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Geomancy

  • By: David J. Nemeth
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The mantic arts employ diverse mediums for purposes of divination. Geomancy (geo- for “Earth,” -mancy for “divination”) is the mantic art that divines earthy, terrestrial, or telluric mediums to discover hidden knowledge and/or predict the future. Geomancy literature and its applications constitute the oldest continually practiced scholarly geographic tradition in the world. East Asian variants of geomantic applied arts have had major impacts in shaping some of the world's most populated cultural landscapes during ancient and medieval times.

The two major exemplars of geomancy in human history are the “African” (or Western) “science of sand” and the “Chinese” (or East Asian) “wind-and-water” variant, popularly known as feng shui (various spellings). Geomantic configurations divined in both systems relate to celestial phenomena. The Islamic variation of African geomancy, ...

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