Geomancy for Bibliophiles! - Atlas Obscura

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Geomancy for Bibliophiles!

An event where a magician's wisdom and an utterly unique collection of rare magical texts become one.

Considered a “sister” to astrology, the system of divination known as geomancy was an incredibly popular and well-regarded form of divination in Renaissance Europe. Used by sages and monarchs alike, it was considered one of the most grounded and accurate oracles available.

While geomancy’s earliest origins arguably lie in Arabic traditions, it swiftly became popular across Europe in the late medieval period, as well as bearing many similarities to traditional West African forms of divination. Likewise, the mathematics underlying geomancy contributed to the development of calculus and, eventually, binary code, and even the computer chip!

This workshop will explore some of these ways in which various divination tools can be used in operative astrological magic.  Dr. Alexander Cummins, a historian of magic and a practicing geomancer, will teach this form of divination. We'll learn about the history, practice, and magic of this art. Whether you're a professional astrologer, a seasoned card-reader, or a newcomer to divination tools and techniques, this talk will offer you further useful skills and resources for your own practice and understanding. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Rare Book Department is among the largest in American public libraries, and exists to serve the people of Philadelphia, as well as the students, scholars, and researchers who use its collections. We will convene in the Elkins Room, a 62-foot-long paneled Georgian room in the third floor dating back to 1949.  The Rare Book Department will also provide you the opportunity to view rare magical works to supplement your interactive geomancy experience with Dr. Cummins!


Email Ryan Susurrus at

Stay connected! Subscribe to the Atlas Obscura Society Philadelphia newsletter and join our Facebook group for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.