Book Review: Sacred Geography

Sacred Geography: Deciphering Hidden Codes In The Landscape, by Paul Devereux

If you want a good book on geomancy that features a lot of pictures and maps and that can demonstrate the persistence of pagan thought and religious worldview on the landscape, and that has comparatively little to say about Judaism and genuine Christianity, this is a good book to read. It is a common problem among humanity, discussed by the Apostle Paul most bluntly in Romans 1, that human beings are apt to feel a sense of awe about creation but honor the creation rather than the creator [1]. This book is full of material that shows the near universality of this tendency to feel an awe for creation and to engage in various practices to evoke a heathen mysticism as opposed to a genuine spirituality. The book has a lot to say about our culture’s equally improper forgetfulness and neglect of the numinous as a whole, and our relentless lack of understanding of the spiritual aspects of Creation, but the book has comparatively little to say about genuine biblical spirituality, instead consisting of a neo-pagan false dilemma with pagan earth and fertility worship held up as superior to contemporary vapid and superficial materialism, and with the highest moral outlook not put on the table at all.

For those who are not aware of what geomancy is, this book provides many examples within the world’s landscapes of both natural and manmade phenomena that demonstrate the pagan numinosity of the world’s surface in ways that many people would be clueless about. The contents of the book are organized as follows: an introduction to mindscapes and the varieties of sacred geography, the topography of myth and the veneration of natural places like caves and mountains, places with faces—the tendency of people to find patterns in randomness like the dearly departed Old Man on the Mountain in New Hampshire or a buffalo rock in a stream, a discussion of center places and cardinal points from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Mecca to native American cities with their complicated cardinal directions, the geography of pilgrimages, the spiritual nature of straight lines drawn in the land, ground patterns and images of giants, the mapping of monuments and their relationship with land and sky, soundscapes that feature a close attention to music and sound, and enchanted gardens in places like ancient Egypt and Japan’s Zen gardens [2], with an afterward that discusses geographies of the soul. The resulting picture gives a good basic understanding of geomancy and how it is viewed by those with heathen worldviews of all kinds.

Reading this book on one level makes one feel like a member of the illuminati, if one does not feel like that way already, possessing the knowledge of how to look at a landscape and see its meanings for the heathen worldview even if one does not know all of the layers of meaning that it possessed to the people of the past. It demonstrates the fact that people are willing to go to great lengths to propagate and lay out their worldviews on the world’s surface and through expensive monument-building. One sees the tendency of human beings to see themselves as particularly wise and devout for subtly shaping and recognizing the environment to reflect religious worldviews, and the way that it is easy to forget to honor a transcendent creator in the face of immanent numinous space, where one can easily worship local territorial-based demons and engage in intoxication in order to enter a supposedly higher understanding. The book is to be praised for providing an honest picture of heathen practice to remind us that a proper honor and respect and awe for God’s creation can easily be perverted into nature worship rather than in providing the honor that is due to the Father and Creator of all.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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