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Chess Divination

To: alt.occult.methods,alt.pagan.magick,alt.divination,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.chess,
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Re: Chess Divination (was Forum Notice)
Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 07:51:36 GMT

I originally sent some of this material to an Enochian Chess Yahoogroup.
I'm referring to CZalewski for most of the information about rules for
Enochian Chess below. there are probably variations, and I'd like to
become aware of these, should any decide to offer corrections. thanks.

50020304 VI

my focus in initiating conversation on this topic is:

	to examine the general method by which the 
	Chess/Chaturanga/Enochian Chess and the like
	are interpreted (board, pieces, moves, and
	configurations or positions), when, and in 
	what style/theme.

I've been playing a variety of games in the family of
Chaturanga and Chaturaji, all four-player, all 8x8
and generally K-R-N-B/P-P-P-P, set into different
configurations in the corners, arrayed along the
diagonal (as in The Game of Four Seasons) or along
the side of the board (as in most descriptions of
Chaturaji which I've seen -- fylfot/svastika form,
and circularly disposed, because all of each force's
Pawns are headed into the next (or the previous)
Player's position. some rulesets include directives
that require attacks on the Player next in sequence.
I've explored this and feel it is a good character
to integrate to a 5-element Chinese symbol-system
(4+earch/center), because of the relation that is
described, by process, of these principles or elements.

the actual *playing* of the game is governed by a few
dynamics which I find important in a consideration of

	* SKILL	-- if one wishes to integrate skill 
	  of play as factor in the result, it is probably
	  best to reduce the usage of dice, for the 
	  determination of which piece(s) may be moved,
	  for example. variation (3 Players random and 
	  'best move' and 1 Player (Querent) at liberty 
	  to determine moved piece, for example) assists
	  focal aspect of oracular consultation, though
	  why any one of the 4 forces should be utilized
	  by the Querent is another conceptual issue.

	  NOTE: I'm consistently using dice as determining
		factors of what *may* be moved (if possible),
	        and I've settled on *must be moved if it can
		be arranged* as the standard for 'random'
		Players -- i.e. those using dice, required to
		attack the next Player in sequence until and
		unless an opportunity for capture is present
		and it simultaneously serves the primary
		alliance -- if 4 Players, oneself and one's
		partner across the board, if 3 Players, one's
		own force alone. 

	present system (second one I'm trying) to determine move: 

		1-P, 2-B, 3-N, 4-R, 5-F, 6-K

	where P=Pawn, N=Knight, R=Rook and K=King all as in
	ortho Chess, but B=Boat [2 Diag, Jump] and 
	F=Queen/Fers [1 Diag]. if a piece designated by
	the *2* d6 or their combination cannot be moved,
	then no move is allowed. if both can be moved, then
	they should be.

	* PLAYABILITY -- whether watching the outcome of the
	  dicing or detemining for oneself the moves, how well
	  the game plays to the result is another important
	  factor; games with weaknesses or which are skewed
	  toward certain forces, moves, or dice rolls, may be
	  valuable to avoid.

	(e.g. the fylfot-svastika start configuration seems 
	inferior when the corner square is occupied by the
	Boat, the King 3 spaces away on the side -- the only
	move by the Boat is a check to the target's King,
	and this King must also face assault from advancing
	Pawns from the same force, necessitating immediate
	defensive maneuvers -- something recommending *against*
	this configuration; compare this with the Four Seasons
	Game, in which the King sits in the corner surrounded
	by R-B-N, P-P and P-P flanking; not only does this
	make the harrowing 'Four Boat Capture' more likely[!],
	but I find that placing the Rooks facing the direction
	of play, the Knights defending, a better usage is made
	of Pawns during the game, defense against the previous
	Player in the sequence is made easier, and there is
	generally room to move about in one's 'Castle Area')

	* MEANING -- with all the skill and playability in the
	  world, without some kind of symbolic association
	  scheme, the divinatory result of our construction
	  will be completely devoid of use. 

	rather than add a piece (e.g. the Ptah) attached to the 
	Querent's King, I'm finding it more elegant to merely
	look at the configuration of the board at the end of the
	game, from where the winning move is made, and the focal
	end square of success. using the variation that a lone
	King is allowed to establish a Draw Game, it is possible
	to obtain quite a number of complex meanings, especially 
	if the board is somehow marked for its squares 

	in Enochian Chess/Divination, Dee's tablets and various 
	other symbols are used to fill the squares on the 
	specially selected elemental board out of four possible.

	I've been filling the board with a magic square (of late
	the 'Mercury' Square from Agrippa utilzing the most
	simple means of 8x8 construction and popular amongst
	ceremonial magicians for their 'kamea' talismans that
	spin from the same author (into Golden Dawn and others)),
	attributing to it I Ching hexagrams. I'm identifying each 
	force with a colour (changing these up a bit as I learn 
	about novel colour designations from Chinese mysticism, 
	Chess variants (Four Seasons has a mini-symbol-setup already!),
	a direction, a season, a time, and one of the 5 Chinese
	elements (along with the center, earth).

QUESTIONS (just brainstorming here; comments welcome!)

	is skill of play important to the process of divination 

if so, then fewer dice should be used. I am enjoying the use of
dice as it both restricts rational direction to certain vectors
and makes possible quick wins or very long games with intriguing
endgame positions for interpretation.

	can the principles of Chess and its relatives be identified 
	as part of a family of games of similar type and then a
        composite created for study of transcultural occultism?

this seems possible enough on its face. Chess isn't that ambiguously
defined that a small group of similar or like-form games could not
be gathered with similar principles. having been used for divination
or integrating easily with preferred symbol-systems would seem to be
important. Xiangqi, for example, may have been a divination device
complete with astrological implications, magic squares, etc.  the
more extant or previously-designed divinatory systems utilizing these
components may be discovered and described, the more we'll have to
work with.

	exactly what are the differences between Chaturanga and 
	Enochian Chess? 

the ones I've been able to identify so far are (these are tentative,
as I haven't been able to identify the exact differences between the 
variable Enochian Chess fragments and modern projections through 
these fragments):


	Enochian Chess Divination (apparently only overlapping
	with but not the same as the Game, at least by description 
	of CZalewski) uses something called a 'Ptah' piece which 
	differs from most of the Chess variations I've seen in
	association with this game family. this piece is used to
	provide a simple 'yes' or 'no' to a Querent's interest --
	if the Querent, directing an appropriate force, is able
	to position hir King upon the same square as the Ptah
	piece, then it is ruled a 'successful' result, according
	to the conditions under which this took place (i.e. if
	it was a struggle, so will the achievement be a struggle).


	Enochian Chess Game/Divination sets up *2 pieces*
	on the corner square, the 'Throne', which operates
	as in ordinary Chaturanga or Chaturaji as a power
	spot, occupying it with one's King changes control
	over all the forces tied to that square to the
	colour of the King (who thereafter has two turns,
	one for each force).

some Chaturaji/Chaturanga games make use of a Fers/Queen,
but most of them do NOT have this double-piece occupation
and it should be considered an extreme variation as I see it.


	Enochian Chess and Chess Divination both utilize four
	different possible boards (elemental, based on Dee's
	tablets and integrating tarot pieces and Hermetic forces
	and principles). this appears to be unique to this game
	family (a feature of the Dee/Enochian theme). these
	boards have a specific orientation and placement. in
	addition to this, the direction of play may be chosen
	(rotating rightward or leftward).

	what about the possible *Chinese origins* of Chess?

	see, for example,

	The Origin of Chess

	which throws light on all the academic and not-so-academic 
	background of Chess history researchers and writers (the 
	over-emphasis on Murray in an analysis of Chess' origins, 
	for example, is probably still a major obstruction to clear 

	most sources seem smitten with India as the originator of
	the game, and the old Indian games identified as ancestors
	are definitely what has been used by Western magicians in
	association with Westcott, Mathers, and Regardie. little
	has been examined in depth or detail about the rulesets,
	pieces, and game dynamics of the game family as a whole --
	a kind of overall or 'holistic' analysis and composition.

ok, I've run out of steam here. I'll fetch the bibliography I made
for additional studies and post that next. conversation encouraged!


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