New Assignment: Learning Geomancy   7 comments

Dark cave

I have been given a new Official Assignment: learn geomancy.

As if I didn’t already have my plate full enough with my book manuscript in progress, my ritual-devotional dance project, my dark ambient mix project, learning yoga, learning Swedish, genealogical research and prep for a planned trip to Sweden in 2016, preparing for a new career in the tech industry, and continuing to run my eco-friendly house cleaning business. And on top of all that, I recently learned of a new polytheist conference in Olympia, WA called Many Gods West, and have been feeling nudges to start preparing to build a shrine or host a mini-temple for Skaði there, should She decide to facilitate my attendance at this conference next summer.

I mean, I know winter is always active season at the Hermitage, so I was expecting to be plenty busy…but still.

Never let it be said that the life of a Pagan monastic is boring.

No wonder I don’t ever have time for things like watching movies. Or dating. Or any semblance of a normal social life, for that matter. (Though I did manage to attend my first Yule faining and feast with a group of fellow Heathens this past week. After doing all my rites solo for almost 20 years, this was quite a nice change.)

Good thing I am a self-motivated autodidact who has always loved learning, because I’m only a few weeks into learning geomancy, and I can tell that getting a handle on this new pursuit is going to take me quite some time. None of this wading in shallow waters for me, it seems; I’ve jumped right off into the deep end.  How typical.

I am strongly interested in both divinatory geomancy and the kind of geomancy that involves what is sometimes called “earth alchemy” – sacred architecture, megaliths, dowsing, and other methods of aligning the built environment with earth energies. I will be learning more about all of these things in the coming years, as I continue to take steps toward the day when the Hermitage will find its permanent home. This knowledge will be essential in finding the right location for the Hermitage. But for now, it seems, my focus will be on learning geomantic divination.

I like the grounded, earthy feel of geomancy as a divination method. It counteracts some of the more flighty, airy-fairy influences of my New Age upbringing. It also fits in well with the chthonic focus of the rest of my work along what I have come to call the Path of Endarkenment: notably, planning a subterranean incubation space, choreographing ritual dances for performance in caves and acoustically-enhanced underground spaces, and compiling a book and mix project on dark ambient music. Even the Scaravelli-inspired yoga I am learning is earthy. As Vanda Scaravelli puts it in her book Awakening the Spine (a book I highly recommend, by the way), “The function of the body is to collect energy from the ground.” That is how I approach my spiritual and artistic work, and my life in general for that matter. The source of the energy that infuses it is the deep earth. So it seems rather fitting that I would be given a new Assignment that pertains to earth elementals.

While I use runes and tarot for divination occasionally, I have a sense that it is geomancy which will eventually become my specialty. I feel a strong pull to learn it in depth, and not just as a dabbler. I have never learned any divination method well enough to feel confident in offering readings to others, but if things keep going the way they have been in recent weeks, it’s entirely possible that one day I will be able to offer geomantic readings as a service. We will see.

Whenever I get a new Official Assignment from Those I serve these days, it’s invariably accompanied by a surfeit of meaningful signs and omens. In the months leading up to this new assignment, I found my attention being increasingly drawn toward things of the deep earth. (Even more than usual, I mean.) For example: I found myself endlessly fascinated with figurines and statuary with their arms held in telluric pose, and suddenly started to encounter these everywhere (e.g., cover art of dark ambient albums.  Seems everything I do ties into dark ambient music somehow). I walked into a specialty tea shop, and felt irresistibly drawn to earthy, slightly musky sheng pu-erh teas from old-growth, wild-grown tea plants. I put my iPod on shuffle, and tracks like Inade’s “The Telllurian Vortex” or False Mirror’s “The Subterranean Border” would come up at significant moments. I walked into Powell’s Books and stumbled across books like Terrapsychology: Reengaging the Soul of Place (Craig Chalquist) and Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? (Clinton Ober et al.)

In the same way, I acquired a copy of John Michael Greer’s The Art and Practice of Geomancy. That book was the real clincher – I was hooked from the first page. After that, I tracked down all the information I could possibly find on geomancy online, and within just a few days I had set up a place to practice and printed out some reference charts to help me learn.

I considered making a geomancy box, and may still decide to do so at some point, but perhaps unsurprisingly, I felt much more drawn to use stones to cast my charts. I now have a set of stones (larvikite, a lovely black-and-grey mottled stone from Scandinavian lands) acquired solely for this purpose, and I’ve drawn up a reusable geomantic chart with a sheet protector and some dry-erase markers. So I am on my way.

Of course, work continues on my other projects as well. (Yes, of course I’m working on my projects on New Year’s Eve, rather than going out. Because of an allergy, I don’t drink alcohol at all – no, not even a single sip of mead from a horn at sumbel – so this is one of my least favourite days to venture out anyway. I’d much rather stay at the Hermitage and work.)

Looking forward to a fruitful 2015!

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7 responses to “New Assignment: Learning Geomancy

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  1. Congratulations on your discernment in taking up the study of geomancy. I find that it’s quite valuable and useful for me, and rarely a day goes by without me making a chart or two. the Digital Ambler, otherwise known as Sam Block, has a great series of blog pots about this at thedigitalambler.wordpress.com, but if I can be of assistance to you, please let me know!

    • Thanks! I really appreciated your post for beginners in geomancy. It has just enough information to draw a newcomer in and inspire them to seek out more. I’ve also spent a great deal of time on Sam’s site over the past few weeks – it is a real treasure trove of in-depth information. I’m glad you mentioned it in your comment, as I had intended to link to it in this post, but somehow managed to forget to do so.

      I’m making daily charts now, and finding it very useful indeed.

  2. I meant to add… I made a geomancy box, and I found it to be a dumb way to cast figures. If I’m going to draw on the earth to cast a chart, I draw on the earth. Period. No messing around with sand in a box. I used stones for a while, but I found them heavy. Now I use “Druid Wands” — four flat rectangles of wood with two dots painted on one side, and one dot on the other. Each rectangle is in a different color: one each for fire, earth, water, and air.

    • I thought about using “Druid Wands” too, and may consider that further down the road…but so far I’m finding that stones (small, uniformly shaped ones – 10x14mm flat oval beads) kept in a velvet drawstring bag are best for me. There’s something about the tactile element – dipping my hand into the bag and pulling out a handful of stones for each line is very satisfying in a visceral way. We’ll see how this method holds up over time as I gain more experience with geomancy. It’s nice to have so many options to choose from for casting a chart!

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