15

Al khatima or Majma' al khatt

the seal or sum total of the khatt

At this point a wide range of very specific interpretative rules come into play, some of which are still contained in European geomancy, and some of which are purely unique to the Arab system. Basically they indicate the effects of a specific geomantic figure in a specific House position. For example, a Rasn (Fortuna Major) in House 1 would indicate a journey on the part of the querent. If it were combined with a Jebbar (Fortuna Minor) in House 9, the inference would be that the journey would be delayed by some powerful person, because Jebbar represents a powerful sheikh or notable.

Before the specific rules are applied, the khattat, or diviner, would generally examine the fifteenth or 'Judge' figure which was the 'sum total of the khatt' and which would indicate the general trend of the answer. If, for example, the fifteenth figure was a Qabid (Acquisitio) then the diviner would be absolutely sure that the querent was going to get what he was seeking. One khattat made his name by 'throwing' the khatt for some police who came at night to his village looking for an escaped prisoner.

Seeing a Qabid as the 'seal' of the khatt, he prophesied immediate success to a search of the village, and the prisoner was duly caught in one of the houses. Conversely, a Qabid in House 5 or 6 would have indicated that the thief was most unlikely to be caught. Conversely, a Kharij (Amissio) in the same position would be the worst possible omen, unless of course the querent was trying to sell or rid himself of something.

The khattat then proceeds to examine each of the Houses in turn so that, for example, if identical figures are found in both the First and Second Houses, the khatt is infallibly interpreted as a bad omen. If the question concerned the fate of a sick man, the appearance of a Jihin (Laetitia) in both of these positions would indicate almost certain death. If the question concerned a business venture, then its outcome looks very bleak indeed. However, as a precaution against a complete dashing of hopes, the querent has the right to try the khatt three times, if a preliminary inspection of the first two tries should show the omens to be unfavourable. However, two figures of the same kind in the first four Houses would 'bring over' a third figure of the same kind from the left or 'enemy side', to the aid of the searcher. Obviously, in this context, the interpretation is very strongly connected with tribal and family life, so that under these circumstances, it would appear that an enemy is to be considerably handicapped, perhaps by losing an ally to the querent's cause or party.

Obviously the combinations are almost unlimited, and the khattat needed a prodigious memory. This was however aided by a series of rhymes which indicated the auspicious or inauspicious combinations of figure and House, learned by each diviner during his apprenticeship, but largely lost to the printed literature of the subject. Oddly enough, although Zunbul considered the figure Tariq (Via) to be the most powerful of the figures

(being the sum total of all four Elements together, and thus the only 'complete' figure of the sixteen), modern Arabs consider it to be the most insignificant of all the figures.

The order of the figures outside of the khatt is significant in as much as they are grouped by the Arabs of the Kordofan in complementary pairs15 so that the first and second figures have, if compared at each level, one dot where the other has two, and vice versa. Likewise the third and fourth figures are complementary, the fifth and sixth figures, and so on. This of course is only one way of arranging these figures in order, but interpreted by the Arabs to mean that certain family relationships occur between the different figures. For example:

Jihin (Tristitia) and Rakiza (Cauda Draconis) are man and wife

Hurr (Laetitia) and Raiya (Caput Draconis) are man and wife

Beyyad (Albus) and Jodala (Puer) are man and wife

Muhzum (Puella) and Humra' (Rubeus) are man and wife

Damir (Conjunctio) and Surra (Career) are also man and wife

Jebbar (Fortuna Minor) and Rasn (Fortuna Major) are brothers

Qabid (Acquisitio) and Kharij (Amissio) are also brothers

Tariq (Via) and Tiql (Populus) bear no relationship to each other.

Figures which contain a total number of even points are said to be Helu, sweet or a good omen, whilst those which contain odd numbers of total points Murr, bitter, or ill-omened.

Further details of the modern practice of rami can be found in Magie et Religion dans L'Afrique du Nord by Edmond Doutte, while a more romantic and living description is given by Dr J. C. Mardrus in Sucre d'Amour, where the atmosphere and magic accompanying a rami consultation are perfectly evoked.

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