I’ve been thinking about what exactly a geomantic chart tells you about a spirit or spiritual issue a bit lately. I use geomancy a good bit in my spiritual practice as a means of identifying and understanding with what I am working, so the question is fairly important. I want to talk about this a little bit. That means wandering a bit into some talk about spiritual typologies, so please keep in mind some of my caveats about that sort of thing.
Some of my posts about things like the relationship of texts and experience are informed by this geomantic work. More than once, I have had to prune back my ideas about a spirit or a working because the conceptual tools I brought to the work from my geomantic study cast a speculative shadow that I mistook for the spirit or work. I have also retooled my geomantic understanding so that it seems better calibrated to the sort of work I’m undertaking.
Before I proceed, then, let me underline that I am trying to make these distinctions as carefully as I can, but such conceptual and ontological contemplation is always problematic, always introduces distortions which can only be overcome if the talking takes place against a backdrop of spiritual work. The precise relationship between the distinction I want to talk about and ‘things as they really are’ will never be perfect, only useful.
Behind the distinctions I’m drawing here is a lot of conceptual trial and error, some of which you could track on this site, some not. This discussion is part of that trial and error, not an overcoming of it.
Okay, with those caveats and links in mind, let me get to it.
One of the reasons that I like the three- and four-fold soul model (related but perhaps not identical with the three tone model) is that it provides me with some very big and meaningful baskets into which I can differentiate spiritual work. I begin with a working under the aegis of intuition and divination, then proceed to consider its source and direction. Once I have a sense of that, I can modulate it accordingly. There is also the opportunity to disentangle elements mis-aligned in the occult tradition, allowing me to rethink the relationship between them.
When I talk about the ‘highest’ soul, the soul that carries the destiny, the soul that seems to correlate with the holy guardian angel or fairy godmother, geomantic divination is almost a synecdoche of it. The astrological determinations that help animate the geomantic chart seem to be part and parcel of the destiny soul itself, of the specific ties it has to planetary bodies. The destiny is a soul that is attempting to realize these potencies in a more material fashion, and the divination itself is one expression of that. (I suspect something about this may shed some sidelong light on the sort of questions pursued here regarding the afterlife of a horoscope.)
When I talk about the heart soul, things get a little more ambiguous. The heart soul animates our vitality, which gathers and sustains the vehicle of our embodiment. It isn’t quite the same thing as our embodiment itself, mind you, but it is that which gives unity to our embodied experience. Our temperament in the classical sense has much to do with this soul and should be distinguished both from our destiny and the Jungian/MBTI psychological type.
You can get at the vital soul in a roundabout fashion because it, too, has something of its own destiny, one a bit alien or perpendicular to our own. The vital soul’s future attaches us to a lineage, a family, and the broader entanglements in which those things are wound to other lineages and families. This does make us kin to everything that lives around us, but it’s key to note that by way of the vital soul, this kinship is quite abstract and circuitous. This is also what I am tempted to call our genetic and animal destiny.
The black soul is, well, actually hard to talk about in the singular (which fits well with this discussion by Blogos about the testosterone selves). It seems to be the ‘soul’ of our being gathered into the world, so here I locate all the souls that join us to the animate and inanimate that constitute our bodies and our life. This is where I find the body as a collection of organs and cells, of something that can be broken up and reconstituted. I feel like calling it the soul of our worldliness would not be too far off.
The black souls are weird, right? They exist precisely along the point at which something moves from having a destiny to not having one, so divining around the material that manifests here is pretty tricky from a geomantic perspective. The destinies uncovered here might wink out pretty quickly. Inversely, it’s also along this edge that destiny can be projected outward into this fuzzy zone, transforming divinatory sense into sorcerous manipulation.
When I get to the soul that we are, though, divination is not terribly helpful. Whatever we are seems to come from elsewhere, to project itself into this world though these negotiations with the souls. Any divination after that being is slippery, allusive and metaphorical. When I have tried to go after this with divination, it seems like the best thing to do is to move into a symbolic and mystical register, letting the work spark images which can be used to contemplate that self more indirectly.