Geomancy: A Technique for the Shield

Sam has a great piece today about the elements in the Shield Chart of geomancy, and what might happen if we took a risk and started inventing some techniques to use in western geomancy that aren’t astrological. Given that my druid order uses geomancy as its key divination technique, this struck me as both pretty cool and pretty useful.

Sam describes the Sentence, which I know as the Reconciler or Mediator, which is the combination of the First Mother with the Judge figure.  Thus, if the First Mother is Tristitia (Tristwch in my druidic group) and the Judge is Via (Ffordd for us), the resulting character is Cauda Draconis (Llosgwrn y Ddraig).

Geomancy IndexThat winds up looking like this.

I have to say, I like the Sentence, or the Reconciler combination.  It’s easy, it’s elegant, and it provides additional information.

But I don’t always like how deterministic a geomantic answer is, and neither do clients; and I find that they usually want a short-term boost or they want ‘magic’ to change the odds or results that are suggested by the judge. And sometimes the client is me, and I want the boost.

When that’s the case, I frequently make use of a figure that I sometimes call the Magician, because he lurks in the shadows; or I call it the Telesma, because it provides the added boost necessary to turn around the divination.

The example I chose is the one shown in the bottom of the diagram, which is a case in which the Judge is Carcer (or Carchar to we happy few druids).  Under some circumstances, this is a pretty deep, heavy NO with lots of warning signs saying “turn back now!” and so on.

But the client (which is sometimes me, let’s be frank here) wants success — and a serious, long-lasting success too.  None of this namby-pamby “lucky break that doesn’t last” stuff for us. We want genuine success that remains success.  And in geomancy, that’s represented by the figure on the right-hand side of the equals sign in the lower equation, which is Fortuna Major (Bendith Fawr). Now, because of how geomancy generates triplicities by combination, this means that you can figure out which character “bridges the gap” between Carcer and Fortuna Major, and that character is Amissio (Colled in our version of the system).  Or, in Deb’s words, austerities. Sacrifices have to be made at times, and if you want to get out of the prison of limits, then paying through the nose for what you want or need is going to help get you there.  Just look at food prices in New York, as Gordon suggests, and you’ll see that emptying your wallet and turning it upside down will give you a kind or type of success.  Of course, doing it deliberately and intentionally means that you’re much more likely to get what you want out of the situation — cut your expenses, save your income, change your relationship with money, lose a little here and there, and a different sort of success is waiting.

So that’s how you generate the Magician / Telesma character.

DOGD GeomancyOf course, you can make an actual talisman of the Telesma character for a given reading.  I learned how to draw the ‘traditional images’ associated with the individual symbols of geomancy as singular tokens (although, word to the wise, I think that triadic combinations might be even more effective, as my prior practice has shown).  And you can even get them as a poster here on Zazzle (which in theory earns me something or other, although part of me doubts it).

I frequently have a small artist’s card drawn up of one or more of these emblems in my working bag. There’s a little ‘isinglass’ or plastic window for you to put your business cards inside, and instead I carry whichever image seems to be most appropriate for the moment.  Some days it’s the prison of Carchar, to remind me to accept the limitations I’ve established in my life so that things get done.  Sometimes it’s Llawenedd, to remind me to take time to smell the flowers.  Sometimes it’s Bendith Fach, so that I get a lucky break when I need it (or else Cyswllt, when I want a choice presented to me).

I think one of the important things to remember about the Telesma, though, is that the character is there for two purposes: one, of course, is that it’s to be magical — it’s there to help you achieve a specific aim; but second, and far more immediately, it’s there to help remind you to act in a specific way.  It’s no good to turn your wallet upside-down and spend your last dollar, while carrying a talisman of Elw. Most of the traditional images are supposed to remind you to carry out a specific behavior or to engage in a specific attitude.  Ffordd says “keep going”, while Pobl says “seek out the crowd”.  Bendith Fawr’s image of the prosperous town in the river valley is suggesting that you should “play to your advantages”, while Bendith Fach says “you made it to the top of the mountain… but now you have to get down again.”

Don’t carry a talisman if you don’t intend to practice its advice.

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  1. […] Geomancy: A Technique for the Shield — Geomancy is a binary-based system of fortune-telling or divination, and this is a post on how to use geomancy in a way that I don’t think is attested to in the historical version of the system, but has nonetheless proved useful. (Like Geomancy? Check out my poem, Quatrains on Geomancy,  which explores some of the key meanings of the sixteen symbols or characters of geomancy. […]

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