MAGIC AND GEOMANCY
by Fred Charles-McLaren Adams
As responsible Pagans and Magicians, we are hard pressed to help preserve both nature and humanity from the ravages of late patriarchal man. There can be no operative Pagan religion and no effective ritual magic without an extensive, top priority employment of the ancient art and science of Geomancy, emanating from the very core of our programs. If these generalizations seem inflated, let us briefly examine a few of the etymological commonalities sequestered between Paganism and Geomancy. Then we can move on to some magical connections.
In 'The Pagan' (Vol. 1, #1, November 1, 1970 ce, St. Louis, Mo.; cf.), and Margot Adler's 'Drawing Down the Moon', (Viking Press, New York, 1979), I attempted some basic, unbiased definitions of Paganism;
"The modern English word 'pagan' derives from an ancient Latin word 'paganus', the earliest meaning of which was peasant. 'Peasant' is also related to 'pax' from which the English word peace' stems. So a peasant is a 'peace-ant', as it were, a peaceful one.
The Latin 'paganus' derives in turn from 'pagus', which meant village, district, and was akin to the verb 'paciscere', to covenant.
So immediately we begin to divine a picture: peace-ants in covenant with a region and with each other by common descent from the Spirit of Place - PAGANI, Pagans!
In Medieval Europe Pagans might be characterized as heathens, that is people who lived far out in the country-on the heaths, in Britain-and usually of "inferior civilization" because they had not been converted into "Soldiers of Christ" (sic! Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Edition). These refractory Pagans were peace-ants who simply would not be inducted into Christ's well-ordered regiments. Oh, the ironies of etymology.
The natural roots of the new love culture hold the soil of this primordial scene revealed by a cursory examination of the semantic roots of the world 'pagan'.
We may invoke Pestalozzi's identification of cult, culture, and cultivation to sense the primeval Pagan covenant between man and region, between human community and greater biotic community."
The felicitous term Geomancy is composed of two Greek roots denoting the earth and divination. The earth is the Good Earth, for some of us a Goddess. Divination consists in practices, to gain knowledge through extra-sensory or even divine processes: theurgy.
The implications of Geomancy are thus far too generic to remain denotatively confined to the special oracle popularized by Israel Regardie's treatment of the Magical Order of the Golden Dawn. The Latin oracle may, in fact, properly belong to the great corpus of canonical Geomantic procedures. However, the recent renaissance of Geomantic research in Britain, and the consequent broadening of this term, constitutes an early indication of what may prove to be a cultural and spiritual revolution of the first magnitude.
Briefly, the broadened semantics of the term interrelates all those studies and practices addressed to the harmonization of human artifacture with nature, and the holistic concentration of cosmic influences in the landscape, thus integrating the human community as a contributory module, not a superimposed parasite. By this understanding of Geomancy, landscape, earth and Cosmos are taken to be intelligibly intelligent and intentional. It is the business of Geomancy to interpret this intelligence and implement this intent.
Hence I become zealously teleological, and my epistemology defiantly opposed to that which imputes the Pathetic Fallacy. From a sophisticatedly animistic point of view, those who speak of the Pathetic Fallacy are probably stricken with the Psychopathic Fallacy, from a mechanistic point of view.
The new appreciation of Geomancy could rectify the disastrous fiasco of the "WORLD ECOLOGY YEAR 1972," and the resultant pessimism which presumes that colonization of space is the only "reasonable" response to the growing tyrannies and atrocities of de-sacralized, over-populated and over-organized human ant hills on the "nursery planet".
Of course, like all grand art-sciences, status quo authorities will chucklingly or sneeringly dismiss Geomancy as pseudo-science. Splendid! this invalidation could provide an advantageously built-in protection for the re-incubation of a Whole Earth sensitive discipline, and the genesis of neo-shamanistic consciousness which its successful application requires.
The term 'Pagan' has a rich philological background in Latin, as we know. Within that associative fringe, there is the elocution 'Pagus', which indicates a boundary staked-out on the ground. (Morris, W., ed., 'The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language', Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1976). Now this reference is extremely interesting in the light of ancient and sacred practices of cosmic alignment which lie at the heart of Geomacy.
Of course none of the paleo-Pagans would have referred to themselves as Pagans, and may well have been offended by the apellation. But the basic connection between our word Paganism and Lineas Terminas (Spanish term used for 'CEQUES', shrine lines of the Incas) offers considerable promise for the modern mind desperately searching out her lost roots in 'CHTHON', the common existential ground of earth and heaven interlocked. The simple primordial line cast upon the earth in troth to the sky, is absolutely fundamental to the reification of human love for nature and the Theaphany of Goddess in topocosm. (Topocosm is Theodore Gaster's term for cosmos contained in place or earth situation. This geomantically crucial, but seldomly employed, concept is expounded in Gaster's great work, 'Thespis'.)
When we turn to the ancient Greek tongue, another linguistic connection between Paganism and Geomancy appears, perhaps even more primeval than the Latin 'PAGUS', the archetypal line staked-out upon the ground and pointing to the horizon where earth and sky numinously touch. One Dorian word for sweet water spring is 'PAGA' (feminine). The phonetically cognate word, 'PAGOS' (masculine) denotes a "firm-set rock: a peak, crag, rocky hill". ('The Classic Greek Dictionary', Hinds and Noble, New York, 1901). This suggests a standing stone, perhaps aniconic, or a menhir. The association is extraordinary because here we have the two classic elements, the nuclear dyad of primordial Earth Religion: gushing vaginal source of water and quivering phallic erection of stone. By striking the hymeneal stone with his hoof the flying horse, Pegasus, unlocked the horse spring, Hippokrene ('PEGAZO', gush forth.) We are reminded that Poseidon is associated with the white-maned horses of ocean breakers, and himself similarly struck water from rock in his contest with Athene, commemorated upon the pediments of her temple, the Parthenon.
We may envision the straight Pagus-line staked-out upon the back of the land, leading from Paga, omphalic spring, to Pagos, phallic stone, pulsing with hoof beats and wing waves of Pegasus, whose nostrils exhale the fused energies of Earth and Sky along this topocosmic meridian. The enchanted runs of so many animals have determined geo-mythical centers of grace... and the Great Rectangle of Pegasus is the celestial enclosure of the New Age, north of the cascades of Aquaria. (See C. G. Jung's Aquarian sculpture in his 'Word and Image', Princeton, 1979, page 194.)
There must be a structural basis for the psychic unity of humanity posited by nineteenth century anthropology. This structural basis was provided by Jung in his formulation of the archetypes of the objective psyche. Analogously we must provide a structural basis for the new Pagan intention to love the Earth and re-symphonize both the immanent and transcendant processes of Nature. Panpagana cannot survive upon an exclusive diet of "amorphous" sentiment. A kind of romantic crush on the Earth, couched in lovely verses of traditional ballads, coupled with ecologically expanded plant and animal lore, defines only the first stage of the rapprochement between Aquarian humanity and 'OURATHON', the organic Earth/Sky Interlock.
Many people with intensive technical and scientific backgrounds have been attracted to the re-emerging Pagan fold. They have an understandable propensity to leave DE RIGEUR behind when periodically they turn on to Nature and Nature Religion. They want to get away from an obsessive involvement in accuracy, quantification, mensuration and give their hearts in lyrical outbursts of repressed passion to the Old Gods. Of course this urgent demand of Dionysos upon our long-denied passional selves must now be heeded. This identifies one of the services offered by Neo-Paganism to the alienated human community: religiously sanctioned channels of emotional release towards feelingful re-connection with living cosmos. However, Pagani must also apply their Apollonian talents to the task of re-establishing and re-activating the structural foundations for sustaining their Dionysian flow toward greater love affairs with Artemisian life. These structural foundations consist of ritual magic and geomantic circuity. They consist of synesthetic patterns of anthro-cosmic mimesis within resonant patterns of geo-cosmic alignment.
As Pagans, we must not demure from re-learning sacred geometry, surveying, metrology, spherical astronomy and Pythagorean musicology because at first glance they seem forbiddingly technical. If the evocation of Tesla's shade may be forgiven, by staking-out boundaries upon the Earth in the right places, determined by dowsing and astronomy, and by magically beating those bounds in the right ways at the right times, a whole Earth Energy Field may be tapped from "Elemental Fusion" (John Michell's term.)
Most Neo-Pagans practicing Ritual Magic today have rightfully placed this supreme Art Science under the tutelage of the Great Muse Goddess, She being the SINE QUA NON of the next world historical development in human religion and culture. But again, in the exciting resurgence of ritual magic, we are coming to the end of the first stage of Romance, with reference to Alfred North Whitehead's tripartite schedule for mastering any grand subject. If we are to avoid faltering and losing momentum at this juncture, we must move on to the stages of Precision and Generalization.
However, we never want to excise or wither our reviving sense of the lyrical and romantic again. As Carroll Runyon of the O.T.A. has shown, the Neo-Pagan Movement is a natural extension and religious validation of the Romantic Movement, with one tributary leading through the glyphic tanglewoods of Surrealism, Psychedelia and Fantastic Realism, into the hieroglyphic Nemeton of Panpagana.
Progressing the practice of Magic through stages of Precision and Generalization necessitates a creative application of the principles of Geomancy, as rediscovered and published mainly by the great research centers of Britain (I will list their organs of communication below.) Magical suffiency will no longer reside in simply roughing-out an asymmetrical circle with a prolonged swish of the sword; in vaguely indicating the cardinals, in air-scribbling bent, lopsided Pentagrams, whilst remaining entirely oblivious of the morphology of the surrounding countryside and its celestial azimuths and angles. If we want mental travel to become true Astral Projection, hallucination to become genuine Evocation, faint stroboscopic phantasmagoria to become steady hologramatic vision, standard operating procedure to become authentic Surge Of Power (s.o.p - S.O.P.), we must get into what Gary Snyder calls Magical Geography: what mythical valence do landmarks have exactly, and how do they relate to our circles precisely. We cannot remain content with a rudimentary schemata of shifting, gelatinous spirit worlds, of skiasmic, etheric, astral and briatic planes, sephiroth and bardos, if we want effectively to explore and ultimately inhabit those regions. From stumblers of the Hexen Ditch we want to graduate into real dancers of the Sacred Circle.
Once more let's advance technology to where it actually belongs: in service to muse-informed magic. By so doing, perhaps we can offset the now popular descent into computerized savagery, ludicrously relieved by revels of synthetic stone age barbarism during the weekends. EVOE MUSE!
• Eliade's Rupture of Planes and the resultant communication between modular levels in heavenly hierarchy, depends on the Rapture of 'AKRIBEIA', the mystic thrill of accuracy. This accuracy must begin at home, in objective, ego-centered space-time on Earth. We cannot expect the morphology of sacred space and duration to unfold for us without the exacting preparation of Geometric transformers adapted to the unique Topocosmic energy patterns in the surrounding landscape.
Topology, analysis situs, is the new geometry of the continuity of form through deformation, and the interpenetration of reversed surfaces (e.g., mobius strip and klein bottle) and "folded" spaces. When coupled with magically geometrized topography, topology may yield precise knowledge of transitional passages between wholly disparate ranges of being and world frames. This would be founded on a thorough geomantic acquaintance with every wrinkle in the physiognomy of the environment in which magical operations are conducted.
A hierarchy of geomantic configurations adopts the Magical Omphalos, through the landscape, to a Cosmos that includes occult planes:
The Circle of the Art constitutes the omphalos proper, the Adytum.
The walls of the immediate enclosure, whether Temple of Nemeton (primeval clearing of the Druids,) is the Endo-Temenos, e.g., the Ming Tang: Chinese seasonal observatory-Temple.
Then some farther perimeter sensed as the secondary enclosure, such as the border of the grounds of the Temple, may be called the Exo-Temenos, e.g., the Ling Tai or Transcendental Terrace, and Bi Yong, or Annular Moat surrounding the Ming Tang.
From the Exo-Temenos, giant polygrams, deformed to fit the Land and Sky marks of the Topocosm, extend to the horizon. The numerology of these distorted polygrams is construed to attract particular cosmic and planetary influences. These influences are stadially condensed in the roughly concentric shapes of the Exo- and Endo-Temenoi, and then transformed ritually in the Adytum for the irradiation of Eco-Systems. Sex Magic would play a very important part in this Alchemical process The landmark polygrams may be called Magnitypes; e.g., the Glastonbury Zodiac, and the high Gothic Cathedrals in France forming the Constellation Virgo across the map.
From the Magnitypes, an enpsychian network of Ley Lines and Dragon Paths extends throughout the whole region, linking other shrines and sanctuaries with our own. For examples see John Michell's View Over Atlantis and Tony Morrison's Pathways to the Gods.
Note: The above points were somewhat less precise than shown; they were each marked with small metal pyramids buried in place, blessed and activated with ceremony. See discussion below.
The geomantic magicians activate these various levels of Topocosmic focus with excitatory forms. We may call them Hormitypes. The Hormitypes are exemplified by dance sequences, the unicursal polygrams we cast and visualize in air, the tonal and other sensory proportions, tempos, rhythms and "arithmometric" (Griffith) harmonies we manifest. Such choreographic expressions are directed through the psychified membranes of the Temenoi, into the Magnitypes, and thence along Leys into the universe.
Among others, there are very good psychosomatic reasons for the straight track in the landscape, which bind Magic to Geomancy. External mental travel is much easier to achieve with continuous clarity if the body is imagined to float frontally in a single direction. At twelve o'clock noon daily, I make a psychic traverse of the Shandaiya Track (Punta Banda, Baja Califia-Isthmus, Santa Catalina-Painted Cave, Santa Barbara-Reservoir Canyon, San Luis Obispo-Bird Rock, Point Lobos: much too long to be a Ley in the classical Watkins sense.) During this practice, it has become abundantly clear to me that moving from one carefully memorized landmark to another works much better for the Inner Eye in a straight line through the vistas. We can visualize or evoke one landscape image after another with increasing proficiency if they can be imagined to follow one another without necessitating rotation of the visionary body.
Also, the magical superimposition of places implanted with magical links or nodalized with shrines, as in double-exposure photography, can be accomplished more readily on the spatial model of a straight axis. This magical superimposition of landform profiles, or enshrined vistas on the Ley, allows the mind to COMPRESS the intervening distances. This in turn allows the Geomantic Magician to identify the straight track with her own backbone. Occasionally, she will then feel the delirious rapture of her visionary body presence turning into a long swath of land, by virtue of the axial symmetry of her hill-sinuous vertebral column.
Once HERE, she can really bless the Land-Sky-Love-Body of an entire region. I first realized these possibilities while examining the female anthropomorphic intaglios outstretched upon terraces of the Colorado River near Blythe, California. I often feel researchers make too much of the seasonal crop-clock aspects of ancient alignments, and not enough of the Body-Cosmos, Magical and poetic possibilities. R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz is a rare exception to this drearily simplistic, utilitarian trend of interpretation.
I will share more data concerning the interrelations of Magic and Geomancy in future issues of this journal. We may look forward to a time when Geomantic tracks will be activated everywhere and "patrolled" astrally as well as physically from shrine to shrine on a circadian cycle by Pagan lovers and magical guardians of Goddess Earth. To facilitate this, the Children of Panpagana must assimilate the reviving expanding corpus of Geomantic Theory and practice as rapidly as possible. A brief introductory bibliography will end this essay. The books and periodicals listed present the student with more titles proliferating in the field.
The logo and colophon of this journal are designedly Magical and Geomantic.
The logo consists of the Pleiades, i.e. THE SEVEN WHISTLERS, and an irregular albeit symmetrical heptogram for evoking those Seven Catasterized Sisters. With each stroke of the casting, one of the Pleiadic names may be entoned: Taygeta, Celaeno, Asterope, Alcyone, Electra, Merope and Maia. The last name of the most beautiful sister would accompany the final horizontal stroke, from right to left. Then the figure is carefully circled deosil in a vertical plane.
Many peoples throughout the world held that when the Pleiades culminate at midnight the dread doors between those of us who still live in linear time and those of us who have transitioned into fuller modalities, swing open. The midnight culmination of the Seven Sisters could also signal the transition from one great cosmic period to another.
By this presentation, we are trying to encourage a renewal of one of the most important and beautiful Geomantic practices: Celestial Magic or Ceremonial Astrology. Thus we bid fair to carry on the traditions of the Sing Nu, Sabians, Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Renaissance Magic, such as Campanella and Ficino.
In the Colophon, the Magician reaches up from her Geomantic Circle to the Half Moon waxing on the meridian, between Taurus and Pleiades. The meridian continues down the axis shared by sacred peak and rounded hill. It streaks across the plain and rises through the backbone of the Magician, igniting her chakras. In turn, her chakras might catalyze elemental fusion in the ley "current". (Meteorological conditions would affect this process. See 'Storm Magic' by Ed Fitch, The Crystal Well, Vol. 13, No. 3, pages 11 and 12; Harvest Issue, 1979 C.E.)
The horned cleft peak, rounded hill and flanking wing-like ridge lines comprise an archetypal complex of land-forms upon which the North-South axes of Minoan palaces were aligned. The breathtaking grandeur of this primordial Geomantic concept is revealed in Vincent Scully's incomparable and largely ignored work, 'The Earth, the Temple and the Gods'. It would seem the high cleft peak manifests the celestial majesty of the Great Goddess: Her high throne. The rounded hill expresses gentle solicitude for Her creatures. (In Feng Shui, Taoist Geomancy, the rounded hill corresponds to the planet Venus!) The enormous flaring ridge-wings of stone foretell ecstatic soul flight along giddy tracks among the stars.
In the same composition, another Magician has ignited a fire on an altar in the high, windy, Moon horned gap, at the moment of culmination. Individual funds of psychosomatic energy can augment each other, exponentially perhaps, if celebrants carefully synchronize their efforts in dead straight alignments across long stretches of land. I intuited this vividly when I stood in the great avenue that leads to the Pyramid of the Moon and the Hill of Stars at Teotihuacan, Valley of Mexico, 1958 C.E. As I rapturously performed a rite of blessing there, I seemed to drop back a millennia or two, into an enormous assembly of the mysterious people who built this magnificent City of the Gods. Robert Graves would label such an experience, poetic analepsis. I think prolepsis also occurs from time to time, but more hazily. (It is possible that a backward leap, paradoxically, is always accompanied by a forward leap.)
Returning to the Colophon, the seven lamps on the perimeter of the Faerie Ring burn for the Seven Pleiadic Sisters of the mighty Atlantean Succession.
If the Moon is waxing at the half in sidereal Taurus, then the Sun is situated in the constellation of Aquarius. Near the time of the Vernal Equinox, this flowering aspect of Artemis to Helios executes a grand flourish for the Dawning Age of Aquaria and Leo.
EVOE KORE KAI KOUROS