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The Magickal Use of the Sixteen Figures of Geomancy

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to introduce the sixteen figures of geomancy and suggest how they may be used for experimentation in sorcery enchantment and evocation. If the reader has come across them already it is probably in their function as a tool of divination. However any divinatory system is a language between the operator and the spirit world/god/guardian angel/deep mind etc. Just as the operator can enquire from the universe the outcome of events via a mediatory system of symbols s/he can also petition and request results using the same language.

What follows are the results of my own experiments with the spirits of geomancy and as such they are entirely subjective. However I hope that they suggest to you lines of how to work with them. Like any system of symbols the more we use them the more they become acquainted with us and a rapport is built up. The methods I used for this project included, dream incubation, seidr, evocation, skrying and enchantment.

Please note that the use of geomancy in this essay refers to the sixteen figues made up of four lines of either one or two marks. It does not refer to Feng Shui or Ley lines.

I choose to work with these spirits because I had used them from time to time for divination and rather liked them. Also I have seen no other workings that sought to work with the spirits of the figures themselves. Of course all sixteen are closely linked to planets and zodiacal signs (for the purposes of astro-geomancy), however I wanted to flesh them out in their own right to see what they could do. I was also quite keen to acquaint myself with a number of ready made servitors that were not so well known yet could be useful in future magickal workings.

The Origins of Geomancy

It is unclear when geomantic figures first made their appearance it seems likely that they probably arose in Islamic North Africa, although some traditions claim Greece or India there is little evidence for this. What is clear is that its subsequent spread was as a result of the expansion of Islam through North Africa to the West of Africa where it is known as Ifa and in nearby Dahomey as Fa. In addition it travelled down the Red Sea route to Madagascar where it became Sikidy and north to Spain where it became geomancy in Europe. The U.S. was reached by Europeans and African slaves who both brought their own forms with them. However the method of producing the figures and the meaning attached to each differs in each culture. The Arabic custom was to make marks in the sand thus the divination was called "raml" meaning "sand". It is this method that resulted in the practice being called "geomancy" in Europe although in later times a pen and paper replaced the sand tray and stick. In Fa and Ifa the practice is to use 16 palm nuts which are picked up quickly with the right hand. As the nuts are quite big some are inevitably left in the other hand the figure is produced by counting the remaining nuts left. As an alternative the divining chain made up of a length of chain with cowrie shells is used to generate figures (full details of all these methods and a comprehensive history is available in Stephen Skinner's book Terrestrial Astrology : Divinination by Geomancy pub. Routledge Keegan Paul).

The Workings of Geomancy

A geomantic figure is made up of four lines of either one or two marks. In raml the diviner, whilst concentrating on the question in hand, produces with a stick a line of marks in the sand. The number of marks in the line is counted. An odd number produces one mark for the line whilst an even number produces two marks. This operation is repeated four times to produce one figure of four lines. In Fa and Ifa the diviner counts the remaining palm nuts in his left hand. An odd number will yield two marks and and even number one. The reason for the reversal in Dahomey is because the ruling god Legba is so contrary that he seeks to fool the diviner by giving the opposite of the true answer!

In European geomancy four figures called - the Mothers- are produced using the random marks method and from these further figures are calculated. The divination can be made direct from the figures themselves or by using a system of correspondences translated on to an astrological chart and interpreted according ot the rules of astrology. Readers who wish for details are advised to see Skinner's book or Israel Regardie's - A Practical Guide to Geomantic Divination for further information). For medievalists, methods can be found in Agrippa's - Of Geomancy and Gerard of Cremona's - On Astronomical Geomancy. Both documents can be downloaded from Norton's Imperium - Ben Rowe's Enochian website.

The sixteen figures in full, with planetary and zodiacal correspondences, are:

X
X
X X
X
X
X X
X
X X
X X
X X
X
X X
X X
X X
X X
X X
PUER
Mars
Aries
AMISSO
Venus
Taurus
ALBUS
Mercury
Gemini
POPULUS
Moon
Cancer
X X
X X
X
X
X X
X
X
X X
X
X X
X
X
X X
X
X X
X X
FORTUNA MAJOR
Sun
Leo
CONJUNCTIO
Mercury
Virgo
PUELLA
Venus
Libra
RUBEUS
Mars
Scorpio
X X
X
X X
X
X
X X
X X
X
X X
X X
X X
X
X
X X
X X
X X
ACQUISITIO
Jupiter
Sagittarius
CARCER
Saturn
Capricorn
TRISTITIA
Saturn
Aquarius
LAETITIA
Jupiter
Pisces
X
X
X
X X
X X
X
X
X
X
X
X X
X X
X
X
X
X
CADUA DRACONIS
South Node
CAPUT DRACONIS
North Node
FORTUNA MINOR
Sun
Leo
VIA
Moon
Cancer

The planetary and zodiacal sign correspondences accord with the Golden Dawn list found in Israel Regardie's work on the subject. The elemental correspondences follow the zodiacal signs e.g. Aires = Fire, Taurus = Earth etc. Caput Draconis is Fire and Cauda Draconis is Earth. Please note that there are differences in correspondences depending upon which authors you are reading with regard to zodiacal correspondences e.g. Agrippa's work On Geomancy although he keeps the same planetary attributions. The same goes for Gerard of Cremona. For my own working I kept with the GD listings.

Magickal Uses of the figures

When I decided to undertake this project I wanted to use the figures two-fold. Firstly as a language to speak with the magickal part of the Mind/Universe and as sixteen ready made servitors for talismans, spells etc. I had already used them for divinatory purposes and decided to make them the preferred choice both for simple yes/no questions and using them to construct horary charts to gain information. I have found them to be very reliable and very literal in their meaning. In fact rather than place my own interpretations upon them I use the literal meanings associated with them. Agrippa's - On Geomancy with its list of meanings for each house/sign of the horary chart is very useful here.

Following this I sought to contact the spirits behind the figures themselves. For this I used dream incubation and ritual evocation to visible appearance. As you will see in the listing below they appeared in a number of forms not always the classical ones associated with the planets. They also seemed to like appearing as geometric shapes either in 3D or multi-layered form. Some talk, some give "impressions" or use intuition/insight to communicate meaning. They were straight-forward and did not give any real trouble. Following a period of siedr I would use some coloured pebbles to mark out the figure on the ground and conjure the spirit by simply vibrating the latin name for the figure alternating with a simple conjuration or call. Once this had been done for a while I would close my eyes and look at the hypnagogic images that arose, whilst occasionally vibrating the figure's name until the spirit appeared. Testing of the spirit is done in the usual way by visualising the geomantic figure touching the spirit and vibrating the name to see if it vanishes or increases and grows stable. Generally the evocations would result in different nuances of each figure being experienced they seemed happy to be known. They can be quite direct, once having called a spirit I was promptly informed that I had marked out the figure upside-down! I opened my eyes and sure enough the stones I had used to mark-out the figure were upside-down! Following this series of evocations I also used scrying and spirit travel to go pay them a visit.

PUER - For men this is good for attracting sex and opening up libidinous consciousness. It can also be good for risk taking, competition, adventure and escapades etc. It appeared as a small boy standing by the sea with a fringe of hair covering his eyes. He has a certain fearlessness that comes with youth and wants to try things out. He can get carried way but is never dull!

AMISSIO - This figure can be used to get rid of unwanted items, they simply get lost! This includes to be able to forget things, to disappear and possibly become invisible. The spirit appeared as an underground place with an atmosphere of loss, rather than a person.

ALBUS - It's name means "white" and as such it governs all things white e.g. snow, milk, flour, semen etc. It also governs associated ideas of enlightenment, bright ideas, clarity, levity and dispeller of darkness etc. This spirit appeared as a polar bear.

VIA - This figure can be inscribed on the back of travel tickets to ease journeys (although I suggest doing it before setting out on the journey. I tried petitioning this spirit whilst delayed due to engineering works on the London - Liverpool line. The spirit rather exasperatedly said it was "too little - too late" to be fair I suspect even the goetic spirits might have difficulty speeding up Virgin Trains). Protection whilst travelling and for successful outcomes on journeys both literal and metaphorical also come under this figure including clearing pathways of energy etc.

POPULUS - This spirit can be used for forging team spirit or a group identity for societies or groups setting out upon projects. It could conceivably be used for influencing the feelings of a group. In a dream incubation three babies were baptised with the same name indicating the tendancy for this figure to produce conformity to a norm.

FORTUNA MAJOR - This spirit appeared as a Golden Hart. Its divinatory meaning is the influence of fate or chance. As such it can be used to invoke good circumstances for success. From a number of experiments it also may give knowledge of science, in particularly of the cosmos, and measurement.

FORTUNA MINOR - Whereas Fortuna Major acted on the cosmological level this figure acts on the human level. It can be used where an idea is needed to take material form and a spell for success is required.

CONJUNCTIO - Can be used for invoking entities with intent to identify with them. This figures can be used for recovery of lost items, establishing relations between people, gives a sense of inter-connectedness, wyrd, transmission of ideas or gaining impressions or news from a distance. This figure appeared as a geometrical shape as two tetrahedral pyramids with apex touching.

PUELLA - This spirit appeared as a little fair-haired girl of about 3-4 years of age. This figure can be used in all matters relating to womanhood. In addition it can be used to produce a sense of charisma or charm.

RUBEUS - This is a darker energetic figure that can be used for war, conflict and violence. It naturally lends it self to cursing and matters of revenge also anything considered as perversion by the operator. It can also be used in magickal matters relating to heavy industry particularly metalworking.

ACQUISITIO - This figure can be used for gaining wealth, property, love or any material object. It too can retrieve lost items. Please note that this figure is subject to forces of time and season.

CARCER - This spirit can be used to trap other spirits in matter for talismans or fetishes or just to confine them. It can be used to establish a new habit, convention, binding and restraint. It can also be used for matters relating to death. The spirit appeared as a grave or grave-like object.

TRISTITIA - This figure appeared as a woman with no face. She is manifest in melancholic, watery places. Her spirit governs ruins, nostalgia, things past. It can be used for evoking a sense of mourning and initiating the grieving process. It breaks complex things down into their elements returning them to the earth hence the downward pointing sign.

LAETITIA - This figure appeared as an old man with beard and long robe. This figure evokes rapture, a sense of soaring and lightness. It can be used in any situation that requires levity, happiness where joix de vivre is the order of the day.

CAPUT DRACONIS - This figure can give access to heavenly states. The visions it induced were of an almost fairytale character. It is a figure that can be used to court influence "from above" (it carries the meaning of internalising something from the upper kingdom).

CAUDA DRACONIS - This figure gives access to shadow contents, its divinatory meaning is "exit to the lower kingdom". It can be used to explore underdeveloped and repressed material. However it is worth mentioning that it should be used carefully. Making contact with repressed contents, if unprepared, can be very distressing. This figure could be used to release another's shadow contents too.

Suggested Reading

A Practical Guide to Geomantic Divination by Israel Regardie published by The Aquarian Press

Terrestrial Astrology - Divination by Geomancy by Stephen Skinner published by Routledge & Kegan Paul

Of Geomancy by Cornelius Agreppa Von Netteshiem available from Norton's Imperium

On Astronomical Geomancy by Gerard of Cremona available from Norton's Imperium