Reading the Shield Chart
The heart and soul of Geomancy lies in the interpretation of the chart cast. The Shield Chart is the most common Geomantic Chart, and provides the basis for other charts generated, which are generated by rearranging the Figures in the Shield Chart. Interpreting the Shield Chart, then, is one of the most important skills to master in the art of Geomancy. When I read Shield Charts, I do so in a very specific order and a very specific way.
The Judge and Witnesses
I always start my interpretation of the Shield Chart by reading the Judge, the Figure that sums up the rest of the Chart, being as it is derived from every single Figure present. The Judge is the Figure that best sums up the answer to the question that you asked, and represents the present situation, the relationship between past and future, and the relationship between the person asking the question and the question itself (or what or who the question is about). This is the most important Figure in any Geomantic Shield Chart, and so it deserves special attention. When interpreting the Judge, make sure to not only interpret the meaning of the Figure, but also its role in relation to the next two positions, the two Witnesses.
After an initial examination of the Judge, I examine the two Witnesses, Right first and then Left. The Right Witness represents the past and the one asking the question. The Left Witness represents the future and the question’s influence. After examining how the Figure present fits into its position, and doing that for both Witnesses, one should go back and re-examine the Judge in terms of it serving as a link between the two Witnesses, paying any special attention to any similarities between these Figures.
The Way of the Points
Following a close examination of the Judge and Witnesses, I then check to see if there is a Way of the Points. Often, the questions one seeks answers to are complex, and often the true answers lie hidden beneath several layers. The Way of the Points serves to help your inner guide find the true source of a problem if it is hidden. Divining the Way of the Points involves looking at the Fire, or Head, lines of the Figures.
Start with the Judge’s Fire line, and note whether it has one or two points. Then, look at the two Witnesses. If neither of them have the same Fire line, then there is no Way of the Points, and the influences on the situation are in plain sight. If one, or both, of the Witnesses has the same Fire line, however, then the Way of the Points exists. Transfer your attention to the Figure(s) with the same Fire line, and then examine the two Nieces making up the Witness(es) on the Way of the Points. If any of them have the same Fire line, then they form part of the way, too. Repeat this process down to the Mothers. Wherever the Way of the Points ends – the last Figure to have the same Fire Line as the preceding Figure on the way – you can find the Figure that represents a hidden, underlying influence on the whole situation. Sometimes the Way of the Points ends with multiple Figures, and in this case all of these Figures contribute to the hidden influences.
Once the Way of the Points has been formed (if it can be), and the Figure(s) making up its end located, one can interpret the Figure(s) just like it is a Figure in a position representing unconscious, hidden, underlying influences.
The Four Triplicities
Once you have examined the underlying causes of a situation, I recommend examining the four Triplicities, each made up of one Niece and its two associated Mothers or Daughters. Each Triplicity is interpreted in the same way as the Judge and Witnesses, with the Right Mother or Daughter representing the past and the one asking the question, the Left Mother or Daughter representing the future and the question itself, and the Niece representing the present, the relationship between the past, future, questioner, and question, as well as the sum of the Triplicity.
Each Triplicity also has its own meaning, and this is where their interpretations differ from that of the Judge and Witnesses. While the Judge and the Witnesses represent the situation as a whole, each Triplicity represents a specific aspect of the situation, and so when reading the Figures, one must keep in mind the aspect they are pondering.
The First Triplicity represents the questioner, or querent, and their larger role in the situation. The Second Triplicity represents the role that large events and powerful forces shape the situation. The Third Triplicity represents the role that the querent’s home environment and family affect the situation, and the Fourth Triplicity represents the larger influence of society on the situation.
Once each Triplicity has been interpreted on its own, I myself look at my own two sub-Triplicities. The first sub-Triplicity, made of the Right Witness and its associated Nieces, represents a more in-depth look at the Querent’s role in the situation, with a focus on how the Querent perceives the situation, and how that affects the answer to the question (Witnesses are never completely objective, after all). The second sub-Triplicity, made of the Left Witness and its associated Nieces, represents the larger role of the Question itself in the situation, as well as how others perceive the question and the situation.
Rearranging the Chart
Once you have gone through the entire Shield Chart (adding your own personal interpretations, if you wish) as above, you may very well have a satisfactory answer. If you do not, then you may wish to rearrange the Figures into a different chart – such as the House Chart. Usually this is not necessary unless you are unsure of your answer or want a very in-depth analysis of the situation. Most of the time, the Shield Chart is more than enough!