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    Rare Work on Geomancy

    Henricus de Pisis. Opus Geomantiae Completum In Libros Tres Divisum, Quorum I. Universam Geomanticam Theoriam, II. Praxim, III Varias a diversis authorib. decerptas questiones eotinet. Lyon: Jean Antoine Hugetan, 1638 [1628?]. Second edition. Octavo. A-2A8, 2B4, 2C2. [16], 378, [2] pages. Printer's mark on title page, five (two double-page) letterpress folding plates, two woodcut folding plates, one engraved plate, woodcut illustrations and tables in text. Contemporary vellum, soiled, minor surface loss at head of spine, three small chipped and faded paper catalog tags on spine, front hinge cracked at title page; old owner's name, inked out words, and numbers on title page; one owner's name and note inked out on page facing title; small holes in the margins of a few pages and one of the folding plates from biopredation, not affecting text; small tear in one of the folding plates, minor marginal dampstains, foxing, some toning, else very good. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Pisis was a M.D. of Leiden. "Although the author makes profession of submission to the decrees of the Church of Rome, there is no imprimatur by ecclesiastical authorities, but at the end of the volume a royal privilege for ten years dated 1626, and then we read, "achieve d'imprimer le 18 Feurier 1627." No reason is given for the delay in publication. The work is divided into three books devoted respectively to theory, practice and questions taken from previous authors. The theory is largely astrological. Instead of jotting down four rows of dots at random, a wheel with sixteen projections is spun or whirled in order to obtain one of the sixteen geomantic figures. Fludd is cited more than once, also Arabic writers like Geber and Aomar, medieval Latins like Gerard of Cremona and Peter Abano, and sixteenth century geomancers like Cocles. That the decrees of the church and freedom of the will are observed none too whole-heartedly by H. de Psis is seen from predictions as: bitten on the leg by a dog, he will die in December; in peril of his life in waters, he will die in September; pleasure with women, loss of fame and fortune, lascivious adultery; success, wealth, access to the king with honor, advantageous breaking-off partnership..." -Thorndike.

    "The word geomancy derives from the Greek roots geo, referring to the earth, and mantikos, meaning 'of a soothsayer' or prophetic. Geomancy is any system of divination (an attempt to get in touch with the divine) related to manipulation of the earth. A system of geomancy linking astrological symbols with figures formed from holes poked in the earth became popular during the Renaissance. The exact origins of astrological geomancy are unknown. It is similar to the casting of lots referred to in the Latin and Greek classics and may have been practiced by ancient desert nomads who made marks in the sand which they then interpreted to answer questions of personal concern. In this latter sense geomancy is akin to horary astrology.

    "In fact, the same philosophical principle -- cosmic sympathy -- underlies both geomantic divination and horary astrology. The idea is that at the time a question becomes imperative to the inquirer, the conditions of the cosmos, whether in macrocosm or microcosm, will reverberate with the inquirer's mind. Systems of divination are really sets of rules explaining how to decipher the message of the cosmos. Modern diviners often cite Carl Jung's concept of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence, to explain the workings of their craft. Regardless of whether or how it works, geomancy is worthwhile to study simply for the beauty of its sixteen archetypal symbols, another Jungian idea. The sixteen geomantic archetypes bear a close relationship to the archetypal symbols of planets and signs used in astrology." -Anthony Lewis.

    Merland (BBA clxxi, xxv) 202, 39. Graesse, Magica 104. Thorndike VIII, 482. Goldsmith (17th French BM) P1101.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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