‘Tis the season for annual geomantic charts, so I thought I’d kick off this blog with some thoughts on time-based geomantic readings since that’s what I’m doing a lot of these days. Expect more on this topic during January and February.
[Note: This post assumes a working knowledge of geomancy. If you aren’t familiar with this divination, I suggest doing some research online or purchasing The Art and Practice of Geomancy by John Michael Greer.]
What is a Time-Based General Geomantic Reading?
It’s a “general” (no specific question) reading that covers a particular time period, such as a day, week, month, or year. In some cases, the period of time may be specific to the client’s context: A school semester, a season, an engagement, or a fiscal year.
The typical approach is to cast both a shield and house chart, interpreting them as descriptions of what the questioner can expect in his or her life during the period under question. From there, the wise client will make plans and decisions accordingly.
Putting the Time-Based Geomantic Chart Into Perspective
As a divination method, geomancy is known for its elegant precision in answering client questions. Geomancy can also provide excellent general readings, but the method’s accuracy is somewhat blunted. It’s up to the geomancer to modify his or her interpretive skills to give an accurate, helpful reading.
Here are the three main challenges in interpreting a time-based general chart:
Pulling back: These charts require the geomancer, as well as the client, to take a birds-eye view of the information provided. The figures and their positions represent expected trends. This does not mean that every day is going to be the same or that the trajectory will be smooth sailing.
For example, a client who receives a judge of acquisitio in an annual chart can expect to have a prosperous and contented year. However, he should not expect to be walking on sunshine for the next 365 days. While the trend for the year is quite positive, there will be some bad and sad days. Maybe even weeks, or even a month or two.
Interpretation with minimal context: It can be a significant challenge to read these charges effectively or with much detail if you lack a decent understanding of the client’s context, circumstances, and everyday life.
To make things even more complicated, a client’s circumstances may change or experience disruption. If you have a friend who is a bohemian writer, its easy enough to see caput draconis in the fifth house and assume that this is a good year for her to write a book. Imagine everyone’s surprise when no book materializes, but she becomes pregnant.
House meanings: This can be the more difficult challenge, which is why I devote a whole section to it below. Astrological house attributions are legion, and it can be difficult to determine which meanings will come into play during the period under inquiry.
Discerning Astrological House Meanings
If a querent has a question about his or her mother, the geomancer will have an easy time setting up and interpreting the chart. In traditional astrology (which I use), the 10th house is assigned to the querent’s mother, so the geomancer treats the figure in that house as the quesited, using it to answer the question.
In a time-based chart, the client does not have a specific question or area of concern. Instead, figures appear in houses and could apply to any of a house’s rulerships, which can be quite diverse. Matters of the 10th house include the querent’s mother, career, and public reputation (among other things).
In a general reading, it’s easy to trip over yourself while describing the figure and attempting to relate it to all the possible house meetings. (In fact, you’ll probably confuse the client if you do this.)
My Approach to Time-Based House Chart Readings
Every geomancer and diviner has their own technique for managing interpretation challenges such as this one. In my readings, I first explain to the client that houses have different meanings, and the figure in that house may apply to any or all issues that the house rules.
From there, I pay attention to the figure and any houses to which the figure springs. In some cases, this can give me a better idea of how the figure operates in its house rulership. If I know the client well, I can use my knowledge of their circumstances to develop a more detailed interpretation. Still, it is possible to make mistakes.
Back in 2011, my annual chart showed caput draconis in the sixth house. I became frightened. After all, that figure is about beginnings and things falling into place so that something can get started. It’s normally a positive figure, except that it fell in the sixth house, which governs illness, servants, and domestic animals smaller than a goat.
Many geomancers, including myself, often default to illness when dealing with sixth house questions, and I was no exception. I spent most of the year terrified of developing some dread disease. My fear was for naught, though, as I remained remarkably robust through December.
I did, however, end up getting a cat.
The lesson here is straightforward: Be aware that the houses have multiple meanings and that the applicability of a particular figure in a particular house may bring with it some surprises. This is particularly true when doing a reading for a long time period, such as a year or a season. Don’t be afraid to warn a client about this issue.
General Geomantic Readings and Specific Concerns
Some clients will ask for a “general” reading when, in fact, they do have some very specific concerns that they just aren’t telling you. The problem is that these unspoken concerns can skew the reading.
For example, if you find caput draconis in the seventh house of an annual chart, you can say that things will be ripe for new developments in seventh house matters during the year. Your client, who has not expressed his wish for a new girlfriend, may very well assume, privately, that the woman of his dreams will show up soon.
Unfortunately, the seventh house also governs business partnerships, lawsuits, and open enemies. The client who expects romance and ends up with a process server on his doorstep is likely to be mightily annoyed.
To prevent this kind of confusion and disappointment, it’s a good idea to probe a bit when a client asks for “just a general reading.” If the client does have some particular concerns, suggest that you cast a chart or charts with those concerns in mind.
Otherwise, explain to the client that house meanings are diverse and that the figure in that house may not point to the event or circumstance that the client is hoping for. Provide them with a copy of their chart and encourage them to take notes; This makes it easier to refer to the reading throughout the time span that the reading applies to.
Up Next: Some best practices, tips on adjusting predictions based on the period under question, and examining how specific figures in specific houses can play out over time.
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