Threes are all over this blog, such that it seems a little silly to even try to provide a set of links that would survey it. It’s an understatement to say that the rule of three in the Saadia tree of life excites me (I’m starting to feel like I need that blog post on autodial). I wanted to talk about it last, though, because I didn’t want to pin all my associations with three-ness to the rule of three in a bout of confused over-enthusiasm. This post is more calm that it would have been previously, but there is still a bit of enthusiasm; please forgive me if this post is a little more fragmented.
This is just a neat bit of folklore that I wanted to share:
“In Knott County, Kentucky, said to have been settled by emigrants from Virginia and North Carolina, a woman may become a witch by taking a handkerchief and a gun, ascending the highest neighboring mountain before sunrise, and proceeding as follows: ‘Just as the fiery ball appears above the eastern horizon, with uttered imprecations against Deity and prayers to the Devil, she is to shoot a bullet through the handkerchief as she holds it up toward the rising sun. If blood flows from the torn cloth, she is an accepted member of the witches’ crew.'”—Tom Pete Cross, “Witchcraft in North Carolina” in Studies in Philology 16:3, 1919 (232)
Since the ‘bleeding handkerchief’ is almost surely the the red light of the rising sun it seems appropriate enough to share after discussing Zehar-Absalom and the rising sun. The connection between gunpowder, the rising sun, and mountains has some interesting parallels with Kongo conceptions, though I am assuming it unlikely that they are historically related to each other. That there might be spiritual sympathies, though?
Anyway, mostly this is just a look-at-this-cool-thing post.
I have seen more than one person praise geomancy for its clarity, for its utility in answering questions clearly and directly. No doubt, this is one of the system’s virtues, especially when you transpose the reading onto an astrological frame. The passing of signs and their affiliations with each other provides reams of information about opportunities and obstacles.
That said, that clarity rests partly upon a fixed pattern of meanings and associations which contain a fair number of presuppositions about what is good and bad, strong and weak. Some cross-cultural comparison can be useful here, because the values of the signs shift somewhat between cultures.