Cattan and the point of instruction
Cattan and the point of instruction

Cattan and the point of instruction

As with the other parts of this series I will start with what Christopher Cattan wrote in his Geomancie and place my comments at the end. For those who do not know, Cattan’s point of instruction is identical to what Modern Geomancers call the Index.

To know what intent a figure was made which is called the point of instruction.

It is a thing of difficulty and consequence to know what purpose a chart was made. Sometimes it might happen that someone will come across a figure and not know what intent and end it might have been made. This is possible if a person does not find a description of the chart so that he knows the cause.Ā Ā This rule shall serve this function so you can understand and practice it. I will not repeat the opinion of all the doctors of this art for that would last forever, but I will tell you as briefly as I can.

The first rule about how to know the intent is when the first house goes to the other. You should judge the significance of the house it goes to.

The other rule is to take all the uneven points of the 12 figures and give one to the first, another to the second, another to the third until all the points have been allocated.Ā  If the last point remained on the first house it signifies the person desired to make a demand on the questions connected to the first house. If it rests on the second, it indicates a matter connected to money or moveable goods. You can guess the other houses where the points stay. If it happens that the point of the intent says in the house demanded, or in the first, you must judge that according to the signification of that Judge shows you and you would judge by the same judge.

You can also take the uneven points of the witnesses and the judge and distribute them too. But that rule is only by the 12 houses is better, more certain as you will see in the following example:

One day a man asked me to give a judgement on a figure which he had found because he had no idea why it was made. I took all the uneven points and placed them on the 12 houses. I found that the last point was on the 12th which meant that the figure had been made after someone had been jailed. But if the point of the intent falls upon the judge you should judge the figure as good or bad. Yet there is another way to judge the point of intent. Take the first and seventh figures and from them take another and judge them as if they were taken from the figure. So if the first house were Populus and the seventh is Aquistio the result would be Aquisitio and you should judge according to the significatior of Aquistio or any other figure which comes from the first and seventh figures.

Aquistio would suggest that the question was about silver

Admissio would suggest that the question was money, a voyage, something lost or something to do with coins

Puer would suggest that the question was about love, or friendship or a voyage

Puella would suggest that the question was about happiness, orĀ  a pregnant woman, marriage or of fortune

Albus would suggest that the question was about a woman or money.

Rubeus suggests the question was about a red object or blood

Caput Draconis suggests the question was about merchandise, or changing houses or some form of union.

Cauda Draconis suggests the question was about wars or things of malice

Fortuna Major suggests that the question was about fear, death or hunting.

Fortuna Minor suggests the question was about moving from one place to another

Populus suggests that the question was about groups or a marriage

Via suggests loss of money or a journey

Laetitia suggests the question was about a lord or some authority

Tristitia suggests the question was about a thing bought, lost or stolen, sickness or the invocation of spirits.

Carcer suggest the question was about imprisonment, sickness or something hidden

Conjuctio suggests the question was about suspicion.

You must understand that the rules are not necessary to geomancy but are placed here only for amusement and show that Geomancy is an art with a sense of humour.


This is an extremely odd chapter that seems to give a figure which tells you why a chart was made. It is hard to see how modern geomancers would have any need for this and the entire chapter is structured as one of amusement.

However, it would appear that there is more here than meets the eye. Cattan calls this method through the “point of instruction” in the headline and then fails to mention the title anywhere in the chapter. Fludd also mentions the method under the same headline. The Point of Instruction is made in the same way as the Part of Fortune, only it is made by adding up all the odd numbers rather than the even numbers. So it must be more important. Some modern geomancers think that the Point of instruction is spiritual guidance (while the Part of Fortune is where support can be found).

Cattan could have said that but instead, he hinted that the Point of Instruction effectively sums up the entire chart and shows the direction that it intends.Ā  He palms this off as a source of amusement, it is important to know what the chart is actually saying rather than what the questioner thinks it means. It is a point of instruction between the querent and the geomantic oracle. It should be read in the same manner as the part of fortune, but instead of it being generally good, it can be either (depending on the house and the figure) it is what you need to learn from the question. There is considerable duplication in Cattan’s “amusing list” which suggests it is not meant to be literal.

So, if a person is having relationship troubles and their point of instruction is found in the tenth house and is amissio. It could be that the point of instruction means that the querant will have to sacrifice something of themselves to resolve the matter. Cattan’s amusing chart then takes on a deeper meaning. He says that the point of instruction was “money, a voyage, something lost or something to do with coins.” However, money is a symbol of power and amissio is the tenth house. The point of instruction then is that the querant is learning about power issues with the subject of this question.

Note that the point of instruction, like the path of fortune, cannot be rotated so must always be about the querant. It is different from the sentence because it sums up the entire chart and what the querant is supposed to learn from it.Ā  It can also be used to check what the real question is. So this person might have thought they were dealing with an argument with their girlfriend, but really they need to learn to back down, dial back their status in any fight and understand it is all about power.

Cattan’s other method is to take the first and the seventh and add them together and see what the resulting figure is created.Ā  This is very likely to give another figure.Ā  The seventh house is used because it is the house of “others” which is exactly what you need to be looking at if you really are trying to find out the meaning of a strangers chart. This house though is also the opposite of the ascendant so it means that the figure shows the lesson being taught to the geomancer by other people or the outside world. So if we know that the argument with the girlfriend was about loss of power and status, if we look at the seventh house we get caput draconis as the second figure of instruction. Normally we would read that as some kind of “new beginning” but Cattan’s “amusing chart” tells us it is about merchandise, or changing houses or some form of union. Assuming our waring couple are not moving house, then it would suggest that the row how to make a new start of some sort.

The fact that that these two methods give us instruction is useful. If we wanted to know if a magic ritual was going to work then the path of instruction could explain if it was an appropriate ritual for us to use, or suggest one we should be looking at instead. If I were thinking of doing a healing rite, but the path of instruction was rubeus in the fourth house it might suggest that it is better to target a problem with the blood instead.


  1. Alex Scaraoschi

    Hmmm can this be viewed as the “spirit of the reading”? As in the “letter of the law” and “the spirit of the law” kind of thing? So could this point be considered the one that points to the figure that underlines the spirit of the reading while Fortune points to the letter of the reading? If so, if both points draw attention to the same figure then the reading should he more straightforward. But if they point to different for gures then the reading is more complex, has layered meanings etc… Just curious…

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