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Geomancy 101.0A: Introduction

The Art of Geomancy originated in the Middle East in antiquity. In Arabic it is called khatt al-raml (sand writing), 'ilm al-raml (science of the sand) or darb al-raml (striking the sand). Khat al-raml was brought to Spain when the Moors invaded in 711 A.D. By the Twelfth Century, it had spread all over Europe. The Name of the Art was translated literally into Greek (geōmanteia), and later transliterated into Latin (geomantia), French and Middle English Geomancie.


There are similar Divination Systems all over the World. Resemblance to the Chinese book I Ching and the Hebrew HaOrim v’HaTumim should be obvious to the objective observer. There are also Divinatory Systems based on a Binary System in Africa, called Ifá and Sikidy. Arabic merchants brought back esoteric knowledge from the East by the Silk Road, so it’s likely that there is more than a chance connection between all these.

In Legend, the origin of Khatt al-raml is attributed, variously, to Hermes Trismegistus, Biblical Prophets Daniel, Enoch, or the Islamic Prophet Idris. The latter is said to have invented writing, a striking parallel to the Chinese Fu Hsi. Perhaps this is a link to the real Truth. In China, Fu Hsi is said to have invented writing. Of course, both men could have invented writing independently. Or, alternatively, one could have been a memory of the other!

Here is what may have really happened: the Arabic silk traders imported a scaled-down version of the I Ching, with only Four ranks, instead of Six. For the Western Mind, perhaps, Sixteen Figures would be easier to work with, than Sixty-Four.

Maybe, there was just One Binary System. Could this be the real answer? The I Ching has Yang and Yin, represented, respectively, by a solid and a broken line; this would be rank Number One. Then there are the Four Directional Elements, Wood, Fire, Metal and Water, each of which can be represented as combinations of Two lines; this would fulfill the requirements of the Second Rank. Then, there are Eight Trigrams or “Ba Gua”, Chien, Kun, Chen, Sun, Kan, Li, Ken, and Tui; these would make the Third Rank. Of course, each is a Power of the Number Two, determined by a Positive (Yang) or a Negative (Yin) choice.

According to the Mathematical Laws of Exponents, any Number to the Power “Zero” is “One”. This would indicate the Tai Chi Tu. Multiplying Number Two by itself, the First Six Powers of Two are: 2,4,8,16,32 and 64. 2 x2=4, 2x2x2=8, 2x2x2x2=16, 2x2x2x2x2=32, and 2x2x2x2x2x2=64. I Ching seemingly skips over what should be the Fourth and Fifth Rank. There are, indeed, Sixty-Four Hexagrams. Shouldn’t there be Figures with, respectively, Four and Five lines?

The Sixteen Geomantic Figures might make Rank Number Four. The Kabbalistic “Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom” could easily fulfill Rank Number Five. More on the Geomantic Figures will come soon.

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