Feng shui is sometimes called a geomantic art, or a form of geomancy, and this is true. There are many disciplines that have their roots in geomancy, such as astrology, for example. The I Ching is a well-known work of divination, or geomancy (the terms "divination" and "geomancy" are often used interchangeably).
The word geomancy means divination or foresight by the earth. Basically, it is the art of using various tools to access the hidden knowledge one is seeking; most often by connecting to the energy of the earth. Vastu Shastra, the most well-known and popular feng shui counterpart, is also considered a geomantic art, and so is dowsing.
Ancient Chinese Geomancy Masters
Feng shui definitely started with the ancient Chinese geomancy masters studying the earth patterns in order to define best places for human dwellings; so yes, geomancy is at the very root of feng shui.
Actually, as the legend goes, feng shui as we know it started with the so-called yin feng shui which is the art of locating the best places for burial sites. The ancient Chinese belief was that if the ancestors' place of rest had auspicious energy, this will satisfy their spirits and assure their protection and help.
Are They the Same Thing?
Can one say that feng shui and geomancy are one and the same thing, though? No, not exactly. Throughout the years, feng shui evolved into a body of knowledge that allows one to create the most harmonious places for any activities humans are involved in, be it in the home, office, garden, business, etc. A variety of practical, easy feng shui tips are available to help improve one's life by working with the surroundings.
Feng shui does have some schools, including the Four Pillars of Destiny School, for example, that practice a form of divination, meaning predicting one's future based on specific patterns and rhythms that are personal to each individual.
The Beauty and Power of Feng Shui
In general, though, the beauty and power of feng shui are in sensing the energy of each and every place and maximizing its potential for the benefit of people who live and work there. Feng shui cures and tips are employed to create homes and businesses with vibrant, alive energy, which in turn nurtures the personal energy of people who inhabit those spaces.
Create a High-Energy, Harmonious Place
This power of feng shui to identify and transform any place into a high-energy, harmonious place is the reason why feng shui is so popular all over the world. The right application of feng shui is definitely very healing because one heals not only the energy of a place but also his or her energy in the process of applying feng shui.
The Roots of Feng Shui
So, the reason feng shui and geomancy cannot be considered one and the same thing today is that feng shui evolved into a very practical body of knowledge with a variety of specific tools and tips. Yet, the roots of feng shui sure go deep into the mysteries of geomancy.
Ultimately, human life in itself is a mystery, a deep mystery that geomancers have been trying to access since ancient times. Feng shui looks into this mystery by offering specific tips and practical solutions to make one's life better and more meaningful. Can one say that Geomancy originated in China or in Europe? Definitely not. All cultures have a form of geomancy or divination, many of them by using various tools to read the earth signs; so geomancy would go as far back as the first human cultures on earth.