1687 Robert Fludd Geomancy Renaissance Earth Divination Occult Astrology Math For Sale


[Esoterica] [Occult Sciences - Geomancy, Astrology] [Divination and Prediction] [History of Psychology]
[History of Mathematics - Occult and Esoteric Applications]

Printed in Verona [i.e. Heidelberg or Frankfurt], sine nomine [J. D. Zunner], 1687. FIRST COLLECTED EDITION. SCARCE!
"Ouvrage fondamental de Géomancie." (Caillet)
"Wohl das Hauptwerk der gesamten geomantischen Literatur." (Ackermann)

First Edition of this fascinating collection of three treatises on the occult science of geomancy, including the first (posthumous) printing of De animae intellectualis scientia, seu geomantia, an important work by Robert Fludd (1574-1637), a prominent English Paracelsian physician, astrologer, mathematician, cosmologist, Kabbalist, and Rosicrucian apologist. Fludd is best known for his compilations of occult sciences and philosophy, and for his celebrated exchange of views with Johannes Kepler concerning the scientific and hermetic approaches to knowledge.

Geomancy (from Greek: γεωμαντεία, "earth divination") is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand. The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, geomancy was one of the most popular forms of divination throughout Africa and Europe. In Renaissance magic, geomancy was classified as one of the seven "forofferden arts" (along with necromancy, hydromancy, aeromancy, pyromancy, chiromancy (palmistry), and spatulamancy).

Fludd's treatise De animae intellectualis scienta approaches geomancy as "the science of intellectual soul" and the geomantic patterns as manifestations of the subconscious mind, and is, therefore, of considerable interest for the history of psychology.

"Robert Fludd [...] tried to present [geomancy] as a science of intellectual soul in which intellectual rays emanated from the mind to mundane affairs and then returned to the center with tidings of the future. [...] He discusses how geomancer should so dispose himself that the intentions of his mind are clearly emitted. The rays of the inner soul must concentrate, and a state of mind be attained akin to ecstasy or rapture. Geomancy is an abstruse and occult science which leads the mind through the universal nature of the macrocosm. In the second chapter of the first book Fludd again instructs as to preparation of the mind of the operator before he casts the points on which the geomantic figures are based.

Meanwhile, in the first chapter he has spoken of geomancy as terrestrial astrology and has reminisced concerning his practice of it during a winter at Avignon in the next to the last year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth (i.e. the winter of 1601-2). When some Jesuits complained to the Vicelegate of Fludd's geomancy, he asked them what Italian cardinal did not have his nativity drawn up by either astrology or geomancy - a sad commentary in the effects of the papal bull of 1486 against judicial astrology. A few days later the Vicelegate invited Fludd to dinner and showed himself well versed in geomancy." (Lynn Thorndike, The History of Magic and Experimental Science, XIV, p. 481)

Fludd's treaties is followed here by a long and detailed work on geomancy, Opus Geomantiae completum in libros tres by Lyonese physician Henry de Pisis, which was first printed in Lyons in 1638. On de Pisis' work Thorndike comments: "The work is divided into three parts devoted respectively to the 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 authors like Geber and Aomar, medieval Latins like Gerard of Cremona and Peter of Abano, and sixteenth-century geomancers like Cocles.

That the decrees of the Church and freedom of will are observed by H. de Pisis none too wholeheartedly is seen from such 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 fortune and fame, lascivious adultery; success, wealth, access to the king with honor, advantageous breaking-off of partnership. Or from such questions as: will a lost or stolen article be found? will a debt be recovered? which brother will die first? is it good to build now? [etc.]" (op. cit., p.482)

The final text in the book is a treatise called Quaestiones geomantiae, ascribed to a certain Arab Alfakinus, said to have been translated into Latin by Plato [of Tivoli?] and now for the first time printed from an ancient manuscript of 1535.

Bibliographic references:

Gardner, Bibliotheca Rosicruciana, 242; Caillet 4035; Ackermann IV, 545; Dorbon 5792; Thorndike VIII, 481-2; Graesse BMP 104; Wellcome III, 11.

Physical description:

Octavo, textblock measures 17 cm x 9½ cm. Contemporary (late 17th-century) full vellum, title stamped in gilt (now oxidized and darkened) on spine.

Pagination: 647, [1] pp, + 9 leaves of plates and tables (of which 8 are fold-out). Collated and COMPLETE.

Title-page printed in red and black. Illustrated with three engraved plates (two of which are folding), six folding letterpress tables, and numerous woodcuts illustrations and diagrams in text.

Provenance:

Contemporary ownership signature of Christophor Snilzer on title page.

Condition:

Very Good antiquarian condition. Binding rubbed, somewhat soiled and stained, discreet minor repairs to front joint, light wear to extremities. Textblock with occasional moderate browning and scattered spotting throughout. A few minor ink-spots, some light soiling. An ownership signature to title, and 4 lines of manuscript notes in bottom margin of P8r, both in an early hand. Generally, a clean and solid example of this scarce edition, complete with all folding plates present and well-preserved.


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1687 Robert Fludd Geomancy Renaissance Earth Divination Occult Astrology Math

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