads-tails, or any sort of binary answer.  This ease of casting a tableau (there is a difference, which we’ll be getting to later) is one of the reasons for geomancy’s popularity, and doesn’t require much save a bit of paper, ink, and a little quiet.

Generating the Mothers

First, the traditional, tried-and-true oldest-method-in-the-book way to cast a geomantic chart.  We’ll assume you know how to form a good query by now and that you already have it in mind.  When you’re ready to cast a geomantic reading, follow these instructions.

  1. Take a clean piece of paper, smooth plot of sand or fine soil, wax tablet, or any sort of markable surface.
  2. Take a pen, stick, stylus, or some other writing instrument suitable for your writing surface.
  3. Focusing on your query, make 16 lines of dots, points, pricks, etc.  Do this from right to left, both for tradition’s sake and because everything else in the tableau is done from right to left.  Make a random amount for each line, without counting either the lines or the number of points in the lines.  You want to let yourself get carried away in doing this so that you produce a truly random number of points in each line.  Try picking up your wrist and make firm points, or make vertical lines instead.  Try to make your marks as clear and distinct as possible.  If you end up with fewer than 16 lines, start over.  If you end up with more than 16, use only the first 16 for the following steps.
  4. Pair off the points from right to left, leaving only one or two points at the end of each row.
  5. Group the single or double points into four groups of four lines from top to bottom.
These are the first four figures of your geomantic tableau, called the Mothers, and are called so since they form the basis for the rest of the geomantic tableau.  These can be generated any number of ways, not just using the pen-and-prick method above (which can be messy, time-consuming, distracting, and often illegible).  There are many many other ways to generate the four Mother figures, most of which rely on a yes-no or binary process:
  • Roll a set of dice and see whether each die’s face is even or odd, or is above or below a certain cutoff.  Using colored dice or Platonic solids (D&D dice) to represent the elements is helpful, or you can read the dice from furthest away to closest to obtain a figure.
  • Flip a coin four times to generate a single figure.  Assign heads to lines with a single point and tails to lines with double points.
  • Uproot sixteen potatoes from a field and count the eyes or roots on each to see whether they’re even or odd (no, really).
  • Take four flat sticks, like popsicle sticks, with one dot on one side of the stick and two dots on the other.  Roll them between your hands and then roll them onto a flat surface.  Read the lines from top to bottom.
  • Use a set of cards (my preferred method).  Make or find a geomancy deck with 64 cards in it, four cards for each figure (since it’s possible, though improbable, that all four Mothers can be the same figure).

Generating the Daughters, Nieces, and Court

These first four figures, the Mother figures, are your seeds for casting the rest of the tableau; they are truly the mothers of the reading.  Arrange the Mothers from right to left, with the first Mother being the first figure generated by the method above, the second Mother the second figure generated, and so forth.  Next, follow these instructions to generate the rest of the tableau.

  1. Reading from right to left, take the head or fire line of each of the four Mothers and set them to the left of the fourth Mother from top to bottom to make the first Daughter.  In other words, to make the first Daughter figure, the Daughter’s fire line comes from the first Mother’s fire line, the Daughter’s air line comes from the second Mother’s fire line, the Daughter’s water line comes from the third Mother’s fire line, and the Daughter’s earth line comes from the fourth Mother’s fire line.
  2. Repeat this process with the Mothers’ air, water, and earth lines, respectively, to generate the second, third, and fourth Daughter figures.  You should now have eight figures, made from right to left, the four Mothers followed by the four Daughters.
  3. To make the first Niece, look at the first and second Mother.  Combine their points line-by-line and mark them off pair-by-pair as you did above to make the Mothers.  Place this figure under its parents above.  In other words, if a combined line has two or four points, the resulting Niece’s line will have two points; if a combined line has three points, one.
  4. To make the Right and Left Witnesses, perform the same process with the first two and last two Nieces respectively.
  5. To make the Judge, perform the same process with the two Witnesses.
  6. To make the Sentence, perform the same process with the Judge and the first Mother, and set this figure off to the side or under the Judge.

These last four figures are collectively called the Court, given their names and purpose (keep reading). As an example, say that for the Mothers you got Via, Acquisitio, Coniunctio, and Laetitia.  The Daughters, formed from the Mothers, would be Carcer, Cauda Draconis, Amissio, and Fortuna Minor.  The Nieces, formed from pairs of the Mothers and Daughters, would be Amissio, Cauda Draconis, Caput Draconis, and Coniunctio.  The Right Witness would be Rubeus, the Left Witness would be Tristitia, and the Judge would be Acquisitio.  The Sentence, formed from the Judge and first Mother, would be Amissio.  The images below illustrate the layout of the tableau and one filled out with the figures listed above (with the Sentence in grey).

Error-Checking the Tableau

As you may have noticed, generating the tableau and all its figures can be complicated or confusing, and it’s easy to make mistakes.  However, due to the inherently mathematical construction of the figures, there are a few ways to check to make sure the tableau was constructed correctly.

  • The Judge must always be an even figure, which means the Witnesses must both be odd or must both be even.  If the Witnesses have different parity, or if the Judge is odd, there’s a mistake.
  • The number of points on the right side of the chart (the Mothers, first two Nieces, and Right Witness) must have the same parity (either odd or even) as the number of points on the left side of the chart (the Daughters, last two Nieces, and Left Witness).
  • Every tableau must repeat one figure at least once somewhere; no single tableau can contain all sixteen geomantic figures.

In the case of a mistake, don’t worry.  The only “magical” part of generating the figures was with the Mothers, which were made using a separate process and are defined to be correct at all times.  Just reconstruct the tableau using the same Mothers and you’ll be fine.

Interpreting the Tableau

So, now you’ve got your sixteen figures that comprise a geomantic tableau, maybe even all properly arranged and fancifully written in.  Everything up until this point is pure mechanism and can be done fairly automatically; heck, I’ve written computer programs that calculate all the above and more in an instant.  Divination is more than just automated processes, though, and now we get to the mystical fun part: interpreting the tableau.

The first figure to look at in interpreting the chart is the Judge.  The Judge figure is the combination and distillation of all the forces in the chart, and really is the answer to the query supplied.  The Judge’s message will indicate what will generally happen in a chart, and its favorability or unfavorability can help decide matters very quickly.  For example, Amissio as Judge in a query involving the recovery of a lost object indicates that the object will not be found, Fortuna Major in a query about a business venture indicates a long-term success with some difficulty at the start, and that sort of thing.  All the other figures and their relationships will help flesh out the details, but the Judge is the most important figure.

Next in importance in interpretation is the rest of the Court: the Witnesses and Sentence that accompany the Judge.  The Court, like a real court of law, decides the outcome of the situation according to the query.  Each of the four figures of the Court has a role to play in helping to clarify and deliver the answer to the query:

  • The Right Witness represents the querent and his side of the matter.  This also represents the querent’s past and situation up until the present time.
  • The Left Witness represents the quesited and anyone the querent works with or against.  This also represents the querent’s future and general direction from now onwards.
  • The Judge is the answer to the query.  What the Judge represents is the summation of the whole situation.  Whichever Witness the Judge “agrees with” more (in terms of elementary, planetary, or essential meaning) is the side that will benefit or come through the strongest in the situation.  The Judge reflects the interaction between the two Witnesses and thus the interplay between the various forces and situations between the querent and quesited.
  • The Sentence, also called the Reconcilier or result of the result, represents the effect of the situation (the Judge) on the querent (first Mother).  This often represents the long-term post-mortem observation on the whole situation as well as the effects the situation and its resolution will have on the querent and his life.

Another trick of the tableau that helps in interpretation is the Via Puncti, or the Way of the Point.  This technique helps discover the root cause, suggestion, or plan that set off the whole situation.  Take a look at the fire line of the Judge, and see whether it has only one point or two.  If it has one point, see which of the Witnesses also has a single point in their fire lines, and repeat up through the Nieces until you get to one of the Daughters or the Mothers.  That figure that this route of single points terminates at is the root cause of the situation.  If the Judge’s fire line has two points, then either the Via Puncti diverges (both of the Witnesses’ fire lines have two points) or doesn’t form at all (both of the Witnesses’ fire lines have single points); in either case, there is no single root cause of the situation, if one exists at all; in such a case, there is no ulterior motive or deep backstory, but things simply are how they seem on the surface.

As for the rest of the figures in the chart (the Mothers, Daughters, and Nieces), there are different methods of allocating meaning to them.  In Western geomancy, they’re used in a more astrological way, which forms the basis of the Geomantic Chart.  Another Western method of using the rest of the figures in the tableau is to split them up into four groups of three, two Mothers or Daughters and the Niece that they form.  Each of these groups, called triplicities or triads, can be viewed as mini-Courts, with the same rules applying to them as applies to the Witnesses and Judge.

  • The First Triad (First Mother, Second Mother, First Niece) reflect the querent’s current self, circumstances, and nature.
  • The Second Triad (Third Mother, Fourth Mother, Second Niece) reflect the current situation inquired about.
  • The Third Triad (First Daughter, Second Daughter, Third Niece) reflect the places and surroundings of the querent, including the people and activities involved there.
  • The Fourth Triad (Third Daughter, Fourth Daughter, Fourth Niece) reflect the people involved with the querent’s life, including their friends, colleagues, coworkers, and the interplay of the relationships among them.

52 Responses to The Geomantic Tableau (Shield Chart)

  1. Rolo says:

    What if the judge gives an answer contrary to what is obtained from the astrological chart?

    • polyphanes says:

      If you honestly can’t get any reconciliation between the house chart and the shield chart, it might be worth it to have another pair of eyes read the chart or cast another chart at another time. However, what I’ve found is that the Judge, Witnesses, and the shield chart simply gives you the answer to the query, while the house chart gives you details on how that answer will come about. In this light, I’ve never really had this happen/

      For instance, if I ask a query about whether I’ll make money off of a given business venture, and I get Amissio as the Judge, but the chart perfects to the 5th house (speculation and gambling) with Fortuna Minor, then this normally appears contradictory: the Judge says that I’ll lose money, the houses that I’ll gain. However, I could reconcile the two by saying that I will technically make money, but I’ll still be in the red after having spent more than I made, or that the money won’t stick around and I’ll have to use more of it on other things and end up making no profit at best, and so forth.

      • Rolo says:

        thank you very much Polyphanes! I remember that the idea that the chart gives details of what the court says very briefly was something that Chris Warnock taught in his course, but I had no idea how to reconcile opposites.

        • polyphanes says:

          Some books teach that you should use the sixteenth figure, the Reconciler or Sentence (Judge + 1st Mother), if and only if you can’t figure out the judge. I say that you should always look at this figure to help give a long-term view of how the querent will take the resolution of the query and how it will affect them personally. As for reconciling opposites, that’s where the intuition of divination takes over from the rules and algorithms of casting a chart; it’s a developed skill.

  2. Rolo says:

    How should you deal with a question about infidelity a Judge as Carcer and in the astrological chart an occupation with Puella?

  3. Rolo says:

    I wonder what the house of infidelity, VII or XII?

    • polyphanes says:

      Good question, to which there’s no clear answer. Romantic partners fall under the 7th, while sexual partners that are not romantic or long-term are in the 5th; thus, a partner’s sexual partners outside of their partnership would be the 5th of the 7th, so the 11th. You could check to see whether there’s perfection between the 7th and 11th houses; if there isn’t, then there’s no sexual partner outside the partnership. This would be my preferred method, until I’m shown another way.

      Alternatively, you could check the quality of the figure in the 7th. If it’s mobile, then the partner is likely flighty and liable to sleep with other people. Perfection between the 12th and 7th houses may also work, in the sense that a partner is keeping something hidden from the querent.

      • Alshia says:

        What does ‘perfected’ mean?

        If I ask “Is she cheating on me?”, what kind of answer in the Judge would imply yes or no? If I obtained Fortuna Major for example, it could mean that she ‘succeeded’ in cheating on me despite having some difficulties trying to cover it up at the start OR it could mean that I succeeded in making her stay faithful, although with some initial difficulties (e.g. she might be tempted to cheat at the beginning of the relationship.)

        How do you interpret the Judge when asking yes/no questions?

        • polyphanes says:

          Perfection is a type of connection between figures in the house chart that shows whether or not a certain situation is true, happening, or will happen (see the Wikipedia page for info, which I helped contribute to, or read up on geomantic technique in any number of books, e.g. John Michael Greer’s “The Art and Practice of Geomancy” is superb). This page is about the shield chart, not the house chart, which I’ll eventually get around to writing; it places the Mothers, Daughters, and Nieces into the twelve houses of a horoscope from astrology, and interprets the figures according to the houses. Perfection essentially answers “yes/no”, while the figures themselves indicate “favorable/unfavorable”. There’s no one way to get yes or no answers from the Judge without interpreting the Judge in terms of the query, since the Judge will say different things based on the Witnesses, type of question, etc.

          Generally speaking, a stable figure as Judge shows “yes” and a mobile figure means “no”, but this is not a very good rule to go by, in my opinion. Rules are helpful, but geomancy is still an art, and requires some intuition and interpretation on the part of the diviner.

          • Alshia says:

            Thank you for your quick answer. Sorry about going offtopic, I just don’t know where to raise the question.

            Thing is, the Reconciler (figure I+XV, Serena suggested a different method so I thought I should specify) is Rubeus, which signifies violence, passion, sexuality, confusion and flightiness. This is an unfavorable figure which contrasts the Fortuna Major.

            Also, I tried your method of combining 7th and 11th (Puella + Puer, that combination gives me the chills), and got Conjunctio. This seems to be a favorable figure for meeting people and forming relationships, and sometimes signifies sexual attraction, so there’s a possibility that she is cheating on me.

            The 12th House is Rubeus, and the House signifies hidden secrets in modern astrology. This hints that she has some sexual issues that she is hiding from me. Maybe she’s not sexually attracted to me but does not want to tell me.

            All this prompts me to conclude that she ‘succeeded in cheating on me, although she had difficulties covering it up at the beginning, and that relationship is a casual and unstable one (signified by 5th House and Reconciler’s Rubeus). Her sexual issue is therefore betrayal and she does not want to tell me. Also, if I’m right and the relationship is unstable, the reason why she doesn’t want to tell me is because our relationship is more stable (and I have considerable financial resources signified by the 2nd and 4th Houses.)

            What do you think? (Again sorry for going offtopic! >_<)

            • polyphanes says:

              The Reconciler is a figure that doesn’t deal with the query directly. Another of its names is “result of the result”, or the effect the Judge and situation in general will have on the querent; it’s like a long-term, postmortem, retrospective view on the whole situation. Rubeus as Reconciler (or Sentence, as I prefer to call it, fitting more with the Court-Judge-Witness theme) often indicates that the whole matter was poorly thought out and will blow over.

              Just comparing the figures in the houses themselves is nice, but again, you’re not looking at perfection. For that, you need to involve the whole house chart and see where the figures in question pop up and what connections they make to each other.

              Unfortunately, that’s about all I can say about the chart so far, given so little information. If you email me at polyphanes at gmail dot com (remove the spaces, change the proper words to the proper symbols) with the entire chart, or at least the four Mother figures, I can take a look and give you a more in-depth analysis. I also suggest joining the Yahoo! group Geomantic Campus ( which is awesome for learning geomancy; it’s the only geomancy mailing list on the internet, so you can’t miss it and shouldn’t ignore it.

  4. Rolo says:

    What is the house you should look to see if someone is going to comunicate? by e-mail, letter, telephone, etc..

  5. Pingback: De Geomanteia: Via Puncti (follow the yellow brick road) « The Digital Ambler

  6. Ahmad says:

    If Judge responds favorably, but there is no mode of perfection, the final answer is no?

    • polyphanes says:

      This can be a conflicting situation on the face of it, because it would seem that the house chart (perfection) and the shield chart (Court figures) give different answers, but they will always agree on the overall answer to the query. Perfection answers the bare yes/no of the question, but the Judge gives the overall answer which is more inclusive than just yes/no. For instance, say I ask the query “should I invest in my friend’s business?”, and I get the Judge Acquisitio (gain) and there is no perfection in the house chart. In that case, I’d answer that I shouldn’t invest in my friend’s business (no perfection), but I’ll be fine and will probably be better off without investing (Acquisitio). Just looking at the house chart answers the query, sure, but it alone doesn’t give much context; looking at the Judge alone would suggest that I should, which only shows the overall, objective real answer.

  7. William says:

    I am exploring geomancy and I find it fascinating. In your article you mention that there are two Western methods applied in geomancy, the astrological and the triad method. I do love and work with astrology but I keep wondering why it needs to ride piggy back on Geomancy (or vice versa). It makes me think geomancy is inferior without the help of astrology. How and why did astrology become part of geomancy any way? Can it not be allowed to develop more fully on it’s own (or does it even need to)? I like the second method you mentioned, the triad method, and would love to know more about it.

    • polyphanes says:

      Bear in mind that geomancy is practiced in many forms across the world, and in each part of the world it developed in different ways. Madagascan geomancy (sikidy), Yoruban geomancy (ifa), Arabic geomancy (raml), and European geomancy all have different techniques using the same set of figures and basic construction, and it fits into their cultures differently and developed different forms based on their own notions of spirituality and religion. In Europe (and, to a large extent, Arabic-speaking lands), geomancy picked up astrological techniques because astrology was the form of divination, and nothing was considered legitimate without astrology backing it up. It makes sense, then, from the perspective of these cultures that geomancy had to fit into astrology or had to be confirmed by it in order to derive some of its cultural power for acceptance and validity.

      That said, even if geomancy is seen to “piggyback” on astrology, it wasn’t considered inferior to it except in terms of popularity. Geomancy does have its own techniques even though they might be considered astrological; consider the rules of perfection, which is clearly a concept borrowed from horary astrology but was implemented and developed in a way that can only be done with geomancy. That it borrows ideas from astrology isn’t a mark against it, especially through a Hermetic lens, though I can see why one might frown on this and want to take geomancy-as-geomancy. Geomancy can certainly be further developed, and I personally hope that it does! I’ve been working on ways to add to the corpus of geomantic knowledge myself in a solidly European framework, and there are others doing the same in other ways (Les Cross’ Astrogem Geomancy comes to mind). The more flexible and more powerful geomancy gets, the more it can answer and the better its survival may be assured as an art and technique of divination.

      The triad method is useful if you just want to analyze the Shield Chart, though the earliest record of this I can find comes from Robert Fludd, who wrote in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, which is fairly late in the history of geomancy, and what he tells is basically all there is on the technique. There are superficially similar ways to analyze these groups of figures in northern African forms of geomancy, but I find that they often provide details that are more clearly stated in the House Chart (which can be seen as just another way of reading the triads in a more cyclical and less procedural way of reading the same 12 houses that the four triads use).

      • The technical justification for using houses in geomancy is that the houses are the projection of influences “cast onto Earth” anyway.

        It would be really great to see someone who’s expert in horary astrology and geomancy explore the correlations through collection of actual readings. I know of maybe three people who could reasonably do that, and I haven’t heard any of them say they might.

        So, Polyphanes, since you have plenty of spare time, why don’t you take Warnock’s horary class and use that to beef up your book?

        Remember, I’m too far away for throwing things to do any good.

  8. William says:

    Thank you for that great comment. I have ordered John Michael Greer’s book and it is taking forever to show up in my box. So, I’m starting to reach out wherever I can to ask questions. I really love your site and I have perused a lot of material on here, and I so appreciate your extensive knowledge and the research. Please write a book, or if you have one available, I would like to know about it. I have only done a very few geomantic divinations, approaching this in a sort of experimental, diagnostic way to get answers of a psychological nature, and with the few techniques you’ve mentioned I am impressed with how well this form can aid my intuition. I am not actually opposed to combining geomancy with astrology or anything else. It’s just that for me personally, I think less is more, and I would rather go deep with one form or system alone than with two or three combined. So, I am very interested in what you are doing to add to the corpus of geomantic knowledge, especially if it involves taking geomancy-as-geomancy. However, I am aware that I have much to learn, so I may not know what I’m asking.

    • polyphanes says:

      I have a book in the works, and people keep bugging me about it, but I’ll tell you what I tell everyone: don’t hold your breath. There’s a lot more research, case studies, and the like to be done for it, so don’t expect it to be out for a while! Beyond that, stay tuned to the blog for any more geomancy posts I have to write on it; I have a few planned with experiments here and there, so keep practicing geomancy in the meantime.

      • William says:

        Thanks polyphanes. Yes, really good books do take time to write. I am wishing you the very best with that effort. I’ll be looking out for any new posts, and of course, will continue to practice Geomancy, even as I am doing my Cosmobiology. I have one final comment at this time. There is something about the shield that seems so apparent, and that is the way it appears to be corresponding to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I am reading (re-reading) a book by Iain McGilchrist, a psychiatrist in Scotland, I believe, and it is called in short, The Master and His Emissary… It’s a pretty dense piece of work, and in my opinion, very well written, informative and revealing, When I look at how punctuation is employed in the divining process, making dots in a line, going right to left, I am reminded of what McGlichrist has written about having to do with the direction of writing. I could go on with this, but I wouldn’t know where to end, so I’ll leave it at that. I look forward to more of your postings.

  9. William says:

    You said there were many different ways of generating the mothers. This could be a long shot, but In your research have you found one of those ways to yield a more “accurate’ or true result than any other? I mean, I do like your idea about uprooting potatoes and counting the eyes on them. The method I started using just sort of naturally is bean counting. I have a piece of clay pottery that I have filled with some small white beans (uncooked, of course). With the fingers of my right hand, and the beans in front of me on my right, I pinch a few beans and put them down leftward on a flat surface. I will do this four times so that I have four small piles of beans. The piles are aligned vertically, one below the other. I then count the beans in each pile and note whether they’re odd or even. I will then repeat this process three more times to generate the four mothers. As I’m doing this I am focused on the question and will repeat it to myself with each pile of beans I put down. I feel that I am literally communicating with the earth when I rely on something more directly connected with it in doing my divinations.

    So, what I’m getting at is that of the ways you’ve mentioned some seem to be done with materials that are highly processed, like dice (and I love dice) and materials that are more directly taken from the earth, like potatoes, or beans. I am not a scientist so I wouldn’t know where to begin on how to check the electrical output, (or whatever) of the various materials that one might handle in generating the geomantic figures, and seeing if this had any effect on a correlation between what we use to create those figures and the accuracy of a result. I am aware that there could be many different factors involved that are not just of a physical nature that might influence the results we end up with when we’re divining. It may be that one of those factors has a greater influence than another. There’s just so much i don’t know but that I need to inquire about. It could be that we will use whatever we happen to resonate with regardless of how far from or how near to being directly taken from the earth whatever it is we’re using might be, and we’d find that the results are quite accurate.

    I wonder if you could comment on this polyphanes, or if you could direct me to some source that might be helpful..

    • polyphanes says:

      Nope, I haven’t found any one method to be more accurate than any other; the method you use is entirely up to your own comfort level. I’ve found my readings to be equally accurate whether using the dot-and-line method (whether pen/paper or dirt/sand), tabletop RPG dice, a deck of geomancy cards I’ve made, flipping coins, a spindle of specially-made geomancy dice as used in Arabian geomancy, or just pulling random numbers from people. I personally prefer my cards and my tabletop RPG dice, but that’s pretty much just for ease and convenience for both myself and for other people who come to me for readings.

      Even though geomancy literally means “divination of the earth”, my inclination is that it’s not actually that close to the element or planet of Earth at all. Rather, the word geomancy was a rough translation of the Arabic term, “`ilm al-raml”, literally meaning “science of the sand”, but even in Arabian raml traditions, there’s no requirement that sand must be used. Add to it, the figures themselves incorporate all the elements in different ways and are far more abstract in meaning than simple earth might permit; that said, geomancy is better for divination involving matters of this world (as opposed to intuitive, spiritual, or qabbalistic pursuits), so in that sense it might be said that geomancy is among the most down-to-earth of divination systems.

      So long as you have some means to generate sufficiently random answers that are essentially binary (up/down, odd/even, white/black, heads/tails, etc.), you have a way to do geomancy. Cards and dice suffice for me and I haven’t suffered for accuracy with them. I can’t speak to the experiences of others, who might prefer other methods for similar reasons.

  10. William says:

    Great, and thanks for that bit of historical background. When you say “matters of this world” I am taking that to mean matters of some sort of practical or somehow tangible nature. It seems to me though that any pursuit whatever can be of a practical nature (if that is how you mean it), so I think I don’t quite get what you’re saying.

    By the way, have you mentioned anything anywhere on how to pose questions, or what kinds of questions can be asked? I can’t seem to find anything on that.

    • polyphanes says:

      Yes, practicality matters. To wit, the best way I can explain this is by contrasting the kind of answer you get from geomancy with the kind of answer you get from, say, Tarot, according to my sister who’s an expert at Tarot with over 15 years experience. Tarot answers the question you should be asking, giving you all the details and actors and contexts and leaving you to intuit the answer and form a judgment based on all those things. Geomancy answers exactly the question you ask, first giving you the judgment or ultimate answer and leaving the details secondary, letting you get as much detail as you need the more you go into it.

      In my experience, geomancy isn’t great for things like “what should I be doing with my life” or “how do I feel about X”, but rather “should I do Y” or “will Z occur as a result of this event”.

      I have mentioned before how to form a geomancy query, but the general rule is that a query for divination should obey the three Cs: concise, clear, concrete. I mentioned this, for example, in a post on knucklebone divination which would be benefitted from the same thing.

  11. William says:

    I asked about how to pose questions because yesterday’s geomantic divination had to do with wanting to know what best reflected the energetic makeup of what would be needed to stabilize negative vibes experienced from someone I am having to deal with. I guess you could say this question is of a sort of psycho-spiritual nature. In short, the result (Judge) was Conjunctio. This did speak to me in that I was being instructed to work with integrating the masculine and feminine aspects of who I am in this situation, Conjunctio having to do with the union of these aspects. So, what I had experienced prior to the query was what is referred to in Zen as a two moon situation, or a divided consciousness. Conjunctio reminded me of this dividedness within myself. Also, Conjunctio is said to be about friendship, and this showed me that what I was really being called to do by the one who appeared negative and annoying was to be a friend, which was not easy for me at first, because it meant I had to first befriend myself. It worked beautifully by the end of the day. So, when you say geomancy is meant for divination involving only matters of this world, and not anything of a spiritual nature, well, this particular divination, being of that (or a psycho-spiritual) variety came through quite convincingly. It’s possible that I could be missing your point, though on one level I think I do understand.

    • polyphanes says:

      I’m not saying you can’t use geomancy for these types of things, as you found out yourself. Rather, geomancy is best suited for or best geared towards less psychological, spiritual, or intangible matters and more towards concrete, worldly, external issues. Geomancy can answer any question Tarot can, or I Ching, or knucklebone divination; however, given the type of query, geomancy might offer a more direct or more immediately understandable answer that doesn’t require as much puzzling out.

  12. William says:

    Yes, I do like the three c’s as outlined in your post on knuckle bone divination. That is a huge help, and I am inclined to think it almost doesn’t matter what the issue is, as long as we’re obeying the three c’s rule in formulating the query, taking a more aspirational rather than prohibitive approach in teasing it out beforehand (if that makes any sense).

  13. William says:

    I think I was concerned about taking the life out of one’s query as it is being formulated, just to get it through the eye of the three c’s needle when I said what I did above. I have killed what may have been some good queries that way. But this is just a personal matter with me. A matter involving more the how of what I’m doing than the what. I have Franz Hartmann’s book on geomancy (first published in 1912), which I’ve had for a while. He talks about how the mind ought to be tranquil and calm when practicing geomancy. He goes on to talk about being aware of one’s motivations, etc. beforehand. He even goes so far as to say that Cornelius Agrippa says it should not be practiced “on a cloudy or rainy day, or when the weather is stormy, nor while the mind is disturbed by anger or oppressed with cares.” I wonder how literally or not the modern practitioner of geomancy would take all of this. In fact, I would be interested in knowing if there is any kind of approach at all established (prohibitive or not), or do we all just approach the art however we feel these days, rain or shine, happy or sad, etc.?

    • polyphanes says:

      On the contrary, if you “killed” any queries that way, then that means you didn’t need to ask them. This is a process of refinement so that you know exactly what you’re asking, which helps with getting a clearer, more detailed answer as well as getting an answer more quickly and directly from the chart. The process of refining the query is as important to the process of divination as the divination is itself, since you begin to understand what’s really at the heart of the situation and can find out more information that way. Divination isn’t just forecasting particular events, but a form of counseling and advising. By clarifying your thoughts on the matter to make a clear query, you begin to organize and sort out the situation itself.

      I do use the rule that one shouldn’t perform divination in bad weather for the same reason that one shouldn’t perform divination in a bad mindset: both disrupt one’s connection to whatever-it-is-answering-the-query-through-divination. John Michael Greer says that the condition of the mind of the diviner should be clear so that you can forge that link solidly and without distraction, and the condition of the weather and land around you should be clear so that the connection won’t be disrupted from external conditions. Similarly, performing divination in a crowded and busy place or a place of war or upheaval can disrupt the divination as much as it would any ritual act.

  14. William says:

    Maybe when I killed my queries I was lost in unproductive thinking, who knows. Not sure that I agree that if it is hard to formulate a query because I am trying to be too practical it doesn’t need to be asked. Sooner or later it can surface. Maybe I wasn’t clear on that. I understand the refinement you mention though, and I do see your point clearly. I guess I was talking about how we or I do the refinement part, how it is handled, which is why I brought up what’s been said about being in a bad mind-set, etc. I don’t know if I agree with what Agrippa says about not practicing on a cloudy or rainy day. What about those parts of the world where it is like that almost all the time? What if it’s raining and I can’t find my umbrella so I wish to do a divination to see if I can locate it? Will the divination not work? What is bad weather? What is bad for someone may be good for someone else? What about densely populated areas? Should we throw out any chance of doing divinations in those areas when there is no way of being anywhere else? With all due respect, must we be so dogmatic about this? Isn’t just plain old common sense more preferable, or whatever seems realistic?

    • polyphanes says:

      This is something that John Michael Greer brings up, especially involving weather divination. When it’s said “bad weather”, “bad” is contextual. A wet day in Arizona will mean something distinctly different from a wet day in Seattle (where it’s always kinda wet). For instance, if you’re having anything unusually stormy, windy, frozen, earthquakey, or something that really is distinctly bad that makes you not want to go outside to do normal activities (or, worse, not want to even do them inside), then it might be a bad time for divination. Even if someone might like storms, it doesn’t mean that the Earth itself does.

      This doesn’t mean you can’t do divination, and it’s nothing that can’t be overcome; the better your own equanimity, the more you can overcome these limitations. However, for someone who can’t do that, keeping divinations to decent weather or better is a good rule to follow. It’s not dogmatic, but practical when considering the occult technicalities of the art.

  15. William says:

    Yes, thanks for that explanation. Sounds like common sense to me. I’ve lived in various places around the world and I know how distinctly different the climate, the weather, the people and the populations can be. What you say about equanimity or a calm mind is so true. Interesting what you’ve mentioned about how the Earth might not like storms. I am sure the Earth is not feeling too well these days with what we humans are doing to her. How do you think this affects the modern practice of geomancy?

    How am I affecting you with all of these questions? I am still waiting on Greer’s book. Maybe today it will arrive. Thank you for all that great information, and for your patience.

    • polyphanes says:

      Long story short, climate change makes things difficult for everything. It’s a matter of adaptation; as the Earth adapts, so will we (or go extinct). Weather is short-term and acute; climate is long-term and subtle.

      And no, you’re not adversely affecting me with all these questions. I don’t think a series of comments on a blog post is the best medium for this, but I appreciate any and all questions about geomancy, especially from one interested in the art!

  16. William says:

    Thanks polyphanes. I had a hunch the book would arrive today, and so it did! Yes, I am totally interested in the art. I appreciate that I have not adversely disrupted your equanimity. I’ll be back here soon with more of these ??? and will be looking out for more of your postings.

  17. William says:

    So, what is the best medium for my questions? Is this someplace on your site for that?

    • polyphanes says:

      Email can be nice, especially if you’d like to see if I might expound my thoughts more fully. You can use the Contact page of this site for that.

  18. William says:

    there, not this

  19. William says:

    Oh good, thanks!

  20. olupitan says:

    how do I predict if a football team will win a certain match?

    • polyphanes says:

      Not straightforwardly using the geomantic shield chart (here called the tableau), though you could get hints from the Court figures (Witnesses and Judge).

      One method, given by the 16th/17th century English geomancer Robert Fludd, is to consider “your” team to be represented in house I, “the other” team by house VII, and considering how they interact with house V (the house of games and competition). Check to see if one of the two houses (I or VII) comes into perfection with house V; that house will win. If both houses come into perfection, judge based according to the type of perfection (e.g. occupation is stronger than conjunction) and the relative strength of the significators of houses I and VII. If neither house comes into perfection with house V, judge it to be a poor game generally, but again, consider the relative strengths of the two significators.

  21. umar says:

    football prediction

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