The practice of Geomancy originated with Middle Eastern shaman. One practice was to draw patterns in the sand to invoke earth energies. From these patterns a range of meanings became standardized. To this day there are practitioners in many parts of Africa. Translated from ancient Greek, Geomancy literally means divination by earth.
In Syria, in the thirteenth century, Muhammad ibn Khutlukh al-Mawsili constructed several instruments to aid Magi in divination. One of these was the Ilm Al-ramal, or later know as Ramala.
This interesting item is a set of dice on an axle. Traditional Ramala could be made of wood or metal. Each die has the numbered ‘pips’ from 1 to 4 and they spin freely on a brass shaft. I like to work with wood, primarily, so the only metals are in the fittings.
The cast determines either an odd or even number that generates the associated mystical symbol. One die has pips colored in red to be the root # for the cast.
One of my customers asked me to make a Ramala for him to match the Shaizi he purchased. As far as I could tell, no one else on the planet makes these to sell at this time.
So I set about finding the best way to make Ramala and within a couple of weeks I have made several in Ebony, and Olive wood
Some Geomancers like to use Ramala in pairs, so there will be two of each available. Or one might like to have a light colored Olive wood and an Ebony set as a pair.
In medieval Europe, a well-known magician and astrologer named Cornelius Agrippa developed sixteen mystical symbols from ancient shamanic patterns. Similar to the Taoist oracle, the I Ching, Agrippa’s geomancy symbols corresponded to the astrological elements, planets, and their associated crystals. You can access the meaning of the symbols through several Modern texts.