Geomancy: Interpreting Earth’s Patterns and Energies

Geomancy is a system of divination that employs the scattering of pebbles, grains of sand, or seeds on the earth and then the interpretation of their shape and position.

The occultist Agrippa later developed a method of making marks on the earth with a stick, (currently the method is also used by making marks on paper with a pencil or pen) and then interpreting them. The interpretation is partly intuitive and partly by means of a system of positions reminiscent of I Chang hexagrams.

The term «Geomancy» is also applied to the Chinese practice of feng-shui (wind and water), and was employed by 19th century writers to translate feng-shui.

This Chinese art is concerned with the relationships between human beings and the subtle energies of nature. In classical Chinese sources, the term ti li (land positions) was likewise used, another related term is kan tu (cover and support) which has special reference to the relationships between heaven and earth.

Feng-shui and ti li are concerned with the «dragon lines» or the subtle energies of the earth particularly in relation to the setting of buildings, and the interaction between human life and earth currents.

Feng-shui experts would determine the most advantageous locations for roads, bridges, canals, wells and mines in relationship to earth energies. Sites of graves were also an important consideration. Often bodies were not buried until the proper burial site was determined; sometimes bodies were unearthed and reburied.

It seems apparent that the Western form of geomancy originates from feng-shui since the position of pebbles, sand, or seeds has something in common with the acupuncture pressure points on the «body» of nature and its energies. Likewise, the Chinese concepts of subtle earth energies parallel Western concepts of ley lines and dowsingA.G.H.


Geomancy divination

Geomancy, an ancient form of divination, encompasses a range of practices and beliefs centered around interpreting markings on the earth or patterns formed by scattered objects. Its applications and interpretations vary across different cultures, from its origins in Western and Middle Eastern traditions to its similarities with Chinese Feng Shui.


Western and Middle Eastern Geomancy

  • Basic Practice: Traditional geomancy involves scattering pebbles, seeds, or grains of sand on the ground and interpreting the shapes and positions that result.
  • Agrippa’s Method: The occultist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa developed a method of geomancy involving making marks on the earth with a stick, and later, on paper. This method combines intuitive interpretation with a systematic approach reminiscent of the I Ching hexagrams.
  • Interpretation: Interpretation in geomancy is both intuitive and structured, often relying on a set of rules or positions for reading the patterns.


Chinese Feng Shui and Geomancy

  • Feng Shui («Wind and Water»): In Chinese tradition, geomancy is closely related to the practice of Feng Shui, which deals with harmonizing human existence with the surrounding environment.
  • Ti Li and Kan Tu: Classical Chinese sources use terms like ‘ti li’ (land positions) and ‘kan tu’ (cover and support), focusing on the relationship between the earth’s energies and human life.
  • Dragon Lines: Feng Shui involves understanding the «dragon lines» or the earth’s subtle energies, particularly in relation to the placement of buildings, roads, and other structures.
  • Site Selection: Experts in Feng Shui would determine optimal locations for structures and even graves, based on the earth’s energy flows.


Connection to Ley Lines and Dowsing

  • Ley Lines: The concept of subtle earth energies in Chinese geomancy has parallels in Western notions of ley lines – alignments of various geographic and historical sites.
  • Dowsing: Similar to dowsing, geomancy can be seen as a way of detecting and interacting with the unseen energies of the earth.


Cultural Significance

  • Ancient Practice: As an ancient divinatory practice, geomancy has been part of various cultures’ attempts to understand and interpret the forces of nature and the environment.
  • Modern Usage: While traditional practices of geomancy have declined, the principles of harmony with nature and environment, as seen in Feng Shui, continue to influence contemporary architecture, urban planning, and spiritual practices.



  • Western Geomancy: In the Western tradition, geomancy has been associated with mysticism and the occult, often focusing on personal divination.
  • Eastern Geomancy: In Eastern traditions, particularly Feng Shui, geomancy is more focused on harmonizing human activities with the natural landscape and energy flows.

Source: 9.