I have been thinking about the Demogorgon’s birth in a scribal error alongside the Kabbalistic concern that the misuse of the alphabet can be snatched up by Satan to generate false worlds. There is that simple slip of the pen from which centuries of myth and demonolatry spring. Can we think about that slip as the action of a willful spirit eager to find a voice or a sign of the power of the letter itself, taking root in its accidental inclusion?
I had a little back and forth with Blogos and Iago over a mistake I had made in my last post and it was a good reminder about how I tend to operate. I can’t speak to how much this true for anyone else, but it seems like the sort of thing it might be useful to post about.
The ritual demands of my spiritual work unfold faster than my understanding of it, faster than my ability to give it coherent conceptual expression. Obviously, I need some conceptualization so that I am not just muddling around in the dark waiting for inspiration, but I have come to expect that most any conceptualization I am using is an error en route to something more truthful which the spiritual practice will clarify.
I’ve been thinking about what exactly a geomantic chart tells you about a spirit or spiritual issue a bit lately. I use geomancy a good bit in my spiritual practice as a means of identifying and understanding with what I am working, so the question is fairly important. I want to talk about this a little bit. That means wandering a bit into some talk about spiritual typologies, so please keep in mind some of my caveats about that sort of thing.
Some of my posts about things like the relationship of texts and experience are informed by this geomantic work. More than once, I have had to prune back my ideas about a spirit or a working because the conceptual tools I brought to the work from my geomantic study cast a speculative shadow that I mistook for the spirit or work. I have also retooled my geomantic understanding so that it seems better calibrated to the sort of work I’m undertaking.
A few days ago, I had one of those dreams that came with a clear set of instructions around the intellectual side of my practice — “I want you to get out of the Anglosphere for 30 days.” There was more to the dream than just the instructions, but nothing quite so direct as that. So, since then I’ve been trying to do that. Partly because of the rest of the dream, I’ve been skewing that toward Central and South America, with a little of the Caribbean and Africa thrown in.
If you’ve read around this blog much, I’m sure you saw this post coming. I didn’t want to rush it because so much of the work of assignment occurs on a level just below the conceptual, such that if I tried to jump right into reassigning the geomantic signs to the sefirotic diagram, I would surely over-conceptualize it and mangle it somewhat.
Today, though, I woke up with subway dreams about back channels, mapping the lyrics of Bush’s Glycerine half-consciously to the channels, and the line “Bad Moon Wine Again” on repeat. As I turned my attention to all that, the geomantic figures started to get moving in my head. Orion, Andromeda, and the Serpent came in for some clarification….Well, let’s just say it all started to make sense.
I really enjoy geomancy. During a few quiet years, I spent a lot of time in the library and online digging up whatever I could about the development and dispersion of the techniques. I have talked a little about this already, but what was most liberating to me was to appreciate how differently the practice could be applied and still, strangely, be the same.
O radiance of the great gods, light of the earth
Illuminator of the world regions
Lofty judge, creator of heaven and earth
O Shamash, by your light you scan the totality of lands as if they were cuneiform signs
You never weary of divination.
—hymn from the reign of Ashurbanipal, qtd. by Derrida in of Grammatology, qtd. by Zainab Bahrani in Rituals of War (61)
I take an especial pleasure in this citation, the way this text joins other texts, like a needle and thread cinching together fabrics.
I wind up my morning routine with a little Tarot on most days. I don’t do anything fancy just throw down some cards to point me at my day. Lately, I have been seeing a network of cards show up again and again, cards that aren’t exactly pleasant, but don’t feel like they are quite directed at me. The Ten of Swords is one of them.
Today, I sat back from the reading and popped open the internet, chewing the Ten over while I let my fingers wander. The first place I go to? Well, something says to pull up Runesoup. There, fresh from Gordon, is my Ten’s interpretation. Those cards are about the situation that my actions have to keep in mind.
So, here, let me share a little advice from my personal reading. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t.