So, Mothers, Doubles, Elementals. 3, 7, 12. When the SY starts to talk about the Elementals, it does so through an illuminating recuperation of the Mothers and the Doubles, emphasizing in each case the way in which the Mothers and Doubles each manifest with an intermediary force.
The Mothers have a pan of liability (Shin) and a pan of merit (Mem), with the tongue of decree (Alef). The Doubles are three against three, with a mediator (I think the three-three-one pattern can manifest in a few ways, so let’s save that for another discussion). But the Elementals? They are at war (three lifegivers, three killers, three allies, three enemies).
Which is a good way of pointing out that they have no mediating influence when you sketch them on the tree of life diagram, except insomuch as they have a relationship to Mothers and Doubles. In the heavens, this is the work of the constellations and suggests that, untempered, the work of the stars is the work of extremes. The Brickwork of Sapphires has jagged edges. Note, the letters of the Tetragrammeton all appear among the Elementals.
It is a little easier to start thinking (and talking with others) about this with the Zodiac, so I am going to use it as my exemplar for this discussion, with all the caveats that come from relying upon a witness rather than the letters themselves. Also, the added caveat that this is intended to be en route toward a better understanding, not necessarily that better understanding itself.
The diagramming of the Elementals produces three diamonds, suggesting that each diamond contains one lifegiver, one killer, one ally, and one enemy. In the cycle of the zodiac, one possibility is that each cycle of four signs being composed of a lifegiving sign, a killing sign, an allying sign, and an enemy sign. The trick would just to establish which signs are lifegiving, which are killing, etc.
I don’t like this solution. The Zodiac in astrology is inherently relational, for one, and the description of the Elementals being at war suggests that there is some dynamic and shifting relationship between them, too, depending with whom alliances are formed. Given the language of both the Zodiac and of war, what if there are enemies and allies of a specific Elemental rather than Elemental lines which are enemies in a general sense?
My present preference is to think of each sign as a ‘lifegiving’ to itself with killing, alliance, and opposition being defined by strict rules of relationship across the chart. E.g., Aries gives life unto itself, Libra opposes and is the enemy of Aries, Cancer kills Aries, Capricorn allies with and supports Aries. There are obvious associations with the astrological traditions around these signs, so that’s nice. The language of war is also well-suited to this—Capricorn supports Aries against its own enemy Cancer.
That suggests each diamond should reflect one full ‘war’ mapped onto the circle of Zodiac signs: Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, and Libra; Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius; Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces, and Virgo. The question then would be to establish which diamond receives which war.
Those wars match the astrological distinction of cardinal, mutable, and fixed respectively, which suggests that if we could determine which of the Mothers correspond to those distinctions, we could orient each according to its Mother. I’m thinking to link cardinal to Alef (decree having an ordering function like the cardines), fixed to Shin (for liability is punished strictly), and mutable to Mem (because merit is rewarded and affords flexibility), so depending on how you map those onto the tree, you could map the diamonds accordingly. Maybe fixed at the bottom, cardinal in the middle, and mutable at the top.
Having just talked about the elements of geomancy being stand-ins for deeper directional connections, knowing that there are some Hebrew astrological accounts which divide the signs into the directions where they gather, one reasonable option is to look to see if each direction is represented in each diamond. Unsourced Wikipedia information suggests yes:
“Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius face northward; Taurus, Virgo, and Capricornus westward; Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius southward; and Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces eastward.”
The matter then becomes one of orienting each direction toward a face of the diamond. I don’t have a lock on this, but I am pretty sure I want Scorpio on the side of severity and Aries on the side of mercy. Most everything else falls into place from that. Looking at the tree with Keter furthest from you, on any given diamond the westward constellation is the upper right-hand face, the northward constellation the lower right- hand face, the southward constellation is the upper left-hand face, and the eastward constellation the lower left-hand face.
Just to take the cardinal/alef diamond as an example:
Libra / | \ Capricorn
Cancer \ | / Aries
I like this better, but I have yet to try and sit down with the letters and their symbols as Blogos has talked about, so that might provide a better way to get at the fundamental dimensions of the war than this astrological take.
If each of the Elementals helps constitute direction, there is a possible link between them and the geomantic figures. The geomantic figures might bear witness to a property of the Doubles in relationship to the Elementals, a relationship through which the Elementals are gathered and stabilized by the Doubles. Each geomantic figure might manifest as the relationship between the Elementals as directions and the Doubles.