To the best of my knowledge, none of the medieval treatises on geomancy are
available in modern English, nor do I know of any scholarly editions
of the texts, with the two exceptions noted below.
- Burnett, C.S.F. "What is the Experimentarius of Bernardus Silvestris?
A preliminary survey of the material." Archives d'histoire doctrinale
et littéraire du moyen age xliv (1977): 79-125. [Reprinted in
Magic and divination in the Middle Ages. Variorum Collected
Studies Series CS557, 1996.]
- Includes an edition of the "Experimentarius" of Bernardus Silvestris.
The "Experimentarius" describes a medieval predictive technique based on
geomancy but more arbitrary.
- Cattan, Christofe de. La geomancie du seigneur Christofe de Cattan,
gentilhomme genevois ... le tout corrigé et mis en lumière par
G. de Préau. Paris: Gilles Gilles, 1558.
- A book-length treatise on geomancy, with examples of geomantic tableaux
cast by Cattan for his acquaintances at the French court. The text describes
the method of casting the points and forming the figures; discusses the meanings
of the figures and their correspondences with elements, animals, planets, etc.;
summarizes the questions appropriate to each house (with examples); and thoroughly
covers the various ways to interpret the tableau. An English language edition, The geomancie of Maister Christopher Cattan Gentleman was published in 1591 and can be found in the Early English Books Online digital collection.
- Fasciculus geomanticus. Verona: 1704.
- This compilation of Latin treatises on geomancy includes, among others,
Robert Fludd's Tractatus de geomantia, H. de Pisis' Opus geomantiae
completum in libros tres, and Quaestiones geomantiae
Alfakini, here attributed to Platon de Tivoli but, according to Charmasson,
based on the treatise of Gerard of Cremona.
- Means, Laurel. "A translation of Martin of Spain's De Geomancia."
In Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England, ed. Lister M.
Matheson, 61-121. East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1994.
- An edition of a Middle English translation of Martin of Spain's Latin
treatise on geomancy. This is the only medieval geomantic text available in
- Turner, Robert, trans. Of geomancy. In Henry Cornelius
Agrippa his fourth book of occult philosophy. London, 1655.
- This seventeenth-century English text
on geomancy provides a handy introduction to the practice
of geomancy in the English Renaissance. Unfortunately the attribution to
Agrippa is most likely spurious. Because this edition is available
on microfilm and in the Early English Books Online digital collection, it is the most accessible general text on geomancy in our
period. The entire text of Of geomancy may be found at
- Charmasson, Thérèse. Lectura geomanitae. In Hermes Trismegisti astrologica et divinatoria. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2001. [Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis vol. XCLIV C: Hermes Latinus, Tomus IV, Pars IV]
- Scholarly edition of a late 15th-century text from MS Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 7349, ff. 130v-138r.
- Braswell-Means, Laurel. "The popular art of geomancy in the medieval
West and contemporary Asia." Journal of Popular Culture vol. 23
no. 4 (Spring 1990): 131-43.
- Briefly discusses both Chinese and Western traditions of geomancy, and
argues that Chinese geomancy survives today because it is a part of popular
culture, while Western geomancy was a "learned" tradition and therefore
died out in the course of the seventeenth century.
- Carey, Hilary M. Courting disaster: Astrology at the English court
and university in the later Middle Ages. New York: St. Martin's Press,
- Carey places medieval astrology solidly in its cultural context. She
discusses the geomantic books owned by Richard II of England and
Charles V of France in her chapter on "Royal Astrology." There are also
plates showing one of the figures ("Letitia") and a page of tabular text
from the geomancy made for Richard II.
- Charmasson, Thérèse. Recherches sur une technique
divinatoire: la géomancie dans l'Occident médiéval.
Centre de Recherches d'Histoire de et de Philosophie de la IVe Section de
l'École Pratique des Hautes Études, 44. Geneva: Librarie Droz, 1980.
- The essential text for the modern scholar of geomancy. Charmasson summarizes
medieval practice and discusses the various treatises in detail. Includes a
comprehensive list of manuscripts arranged by both author (or incipit, for
anonymous works) and current location.
- Charmasson, Thérèse. "Les premiers traités latins de
géomancie." Cahiers de civilisation médiévale
vol. 21 (1978), 121-36.
- A compact description of medieval geomantic practice as described in the
texts of Gerard of Cremona, Hugh de Santalla, and the anonymous Estimaverunt
- North, John. Chaucer's Universe. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.
- North's magisterial book on astrology in the work of Chaucer includes
a brief but lucid discussion of geomancy (pp. 234-43) and plates of two
pages from the illuminated geomancy made for Richard II in 1391.
- Savage-Smith, Emilie and Marion B. Smith. Islamic geomancy and a thirteenth-century
divinatory device. Studies in Near Eastern Culture and Society, 1980.
- This short pamphlet describes a medieval Islamic instrument, now in the
British Museum, used for geomancy. The authors summarize the sources of Islamic
geomancy and briefly describe the traditional method of casting the figures.