Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another Rabbit Hole ~ Post techno decline, druid, astrology, geomancy...

I've wandered down an internet rabbit-hole again - easy to do is it not?! Reading a thread of commentary, on matters related to climate change, I followed a commenter's link to an article, Technological Superstitions, by one John Michael Greer, ("the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and the author of more than thirty books on a wide range of subjects, including peak oil and the future of industrial society.") It's an excellent (and totally non-occult) read. As the commenter who recommended the piece wrote "[Greer] is honest, factual, documents his findings, is hopeful, but brutally succinct in his assessments that humanity is already well into it's post-technological decline". The piece is published at one of Mr Greer's blogs, The Archdruid Report. Another of his blogs, this with focus on the occult, is The Well of Galabes (Reflections on Druidry, Magic, and Occult Philosophy). In case anyone is wondering, like me, what or where is Galabes: it was a fountain or spring in Wales frequented by the legendary wizard, Merlin.

I pottered around some of JMG's articles on both blogs, read his book review headed Another Kind of Star Wars, relating to Ann Geneva's Astrology and the Seventeenth Century Mind: William Lilly and the Language of the Stars (1995). Then, curious to discover whether he'd written anything on astrology himself, did a brief search which threw up a page from his book, The Art and Practice of Geomancy.

JMG mentions that a 16th century geomancer called geomancy "daughter of astrology". I had no idea what geomancy involved, so wandered a little further down the rabbit hole to find a set of fairly brief pieces on Astrological Geomancy at Renaissance Astrology website. Also another good piece at HERE.

Those "figures" used in geomancy, made up of pairs or single dots rang a clear bell in my memory - still clear even though it comes from long, long ago. My maternal grandmother had an encyclopedia of... don't recall the exact title, but it boiled down to "strange stuff". It was a thick door stopper of a book which I loved to dip into whenever, as a child, I visited my grandparents. One of my favourite sections was devoted to what I only now realise was geomancy. I remember those patterns of dots very clearly. I think the book must have offered some simplified method of using them - maybe to answer a question; but at this point memory detail becomes foggy. I do remember that was section I'd first turn to; it always fascinated me, but until now I'd never stumbled upon those dot figures again, though often had wondered about them. The I-Ching reminded me of them a little, but seems to be far more complex. Grandma's book must have offered a very much simplified version of geomancy, in order for me to have understood it. So far, I'm not feeling much enthusiasm from what I've read online about geomancy.

If a passing reader has experience of using geomancy I'd be interested to hear about it.

On wandering back out of the rabbit hole again, passing by John Michael Greer, I wondered about his date of birth. He's secretive on this, it would seem. "1962" is the only clue we are given. One website states 1 January 1962, but I think this is because there's no other information available - I've come across this practice of using 1 January before, when only the birth year is known, and have been misled. Hmm... wasn't 1962 the year of the big Aquarius stellium - around February ? Yes it was! It'd be fun if JMG's birthdate fell during that span. Other natives, such as Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Axl Rose, Eddie Izzard might be very entertaining and successful but they don't really fit my idea of maxi-Aquarius-types. JMG might do so.

So...back to the surface again, until another rabbit-hole looks inviting enough to investigate.


mike said...

Some interesting links, Twilight. The essays are oppressively bleak, but an honest assessment of our industrialized, first-world condition. I doubt that peoples of third-world nations have the time, resources, and technology to share that view...too busy scrambling for cover, food, and clean water.

"The Course the Nations Run" is interesting, because as Greer indicates, we have become separatists from everything else in existence, which makes us uniquely fragile to our own conceptualizations. It's a painful process that we set for ourselves to experience. I have to admit that there are so many features of technology that I adore, but I understand the inherent flaw and future detriment...and the greed of having these benefits without sharing with all citizens of the world, not just humans, either.

I'll have to search for the continuation of Greer's book, "The Art and Practice of Geomancy"...your search link concludes on page 37, explaining the nodes. As in yesterday's post (and question for LB), I'm always gathering information on the nodes.

I've no direct experience with the true geomancy you describe here as the dotted patterns. Greer states that astrology is the mother of geomancy, so I do have that symbolism prerequisite. I've dabbled in many forms of related divination practices, whether by reading-learning or the actual mechanical implementation. There are so many different types of divination, with most specialized to the materials and cultures of origination, that I suppose anything can be used as a surrogate depending on the individual's intention.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - The science and technology that Greer alludes or directly discusses in his essays do not include the recent breaking-edge discoveries that are vastly expanding our concept of ourselves and the universe(s). I believe we are at a point very similar to the renaissance beginning in the 1400s.

Twilight said...

mike ~ We've gone too far too fast haven't we? I've often said this.
Too clever for our own good in many ways, we just have had no realisation of when it's time to stop the march of progress, take a breather, and think, think, think.

There was probably a point where, had we decided to pause, or stop, feel content with what we had achieved, we could have remained sustainable, with maybe continued improvements in medicine only - as long as some asteroid didn't come along to knock us off our perches.

That attitude isn't in us though, not in our DNA and astrological makeup as humans. We can always find something to improve on, add something, enlarge something, find something more to discover. We are what we are, and will have to suffer the consequences.

JMG's an interesting guy isn't he?
Good writer on varied topics. Well worth further investigation.

As to geomancy - I shall have to look into it further, out of curiosity. I don't, yet, see how astrology can properly be its parent.
I have a slight suspicion that this is one of those instances where astrology was being treated, at some point in the past, as a kind of board game - snakes and ladders, or suchlike.

Divination when carried out using tea leaves, entrails of an ox, etc.
as focus, use those entities just to reach the diviner's mental point of intuition/insight - that's my opinion anyway. I don't see astrology as divination - it depends on exact placements, cyclical placements with particular interpretations to be applied.
So if astrology spawned geomancy it will be using factors way out of context. Astrology should disown it. ;-)

(again) ~ The breaking-edge discoveries are not going to do us much good though - are they? It's all academic. I guess it might be nice to understand better what it was all about as we wave bye bye to our planet.

It'd be nice to think we're on the verge of another renaissance period, but I cannot summon that amount of optimism as things stand.

LB said...

Twilight ~ I've read bits of John Michael Greer before and appreciated his perspective. Thanks for the link to his blog!

Once again I'm reminded of Ronald Wright's book, "A Short History of Progress" and the "progress traps" we keep repeating:

It's discouraging how disposable everything has become. Apple's latest gadget is a good example.

mike ~ Good thing you mentioned your question following yesterday's post. I just responded.:)

What I didn't say is that my Nodal Returns are always very significant for me. Matter of fact, I'm going through one right now.

LB said...

P.S. Here's an interesting link related to the industrial age:

Twilight said...

LB ~ The "Short History of Progress" book seems to be along much the same lines, yes. and thinking on that further, as well as mike's mention of a new version of Rennaisance on the way - I remember reading and writing about Straus & Howe's book "Generations" and how there appears to be a sequential 4 stage cycle of
High/Awakening/Unravelling/Crisis. (The post is at:

We're either unravelling or in crisis at present, at least we in developed nations. Other parts of the world are more likely in the awakening stage.

Apple's style of marketing is a good example of progress never knowing when to stop!

ex-Chomp said...

Well to tell the truth, all this started in the Sixities, when it was supposed to be an “alternative” to the “domineering culture” but concretely showed not to be such alternative.

It proved not to be that alternative for it was wrongly “popularized” and so became a mere supercompensation, as today it is. And will continue to be.

On the other side, there may be many important “hints in disguise” in all those topics, but until we come out from the domineering “mental wheather” no good hints may manifest in its true appearences and truth.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ If I understand you correctly, I think you refer to aspects of the occult being popularised in the 60s - the era of hippie culture? :-)

Yes that was the time such things took off in a major way: tarot, ouija boards, divination, and astrology for instance(I don't see astrology as part of the occult, but some people do).

Current mental weather isn't at all conducive to opening eyes and minds though. Media and all those techno gadgets encourage the opposite.

This cycle will come to an end, things will change, but when? Guessing: maybe in the coming 5 to 10 years?

mike (again) said...

Maybe it's time we learn voodoo, Twilight:

“'I am extremely disappointed that not one Republican voted today to stop billionaires from buying elections and undermining American democracy,” Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who aligns with Democrats on this issue, said in a statement after the vote. “The fight to overturn Citizens United must continue at the grassroots level in every state in this country.'

Twilight said...

mike ~ It was a dot on the card that any attempt to overturn Citizens United
would be doomed to failure. :-(

Maybe a spot of voodoo would get the job done. But, as you may recall, my alter ego is Madame Defarge, so I'm not sure I can handle Marie Laveau as well
I could stick pins in a doll or two though.

Anonymous said...

JMG is one of the best Ecophilosophers out there, if not the very best. It is very good to see him getting some good press.

re: your comment, Ann, that "There was probably a point where, had we decided to pause, or stop, feel content with what we had achieved, we could have remained sustainable...."

Not really. The Industrial Age never was sustainable. Some form of massive, systemic transformation of how modern Westerners live on the planet with others (human and all living species) has always been inevitable.

The only question is "what FORM" the great change takes: disruptive, agonizing, painful with lots of human suffering, death, and loss -- the course we are now on.

OR inspired, compassionate, exciting with all kinds of amazing acts by EveryDay Heroes (Vaclav Havel's term) to turn our tragic planetary human situation around.

Dramatically speaking, one gets the tragic fall first, then the amazing transformation in which we all live happily ever after.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Hi there! Yes, I'm glad I discovered JMG - intend to investigate some of his books, and keep an eye on his blogs from now on.

Hmm - so you don't think we "coulda been a contender" (for the title of first civilisation not to destroy itself)? You are probably right, sadly, and I was just wishfully fantasising.

We are what we are, and we'll not change without some modification of our DNA, I fear.

We can keep hoping for transformation though. It could come about as part of some kind of forced evolution, forced by circumstance, then eventually, over a long time span, seeping in as part of a modified DNA.

Sounds like a sci-fi story doesn't it? But then, from some perspectives, I guess that's what we are.