Example of an Icon

Fortuna Major Card
Fortuna Major — a river coming out of a valley

This image of Fortuna Major comes out of Greer’s descriptions of the geomantic signs in The Art and Practice of Geomancy.  The signs are the sixteen four-bit “bytes” of an ancient divination system which probably originated in west Africa sometime in the 400s or 300’s AD, but possibly before that.

Fortuna Major has been described as the most positive of the geomantic signs, and represents success from internal strength. As I wrote over on Flickr:

In Geomancy, the sixteen signs are actually each a four-bit byte (in computer terms. This four-bit byte —rendered as double, double, single, single — represents singular bounty and excellence.

The image on the card represents the great good fortune of living in a river valley: well-nourished fields, prosperous towns, tall mountains that gather the rain, surrounding hills that protect and nourish, and provide the water power that bring industry and wealth.

In short, the valley represents success as a result of intrinsic strengths. Fortuna Major represents the greatest possible level of achievement, at least as represented in the geomantic suite of symbolism. It is associated with Leo and the Sun — which in retrospect I realize should have been in the image. Maybe they’ll get into the final version before I color it.

There’s a Geomancy list for practitioners (both professionals and amateurs) on Yahoo groups, and I offered this observation to fellow enthusiasts, that artists’ trading cards such as this one can be generated for each of the sixteen geomantic signs, using their dot-patterns (lower right), their names and their Zodiac and planetary and elemental correspondences.  These images can then serve as icons of a sort — windows into the potentials represented, to draw the desired energy toward the bearer.

Whether or not it works, it’s a great way to create some interesting thematic artwork.  At its core, though, this is something many magical traditions do in secret: provide training in other arts and sciences and technical specialities to people with curious minds.  In the process of learning how geomancy worked, I learned about binary mathematics.  In learning about binary math, I learned some artistic skills.  In learning artistic skills, I gained writing experience…. It’s sort of a continuous process of self-evolution, really, with creativity at its heart.

Who knew?

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