Thinking in a more apophatic fashion about the kabbalistic material has also encouraged me to look at other places where over-coding associations has obscured more potent and dynamic mysteries. I’ve already talked about pulling geomantic signs away from the associations that they have with planets and zodiac and replacing them with connections to the mysteries of the tree of life, but one of the things that also sits uncomfortably for me there are the elemental associations with the lines of a geomantic sign.
While I’m not sure I would go so far as Blogos and assert that a three element system is superior to a four or five element system (though I might given time), I have come to be increasingly suspicious of the use of the four element system to make sense of what is going in a geomantic sign. While I have had good results using the four elements to activate the lines, it does feel like the activation rests on a more fundamental connection to the structure of the cosmos.
I suspect that more fundamental structure is directionality. What the geomantic sign first embodies is the weaving together of the four directions that compose the surface of the earth. Secondarily, the lines also compose a vertical dimension and it is in that vertical dimension the elements as ascending or descending enter into the picture. The geomantic triplicity forms when the two dimensions intersect, yielding a resultant message, a mediating third sign.
Even in the vertical dimensions, the elements are derivative, coming into association with the lines based on the way in which Greek thought posed the elements in a vertical arrangement. Since the two signs establish a harmony between themselves, the vertical associations can pass into the horizontal field, allowing the horizontal plane’s orientations to pick up elemental associations, too.
Let me emphasize that being derivative does make the associations false or wrong. It just makes them secondary, a more contingent dimension of the spiritual structures with which the practice of geomancy interacts, one that could be modulated or even abandoned without necessarily undermining it’s functioning.