As with many people who enjoy practicing divination, I have begun to branch out to other methods, which don’t utilize cards. *gasp* Specifically, I have been exploring Western geomancy and traditional astrology.

Western geomancy, also referred to as Renaissance or medieval geomancy, is a form of divination based in binary roots — that is, at its heart, it consists of only two numeric states. This is akin to the binary numbers at the heart of our computers. These binary states are grouped into four vertical lines, and the four permutations that this can take give four-times-four, or sixteen, geomantic figures.

Did I just lose you? If you’ve never come across geomancy before, then maybe I did. Rather than write a full description myself, I’m going to point you to a Wikipedia article that shows the geomantic figures and, if you’re interested in where geomancy comes from or how the process works, then you can refer to Elizabeth Bennett’s website on medieval geomancy. (She includes a bibliography of classic sources.

Some tarot decks include geomantic figures, although only the Haindl comes to my mind. The Playing Card Oracles by Ana Cortez is a playing card reading method (and deck) that intertwines playing cards tightly with geomancy; Ana goes so far as to say that playing cards are a geomantic calculator. I just obtained a funky looking geomantic oracle deck, and I look forward to playing with that to see how well the cards work to create the geomancy layouts.

Astrology is one of those things that sits proudly out there and is relatively well-accepted by the general public. It’s the granddaddy of divination, the heavy hitter that’s been around for thousands of years, with lots of rules and arcana of its own. If you study tarot or some playing card methods you may be familar with astrology in one fashion or another. And almost everybody reading this likely knows his or her sun sign.

Want to know if you’re going to have a five-star day? Does Taurus justify the mindset that makes you collect all those card decks? Will you compare your eighth house with his to see if you’re compatible in bed? If so, then you are likely familiar with modern astrology: the commonly psychological practice of analysis through the stars. And fun daily horoscopes given in the sun sign column in your local newspaper. This is not traditional astrology.

Traditional astrology is, in a nutshell, more predictive than modern astrology. By traditional I mean astrological practices that largely died out around 1700 or so; this would be astrology practiced in the Renaissance or in medieval times. The history is interesting, and you can go research that if you’re interested. Eventually we go back to Hellenistic astrology, a lot of which is being uncovered (or rediscovered) now. It’s an all-around great time to be a traditional astrologer!

My main interest in astrological prediction is through horary astrology: the art of interpreting a chart for the moment a question is “born,” to answer that question in clear and precise fashion. Besides answering kinds of questions that many card readers are familiar with, horary is known as a tool for locating lost objects. The best known horary astrologer, William Lilly, was very good at this facet of the practice. Horary is best for answering specific questions, especially  those with yes or no answers; and it will usually fill in details of why the conclusion was reached.

Geomancy can be used to create a horary chart of sorts, and is then referred to as astrological geomancy. It gives clear and succinct answers to questions, much like horary; and was often used in Renaissance times in lieu of horary astrology, when people weren’t able to generate a chart on their computers in a few seconds. It was learning about how this form of geomancy worked that finally convinced me to study astrology more deeply, and in its traditional form.

So these are the two subjects that have been occupying much of my free time and attention. I have not yet decided whether to expand my blog to encompass divination beyond cartomancy, start a second blog for these topics or just avoid blogging about them. If you would be interested in reading my thoughts on either of these, please let me know in the comments.