There are a number of traditional methods that can be used to determine units of time in the practice of geomantic divination, each taking a slightly different approach to their calculations. One of the most common methods is to simply reformulate the “when” query into a “will” query which can then be answered with a “yes”, “likely”, “unlikely”, or “no” depending on the favorability or unfavourability of the Court. For example, “Will event X happen by date Y?”, “Will event X occur within timeframe Y?”, etc. If necessary, a reader may cast successive charts in an attempt to narrow down the timeframe further, e.g., if we know that event X will not occur before date Y but will occur by date Z, we can then identify a more precise period or even a specific date.

While there are other methods that attempt to provide the querent with a concrete date of occurrence from the time of the reading, they typically require the memorization of numerical or astrological correspondences and involve mathematical calculations that practitioners may find inconvenient depending on the setting of the reading. There is, however, a simpler traditional method that I recently discovered in a post on The Digital Ambler which assigns specific ranges of time to individual and groups of figures as seen in the following table:

WeeksCauda Draconis
MonthsPuella, Fortuna Minor, Populus, Via, Puer, Rubeus
YearsFortuna Major, Acquisitio, Tristitia, Carcer, Laetitia, Albus, Caput Draconis

Some practitioners may find this method more convenient in situations where an estimated timeframe cannot be predetermined, and it also has the potential to reduce the likelihood of having to cast successive charts to narrow down the range further if the “when” query is reformulated into a “will” query, though in some cases this may still be necessary. However, due to the distribution of the figures amongst the timeframes, this particular model cannot be used when the Shield Chart is interpreted independently of the astrological House Chart. This is due to the fact that this technique was designed to be used with the House Chart and designates the significator of the quesited as the answer to the query. Unlike the Judge in the Sheild Chart which can only be a figure with an even number of points (i.e., Via, Populus, Conjunctio, Carcer, Fortuna Minor, Fortuna Major, Amissio, or Acquisitio) due to the particular mathematical structure of the shield, the significator of the quesited can be any one of the sixteen geomantic figures.

The following table attempts to expand on this model by introducing several additional timeframes that may be useful for a wider range of “when” queries and may also allow for greater precision. This proposal does not take into consideration the figures’ astrological associations, nor does it require mathematical calculations or the memorization of numeric correspondences:

Already occurredVia or Puer
Within an hourFortuna Minor or Cauda Draconis
Within a dayAcquisitio or Caput Draconis
Within a weekConjunctio or Rubeus
Within a monthCarcer or Puella
Within a yearAmissio or Laetitia
After a year or moreFortuna Major or Tristitia
Will not occurPopulus or Albus

In contrast to the previous model, eight pairs of figures are distributed evenly among eight timeframes in such a manner that allows this version to be employed for single-figure readings, the Novenary Chart, the House Chart, or the Shield Chart when consulted to the exclusion of the House Chart. Each pair contains an odd and an even-numbered figure coupled according to their shared ruling element (according to the French system of elemental rulers) and the complementary relationship between their secondary ruling elements (air nurtures fire, water nurtures earth). The pairs were then assigned to the timeframes according to the density of their primary and secondary ruling elements, with the elementally “lighter” pairs (fire and air) given to the first four timeframes, and the heavier pairs (water and earth) to the second four. This arrangement thus reflects the sequence of the elements in the anatomical structure of the figures themselves.

When working solely with the Shield Chart to answer queries such as “When will I be promoted?”, the Judge is taken as the answer. When using the astrological House Chart, the significator of the quesited is taken as the answer. When using the Novenary Chart, the answer is indicated by the Return (F6).

Additionally, the numerical sum of all the points in the Shield Chart has traditionally been used to estimate when an event might occur. This technique is accredited to 11th-century geomancer Pietro d’Abano, who proposed comparing the chart sum to the total number of points among all sixteen geomantic figures (96). A chart sum of 96 would suggest that the event will occur in the planned timeframe or specific time predicted. If the sum is less than 96, the event will occur sooner than planned or predicted, while a chart sum higher than 96 would suggest that the event will occur later or possibly not at all.

For the purpose of my proposed model, when using the Shield Chart, the point sum of the chart could alternatively be used to identify how soon an event will occur within the timeframe indicated by the Judge. For example, if the Judge is Acquisitio (within a day), a chart sum of 84 (lowest possible) would suggest that the event will occur at the beginning of the day, 96 in the middle of the day, and 128 (highest possible) at or near the 24-hour mark. The chart sum could also be used to indicate how recently or long ago the event occurred if the Judge is Via (already occurred). For example, a sum of 84 would indicate “very recently”, while a sum of 128 would indicate “long ago”. A chart yielding Populus (will not occur) as the Judge would render the chart sum irrelevant.

Last Updated: 7-13-2022