Geomancy is a method of divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

 that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, rocks, or sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

. The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures
Geomantic figures
The 16 geomantic figures are the primary symbols used in the art of divinatory geomancy. Each geomantic figure represents a certain state of the world or the mind, and can be interpreted in various ways based upon the query put forth and the method used to generate the figures...

 formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...


Once practiced by people from all social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

es, it was one of the most popular forms of divination throughout Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...