Ibn Khaldoun and the better type of geomancer

There were and are geomancers who engage with the public providing services, these tend to be fortune telling and magical in nature.  Then there are geomantic practices which involves meditation on specific geomantic combination sequences with the goal of attaining towards Gnosis.  These types of geomancers did not and do not provide services of this nature.  The two different types of geomancy have been practiced for a long period of time.

While Ibn Khaldoun (died Cairo 1406) cautions generally about geomancers (fortune tellers and magicians who interact with the public performing services) he does confess that there are a better type of geomancer, those who ‘attempt to remove [the veil of sense perception] by occupying their senses with the study of combinations of figures‘ so that they ‘may attain intuitive supernatural revelation (kashf) through complete freedom from sense perception’.  Kashf (Arabic: “unveiling”) is a Sufi concept rooted in Gnostic ideals dealing with the knowledge of the heart rather than that of the intellect. In Sufism, an even further revelatory capacity exists by which the Divine mysteries become readily apparent to the seeker through the Light of the Knowledge of God.

He considers the pretense of some geomancers to succeed in perceiving the unknown by applying their minds to the geomantic figures, then abstracting a complete understanding of the human sphere and the spiritual realm. He parallels this with the manner of soothsayers and advises that ‘the truth that you must present to the mind is that the supernatural cannot be revealed by any technique; it cannot be perceived by an elite class of men naturally predisposed to pass from the conscious world into the spiritual. 

Is it fair to consider that Ibn Khaldoun is possibly referring to those geomantic practitioners who provided services to the public, the fortune tellers and magicians?  For him the ability to ‘soothsay’ was god-given, and it did not matter what was used as an aid to stimulate the ability, but anyone who used sand divining without this natural ability was, ‘merely trying to spread the falsehoods to which they are committed’. 

The privately practising geomancer who seeks ‘complete freedom from sense perception’ is more than likely to shy away from the public gaze, focusing on the contemplation of the geomantic figures in specific combinations the divinatory system can be used to ‘reveal’ aspects of the divine, working towards what is a hermetic end, the attainment of Cosmic Consciousness.


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