While most geomancers have an established set of meanings for the 16 geomantic symbols, it might be we are missing a hint dropped in Agrippa’s Fourth Book when the placement of the symbols on a chart was mentioned. The author hinted that the placing of the symbols of the chart was advanced and significant. Various works have attributed astrological associations to each of the geomantic symbols (some are contradictory), and yet these give clues to a much deeper understanding of the symbols.
I first realised that three might be something to this when I hit a reading where both the quested and querent were Tristia “sorrow” which is traditionally a bad and depressing figure. Yet the question was talking whether the person would be happy or not. The fact that the line was a definite “yes” as perfection but backed by a depressing figure which said the opposite was confusing. The usual answer would be “yes, they will be happy, but things will not go well for them.”
However, that did not feel right and mirrored some other readings I have had were Tristia made a similar confusing appearance. Saturn itself tends to get a bad press in more traditional astrology (from which Geomancy emerges). Saturn would be depressing and melancholic, but it also means structures and boundaries, limits, discipline, order, realism, and maturity. As a god of agriculture, Saturn is the force which creates growth and the cycles of time.
Then we have the Agrippa attribution of Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn rules Aquarius in its day sign, and it is happy there. This means that Saturn’s more positive aspects are coming forward. Manilius wrote in the first century: “those who issue from this sign are a gentle sort and a lovable breed, and no meanness of heart is theirs; they are prone to suffer losses, and of riches, they have neither need nor surfeit.” Valens was less complimentary calling Aquarians fearful, “betrayers of opinion or truth” “haters of their own family” before mentioning that they were focused on handcraft. Aquarians tend to be detached and focused on non-personal concerns. Aquarian is often berated for being emotionally ‘cool’. Notice that this is not the same thing as being “depressed” or “sorrowful” In fact Tristia seems to be saying that such negative expressions of Saturn are not found here and we have a structured framework to support the development of new ideas and draws cohesion from established principles.
So the answer to the question will this person be happy is yes because they will be in a difficult situation, creating and teaching them a new different structure which they really need.
Some of the issues might also be answered by the Arabic name for this figure which was
Ankis. Ankis means Reversal (a change to an opposite direction, position, or course of action), rather than sorrow. This suggests a more Saturnian/Aquarian change to a reverse position (like the change that happens as winter turns to spring (which is what happens during the period ruled by Aquarius).
It is important to note that Saturn in Aquarius is also strengthened or weakened by different houses so this too should be looked at
Does astrology make any difference in other symbols?
Lately, I have been meditating on the symbols of Populus and Via. Populus is the new moon in Cancer and Via is the full moon in Cancer. Populus has a bit of a bad press among geomancers because it is seen as a sign of a situation being without the energy to move while Via at least results in some movement. The Arabic names are like the western versions with Populous being group and Via being way.
But Moon in Cancer changes the attributions in fact you can see some of the attributions appear in the different geomantic symbols.
The ancients saw the moon as ruling all of nature and the force that grew together crowds, represented the mother, conception, legal marriage, home property, sleep, and mortals. Cancer brings in history, past cultures and traditions and ancestors. Their intuition Cancer is not known as a sign of quick action or immediate response. Cancerians tend to vacillate before deciding on a course of action, Cancerians find a change in their environment and basic life-structure challenging to handle and have a deep need for security in personal relationships They are slow to form intimate relationships but are intensely emotional. (all attributed to Populus). The New Moon is the time to set your intention for the coming month, be it for a new project, idea, plan, thought, relationship, job, etc. This is the day to invite change into your life and be open to new possibilities. But it is a time of planning not doing. (the infamous Populus LW Populus RW Populus Judge with via as the reconciler means that a person is still thinking and planning and will move off later)
Finding Via (which is the opposite of Populus) is harder. But here we have the cancer moon literally showing us the way. The functions and goals talked about in populous are put in action. It will bring with it a strong desire for movement. All those things considered with Populus are seen in a more active sense – in other words, Via is Populus in motion.
Both then represent mother, conception, legal marriage, home property, sleep, history, past cultures and traditions and ancestors but Populus is that energy at rest, planning and thinking. Via is those things being carried on. Populus would be where you are summoning your ancestors, via would be you joining in their patterns.
Both represent the lunar force of Hekate in her active and passive modes and in themselves are powerful.
Now I am aware that Gerard of Cremona had a different method of allocating signs of the zodiac to the geomantic figures. Sam Block has worked out that Gerard’s system is connected to the meanings of the mansions of the moon, which makes some sense but lacks Agrippa’s elegance. It might be one of the things that I change my mind on in the future.
What follows is a list so you can flesh out some of your own meanings for the symbols:
|Amissio||Loss||Catching the outside||Taurus||Venus|
|Fortuna Major||Greater fortune||Inside victory||Leo||Sun|
|Acquisitio||Gain||Catching the inside||Sagittarius||Jupiter|
|Cauda Draconis||Tail of the Dragon||Outer threshold||Cauda Draconis||Mars & Saturn|
|Caput Draconis||Head of the Dragon||Inner threshold||Caput Draconis||Venus & Jupiter|
|Fortuna Minor||Lesser fortune||Outside victory||Leo||Sun|