Geomantic Pe (Venus, Friday, Right Ear)


Geomantic acquisitio.svg          Geomantic amissio.svg

Within the planetary circuit, Pe follows Dalet and precedes Resh. In the sequence of the week it follows Gimel and precedes Bet. Upon the plane of orifices that constitute the face, Pe defines the extension of the ears alongside Resh. Within the Tree of Life, it is the bottom double upon the pillar of mercy, crowned with Chesed and resting upon Netzach. In all of these assemblages, it finds expression through the geomantic figures of Acquisitio and Amissio.

Within the planetary circuit, the movement from Dalet to Pe takes us from the outer planets into the inner planets, from Mars to Venus. Earth figures implicitly in this transition as the point from which the organization of inner and outer is constituted. As Dalet is the first planetary force through which the Earth is put in touch with the outside (here the Moon is more the outside of the Earth), so Pe is the first planetary contact through which it is put in contact with an inside.

If the outside is defined by Saturn and the cold and distant stars, the inside is dominated by the homely and hot Sun. Whereas Resh boils and burbles in its capture and modulation of solar heat, Pe integrates that energy into stable systems of absorption (Acquisitio) and release (Amissio). With Dalet, it participates in the development of a metabolism, a systemic modulation of energy that makes it useful for living and lifelike systems.

With Dalet, it structures metabolism taken to include the total ecosystem of the Earth and to encompass the atmosphere as thermoregulator. Pe as Venus looks toward the central Sun in the day and toward Saturn (and the expanse beyond) in the night. Pe structures the absorption of the solar heat in the day (Acquisitio) and the release of it in the night (Amissio). As evening and morning star, Venus is visible in both the day and the night, and as the planet closest to Earth between Earth and Sun, Venus has an affinity with the movement from subtle to manifest, gathering the powers of the stars in the night (Acquisitio) and discharging them into the day (Amissio).

While valence appears under Gimel, polarity and magnetism as the attraction (Acquisitio) and repulsion (Amissio) between valenced elements appears. These operate according to a system of inclination, creating networks of pushing and pulling that make connections between elements more common. Lucretius might recognize Pe as the source of the tendency of atoms to veer and so come into contact, forming amalgamations.

Pe supports speculation and draws out what is often implicit in the dark thrum of Resh. The theoretical speculation that suggests avenues of exploration (Amissio) or well describes a series of observations or experiences (Acquisitio) take from Pe their intellectual appeal. This appeal, like so much of Pe’s operations, can be indirect; a subtle persuasiveness dominates Pe’s speculation, luring even when the facts are ambiguous. An inspiring theory may be disproven and abandoned, but still have served a function in motivating experimental enterprises.

Along with Resh, Pe defines the latitude of the face, fashioning the right ear as the outermost extension of the face. Though we are aware of the role played by the ears in listening (Acquisitio), we are often less aware of the ear’s role in our sense of balance (Amissio’s two footed base, especially). Pe’s role in the ears continues to guide melodiousness, the specifically pleasing back and forth (Amissio and Acquisitio), as well as the emotional highs and lows that melodies are capable of evoking.

Amissio, with its sense of height and exquisite distance, underpins our experience of spirits appearing under an alluring and/or inspiring aspect. At its worst, Pe’s spirits reveal to us a world we cannot inhabit as the living (what I once heard described as “nostalgia for a time that never was”), driving us to despair and self-destruction, but at their best they reveal a world that complements and uplifts us, providing comfort.

In the sequence of days, Pe follows Gimel. What is the assertion of cultural reality in Gimel acquires cultural depth in Pe. Pe operates to transmit the outer reality of Gimel’s system of commemoration into an inner sense of participation. It does this through the cultivation of affective and aesthetic arts that produce images and forms that people can internalize through identification. Theater in all its senses flowers here as one of the root arts, staging cultural power.

Pe’s figures have a deep sympathy with Gimel’s. Acquisitio transmits the power of Tristitia into the soul and Amissio transmits Laetitia’s. In Acquisitio, the authority of Gimel is made manifest and humility before its commemorations develops. In Amissio, the joy in the achievements of Gimel’s successes are experienced as the community’s own such that joyfully give of themselves to Gimel’s cause.

Art (Acquisitio) and ritual (Amissio) find their common point of divergence in this moment. The ritual forms that make possible the transmission of Gimel’s work to an inner register also reveals the possibility of a deliberate crafting of sensibility. Persuasion and outright propaganda develop out of the same movement in which ritual operations acquire their most exquisite and well-defined expression.

The sequence of days forms a ring and that ring has a privileged center in Bet. Since I began with Bet, I must also conclude Pe in the day with its turn toward Bet. The cultivation of an inner experience of Gimel’s cultural world allows for culture to be transmitted through art rather than through conquest alone, giving the cultural form born in Resh’s struggles a reach far beyond the concrete moment of understanding in which it was born. This means that the inner experience transmitted through Pe becomes distant from the outer experience that made sense of it, until those receiving it are no longer internalizing Gimel, but an inner sign which they must subsequently externalize.

This externalization demands that they find and fashion circumstances to match their sense of the inner experience, an experience that is now more bound up with their personal and communal situation rather than the Resh to Gimel struggle that gave birth to it. The inner world (Acquisitio) and its projections (Amissio) become more diverse and bona fide creativity becomes possible. The unity of the world ruled by Pe becomes increasingly symbolic and under pressure the diversity of experiences masquerading under common symbols becomes manifest. This awareness gives birth to syncretic operations (Conjunctio) of all sorts, most of which tend toward a cynical collapse of faith (Carcer) in the symbols.

Beneath this experimentation and cynicism, Bet proper is already making manifest its influence. As the symbols and signs of a culture become threadbare, what the experimentation latches onto to give them meaning are dense blocks of personal and communal experience, experiences that thrust them out of their crumbling cultural world into the natural world, the world of true creation. Under the auspices of Pe culture rediscovers that the limits of matter and organism give birth to it and people acquire a reflective appreciation (Acquisitio) of the society born under Gimel’s mandate.

That understanding fuels the development of novel aesthetic forms (ritual and artistic) that give expression to the many points of contact between person and creation (Amissio). While the body of Gimel’s culture becomes sunken and withered, its soon to be corpse becomes host to intertwined microcultures that bear witness to the decline of Gimel’s kingdom and forecast Bet’s return.

As the base of the pillar of mercy, Pe simultaneously reaches down to provide succor to the world (Acquisitio) and to lift individuals out of that world into closer proximity with the divine (Amissio). The connection to Amissio reminds that this process of uplift is painful and often entails the loss of what seems precious, but in Acquisitio the results of that sacrifice are born.

As Resh is to Dalet on the pillar of severity, Pe is to Gimel. They exist in a state of mutual support. Pe provides balance and stability to Gimel’s ordering and Gimel’s orderliness provides structure in which Pe can discover its balance and stability. As Gimel gives birth to holiness, Pe gives birth to reverence (Amissio) and awe (Acquisitio).

In divination, Amissio is loss, but often with a strong emotional component and it is under Amissio that tears become proper mourning, either as a purification of harmful but desired things or as a sanctification of the passing of what is beloved. While painful, Amissio is an affirmation of the continuance of life after dramatic change. Amissio can be praise in the sense of that which acknowledges and emphasizes an achievement.

Acquisitio is gain, but especially gains associated with cultural esteem. Acquisitio is tied to rank and royalty, the outward expression of the authority that rests within Gimel’s signs. I sometimes think of it as the crown. These are gains that tend to make possible still other gains, the appreciation that builds a reputation upon which further favors may be based.


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