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Traditionally geomancy is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground after a handful of dirt has been tossed into the air. Other mediums such as sand and seeds have also been used rather than just dirt.

Geomancy as practiced in the west is based on the human ability for pattern recognition and has been around in the west since medieval times. At that time parchment or paper was used to record the dots of geomancy or the dots were recorded on the ground itself. This form of geomancy was practiced by many and was extremely popular in the Middle Ages.

The technique, which is still used today, is to record (right to left) sixteen lines of dashes which are not counted as they are made. As with many things, alternative techniques appear and today there are many ways of generating the sixteen lines of points. Almost any method of generating the points is acceptable. Dice are a favorite for many people.

Having made the cast the geomancer then counts the number of dashes made in each line (or however the numbers are being determined) and attributes either a single dot for an odd number, or two dots for an even number. The pattern of dots produced by each of the four groups of lines are known as figures.

From the resulting four figures (known as the "mothers") another four figures (known as the "daughters") can be determined. These eight figures can now be used to determine another four figures (the "nieces"). The four nieces are then used to determine two "witnesses", and the two "witnesses" used to determine a final figure called the "judge". These figures are known as the geomantic tableau.