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I-Ching


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#1 Aria

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 08:38 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I did not find the topic on the forum, so I opened one. At various times during my life I have been draw to I-Ching. This is weird, as I am always very reticent about magic or divination practices that are very specific of a culture of which I know little or nothing. I bought the only I-Ching book that I own (translation from Chinese of Richard Wilhelm with a foreword of Jung) when i was fourteen. I have used it on and off (more off than on), as I've always found it extremely fascinating but also very obscure. However, about one month ago I took it up again and I have a feeling this time is for good.

 

For those of you who do not know, I-Ching, or The Book of Changes, is a Chinese book of oracles dating back to about 3000 BC. The book contains sixty-four hexagrams, which are derived from eight trigrams. Trigrams are made of lines, which can be whole or broken (I don't know if you say this in English, sorry). Broken or whole lines can be fixed or mobile. If they are mobile, they change to their opposite and give life to a new hexagram. Lines are drawn using three coins or straws. I've always used the coins, so I am not familiar with the straw method.

To each hexagram in the books corresponds a response. The response is in short verses, and can also contains an Image, more verses. Comments to he verses are available. I think this is the most difficult part of the process of divination with I-Ching, as the responses can be very 'obscure'. This is, I think, because I-Ching is a fundamental text of Chinese culture, and I am a Westerner with very little knowledge of Chinese society. However, I find that with practice, and mostly by getting to know the trigrams, the sentences and  the images appear much clearer.

 

So all this to ask: does any of you have experience with I-Ching? Do you know of any good book around? If you use it, how often do you use it? Do you find that the more you use it the more it speaks to you, or is it the opposite?

Sorry for the flood of questions!

Aria


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#2 hawkwind

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 03:47 PM

I have heard of a lot of people using it, and is gaining popularity here in the west. A couple years ago I watched a documentary on the subject. I have never tried it. I had a hard time understanding it. But it is very fascinating!


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#3 Wexler

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 08:34 PM

I like I-Ching. I agree that it can be hard to totally comprehend the results unless you understand Chinese culture. I think it is a little confusing to learn but once you do it once it becomes simple.

 

I do not find I-Ching to be useful for situations in flux, because then you end up getting like 8 hexagrams for each question and unraveling it all is difficult.

 

I feel like consulting the I-Ching is like going to see a wise old mystic. The advice is sound, but it is imparted in metaphors and it is up to you to figure out how to understand it and how to apply it. That I think requires skill on the part of the practitioner.

 

In general I find I-Ching more distant but more genial than tarot.


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#4 Aria

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 07:25 AM

 

I feel like consulting the I-Ching is like going to see a wise old mystic. The advice is sound, but it is imparted in metaphors and it is up to you to figure out how to understand it and how to apply it. That I think requires skill on the part of the practitioner.

 

In general I find I-Ching more distant but more genial than tarot.

 

I agree, the responses can be absolutely criptic.

Can I ask you why you think I-ching is 'more genial' than tarot?

 

Aria


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#5 Wexler

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:18 PM

I agree, the responses can be absolutely criptic.

Can I ask you why you think I-ching is 'more genial' than tarot?

 

Aria

 

Maybe just because of the way I read or the questions I ask, tarot is kind of a snarky bitch to me. I think my tarot is like a workhorse, it wants to be given practical tasks. If I trot it out for frivolous questions or advice, it is quite ornery. To me, it's not the sort of system that sits there and holds your hand while you warm up to facing the truth. On the other hand, I could ask the I-ching the same sort of questions and I feel it will patiently stay with me while I eventually find my own way out of the maze.


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'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.'

'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.'

 

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#6 froglover

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 12:33 AM

I love the I Ching. It can be hard to interpret but it will never deliberately try to mislead you. In fact that is one of the reasons it can be hard to interpret,or so I have found. A question based on a false premise can have a confusing answer because the I Ching will address the real issue. So an open mind helps. There are also translation difficulties, which is one reason why a commentary is useful if it reflects the experience of people who have used it for divination. Whincup's "Rediscovering the I Ching" is worth having as well as the Wilhelm translation. Whincup attempts to recapture the I Ching of the Duke of Chou, taking on board the new scholarship which has throuwn light on some obscurities and also making some educated guessesof his own.

I actually now have a mobile phone app which casts the I Ching. When I first got it I wasn't sure how seriously to take it so I asked the same question throwing the coins the usual way and working the app. I got the same hexagram which was encouraging!

A point which I am yet to properly investigate is that there are in one sense 13 underlying forms of the I Ching. If you imagine each hexagram as recurring indefiintely then are 13 distinct forms. So hexagram 63 can be written conveniently 101010 and hexagram 64 using the same notation as 010101. But they are both alleles so speak of a continuing sequence .....010101010101010......., In the case of these two it is easy to see how they are variations of an underlying unity. It is less clear with other examples that there is a core of meaning and maybe I'm not onto anything at all. But maybe I am....13 is anice resonant number anyway.

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