Casting Lots

There are many forms of divination I know little about, but I’m constantly trying to educate myself. One such practice is lithomancy (the art of casting stones), for which these is very little published literature. One of the best resources I’ve found is this one by Gary Wimmer.

Although Gary uses stones thrown onto a prepared surface (circular map), there are other forms of the art known as cleromancy (also sometimes called sortilege or sortition) which involves the casting of sortes or lots, typically “found” objects like coins, buttons, shells, beans and other small artifacts common in the home. Personal items like charms and rings can also be used. The key in choosing the sixteen lots is that each one must be distinctive enough to be instantly recognizable as showing a unique facet of the reading. Once cast, the resting place of each lot on the map and their random groupings provide testimony to be used in the divination. Dice are another random selection device used in sortition, and rune stones can also be cast rather than drawn. In ancient Greece, lots were chosen to select winners from among candidates for public office, and the method was considered an example of true democracy. (It can’t be any worse than what we have now, and has its champions among modern political thinkers.)

When I began studying geomancy using the method of drawing four sets of stones from a larger group as described in Isreal Regardie’s monumental book, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, I inevitably stumbled upon the subject of lithomancy while gathering small, regularly-shaped stones for my purpose. I was intrigued by the practice, especially the use of “planetary stones,” and wanted to find a way to integrate lithomancy with the fundamentals of astrology. What I came up with is more along the lines of the way the horoscopic chart and the planets are used in geomancy than anything remotely resembling traditional astrology, except there is no repetition of planets in several houses as there can be with geomancy.

I call this divination technique “Astro-lithomancy,” for which I created a special horoscope “box” and chose plastic, lettered beads to serve as the planets since the stones were too large and rough. (I could have found polished semi-precious gemstones for this, but I like the perfect uniformity of the cubes.)  The planetary cubes are tossed into the wooden-sided box in a way that distributes them randomly within the frame. I inserted “bumpers” on the surface to scatter the roll, and call this my “pinball layout” for obvious reasons. Here is what it looks like:

New Pinball Shot.JPG

The signs on the house cusps are first chosen by a special  application of the planetary cubes, and marked on the erasable plexiglass surface. The possibility of Mercury and Venus landing too far away from the Sun than is astronomically possible is dealt with by relocating them to within one sign of the Sun’s location on the same side as they appear in the map. If they fall in the sign and house opposite the Sun they are moved into conjunction (that is, into the same sign and house as the Sun). If a planet lands on the “cusp” between two houses, it is considered to be in the next house, and a planet other than the Sun and Moon that lands “hole-side-up” is treated as retrograde. Otherwise, the planets are read where they fall in the houses and signs, using standard astrological keyword meanings.

I even wrote a brief booklet about it but haven’t polished off the rough edges yet. These are the house meanings from that unpublished work:

First House – Querent’s personality; querent’s appearance; querent’s physical condition

Second House – Querent’s money; income; bank accounts; gain or loss; movable possessions; querent’s value-system; feelings of self-worth or lack thereof

Third House – Siblings; communication; books; letters; messages; conversations; documents; written agreements; lower education; teachers; short-duration, local or regional travel

Fourth House – “End of the matter” (outcome of the question); ancestors; the father (or the mother); family; home; land; real estate; agriculture; family inheritance

Fifth House – Children; pleasure; parties; amusements; romance; love affairs; courtships; games; gambling; lotteries; hobbies; sports; recreation; vacations; adventures; casual sex

Sixth House – Querent’s health; illness; disease; doctors; nurses; healing; medicine; occupation; working environment; co-workers; employees; pets; food-related activities

Seventh House – Partner; partnerships; business associates; contractual relations; marriage; separation; divorce; legal adversaries; lawyers; settlements; competition; opponents; open enemies; quarrels

Eighth House – Shared possessions; joint savings; loans; mortgages; bankruptcy; debts; obsessions; compulsions; death; investigations; inquests; insurance; taxes; wills; estates (inherited); surgery; research; sex with commitment

Ninth House – Philosophy; science; religion; metaphysics; higher education; mentors or gurus; publishing; court system; exploration; long-duration or long-distance travel; foreign countries; foreigners

Tenth House – Career; profession; businesses; authority figures; leaders; management; honor; achievements; fame; reputation; scandal; politicians; law enforcement; government; the mother (or the father)

Eleventh House – Friends; acquaintances; platonic relationships; groups; clubs; organizations; conventions; societies; associations; goals; hopes and wishes

Twelfth House – Hidden things; institutions; asylums; prisons; reformatories; hospitals; hospitalization; confinement; imprisonment; illegal drugs and addictions; psychic abilities; psychosis; secret enemies; subversion; suicide; exile; seclusion; welfare and charity recipients

These are some of the most common traditional meanings used for centuries by a great many astrologers. Note that only the major, or “Ptolemaic,” aspects are supported by this model, which is based on “whole-sign” houses –  conjunctions, oppositions, trines, squares and sextiles. The “Keplerian” minor aspects are not used since aspects are formed solely by sign placement and not by degree within a sign, and classical astrology did not use the 30° semi-sextile and the 150° inconjunct or quincunx,.



One thought on “Casting Lots

  1. Pingback: Divinatory Revisionism | Parsifal's Wheel Tarot & Astrology

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