Geomantic Resh (Mercury, Wednesday, Left Ear)


Geomantic albus.svg          Geomantic rubeus.svg

Within the planetary circuit, Resh follows Pe and precedes Kaf. In the sequence of the week, it follows Dalet and precedes Gimel. Upon the plane of orifices that constitute the face, Resh fashions the ears along with Pe. Within the Tree of Life, it is the bottom double upon the pillar of severity, crowned with Gevurah and resting upon Hod. In all of these assemblages, it finds expression through the geomantic figures of Albus and Rubeus.

In the planetary circuit, Resh produces Mercury, the most distant of the inner planets between Earth and Sun. Its relationship to the Sun as the inner limit of the planetary system parallels Jupiter’s relationship to Saturn as its outer limit. Playing at the edge of the Sun’s fire and energy, Mercury finds its rhythm in the internal movements of matter as they are energized and heated, whether that is the slow, steady cooking (Albus) or the rapid, potentially eruptive overheating (Rubeus).

Rubeus and Albus hold their one single line in the midst of their double lines, their surface calm but containing a hidden active element which might break through that surface. This forms one of the links between Mercury, Resh, Hermes, and Hermeticism as an expression of them. The sciences around which Hermeticism develops are those of the inner workings like those be the inner workings of matter (chemistry and its magical twin, alchemy) as well as the movement from astronomical observation and description of the stars (Albus) to  study of their constitution (Rubeus). In Resh, the relationship between temperature and pressure plays out, outlining the chemical deployment of heated vessels.

Along with Pe, Resh defines the latitude of the face, fashioning the left ear as the outermost extension of the face. Resh has a special affinity for the aural sense for rhythm, for the tempo, fast (Rubeus) and slow (Albus). Resh works the bass line and touches upon the point at which sound acquires a tactile dimension, a thrumming (Rubeus) in our skin as well as our ability to sense the proximity (Albus) of objects based on subtle changes in pressure. Though this proximity is often felt as pressure on the face, it is the ears through which the awareness is made possible.

Resh shapes our sense of danger, in which the sense of proximity shapes how quickly (Albus/Rubeus) we need to respond to it. The proximity of the single active line in both the figures of Resh suggests the potential unreliability of this mechanism, the way in which a false sense of proximity lead to a response out of touch with the situation. When the danger is closer than imagined, Albus becomes foolish inattention. When the danger is further than imagined, Rubeus becomes stress, panic, or exaggerated reaction.

In the sequence of days, Resh follows Dalet and precedes Gimel. Resh appears as the one who examines the results of Dalet’s actions. Resh acquires an interest in interpretation as it examines the openings made possible by Dalet’s announcements (Cauda Draconis) and withdrawals (Caput Draconis). There is both a historical and intellectual dimension to this. What Resh discovers are disruptions that reveal an inner world beneath the surface, a world beneath the cycle of the double letters.

This seeking out of the damaged or torn world gives Resh its severe character. Resh develops its understanding in the battlefield, in the offal of sacrifice, in the madhouse, in the confusion of disaster, in the mourning of the bereaved. That knowledge can be applied to correction, healing, and transformation (Albus), but when Resh comes to do those things, it often does so by instantiating the damage (Rubeus) through which it came to understand. Resh stands over the surgeon who opens the patient as well as the physicist who breaks apart the atom.

Resh seeks out the nature of a thing from within. Where violence and destruction take place, Resh oversees the examination of what is revealed through the breaks and tears. Resh is the labor that goes into developing and testing our understanding. The way in which Resh’s geomantic signs hold the active line inside their double lines is indicative of the intensity of its active and probing intelligence. Resh is experimentation (Rubeus) as well as the speculation upon experimentation (Albus).

Albus gathers under itself the knowledge and insight gathered from long study while Rubeus applies it. The instability of Rubeus arises in part from the gap that opens between past knowledge and present circumstance and the unintended damage done by impressing Resh’s understanding upon the world. Here, in prehistory, we see the outlines of Resh’s influence in the first efforts to make sense of events in the natural world as having a human meaning. The diviner is born and the play of Albus and Rubeus tells us of the interplay of human accounts of holy intent and the way in which that human understanding can distort that transmission.

Resh oversees the exploitation of disruption and acquires a complex relationship with the likes of soldiers, merchants, missionaries, and prophets. In the scene of sacrifice, Resh appears in both the figure of sacrificer (Rubeus) and the figure of the interpreter who examines the result (Albus), in the battlefield as both the soldier (Rubeus) and the general (Albus). The gentleness of Albus should be qualified here by the violence of Rubeus upon which it depends. With strategy and understanding, too, comes the possibility of duplicity.

Within the tree of life, Resh sits beneath Dalet on the pillar of severity. Here it is useful to pay especial attentions to the geomantic structure of Albus and Rubeus. Added together, they yield Conjunctio, establishing an intimate connection to Bet. The damage and study of damage that occurs in Resh opens a field in which the broken may be rearticulated.

Resh has ties to the dead. Reshis concerned with imbalanced situations that are prone to producing death and the interplay of regret and wisdom that we find in Albus and Rubeus which defines many of the eruptions of the dead into the world of the living. The experience of the dead as presences weaves Resh in the spiritual realm with Resh in the aural realm. Resh draws out damaged or broken spirits (Rubeus) that are either in need of help or capable of transmitting their experience of pain into a capacity to heal it (both Albus). Resh gives birth to challenging spirits that cause problems (Rubeus) which come to form the basis for our education into maturity (Albus).

In divination, Rubeus and Albus are two sides of the same coin. The white age ascribed to Albus is the result of impulsive Rubeus’s ruddy youthful mistakes, of impatience and poor decisions endured, contemplated, and transferred to wisdom. Where Albus appears, past experience or advice fashioned from past experience plays a prominent role and may touch upon regret. Where Rubeus appears, impatience and youthfulness are more prominent, but they are the sort of foolishness that can yield future wisdom.

They are signs bound up with timing. Rubeus indicates a disruptive and chaotic course of action in which it will be difficult to predict (not always a bad thing). It is a struggle, with all of the complications that can emerge thereby. Albus indicates a slow and cautious movement, sometimes so slow as to seem immobile.

The instability of these signs make them prone to inversion. Albus can speak to foolish age out of touch with the present whose advice can be violent ignorance (Rubeus) while Rubeus can speak to an enthusiasm that rises to meet the challenges of the present in the confusion that is proper to them, preparing the way for a wisdom of the future (Albus). Both signs can indicate deceit and trickery as well as a lack of self-awareness that gives birth to those deep lies we sometimes have to live out before seeing through them.


One thought on “Geomantic Resh (Mercury, Wednesday, Left Ear)

  1. Pingback: Boston Public Library: Pansophism in Image and Architecture – Disrupt & Repair

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