Rethinking Geomantic Triplicities

Practitioners of Western geomancy who read the Shield Chart independently of the astrological House Chart rely primarily on six techniques to interpret the figures and their distribution throughout the shield: (a) the temporal/interactive interpretation of the Court, (b) the mobile/stable quality of the figures, (c) the elemental composition of the figures, (d) the Viae Punctorum, (e) the Four Triplicites, and (f) the chart sum.

Of these six techniques, the Four Triplicities in particular have proved to be an invaluable interpretive framework that pairs well with the others to provide insight into a wide range of queries. Triplicities will often help to clarify the message of the Court while also offering valuable details pertinent to the subject of the query. For those unfamiliar with the evolution of this technique thus far, three extant versions are provided in the following section in chronological order, though older models are speculated to exist within the corpus of geomantic literature.


TriplicityMeaning (Fludd, 1687, in Block, 2015, para. 10)
1stThe querent and all of the circumstances of [their] place, as one may know the complexion, magnitude, thoughts, mores, substance, virtues which of this Triplicity the figure denotes, just as is demonstrated in the following example, where a man is boastful, greatly rich, and of a cold and dry complexion.
2ndAll that the first does, with the sole exception that the first denotes the principle of the thing, and the second its fortune.
3rdThe quality of the place where people frequent, as one may see whether one be great or small, beautiful or deformed, and so forth, according to the figures that are found there. It also signifies damage of the place, likewise what sort of person it may be, whether good or evil, brave or timid.
4thThe fortune and stature of friends, and principals of the court, and officers.
TriplicityMeaning (Greer, 2009, p. 97)
1stThe querent, including his or her circumstances, health, habits, and outlook on life.
2ndThe events shaping the querent’s life at the time of the reading.
3rdThe querent’s home and work environment, the places he or she frequents, and the kind of people he or she meets there. Family members and housemates appear in this triplicity.
4thThe querent’s friends, associates, and authority figures.
TriplicityMeaning (Block, 2015, para. 6)
1stThe querent’s current self, circumstances, and nature.
2ndThe current situation inquired about.
3rdPlaces and surroundings of the querent, including the people and activities involved there.
4thPeople involved with the querent’s life, including their friends, colleagues, coworkers, and the interplay of the relationships among them.

As is the case when reading the Court, a triplicity can be read in one of several ways, depending on the nature of the query and intuition of the reader. The first is referred to as the temporal method,1 whereby the Right Parent indicates the past, the Child indicates the present, and the Left Parent indicates the future. The second approach is an interactive method,2 whereby the Right Parent indicates the querent, the Left Parent the quesited, and the Child the outcome or nature of their interaction. The third approach can be referred to as the intuitive method, whereby the meaning of the Parental figures and resultant Child are determined by the intuition of the reader.


After having conducted over 60 Shield Chart readings employing Greer’s model, I have found two persistent issues with his assigned meanings that could possibly be resolved by a few simple modifications.

The first issue concerns the general nature of the triplicities’ meanings. Many of us simply assume that each triplicity is communicating something relevant to the query, but this direct relation is not explicit in the meanings of the triplicities themselves and is not always apparent during a reading, occasionally resulting in confusion or in the abandonment of the technique altogether.

The second issue concerns the demarcation between the 3rd and 4th Triplicities. For example, my work environment and the people with whom I interact there are clearly 3rd-Triplicity subjects according to Greer, yet these people are a mixture of friends, colleagues, and associates, individuals that are also 4th-Triplicity subjects. Alternatively, my home environment and those within it are 3rd-Triplicity subjects, yet a housemate could also be both a friend and a colleague, simultaneously making them 4th-Triplicity subjects.

In light of these shortcomings, and after careful consideration, I have begun to experiment with the following model, which attempts to fine-tune the meanings of the triplicities such that each directly relates to the subject of the query and the overlap between the 3rd and 4th is eliminated:

1stThe querent’s current condition and/or perspective as related to the matter inquired about.
2ndExternal factors and/or circumstances influencing the matter inquired about.
3rdThe environment of the matter inquired about, its characteristics, atmosphere, and the types of activities occurring there.
4thParties involved in the matter inquired about, their attributes, intentions, and actions.


The model herein proposed is merely intended to serve as starting point in an effort to initiate the next evolution of this technique. As such, any suggestions or alternative ideas that readers may have to offer are welcomed and appreciated.

  1. Polyphanes, “On the Geomantic Triads,” The Digital Ambler (Blog), March 21, 2015, Accessed November 13, 2021, at…/03/21/on-the-geomantic-triads/.
  2. Ibid.

Fludd, Robert. 1687. Fasciculus Geomanticus, In Quo Varia Variorum Opera Geomantica Continentur. 1st ed. Frankfurt am Main: Verona.

Greer, John Michael. 2009. The Art and Practice of Geomancy: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance. Illustrated. Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books.

Polyphanes. March 21, 2015. “On the Geomantic Triads.” The Digital Ambler (Blog).…/03/21/on-the-geomantic-triads/ (Accessed November 13, 2021).

2 Replies to “Rethinking Geomantic Triplicities”

  1. My essential issue with the meanings given by the above people for the triplicities is that they do not follow the question or logically end up with the witnesses. The third and the fourth triplicities should develop the quested and not tell you more about the questor indeed it should mirror the second and first triplicities but for the quested. If you look at the meanings of the third and fourth they are deliberately telling you stuff you do not need to know and yet all those choices are supposed to lead to the all important witness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Nick, as always, thanks for the feedback. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the last time with talked. Based on my experience thus far, I still contend that the 3rd and 4th, as they are, can offer valuable details pertinent to the query and need not conform to the placement of the Witnesses to be effective. As I also mentioned in the last conversation, I have found that the psyche/intuition will try to work with whatever symbolic artifice it is offered, irrespective of its internal logic, though some models are certainly more fruitful than others.

      I am, however, very very curious as to the potential of your proposed model and would love to give it an honest try. Would you mind listing the triplicities as you feel they should be here in the comments, just so I have something concrete to work with? I have a feeling that your model could produce very interesting results and offer readers another effective way of working with this technique. Thanks again for your thoughts.


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