### Casting the Points

The first step is usually called "casting" or "sowing" the points. In this step, the
geomancer draws sixteen lines of points, from right to left, while concentrating
on the question he or she wants answered. Some treatises advise the geomancer
to pray before casting the points. No effort should be made to count the points
as they are made, although the geomancer is usually advised to make at least
twelve. The casting of the points is the critical process in geomancy; if
the geomancer does not cast the points correctly, the tableau will be invalid.
The sixteen lines of points are grouped in fours, and the points are then counted off two by two, from the right to the left,
and connected in pairs, so that
each line of points ends either with a pair or with a single point. These single
or odd and paired or even points will be grouped to create the first four
figures of the geomantic tableau:

#### The Mothers

These first four figures of the geomantic tableau are called the
"mothers" or *matres* and are drawn horizontally from right to left:

#### The Daughters

The next four figures, called the "daughters" or *filiae*,
are created by adding the points of the mothers *sideways* from
right to left. For
example, here the first row of points across the mothers is
two-one-one-two, the second row is one-two-one-one, the third row
is two-two-two-two, and the last row is one-one-one-two. These four figures
are drawn next to the mothers, continuing horizontally from right to left:

#### The Nieces

The next four figures, sometimes called the "nieces" or *neptes*
are created by
adding together the points in pairs of two figures above. If there are an
even number of points, two points are put down;
if there is an odd number of points, one point is put down. For example, the
first "niece" is created by adding the points of the first and second "mothers."
Again, the geomancer proceeds from right to left:

#### The Witnesses and the Judge

Finally, the tableau is completed by adding points in the same
way to create
three more figures. The first two are called the "witnesses" or *testes*
and
the last is the "judge" or *iudex* (If the judge is a figure that does not
have an even number of points, a mistake has been made in the
addition, "and then must you turn again to make correction".)

A sixteenth figure called the "super judge" is sometimes drawn by "adding"
the points of the first and fifteenth figures.

As in astrological practice, each house governs an area of life.
These are:

An understanding of the houses is fundamental to interpreting the geomantic
tableau. Any possible question can be assigned to one of the houses. For example,
questions about marriage are assigned to the 7th house; a question about whether
a ship will return safely from a voyage belongs to the 9th house; a question about
whether a sick person will recover belongs to the 6th house. (Like astrological
texts, medieval and Renaissance geomantic texts give the reader an excellent idea
about the day-to-day concerns of people living in those times.) Most geomantic
treatises include long lists of the types of questions appropropriate to each
house, and some compress this information into tabular form. For example, in
Martin of Spain's *De geomancia*, questions assigned to the 10th house,
the house of kings, include:

#### Methods of Interpretation

The simplest method of interpreting the geomantic tableau is to determine
which house governs the subject of the question, consider the qualities and
properties of the figure in that house, and judge the question accordingly. However,
most geomantic treatises advise the geomancer to consider a number of other factors
before giving judgement. These include, among others:

- the nature of the figure in the first house, which signifies the querant
*locus*: is the figure in a favorable or unfavorable house?
*aspectus*: are the figures in favorable or unfavorable aspect to one another?
(The geomantic aspects, similar to the aspects of astrology, are association, trine, square,
sextile, opposition, translation, occupation, conjunction,
mutation, and prohibition.)
*motus*: how to the figures pass from one house to another?
*paternitas*: which figures generated the figure in question?
- the nature of the witnesses, the judge, and the super-judge
- various numerical procedures, e.g., is the total number of points in the tableau odd or even?
- the
*via puncti* or way of the point

The astrological method (which is briefly described in Turner's *Of Geomancy*)
involves drawing up a horoscope in which the positions of the planets and signs
in the houses are determined by the geomantic tableau rather than by calculations
based on astronomical tables or the use of an astrolabe.