Kumalak

Know thyself. Kumalak (Qumalaq) has been practised in Kazakhstan, Central Asia for around a thousand years. This form of divination is thought to have originally come from Persia or Arabia. It used to be widespread throughout Russia and is still used in Eastern Europe as well. It is a form or geomancy that has developed into Western Geomancy (Western Europe), Ifá (West Africa)and Sikidy (Madagascar) amongst many forms.

s The local fortune-teller, known as a palshı, draws forty-one broad beans, coffee beans or any other types of beans, stones or pebbles from a bag. He or she sorts and separates the beans, laying them in a pre-ordained order on a grid on a cloth (often a white felt cloth). The soothsayer, usually a woman nowadays, finishes up with three rows of three groups of beans. Each group of beans will contain either 1, 2, 3 or 4 beans. Each combination has its own meaning and the rows refer to the querent's past, present and future.

Method

Start with 41 beans (qırıq bir qumalaq), kernels or evenly-sized small pebbles.

Roughly divide them into 3 piles. Starting with the pile on the right, remove four beans at a time until there are only 1, 2, 3 or 4 beans left. Those beans go into the top right hand box of the Kumalak grid.
Then do the same with the centre pile, and those beans (1, 2, 3 or 4) go into the top centre box of the grid. Then the same with the left hand pile and the remaining number of beans (1, 2, 3 or 4) go into the left hand box.

Now bring all the beans back into a pile (except the beans that have been placed in the grid of course) and divide that big pile into 3 piles.
Starting with the pile on the right, move away four beans at a time until there are only 1, 2, 3 or 4 beans left. Those beans go into the middle row right hand box of the Kumalak grid.
Then do the same with the centre pile, and those beans (1, 2, 3 or 4) go into the middle row centre box of the grid. Then the same with the left hand pile and the remaining number of beans (1, 2, 3 or 4) go into the left hand box of the middle row.

Now bring the remaining beans back in a pile and do the same for the bottom row.

Number 1 (bir) is associated with fire (fire: ot). It symbolises action, clarity and combat.

Number 2 (eki) is associated with water (water: su). It represents two faces, or good & evil and symbolises tension and imbalance.
Number 3 (üš) is associated with the air (wind: žel). It represents the 3 realms of nature (animal, vegetal and mineral) and symbolises journeys, encounters and joining of forces.
Number 4 (tört) is associated with the earth (sand: qum). It symbolises material wealth and possessions but can also symbolise sorrow and darkness.

3. Eye
(K�z)
2. Head
(Bas)
1. Eye
(K�z)
6. Hand
(Qol)
5. Heart
(Ž�rek)
4. Hand
(Qol)
9. Foot
(Ayaq)
8. Horse
(At)
7. Foot
(Ayaq)

The kumalak grid represents a traditional Kazakh horseman of the steppes, with each square corresponding to a part of the body. The first row describes the past, the second row describes the present and the third row describes the future. The particular number of beans in a square represents a natural element.

The traditional name of the combination of beans describes which element is combined with which body part. For example, water in the head, wind in the eyes or sand in the heart, fire in the hands.

There are two figures that may occur which have their own special names.
The Three Stars and Mother Earth.

The Three Stars (one bean in each box of the centre row) protects you and promises that things will turn out better than you expect.

Mother Earth (four beans in each box of the bottom row) promises luck, success, good health, happiness and fulfilling journeys. Nothing can go wrong when you draw this Kumalak combination!

In addition to these combinations, there are special figures which add further layers of meaning.
The special figures include:

Satisfaction = odd numbers of beans in each of the right hand boxes
Inspiration = one bean in each of the right hand boxes
Good Fortune = three beans in each of the right hand boxes
Chance (Good luck if you fight/strive) = the total number of beans in the right hand boxes adds up to either 7, 9 or (best of all) 12

Harmony = odd numbers of beans in each of the centre boxes
The Way Forward (Progress/Journey) = one bean in each of the centre boxes
Joy = three beans in each of the centre boxes

News is coming = odd beans in each box of either diagonal
Balance (partnership) = sums equal in both diagonals

According to Russian tradition, the top row is the Head and the Second row is the Heart.

The beans are also used for divination in Eastern Europe. Special combinations are:

The Comet = three, one, one in the first row, an excellent omen.

The Saddlebag = four, one, four in the first row, your wishes are muddled. Think further and ask a more specific question.

More geomancy:
  Free Geomantic Reading
Geomancy Introduction
Advanced Geomantic Techniques
  Gerhard of Cremona
Sikidy (Madagascar)
Kumalak (Kazakhstan)

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