In continuation of my previous exploration of the Four Triplicities within the Shield Chart, I’ve begun to experiment with yet another model of this interpretive framework, one which has shown promise to be an effective alternative to the version presented by John Michael Greer in The Art and Practice of Geomancy.1 As I’ve stated in previous posts, the analysis of the Four Triplicities is ideal for those who prefer to work with the Shield Chart as a stand-alone microcosm—i.e., independently of the astrological House Chart. In my experience, I’ve found that the triplicities can yield just as much detailed information as the House Chart, especially when examined in relation to the Court, Viae Punctorum, elemental composition of the figures, and chart sum.


This proposal, henceforth referred to as the binary model of the Four Triplicities, is partially based on the structure of the Shield Chart described by 14th-century geomancer Christopher Cattan:

The right witnes is put for the querant, and signifyeth all that which by the first figure, and all the others which bee on the right side (that is to say the second, third, fourth, ninth and tenth) is discerned, which is the motive of the question before propounded. The left witnes containeth all that which the figures doe signifie which be on his side, that is to say, the fift, sixt, seuenth, eight, eleuenth and twelfth, on such wile that the right witnes signifyeth the querant, and the left witnes the thing demaunded, propounded and enquired.2

Dividing the chart in a manner similar to Cattan, this model assigns the right half of the shield to the grammatical subject of the query and the left half to the grammatical predicate. In English grammar, The subject of a sentence is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about, while the predicate is the part of a sentence that tells what the subject is doing, what it is experiencing, or what it is. Basing the division of the chart on the syntax of the query, rather than on the querent and quesited, is mainly intended to eliminate the confusion that is often caused by queries about issues or situations that do not involve the querent or diviner themselves.

More importantly, this model also assigns the same meanings to both sets of triplicities on each half, which serves to maintain the binary division of the chart:

1st(1) The person or people on the subject side involved in the matter and their attributes, condition, intentions, actions, or experiences. (2) The objects or possessions on the subject side involved in the matter and their characteristics, condition, or function.
2nd⠀⠀The environment of the subject (as related to the query) and its characteristics, atmosphere, or the types of activities occurring there.
3rd(1) The person or people on the predicate side involved in the matter and their attributes, condition, intentions, actions, or experiences. (2) The objects or possessions on the predicate side involved in the matter and their characteristics, condition, or function.
4thThe environment of the predicate (as related to the query) and its characteristics, atmosphere, or the types of activities occurring there.

I accredit the idea of mirroring the triplicities to occult author Nick Farrell, who once suggested to me a theoretical model whereby the 1st Triplicity was given to the querent, the 2nd to the events taking shape, the 3rd to quesited’s involvement, and the 4th to the events behind it all. Farrell’s proposal, accordant with Cattan’s division, essentially aimed to symbolically align both sets of triplicities with their culminating Witnesses, a structure that differs significantly from Greer’s model, but one which I’ve nonetheless attempted to replicate in this proposal.

With regards to the three figures contained within each triplicity, they can either be read as a chronological series of events or as an interaction between factors. When the triplicity is approached chronologically, the top right figure (Right Parent) refers to the past, the middle figure (Child) to the present, and the top left figure (Left Parent) to the future. When read as an interaction, the Parental figures represent two factors involved in a situation and the Child represents the outcome of their interaction.

The model of triplicities presented here could allow for greater interpretive precision as compared to earlier proposals, especially when working with queries involving multiple individuals, objects, or events in different environments.

Phrasing and Assignment

When working with this particular model, careful consideration should be given to the phrasing of the query to assure that the triplicities are being used in the most effective manner. It can be helpful to identify details that allow one to formulate a predicate with a clear grammatical object. For example, the retrospective query “What were X’s intentions?” could be reformulated as “What were X’s intentions during their interaction with Y today?”. Rephrasing the query in this way would allow the reader to assign X (subject) to the right half of the shield and Y (object within the predicate) to the left half, thus making full use of the triplicities.

In the case of prospective queries, such as “Will the U.S. economy enter a recession this year?”, the 1st and 2nd Triplicities (subject side) would speak to the people, material goods, or environment involved in the U.S. economy in general, whereas the 3rd and 4th Triplicities (predicate side) would reflect the same elements in relation to the possibility of a recession within that period. The Judge in this instance would simply provide the verdict in light of the developments seen on both sides of the chart. 

Queries formulated in terms of “when” or “where” may need to be approached slightly differently depending on the specific geomantic technique being used. For example, when using the 8-point compass or the 8-timeframe system, the triplicities may be less relevant to the query. When using the triplicity-based locator, this model would not be applicable at all, as that technique works with the Four Triplicities in an entirely unique way.

The example chart below is intended to give the reader a sense of how this binary model would work in practice.

Example Reading

Will X be promoted by the board this year?

Conjunctio as the Judge may be unfavorable in this context, as its quality of movement is “stagnant” (Arabic: ثابت, thabit), suggesting that X will likely not be promoted this year.3 The Right Witness may be reflecting X’s current experience and expertise, though the Left Witness suggests that the board considers X’s promotion to be a dangerous gamble, perhaps in consideration of the policy violations that recently occurred in X’s department. The Sentence could be forecasting that X will consider a major career change if they are not promoted.

Via Puncti Aeris leads back to Conjunctio on the board’s half of the chart, possibly suggesting that its members are unanimous in their thoughts on the matter. Via Puncti Aquae leads back to Caput Draconison on X’s half of the chart, which could imply that the board’s decision to not promote them is also due to their expressed receptiveness to job offers elsewhere.

The 1st Triplicity may reflect the limitations that have been placed on X in recent months, their sense of finality regarding their current role, and their aspiration for a new beginning. The 2nd Triplicity could be indicative of the many changes that have occurred in X’s department this past year, its fleeting achievements, and the challenges it will need to overcome going forward. The 3rd triplicity possibly highlights the board’s immediate need to fill the vacant supervisory position and their aforementioned thoughts on X’s advancement. The 4th Triplicity suggests that the company as a whole is entering a new phase of development marked by significant changes, though it generally appears to be on an upward trajectory.

The sum of this chart (90) may or may not be relevant to the query.

Further Development

Please feel to experiment with this configuration and share your experiences via email or in the comments section below. This is a constantly evolving project and your insights are greatly appreciated.

  1. John Michael Greer, The Art and Practice of Geomancy: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance (Newburyport: Weiser Books, 2009), 96–97.
  2. Christopher Cattan, The Geomancie of Maister Christopher Cattan Gentleman, trans. John Wolfe (London, 1591), 160.
  3. In contrast to the mobile/stable division of the figures in Western geomancy, some forms of Arabic geomancy recognize four qualities of movement, based on the figures’ active/inactive fire and earth lines: (1) “entering” (داخل, dakhil), inactive fire and active earth, (2) “exiting” (خارج, kharij), active fire and inactive earth, (3) “fluctuating” (مغلوب, maghlub), active fire and earth, and (4) “unmoving” (ثابت, thabit), inactive fire and earth. The “fluctuating” quality indicates back-and-forth movement or rebounding to a previous condition.

Last Updated: 9-5-2022