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Last Build Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2018 13:20:16 +0000


Lost property

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 12:08:14 +0000

A short story In typical Yi style, this is a very short story: ‘Traveller in a place to stay, Gains property and an axe. My heart is not glad.’ ‘Subtly penetrating under the bed, Losing your property and axe. Constancy, pitfall.’ These are lines 56.4 and 57.6, and they have a direct textual parallel: gaining […]

Advice from Zhu Xi

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:25:22 +0000

One of many interesting things I found in Richard J. Smith’s The I Ching: a biography was an account of Zhu Xi’s approach to divination. Zhu Xi (1120-1200) wrote firmly of Yi’s identity as an oracle, not just a ‘book of wisdom’. In addition to creating the yarrow method we use now, he also prescribed considerable ritual […]

The future of the Yijing?

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:37:58 +0000

My publishers have asked me to come up with a short introduction outlining the history of the Yi. So – wanting to do a good, thorough job – I have started by reading Richard J. Smith’s The I Ching: a biography. It’s a fascinating book, very readable, and it’s given me much more insight into the […]

The well in the valley

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:19:58 +0000

Hexagram 48 line 6 says, ‘The well gathers, Don’t cover it. There is truth and confidence, Good fortune from the source.’ Bradford Hatcher, who has dug more wells than your average Yijing scholar, suggests that this is an artesian well, one where the water rises spontaneously. That certainly fits with my experience of the line, […]

When Yi says ‘me’

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 14:15:40 +0000

By and large, we know what sort of thing we expect Yi to say (though not, heaven knows, what it will say): ‘Here’s what you’re doing’ or ‘here’s what would happen’ or ‘here’s how to cope with that’ – something along those lines, describing or advising. Only every now and then – just eleven times, in […]

‘If, then’

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:35:59 +0000

Possibly the most Frequently Asked Question about interpreting readings: ‘This line says one thing, but that one says the opposite! How can I make sense of the reading when it contradicts itself?’ It happens a lot: you ask how to go about something, and one hexagram says it’s fruitful to cross the great river, and […]

Hexagram 27, Nourishment

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 12:27:22 +0000

Name and Nature The name of Hexagram 27 translates literally not as ‘Nourishment’ but as ‘Jaws’ – not something we call it, because shark. But it does help to remember that it’s not specifically about nourishment (of whatever kind), but rather about the framework that makes nourishment possible. Just looking at the shape of the […]

What’s wrong with carting corpses, anyway?

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 20:50:29 +0000

Simple Two lines in Hexagram 7, the Army, talk about carting corpses: line 3: ‘Perhaps the army carts corpses. Pitfall.’ and line 5: ‘The fields have game Fruitful to speak of capture: No mistake. When the elder son leads the army, And younger son carts corpses: Constancy, pitfall.’ The core meaning is surely intuitively obvious: […]

The noises of Hexagram 37, line 3

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:06:01 +0000

Line 3 of Hexagram 37, People in the Home, is full of noise and emotion: ‘People in the home scold and scold, Regrets, danger: good fortune. Wife and child giggle and giggle. In the end, shame.’ What’s the story behind this? Traditional interpretation… Read any traditional translation – Wilhelm/Baynes, Lynn, or Tuck Chang – and […]

Geoffrey Redmond, and what we can see

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:43:21 +0000

I’ve treated myself to another new Yi book – Geoffrey Redmond’s I Ching (Book of Changes) – a critical translation of the ancient text – and it got me thinking about the different aspects of the book that are visible to different people. The good… To start, though, a sort-of book review. There’s a lot […]