A system of divination by means of scattering pebbles, dust,
sand grains, or seeds on the earth and interpreting their shape
and position. A later development by occultist Cornelius
Agrippa involved making marks on the ground with a stick
(currently practiced with a pencil on paper). Interpretations
are partly intuitive and partly by means of a system of positions
reminiscent of the I Ching hexagrams.
The term geomancy is also applied to the Chinese practice
of feng-shui (wind and water), and was used by nineteenthcentury
writers to translate feng-shui. This Chinese art is concerned
with the relationship between human beings and the
subtle energies of nature. In classical Chinese sources the term
ti li (land patterns) was also used; another related term is kan-yü
(cover or support), with special reference to relationships between
heaven and earth.
Feng-shui and ti li are concerned with the ‘‘dragon lines’’ or
subtle energies of the earth in relation to the placement of
buildings and the interaction between human life and earth
currents. Feng-shui experts would determine the most suitable
places for roads, bridges, canals, wells, and mines in relation to
earth currents; the sites of graves were especially important.
Bodies might be kept unburied for some time until a suitable
burial place with harmonious currents was determined, and in
some cases bodies were reburied.
It seems likely that the Western form of geomancy for divinatory
purposes grew out of feng-shui concepts, since the position
of pebbles, dust, or seeds has something in common with
acupuncture pressure points on the ‘‘body’’ of nature and its
energies. Chinese concepts of the subtle energies of the earth
also parallel the Western concepts of leys and dowsing.
Genesa Update Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Asher, Maxine. Ancient Energy Key to the Universe. New York
Harper & Row, 1979.
Cole, J. A. Abayomi. Astrological Geomancy in Africa. London,
Hartmann, Franz. Geomancy The Art of Divining by Punctuation
According to Cornelius Agrippa and Others. London William
Rider & Son, 1913.
Pennick, Nigel. Geomancy. Cambridge Cokayne Publishing,
Skinner, Stephen. The Oracle of Geomancy. London Routledge
& Kegan Paul, 1977.
———. Terrestrial Astrology Divination by Geomancy. London
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980.
Watkins, Alfred. The Old Straight Track. 1925. Reprint, London
Garnstone Press, 1970.