I’ve never actually done a reading for an entire year before, but I figured it wouldn’t be much different than a regular reading — plus, geomancy would be ideal for the endeavor: The twelve houses of the astrological chart could either represent the different areas of life, or each house could relate to the chronological months of the year (First House = January, Second House = February, etc.). And I also thought it would work well for useful but general divination, applying to me and all [checks notes] both of my regular readers.
It’d be kind of like a horoscope, just made up of Very Significant Dots.
At the stroke of midnight on January 1, I lit some candles, got comfortable, and solemnly drew four cards.
And then I immediately went to bed, because I’m old, and staying up past midnight isn’t cute anymore.
Eight hours later, moderately refreshed, I started working out the full geomantic chart, and it was looking pretty good overall. According to the Witnesses and the Judge (more on these in a bit), we’re moving out of a period of stagnation into success and happiness — it may feel rocky at first, but we’ll eventually achieve goals through our own efforts, which will continue on into 2023.
My next step was to start placing the figures into an astrological chart, but I suddenly stopped and was like, “Hey, wait a minute. Aren’t I an Episkopos and a Discordian Witch of noted repute? Instead of plonking out an objective, run-of-the-mill geomantic reading, I should be asking Eris for Her take on the coming year.”
So I scrapped the first chart, pulled out my Discordian dice (see cover photo), and was like, “Bring it, Eris.”
And She did.
A geomantic reading is comprised of two sections: the shield chart and the house chart. The shield is useful for yes/no questions, and provides information on the immediate past, the immediate future, and whether the answer to a given question is favorable or unfavorable.
Following is Eris’ shield chart — the bottom three figures are the Witnesses and the Judge, which are going to give us an overview of where we came from, where we are, and where we’re going.
The Right Witness is Conjunctio, fairly neutral, but more favorable than unfavorable, representing coming together, communication, ups and downs, and compromise. So that’s 2021. The Judge, Via, means change — good flips to bad, bad flips to good, and everything moves forward. Via leans towards the negative, except when change is desired or necessary. As a symbol of 2022, I’m going to take it as auspicious.
The Right Witness, Carcer, shows restrictions and delays in the future, so 2023 may be tougher than now. Back to lockdowns, perhaps? Carcer can also indicate security and stability, or it can mean that we’re all going to prison. Hard to say at this point. I asked Eris for clarification with a coin toss, and She was like, “security,” and I don’t really have a reason to disbelieve Her, so that’s what I’m rolling with.
So now let’s take a look at the house chart, which is filled in using the twelve figures from the shield chart above the Witnesses and the Judge, moving from right to left. (That is, the figure in the first slot on the far right of the top row of the shield goes into the First House, the next one goes in the Second House, and so on — so the first row is Houses One through Eight, and the second row is Houses Nine through Twelve. Hopefully, that makes something resembling sense.)
Here’s Eris’ house chart:
A lot of older geomantic texts maintain that the figures have static meanings in the houses. So, for example, if I had a question about romantic relationships, I would generate a chart, note the figure in the Seventh House, then look up that figure’s Seventh House meaning. Normally, I prefer to read more organically and intuitively, but since this is supposed to be a reading for everyone, I grabbed my copy of Stephen Skinner’s The Oracle of Geomancy and harvested the interpretations he derived from 17th-century works attributed to Cornelius Agrippa (hence the heavily gendered language and rampant heterocentrism).
But also, since this is a Discordian reading, I wanted an appropriate source to determine Eris’ perspective. According to John Michael Greer, every geomantic figure has a numerical value, so I wrote down the number of each figure in the chart above and crossed-referenced them with verses from the Discordian devotional The Chao Te Ching. (The I Ching is a distant relative of geomancy, so based on the title alone, I couldn’t not use this book.)
What we end up with, then, is two passages for each house: a “traditional” one from Skinner, and a special message from Eris. To see what 2022 holds for you, just pick the house that’s most relevant to you (here’s a full list of what each house covers) and read the corresponding interpretations. Or read all of them. Or don’t read any of them and go watch the new season of The Witcher. It’s really good.
Still with me? Excellent. Begin.
First House – Caput Draconis
Skinner: Long life and good fortune.
Eris: The Mandelbrot grows in infinite complexity based on the empty space at its center. Knowledge is built on facts — A scaffolding to support ignorance.
Second House – Carcer
Skinner: Extreme poverty; the thief will be captured; and the thing stolen will be regained; no treasure to be hid.
Eris: When discussing “Reality,” the Professor and the Poet speak loftily about how things are figments. Matter is made up mostly of empty space; We only perceive sensations; Everything could be a hallucination.
Third House – Amissio
Skinner: Death of relatives, or the lack of them, and of friends; no journeys; one is deceived by many people.
Eris: Chaos is beyond division, but some only see what they choose.
Fourth House – Albus
Skinner: Little or no inheritance from the parents; the father is well known but employed in a menial job.
Eris: What is Seen distracts from what Is Not; What is Heard diverts from what Can Not; What is Believed subverts what Should Not. The Cell walls we have built comfort us into ignorance.
Fifth House – Conjunctio
Skinner: Intelligent children. The expected child is a son. Self-acquired honors, great fame, good reputation; news and rumors found to be true.
Eris: Can you laugh so hard that it sounds like screaming? Can you snicker like a jaded fogey while giggling like a newborn baby? Can you look with eyes that will actually see? Can you lead people without dominating them? Can you understand, without using your mind?
Sixth House – Laetitia
Skinner: The sick will recover; reliable employees; profitable livestock.
Eris: There is Something that exists, beyond the illusions of Order and Disorder. It is all things, and unknowable in full. We only see small parts of It, but are convinced what we see is the entire Universe.
Seventh House – Puella
Skinner: A beautiful and agreeable wife, living in peace with her husband, but being of an amorous nature desired by many men; no serious lawsuits of any kind, but some minor arguments.
Eris: The old texts say, “If you think this is just a ha-ha, then go read it again”
Eighth House – Fortuna Minor
Skinner: A good death but in a strange place, or on pilgrimage; legacies to be obtained through lawsuit and with difficulty, the portion’s of a wife’s dowry to be obtained with difficulty, but easily spent.
Eris: Some hear about Discordia, and plot against the Machine™. Some hear about Discordia, and think about it at great length. Some hear about Discordia, and decide it means they should get high and doodle. If it weren’t for those spags, Discordia wouldn’t be as interesting as it is.
Ninth House – Cauda Draconis
Skinner: Few journeys; lack of faith and intelligence; those absent will not return.
Eris: The best are like the Chao; It balances the Order and the Disorder. The escalation of Disorder, and the imposition of Order; Each adds to the other.
Tenth House – Laetitia
Skinner: Kings and princes famous for maintaining peace during their times; judges are cruel and severe; honorable positions in the church schools or in law. If the mother is a widow, she will marry again.
Eris: The lines in a coloring book give the page form but crayons give it life, not staying constrained inside the lines, nor reducing the pattern to scribbles.
Eleventh House – Cauda Draconis
Skinner: Few friends, unpopular.
Eris: When the people of the world all know Order as Order, there arises the recognition of Disorder. When they know there is such a thing as Illusion, there arises the idea of Reality.
Twelfth House – Caput Draconis
Skinner: Many enemies and many women; the prisoner is detained and heavily punished.
Eris: If you put value in subjective Bullshit, lesser spags will treat it like objective Truth.
Prefabbed interpretations acknowledged and tabled, when I look at how the chart applies to my own circumstances, I see that there’s a new job leading to a career in which I’ll be happy; that I’m going to stay poor and probably won’t get any more financial assistance from relatives; that seminary is not an option this year; and that I’m going to take great pleasure in being an absolute gadfly. So there’s some good in there, and some bad, but I’m going to be safe and mostly content.
All of this I can live with. And even if it’s crap, and Eris was hungover and screwing with me, it was still a fun exercise in augury.
And because I’m me, once the geomantic reading was complete, I went and pulled a Liminal Spirits card, just to get an overarching theme for the rest of the year.
The Corvid card represents surprise gifts in response to kindness, a shift in focus towards family and community, and news that triggers memories of the past. What this means for 2022, we’ll just have to wait and see.
But in classical Greek art, Eris was often depicted with black feathered wings, and one of the founders of Discordianism had the surname Ravenhurst, so maybe the card just means that we’ve got a high-key Discordian twelve months ahead of us.
This I can live with too.