An Introduction to Medieval Geomancy

Geomancy is a medieval Islamic form of divination that, like many other medieval Islamic sciences, became popular in the West in the thirteenth century. I first became interested in geomancy when I was reading John North's Chaucer's Universe, which briefly describes medieval geomancy as it relates to some passages in the Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde. Geomancy was popular in Europe in the later Middle Ages and on into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Unlike astrology and chiromancy (palm-reading), however, geomancy is little known today in the West (although geomancy is still practiced in Islamic areas and feng shui, a related Asian predictive art, also called "geomancy" in English, is currently fashionable). Indeed, with the exception of the comprehensive survey of medieval geomancy by Thérèse Charmasson, geomancy has received practically no attention from scholars.

This web site, which is a work in progress, is designed to provide an introduction to medieval and Renaissance geomancy. The site currently includes a seventeenth-century English text on geomancy, an explanation of medieval geomantic practice, and an annotated bibliography. I hope eventually to add translations of the medieval Latin texts as well. I would be interested in hearing from other scholars who find this site useful.

Geomancy Step-by-Step

These pages describe the process of divination by geomancy as practiced in Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Annotated Bibliography

These pages provide an annotated bibliography of medieval and Renaissance geomantic texts, and some useful modern scholarly studies of geomancy.

Turner's English Translation of Agrippa's Of Geomancy

These pages present a complete transcription of the 1655 edition of Robert Turner's English translation of (pseudo-) Henry Cornelius Agrippa's Of Geomancy, a Latin treatise on geomancy that dates from the late 16th century and forms part of the (probably spurious) fourth book of Agrippa's Occult Philosophy. [Note: this is a large file with several graphics, totalling about 100KB.]

Bibliography | Geomancy Step-by-Step | Of Geomancy

Elizabeth Bennett
Copyright Elizabeth Bennett 1998
Last revised: June 1, 2012