on 27 April 2010
I enjoyed reading this book immensely, it is well written and informative. It is evident that John Greer has both a deep understanding of Geomancy as well as has researched this book extremely well understanding thoroughly the sources of information he uncovered.
The book begins introducing us to a brief history of Geomancy and a glimpse of the sorts of things that can be seen from a geomantic chart. It then launches straight into the geomantic shapes and their meanings and correspondences. I liked the way each shapes correspondences were introduced to us right at the beginning - though I would have liked to have seen how they were produced before this section. This way it did however give a sense of build up and anticipation to find out actually how to form these shapes.
John describes how each shape is built - each line having a meaning of one of the elements and can be passive or active in its quality This is the fundamental building of the shapes meaning which is then added to by astrological, traditional and intuitive associations or correspondences.
The next section describes how we make a set of geomantic figures in response to a question or focus. Four figures are gained by a method any method that shows a yes or no answer - the dice for instance thrown 4 times for each of 4 figures, even number being represented by two dots and odd numbers by 1, you can also use coins, or any other way of 'randomly' getting on or off type response. These first four figures are then transformed in a number of ways to derive another 11 figures.
The book outlines two main ways of reading the set of 15 figures, one of which is based on the houses of an astrological chart - and read in a similar way to how Horary astrology looks at specific questions. If you have a background in basic astrology then this system of divination is more easily approached as you already have knowledge to drawn upon. However this book is very thorough and gives plenty of information on how to read the astrology based layout of the figures to answer any question or topic for divination.
John goes into a lot of detail and depth about how to take each reading further and further. I do like how he builds on your knowledge in clear simple steps, it is possible to just start with the basics of reading the shapes and then add to it as your familiarity increases. He is very good at relating the techniques to their historical context and explaining how things have been adapted in modern times and why certain ways were developed in the past to address the needs of querants in the renaissance which were often quite different to the types of things people today want to know.
He also covers the ethical aspects that we would consider in todays times that in the past were commonplace questions - issues such as divining for diagnosing illness and looking for how someone would die are things in the past that would be considered suitable for divination, that in today's times we would consider unethical. Third party questions are considered ethical though in a similar way to how astrology views these things.
I particularly liked Johns explanation of why when certain figures appear in certain places the traditional reading would be to say a reading can not be conducted for that topic. Actually the reasoning is that the Geomantic shapes are saying the querant is not being honest regarding the question. This understanding gives us the power to chose whether the situation is such that we can confront the querant directly on this - or if we are reading for ourselves to ask ourselves whether we are really being honest with ourselves about what we want to know about. Very useful to have the added understanding, often when old systems of divination are talked about this explanation is missing and being left with 'there is no answer for this question at this time' can feel very unsatisfactory, and unempowering.
Then John Greer takes us into the Meditative realm of getting to know the geomantic figures. He discussed the use of discursive meditation for both the geomantic shapes themselves and also the understanding of how two shapes can bring the third forth. Scrying and the use of active meditation is also covered here. These techniques are simply explained and you are led as a reader into being able to use them effectively with the Geomantic figures. You could of course use these skills with any form of divination image, from the tarot to runes and the I Ching to great effect.
Then we are shown the more active magical use of the Geomantic shapes - how to tune into the Spiritus Mundi (the life energy of the world) and the anima mundi (soul of the world) to affect change and bring about what you desire in life (corpus mundi - body of the world) whilst also being in tune with the energies surrounding the situation. He looks at the use of Talismans, Gamahas and also ritual magic. Here timing is also important and the geomantic system of working out the hours of the day is discussed.
In the ritual magic John Greer discusses how to work magically with Geomantic figures whether your beliefs are from a pagan background or from a more Christian basis, or whether you would rather work with the inner self in a contemplative way. He also talks of the idea of the Guardian Genius or Holy Guardian Angel. It is refreshing to read how each of these can be used according to your own beliefs rather than the author choosing the one that suits himself to convey in a book.
Overall I found this book to be excellent, easy to read and understand, with a lot of depth to work with. It is evident that it will take more than a reading of the book and a couple of goes to be a proficient reader of the Geomantic figures, they are as rich in symbolism and association as the Tarot or any other form of divination. However this book has a great amount of information in and I believe working from it can lead to a good deal of ability in this divination system.
The additional aspects of meditation and magical working is both interesting and useful. I do feel if there is a weakness to the book it is that the magical working with the Geomantic figures is not as thorough as the rest of the topics John Greer covers so clearly, but there is a plethora of magical books available and if you were to want to follow this way of working than some other grounding in magical working would be very useful to make this side as rich as the rest of the book.
In all the book has been well researched, has good correspondences for each shape, and is an excellent learning tool to start working with Geomancy. It also allows people to come to this system from whatever their belief system and previous experience with the esoteric, it is accepting and not prescriptive of what to believe. More explains how this system is seen to work and how to conceptualise it in a number of frameworks.
on 10 March 2011
Geomancy is an art today which as the text mentions is often overlooked today but in Renaissance times was a staple Divination practice, highlighting its survival and the history of its (watered down) inclusion into the Golden Dawn system. Here the author goes to their sources and brings the art into the modern era - explaining the complex system in a way that is clear, concise and logical - as well as expanding the general knowledge on the subject. The sections which explain it in its astrological context are particularly clear and well written.
I'd recommend this to anyone seeking a genuine art of divination which has roots in the Renaissance, Arabic and African systems and for people looking to expand their knowledge on the system. The book includes an insightful and witty (as ever) introduction by Lon Milo Duquette - who makes the observation that Greer is like a renaissance mage transported through time - to teach this art in a clear and practical way in order such that it can be used. There are also good sections on using the geomantic figures on Talismans, in Ritual, in practical magic and using them as astral doorways and associated Skrying practices.
The readers who aren't familiar should note the 'Geomancy' described here is not ley line hunting, feng shui or earth magic based as the term is sometimes used, but refers to a Renaissance divination system using 16 figures - which were often drawn in the ground with a stick (Hence 'geomancy'), which can be tied into astrology.
on 31 December 2012
Geomancy remains the "forgotten" branch of magic and divination, which is a shame as it has much to offer. There are few books on the subject and most deal with the basics of casting a chart - a simple task in itself. I have a number of these books and none stand out.
That is until I read this one - the depth and detail of chart reading is unparalleled, the guidelines clear and comprehensive, and the overall approach is appealing to those who know of Geomancy and beginners. A book which shows Geomancy as a system of magic, not just a way of fortune telling.
This book is so much better than others on the subject. Buy it and you will not be disappointed.