[NB] Shifting Crowns: Geomantic figures (2, 4, 8, 16) and the Saadia Diagram (3, 7, 12)

In the Meccan Revelations, Ibn al’Arabi distinguishes between two equal orders of numbers, the odd and the even, in answer to a debate as to whether two or three is the proper successor to one. Two is the successor to one among the even and three is the successor to one among the odd.

This sort of thinking can be applied to compare and contrast the (1) relationship between the rule of three and its relationship to four (2+2 and 2×2) that yields both the rule of seven and twelve in the Saadia diagram and (2) the relationship between the rule of two in geomantic operations and the relationship to three that produces the sixteen signs of the shield.

I have already shared my consideration about the implicit four in the Saadia diagram (3+4=7, 3×4=12) and the role played by four in introducing mobility and distortion into the eternal order the law of three, seven and twelve symbolize. What I want to do now is point out the interplay of those same forces in the geomantic operations.

The rule of three has its implicit parallel in geomantic readings. It is the mathematical operation that joins two signs to produce a third. The witnesses and the judge of a shield chart do more that sum up a reading, they are the embodiment of its basic structure.

Four, by contrast, is an explicit property of the shield chart, its rule as it were. Each sign in the chart has four lines, and four signs are generated manually in order to initiate the divination. The four are doubled (2x2x2) through a series of permutations. The eight signs, by implicit application of the three, produce four more.

These twelve signs can be read as a horoscope, providing a clear point of intersection between the geomantic order and the sefirotic. However, the four signs produced by the eight can also be distilled to two more (witnesses), which produce a third (the judge), and this judge can be added to the first mother to produce a final summation.

It makes some sense to think of the witnesses, judge, and the result of the result as the crown of the chart. It completes the fourfold order of the chart by bringing the count of signs to sixteen and represents both the distillation of forces that opened the chart. The result of the result, especially, is especially important because it represents the application of the insights of the divination to the original situation.

The sefirot operates by applying the rule of three with tacit appeal to four, an inversion of the geomantic principles. By contrast, the geomantic suppresses the appearance of three by concealing it in the binary mathematics of 1+1=2 and 2+1=1, the Saadia diagram suppresses the four by concealing its role in the production of ancillary rules.

Hence, the element of earth, which is virtual in the sefirotic diagram, becomes actual in the bottom line of the geomantic sign. Similarly, the implicit relationship between three signs becomes explicit in the many triple dimensions of the sefirotic diagram.

The geomantic shield and the sefirotic diagram start to look a lot like supplement to each other. They are each attempts to assert the primacy of odd or even and generate a model for the operation of those forces as primary and the other as secondary.

That is all fairly abstract, but I think that there are a few basic principles that can be extracted from it.

First, we can look at each geomantic figure as a snapshot of the disposition of the elemental lines in regard to a specific situation. Each elemental line, in turn, tells us something about the disposition of specific sefirot in the matter. When we consider each of those elements as bound up with a function, this makes each sign a rich source of information regarding action.

Second, looking at a given triplicity, we can see each sign as a snapshot of the disposition of three trees in relationship to each other, a sum total of the forces of creation as they operate between the divine and the historical.

Third, this provides additional connective tissue for connecting the geomantic signs and the planetary channels. If the sign’s structure is born in the elements, then the planets, as the first children of the elements, would sensibly be associated with the specific signs.

One thought on “[NB] Shifting Crowns: Geomantic figures (2, 4, 8, 16) and the Saadia Diagram (3, 7, 12)

  1. Pingback: Shield Chart–Tree of Life Conversion? | Disrupt & Repair

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