The representation of Carcer is a dot formation that is single, double, double, single.
Balance at the base and head, with a wide midsection, it represents two bowls together. The top bowl is upside down and placed over another that is right side up. This is a representation of confinement, which is a good reminder for the actual meaning of the figure which is in Latin, “prison”. An easy way to remember this geomantic figure is to think of incarceration, meaning to be imprisoned.
The energy of Carcer is all about learning life lessons. Considering the planetary influence of the symbol, Saturn, it makes sense that not only is this a powerful figure in geomancy but that it represents vital limitations and restrictions that are often for the greater good of either the individual or the surrounding situation.
Saturn is considered an insurrectionary teacher, linked with important personal life changes such as “the Return of Saturn” that reflects a time of displacement, cosmic changes and resetting or affirming the life path of a person. People inherently dislike confinement, and for that reason Carcer is often associated with negative connotations.
That being said, sometimes restrictions are needed. All things are good in moderation. Chances are, when Carcer graces a reading with its presence that it is a strong reminder to tie up loose ends and that a situation is either out of hand, or that the querant is losing control.
The confinement that is represented with this figure doesn’t have to mean actually going to jail or being grounded. If the querant heeds the advice of Carcer, when it shows up in their reading, they most likely will be able to sidestep any negative consequences.
Unfortunately, since the traditional interpretation of this figure is undesirable, many geomancers will focus on the negative potential that comes with it. Consider that Carcer is related to the Hermit in the tarot card and this may shed some light on what kind of restriction is needed when this energy is present in a geomantic reading.
Unlike the Judgment or the Justice card, the Hermit card doesn’t have anything to do with right or wrong, making poor decisions or even behaving badly. Rather, the Hermit is an evolved card, associated with isolation of one’s own accord.
Like the Hermit, Carcer is a well grounded sign that can also lead to introspection that will inevitably provide clarity and understanding for many that receive this sign in their reading.
On the other hand, there are those that simply want to do what they want to do, stubborn and focused on their own way of doing things.
If a person refuses to separate, essentially confining themselves, if they don’t stop the destructive tendencies in their own life or if they rely on others to set boundaries or make decisions for them, they will only have themselves to blame when they receive the negative, rather than the positive influences of this card.