I was thinking after the last post that it might be useful to talk a little about the place of metaphors in geomancy again. The core system is strictly mechanical and mathematical, but much of its force derives from relating the mechanical-mathematical signs to a parallel system of metaphors.
Geomancy makes clear in its differentiation by contraries a system of understanding that is well-described by structuralist theories of language, where binaries in meaning relate to mechanical binaries within language itself. While the two systems are initially independent, once correlated meaning and mechanical differentiation quickly become entangled.
(Again, for those with the habits of mind that follow such paths, I recommend Derrida’s short essay “Force and Signification.” Read that and think of the play of forces going on in a divination session where the signs must find purchase in a querent’s life.)
I like to talk about this at the level of metaphors because that breaks the discussion out of the Neo-Victorian memory games of the Golden Dawn, emphasizing that the signs are not so much containers for meaning and symbols but rather points of resonance which we can manipulate and navigate. Emphasis on emphasis: memory isn’t divorced from this approach anymore than manipulation and navigation are divorced from the Golden Dawn style work (my witch/wizard distinction).
When we are looking at the animating force that allows us to conceive of the transformation back and forth between amissio and acquisitio, we can turn away from a strictly elemental pattern of metaphors toward more homespun ones. The movement from amissio to acquisitio can be compared to the movement of a needle in a sewing machine, moving in and out of the fabric.
Fire and air are replaced by needle and thread, earth and water with fabric and scissors. The steel of the needle and scissors capture the alliance of both fire and water lines as active and transforming elements. The fiber of thread and fabric emphasize the importance of the quality of the materials upon the realization of the work.
In amissio, the needle is raised, threaded, and the patterns cut. The spool loses thread and the fabric cut away from its background. In acquisitio, the needle drops, the forms are fixed to each other. The joining brings together something new, a form which did not exist before.
Amissio and acquisitio can be viewed as the movement through which culture becomes possible, the selection and manipulation of elements in the world to produce something new within the world. This is what the Popol Vuh singles out as humanity’s virtue, their capacity to transform the world, to give birth to culture, except you might not notice it because the Popol Vuh calls it, simply enough, ‘giving praise.’ I like that because it emphasizes how praise can be articulated in more than words. The praise of actions, the praise of crafts, the praise of quiet commitments carried out with dedication.