The I ching is a profound form of divination, in that it allows one to have direct access to the book of nature. This is one reason why it has had such incredible endurance and adoptability throughout time and cultures. When I speak of the book of nature, I am speaking of a way of find meaning in life that comes from direct experience of your perceptions as they arise. The I Ching has both a scholastic tradition, based on breaking down and studying the mathematical harmonies found with in it. This tradition is also based on the historical “Book of Changes” or the ” Yi Ching”. The natural form of the I ching is more intuitive and a practice of engaged mysticism. My own training is in the later, and I generally speak to that in my own readings as well as my explanations of the I Ching.
Historically the written origins of the I Ching arose some time during the first mellenia BC during the Kingdom of Zhou. It was codified into its more known tradition during the “Warring States Period.” To learn more about this fascinating historical time, I highly recommend listening to episodes 1 through 40 of the History of China Podcast. In studying esotericism, through out my life I have found that there have always been two traditions, the lived tradition and the canonical tradition. The lived tradition is more direct and often times historically was oral long before it was written. It is my general assumption that the practice of the I Ching was an oral tradition long before it was a written recorded tradition. Its mythological roots going back to Emperor Fu Hsi himself over 5000 to 6000 years ago.
Emperor Fu Hsi looking at a turtle
Fu Hsi is a mythological being.
Fu Hsi lived so long ago, that who he really was is lost to our ability to have concrete knowledge. Like Moses, or Hermes Trismestigus he is a figure of myth more than someone who can be verified through scholarship. It is impossible really to date him, because it is from him that time itself starts ticking in the ritual world of Chinese, eastern philosophy. He is credited with creating the I Ching. It is said he was sitting by a river when a dragon horse (mythological) or a turtle climbed out of the river. He perceived the markings on the turtle and instantly knew of Ying and Yang, of the 5 elements, of the 8 tri grams and how they relate. Mythologically from this science, knowledge, and divination was born into the world, or at least Eastern Asia.
I learned the I Ching from my father and grand father. My grandfather, Richard Daiensai Kirsten was the first westerner given the title of I Ching priest in Japan. It was a beautiful ceremony when he received the honor. He was a Rinzai Roshi. When he was showing me, he taught some things peculiar to the way that most people practice the I Ching these days. We do use Yarrow Sticks, but often we only cast for no changing lines. If the situation asks for more information, we will cast for one changing line. This is combined with both a reading of the traditional canonical text, as well as an in depth reading of the Yao, the Elements, and how they relate to one another. For instance the Trigram Li with a moving center above the Trigram Sun with out a moving line would mean something quite visceral and personal as compared to the culturally embedded text of Hexagram 50 or the Cauldron. How so, you may ask, well over the next few months I will be revealing the method of the unique I Ching tradition I practice. You will find it very applicable if you follow along.
I also give I ching readings, you can get one if you like and we can then have a more personal dialogue about technique and application as part of the process. (sorry, i have to redo my http for some reason the https certificate is not rendering on this page)
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