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 common approach is to encourage the querent to reformulate their “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 Judge (or significator) and its surrounding figures. 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 other available methods 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 or cumbersome 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 the sixteen geomantic figures, albeit disproportionately.1 This technique bears resemblance to a method presented by John Michael Greer in The Art and Practice of Geomancy and takes the significator of the quesited as the figure indicating the timeframe,2 somewhat restricting its use to the House Chart:
|Months||Puella, Fortuna Minor, Populus, Via, Puer, Rubeus|
|Years||Fortuna Major, Acquisitio, Tristitia, Carcer, Laetitia, Albus, Caput Draconis|
Some practitioners may find this method more convenient for “when” queries if the querent is unable or unwilling to estimate a timeframe for the event in question. 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 be unavoidable.
The following table attempts to expand on this model and introduces several additional designations that may apply to a wider variety of temporal queries. This proposal does not take into consideration the figures’ astrological associations, nor does it require mathematical calculations or the memorization of numeric correspondences:
|Via or Caput Draconis||Already occurred|
|Conjunctio or Tristitia||Within 60 minutes|
|Fortuna Minor or Albus||Within 24 hours|
|Amissio or Puella||Within 7 days|
|Acquisitio or Rubeus||Within 4 weeks|
|Fortuna Major or Puer||Within 12 months|
|Carcer or Laetitia||Years|
|Populus or Cauda Draconis||Will not occur in the querent’s lifetime|
The proposed model distributes the figures evenly among the eight timeframes in such a manner that allows it to be employed for single-figure readings, the House Chart, or the Shield Chart independently of the House Chart. When giving a Shield Chart reading for a temporal query, the Judge—i.e., the even-numbered (stable) figure for the timeframe indicated—is taken as the final answer. Additionally, the numerical sum of all the points on the Shield Chart can indicate how recently or how long ago the event occurred if Via is the Judge. For example, if the sum is 84 (the lowest possible number), it could indicate “very recently”. If it is 128 (the highest possible sum), it could indicate “long ago”. Alternatively, if Fortuna Minor is the Judge, the sum could indicate how soon the event will occur within those 24 hours, e.g., 84 would suggest “at the beginning of the day”, while 128 would suggest “at the very end of the day”.
A thought-provoking question relevant to this subject was recently posed in an online geomancy study group and prompted me to think more about the general implications of temporal readings:
“how far a geomantic divination can go from the time of the question? 6 months, 1 year, more?”
I contemplated the question for a moment before responding with the following thoughts:
“I think the answer is clearly ‘as far as non-local perception can extend’. In my experience, anomalous cognition doesn’t appear to have a limit, and I feel that this faculty is at play to a greater or lesser degree (depending on the state of the reader) during the initial generation of the Four Mothers—via physical automatism. Basically, the psyche captures the non-local information and the body translates it to the conscious mind using the pictographic language of geomancy.”
- Polyphanes, “De Geomanteia: Geomantically Calculating Time (so Slowly for Those Who Wait),” The Digital Ambler (blog), February 26, 2013, https://digitalambler.com/2013/02/26/de-geomanteia-geomantically-calculating-time-so-slowly-for-those-who-wait/ (Accessed June 13, 2021) .
- John Michael Greer, The Art and Practice of Geomancy: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance, Illustrated (Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books, 2009), 147–148.