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 dowsing. A.G.H.