Tarot, Geomancy, Astrology

Geomantic Elements and Modalities

Every Geomantic Figure is associated in various ways with the four elements of Fire (Energy), Air (Reason), Water (Emotion), and Earth (Practicality). As mentioned in this post (which is key to understanding this post), each Figure has active and passive elements in it, depending on if the appropriate point on the Figure has one (Active) or two (Passive) dots there. Each Figure also has an Outer Element, representing their orientation towards the world, and an Inner Element, representing the source of their energy and strength. I also have assigned each Figure a Modality (similar to those in Astrology) according to its Outer Element, which is also known as the Figure’s Ruling Element; its defining characteristic. There are four Figures with each of the four Ruling Elements, and each Figure in its classification has a unique Modality that defines how it expresses its energies to the world: Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable, and Closing.

The meaning of each and every Figure can be derived from these three classifications: Outer/Ruling Element, Inner Element, and Modality. In order to illustrate this, I have made a chart explaining the relationship between Outer Element, Inner Element, and Modality for each Figure. In the chart, this explanation can be found after the word “Combination,” representing what the combination of those three unique factors mean.

Because the table’s format is difficult to read on a browser, I have also attached a .doc file of the table for downloading. If you share the table with anyone else, please make sure to credit EsoTarot. The download link is here: Geomantic Elements and Modalities Table.

The difficult-to-read browser version is here:

  Outer Inner Modality Meaning
Puer Fire Air Cardinal Outer Fire: This Figure displays a great amount of outward drive and enthusiasm when interacting with the world around it.Inner Air: This Figure is driven by willpower and energy, and it draws its strength from vast reserves of these two things.Cardinal Modality: This Figure is in initiator, and has the will to set things in motion.Combination: Puer’s boundless energy is fueled by high-minded ideals of what the world should be like. Puer combines the willpower to change the world with the ideas to change it. This Figure is very good at starting things, as it is of the Cardinal Modality, its Airy thoughts causing it to go out into the world with Fire, and does so with a lot of force and willpower, but may have trouble sustaining it without material fuel.
Amissio Earth Fire Mutable Outer Earth: This Figure moves cautiously and carefully when interacting with the world around it, and focuses on the material and practical.Inner Fire: This Figure is driven by willpower and energy, and it draws its strength from vast reserves of these two things.Mutable Modality: This Figure adapts and changes to better suit its environment, and allows for its survival by constant adjustments to its state of being.Combination: Amissio is a contradiction: it is the material of Earth fueled by the abstract spirit of Fire, and represents in many ways the annoyance associated with the reality outside you frustrating your inner fire. It represents a loss of spirit and will as the pure energy of Fire becomes the locked energy of Earth. As losses change the character of anyone, this element’s Mutability represents the constant changes in the Figure’s energy as it adjusts again and again to loss in the massive change it makes from Fire and Earth.
Albus Air Water Mutable Outer Air: This Figure interacts with the world in a detached manner, living by high-minded principles and applying conscious thought to communicate with those around it and understand its surroundings.Inner Water: This Figure draws its strength from compassion and nurturing, as well as intuition and the realm of dreams and the subconscious.Mutable Modality: This Figure adapts and changes to better suit its environment, and allows for its survival by constant adjustments to its state of being.Combination: The Figure of Albus cares deeply about the world, as seen by the fact that it draws its strength from Water and empathy. However, though its motives are pure, it interacts with the world in a distant, often aloof manner, so that its intentions are not realized. As a Figure of Mutable Modality, Albus is also a keeper of peace and a superb diplomat, able to quickly adjust to suit his own needs and the needs of others. He uses his ability to adapt and understand other sides of disagreements to resolve conflicts, along with great communicative skills (from Air) and empathic skills (Water).
Populus Water Water Mutable Outer Water: This Figure shows itself to the world as caring and kind, but also passive and willing to go with the flow.Inner Water: This Figure draws its strength from compassion and nurturing, as well as intuition and the realm of dreams and the subconscious.Mutable Modality: This Figure adapts and changes to better suit its environment, and allows for its survival by constant adjustments to its state of being.Combination: This is the ultimate passive Figure, as it draws its energy from Water and expresses that energy as Water. This is further reinforced by its Mutable Modality; it goes with the flow and does whatever everyone else is doing. It is thus easily led by the mass, but difficult to be swayed by an individual. It represents mass opinion and consciousness, and the mutual care and thoughts of everyone coming together to survive and live with each other in harmony.
Fortuna Major Fire Earth Fixed Outer Fire: This Figure displays a great amount of outward drive and enthusiasm when interacting with the world around it.Inner Earth: This Figure draws its strength from the material world and stability; its power is strength and stubbornness itself.Fixed Modality: This is a stabilizing Figure that maintains the status quoas best as it can.Combination: Fortuna Major interacts with the world with energy and enthusiasm that is fueled by the rock-hard stubbornness of the material world. Unlike Puer or Amissio, Fortuna Major endures, and its flame always burns bright (picture the Figure’s Fire energy as the flame, and its fuel as the Earth energy). Fortuna Major represents a strength and confidence of character inside that leads to confidence and passion on the outside. Combined with a Fixed Modality, this means that this Figure’s inner character is strong enough to withstand the changing circumstances of the world around it, and serves as a bastion of stability that keeps the flame burning strong.
Conjunctio Earth Air Closing Outer Earth: This Figure moves cautiously and carefully when interacting with the world around it, and focuses on the material and practical.Inner Air: This Figure is motivated by powerful ideals and a supremely rational understanding of the world around them.Closing Modality: This Figure brings things to an end in preparation for new beginnings; it resolves that which needs to be finished.Combination: Conjunctio presents itself to the world as supremely practical, and backs up this Earthy practicality with the logic and reason of its Inner Air. As a Closing Element, this Figure also represents new beginnings; it is the end of long process of building up a team and friendships (Air) that can then be used to build something new (Earth). Air and Earth are also opposites, but unlike other Figures made from opposite elements, Air and Earth can actually support each other very well, and so Conjunctio also represents the coming together of opposites.
Puella Air Water Closing Outer Air: This Figure interacts with the world in a detached manner, living by high-minded principles and applying conscious thought to communicate with those around it and understand its surroundings.Inner Water: This Figure draws its strength from compassion and nurturing, as well as intuition and the realm of dreams and the subconscious.Closing Modality: This Figure brings things to an end in preparation for new beginnings; it resolves that which needs to be finished.Combination: Puella shares the same Inner and Outer Elements as Albus, yet differs in its Modality. While Albus is concerned with establishing peace and maintaining stability, Puella is concerned with finishing what was started and moving on to something new. As such, Puella is driven by emotions and intuition, and the subconscious rhythm of cycles of beginning and ending. She interacts with the world with the world around her through the application of her emotional knowledge, using her intuition to better communicate with and shape the world. Her emotions drive her to seek out all that she gone to complete what has begun, applying Airy principles to her Watery feelings.
Rubeus Water Air Fixed Outer Water: This Figure shows itself to the world as caring and kind, but also passive and willing to go with the flow.Inner Air: This Figure is motivated by powerful ideals and a supremely rational understanding of the world around them.Fixed Modality: This is a stabilizing Figure that maintains the status quoas best as it can.Combination: Rubeus’ elements don’t seem to match up with its meaning at first glance. It expresses itself to the world, though, as a very go-with-the-flow kind of Figure; it doesn’t care or worry about the future or the past, and just lives in the moment. Yet, at the same time, this Figure is driven by the energies of Air, and a deep understanding of the world around it. Rubeus understands the world around it, but rejects it, instead denying its Inner Air for the sake of its outer Water, and living in its emotions, running away from reason. It also is detached from the world around it, and it is this desire for detachment that drives it to lose itself. Rubeus is also of the Fixed Modality; by going with the flow, Rubeus gets trapped in itself and its dangerous, hedonistic lifestyle, and it can be hard to break free from that.
Acquisitio Fire Air Mutable Outer Fire: This Figure displays a great amount of outward drive and enthusiasm when interacting with the world around it.Inner Air: This Figure is motivated by powerful ideals and a supremely rational understanding of the world around them.Mutable Modality: This Figure adapts and changes to better suit its environment, and allows for its survival by constant adjustments to its state of being.Combination: This figure has the energy and vitality of fire in its interactions with the world, and it is this energy that allows it to acquire and gain whatever it wants. It is fueled by the logic and reason of Air, which allows its gaining to be as efficient as possible. As Fire naturally needs off of Air, the pairing of Air fueling Fire is very powerful, and allows for Acquisitio to make itself a place in the world through its constant gains. This Figure is also Mutable, and so it is able to adapt and change in order to achieve its ends, using the cold logic of Air combined with the drive to succeed of Fire to get what it wants.
Carcer Earth Earth Fixed Outer Earth: This Figure moves cautiously and carefully when interacting with the world around it, and focuses on the material and practical.Inner Earth: This Figure draws its strength from the material world and stability; its power is strength and stubbornness itself.Fixed Modality: This is a stabilizing Figure that maintains the status quoas best as it can.Combination: Carcer is Earth through and through, drawing its energy from the material world, stability, and stubborness, and expressing these same thoughts and characteristics to the world as it interacts with it. Unfortunately, because it is completely Earth and lacks the understanding of Elements beyond the material, Carcer traps itself in its own narrow mind. It is of the Fixed Modality because it inadvertently sets limits on itself through its stubbornness and refusal to budge.
Tristitia Air Earth Fixed Outer Air: This Figure interacts with the world in a detached manner, living by high-minded principles and applying conscious thought to communicate with those around it and understand its surroundings.Inner Earth: This Figure draws its strength from the material world and stability; its power is strength and stubbornness itself.Fixed Modality: This is a stabilizing Figure that maintains the status quoas best as it can.Combination: Tristitia is another Figure of contradictions, and it leads to sorrow. Tristitia’s energy is drawn from the Earth, the material world, and practical-mindedness, and it tries to reach the height of Air, but its groundedness sometimes causes it to fall flat on its face. It expresses itself in a detached way with the rest of the world, yet has the potential and strength of the Earth behind it. It is of the Fixed modality because it has given up hope of reconciling Air and Earth, the two parts of its character, and cannot see any way out, losing itself to despair.
Laetitia Water Earth Closing Outer Water: This Figure shows itself to the world as caring and kind, but also passive and willing to go with the flow.Inner Earth: This Figure draws its strength from the material world and stability; its power is strength and stubbornness itself.Closing Modality: This Figure brings things to an end in preparation for new beginnings; it resolves that which needs to be finished.Combination: Laetitia, like Tristitia, draws its strength from the Earth, the material world, and practicality, but is able to bridge the link between Earth and Air, through the element between them: Water. As Water naturally feeds the Earth and helps it grow, Laetitia’s energies reinforce each other; Laetitia uses Water to interact with the world, which makes the Earth go stronger, which in turn makes its inner strength more powerful. Through the emotions and intuition of Water, Laetitia understands the joys of life and the Material World, and is content with where it is, representing the Closing Modality.
Cauda Draconis Fire Fire Closing Outer Fire: This Figure displays a great amount of outward drive and enthusiasm when interacting with the world around it.Inner Fire: This Figure is driven by willpower and energy, and it draws its strength from vast reserves of these two things.Closing Modality: This Figure brings things to an end in preparation for new beginnings; it resolves that which needs to be finished.Combination: Fire fueled by Fire does not last long, and usually signifies the end of the flame. This is true with Cauda Draconis, whose one list burst of flame pushes it towards its Closing Modality. Cauda Draconis is the Fire on the verge of burning out, eager and ready to start again from the ashes once it dies. Cauda Draconis’ inner drive and Fire is to start again, and so it pushes itself towards it ending, its Fiery inner strength dominating its outer appearance as it strives to finish what it has started so it can begin anew.
Caput Draconis Earth Earth Cardinal Outer Earth: This Figure moves cautiously and carefully when interacting with the world around it, and focuses on the material and practical.Inner Fire: This Figure is driven by willpower and energy, and it draws its strength from vast reserves of these two things.Cardinal Modality: This Figure is in initiator, and has the will to set things in motion.Combination: Like Carcer, Caput Draconis is Earth through and through. However, it differs in one crucial aspect: Caput Draconis is of the Cardinal Modality, not fixed. While Carcer’s expressions of Earth trap itself, Caput Draconis’ expressions of it allow it to begin a new journey. Carcer’s Earth energies are stubborn and immoveable, whereas Caput Draconis’ are brimming with potential and growth. Caput Draconis uses the fertile seed of Earth as its inner strength, and expresses that inner strength in outer strength as it just continues to grow and grow, using all of its Earthy potential. Caput Draconis represents the ashes of Cauda Draconis’ burn-up Fire, and is ready to rise and bloom from the rich ashes left behind.
Fortuna Minor Air Fire Cardinal Outer Air: This Figure interacts with the world in a detached manner, living by high-minded principles and applying conscious thought to communicate with those around it and understand its surroundings.Inner Fire: This Figure is driven by willpower and energy, and it draws its strength from vast reserves of these two things.Cardinal Modality: This Figure is in initiator, and has the will to set things in motion.Combination: Fortuna Minor is backwards; its Fire fuels Air. As Fire naturally consumes Air, the energies of Fortuna Minor burn out quickly. Fortuna Minor is motivated by an inner Fire and indomitable spirit, but its energy is quickly sapped and expended as it strives to interact with the world in a logical, rational way. It sees the Fiery energies of Fortuna Major in its interactions with the world, and so takes that lesson to heart and draws its strength from that Fire – but it misses Fortuna Major’s Earthy fuel. As such, it ends up weakening itself, and letting circumstances and chance rule it, unlike the ability of its brother Fortuna Major to rule circumstances and chance. The weakness of Fortuna Minor allows it to get pushed around. It is of the Cardinal Modality because these pushes will reignite Fortuna Minor’s Fire, setting it out on a journey to rule its own fate.
Via Water Water Cardinal Outer Water: This Figure shows itself to the world as caring and kind, but also passive and willing to go with the flow.Inner Water: This Figure draws its strength from compassion and nurturing, as well as intuition and the realm of dreams and the subconscious.Cardinal Modality: This Figure is in initiator, and has the will to set things in motion.Combination: Via is Water through and through, like Populus. However, the difference between them is their Modality. Populus is Mutable, constantly changing to suit its environment. Via, on the other hand, is Cardinal; it makes the change. While Populus represents the constant motion of the sea, Via represents the mighty force of the ocean and rivers, carving out its own path through the earth, capable of destroying whatever is in its path. Via is motivated by its feelings, and longs to experience and feel everything. Via draws its strength from its intuition and natural, instinctive understanding of its environment, and expresses itself in the same way, traveling where the wind blows it, but still having a fixed goal in mind. It knows where it is going, but is unsure of how to get there, and is willing to make adjustments to its path as it sees fit.

Of course, not every combination is explored in the Geomantic alphabet. As an exercise, it can be useful to create your own pseudo-Geomantic Figures that do not exist by randomly generating an Outer Element, and Inner Element, and a Modality. For example, what would a Figure with Outer Air, Inner Air, and a Fixed Modality mean?

They would interact with the world in a lofty, detached way, and would do so because they are fueled by high-minded ideals and logic. They might view the world as being beneath them and not worthy of their attention. Their Fixed Modality could mean that they are unwilling to listen to the reason of others, and so trap themselves in their own mind. This would make the meaning of the Figure similar to Carcer, except instead of being trapped by materialism, they would be trapped by abstraction, becoming arrogant and naive in their aloofness from the world.

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