Geomancy, Yeatsian Signs, and the Gates of the Moon

Looking at the last post, I realize there is a fairly substantial element of the discussion missing. Part of my enthusiasm for the Yeatsian phases of the moon has to do with part of my peculiar take on geomancy. Since it is peculiar, it probably won’t make sense to someone living outside of my head. So, let me share some of my thoughts on the matter to fill in that gap.

Remember how I have talked about the relationship between faeries and the lunar-Yesodic sphere? Well, that comes into play here, because as we talk about the passage of divine potencies into the world, we are talking about the gates of the moon, regulated by those faerie forces.

The morphology of the signs plays a key role in understanding the gates; their morphology provides the basis for dividing the signs into 6 groupings (and a few subgroupings). There are two key differentiating features at this level:

  1. the distribution of active and passive lines in the sign; i.e., e.g., Puer and Puella both have one passive line and three active lines
  2. If the sign is drawn on a quartered circle that is then rotated, the entire grouping will be generated; e.g., through rotation you can generate Puer, Puella, Cauda Draconis, and Caput Draconis from each other.

Each of these gates has correspondences with the four quarters of the moon, though in the exceptional cases of Via and Populus (each defining their own gate), Amissio and Acquisitio (together forming one gate), the full quarters can only be generated with the addition of Caput and Cauda Draconis. They play a special role in my geomantic thinking generally, so this peculiar substitutability fits in with their broader functions. This gets you the following groupings (ordered from new moon to last quarter):

The Gates of the Moon (Populus, Caput Draconis, Via, Cauda Draconis)

The Gates of Germination (Tristitia, Albus, Rubeus, Laetitia)

The Gates of the Day (Fortuna Major, Conjunctio, Fortuna Minor, Carcer)

The Gates of the Kingdom (Acquisitio, Caput Draconis, Amissio, Cauda Draconis)

The Gates of the Hunt (Cauda Draconis, Puer, Puella, Caput Draconis)

By comparison, the Yeatsian quarters are Seed, Cup, Flower, and Sceptre (to my way of thinking, interpellating the Gates of Germination and the Kingdom).

We can meaningfully constellate the gates between Via and Populus, though, as the pillars that anchor the system. In this light, we can see the Gates like this:

(Via) Germination * Day ** Kingdom * Hunt (Populus)

The proximity of the Gates of Germination and the Day reflects the intimacy of the cycles of time and the life-cycle while the closeness of the Gates of the Kingdom and Hunt reflect the relationship between the growth of a community and the violence necessary to sustain it.

The Gates can be ‘stacked’ atop each other to correlate families of signs with the phases, but that isn’t their key function. Within each gate, we see a kind of causality developing. At the lunar-Yesodic level, it is a reversible causality, but in the Gates of the Kingdom we see materiality and irreversibility beginning to take shape.

The names of the gates are both a metaphor and a synecdoche. They single out an exemplary figure whose unfolding in life reflect key elements of the signs they organize.

The Gates of the Moon, well, are pretty self-explanatory. They define the structure of the gates themselves . They include most essentially the signs Via and Populus who each embody a principle (1 and 2, respectively) according to which the geomantic system operates.

The Gates of Germination describe the life-cycle of an individual organism and could be equally well-named the Gates of the Harvest or the Gates of the Sphinx’s Riddle. The ‘natural’ tendency of the gate proceeds in a very lunar fashion, the growth and decline of an individual mirroring the waxing and waning of the moon.

At the level of Yesod, the ordering of phases is reversible and those reversals allow us to trace a pattern of movement through which other aspects of germination can be seen. The fungal tendency to spore and bloom, for example, begins in the middle with Rubeus and Albus (they can generate each other by a single quarter rotation in the round). We can consider, too, the manias and depressions to which many higher organisms are subject by the way in which Tristitia and Laetitia can easily pass into the other.

The Gates of the Hunt describe various sorts of entrainment and ecstasy, taking their name from the entrainment of a pack of hunters in chase of their prey. The ‘natural’ movement of the sign is more centered and doesn’t tend to follow the phase pattern. Puella and Puer define the chase while Caput and Cauda define the kill.

The Gates of the Sun describe the generation of time, exemplified here by the movement of the sun. Conjunctio and Carcer embody twilight and dawn, respectively, while the Fortunas describe the sun in the sky and the sun beneath the horizon of evening.

The Gates of the Kingdom detail the way in which individuals become intertwined in the material world, through cycles of gift, theft, and sacrifice. In Angl0-Saxon traditions, the two key signs are well-described as the sovereign (Acquisitio) and the woman bearing the mead-cup (Amissio).

It is in the formulation of the Gates of the Kingdom that the Yeatsian work is of greatest interest. These two signs,  with their association of kingship (the sceptre) and succor (the cup) evoke the Yeatsian quarters and so suggest an alternate arrangement of the Gates in which the Gates of the Moon and the Gates of the Kingdom are combined, excluding the need to use the Draconi. In other words, the Gates of the Kingdom could alternately be: Populus, Amissio, Via, Acquisitio.

That option has a certain parsimony which appeals, though I don’t think it fully displaces my original model in which the Draconi operate as fillers. I suspect, rather, we might be looking at two equally viable formulations whose difference lies with a question of spiritual alliance and direction rather than geomantic techne.

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9 thoughts on “Geomancy, Yeatsian Signs, and the Gates of the Moon

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