Thursday, March 10, 2005

Welcome to the I Ching!

Welcome to my new Blog, in which I will consult the I CHING Oracle about matters of national and international import to us all.
The I Ching is the Chinese "Book of Changes" that was created by the Ancient Sages around 2205- 1766 BC, later annoted and further edited by
Confucious in the 5th century BC. Originally used as an Oracle to impart wisdom and advice to Kings and Rulers, it addresses itself to the "Superior Man"
and is as remarkably applicable, now as it was then, to the "Superior Man/Woman" in all of us.
One could only WISH our present leaders could
benefit from its timeless wisdom. (but what are the chances of GW Bush ever being receptive to good advice? In any case, I will be consulting the I-Ching FOR them and us, in hopes that the guidance will somehow "trickle down" to them.)

The I Ching, being the only great ancient work of this period to survive a huge book-burning by the Tyrant, Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, in 213BC, was never-the-less
not translated from the Chinese until early in the 20th century AD, by German scholar Richard Wilhelm, and finally into English in 1965. This is the copy, with a forward by Jung, that I have studied, used and cherished in my own life since my first experience with it as a young woman when it struck me between the eyes with its personal relevance in 1968. It was the absolutely perfect time for it, not only in my own life, but also in the momentous mind-evolving times of the late sixties.
Although I could not understand how the three pennies I tossed six times could have resulted in such a totally accurate picture of what was happening in
my life at the time, it could not have been more accurate, and further consultations convinced me it was NOT a fluke! The Symbolic language
is at once mysterious, and when the mind opens, universal. As Jung points out, the I Ching both expects and demands a certain degree of Self-knowledge and even rebukes the "Frivolous Importuning" of those who would ask only silly self-centered questions. For that, it seems to say, "you have your Gypsy Fortune Teller".


The I Ching is firstly a book of Wisdom -about the state of Human affairs in Transition,.. the "changes" we go through, as individuals and as Nations...in a series of 64 Hexagrams; poem-like verses invoking archetypical Images of and advice for, situations in flux, often further "Changing" to another situation/picture, according to the complexities of the particular Hexagram one has "Thrown"..
It starts with the basics: the Male (Yang) Creative, represented by the Dragon, first (naturally! But one mustn't be put off by the sexist-sounding language, as the Book assigns equal power to both sexes, and assumes both polarities exist in all men and women. The Creative is first because it represents the initial spark, of Life, of an Idea, and then Must come the Receptive, to nurture it on the Earth and give it Actuality! Thus the Physical and the Metaphysical act in concert)
The Female (Yin) Receptive, has the Image of a Mare, tirelessly roaming the earth, grounded and Real.
These are the first two hexagrams, represented by six straight lines for The Creative and six broken lines for The Receptive.
Then Life gets more complex, as do the Life-situations pictured by the Hexagrams, cycling all possible combinations of six solid and broken lines, returning at #64 to Before Completion (NOT, it should be noted, After Completion) , which renews the cycle.
(Whoever figured all this out must have had one incredibly amazing Mind, not to mention being Cozmicly Connected!)

The most ancient method of Divining a Hexagram used yarrow stalks, but a simpler numeric method using coins is quicker, though no less miraculous.
The coins' two sides are designated with numeric values as well as having a Male and Female side : Male Heads=3, Female Tails=2. The Hexagram is drawn from the bottom up, with straight lines Male and broken lines Female, the six lines stacked up in succession.
The Consultant to the Oracle (in this case, Me, as your humble Medium and Interpreter ) First calms herself and focuses on a situation where guidance is desired.
Then she tosses three coins (Pennies are fine) on a cleared table and counts them up.
There's two heads and a tail, so 3+3+2=8. Since 8 is an even number, it is Yin,Female, so the first toss is a broken line --- ---.
The next toss is two tails and a head, so 2+2+3=7, a male, straight line ---------, which is placed over the first, and so on, building from the bottom up. The next toss is three Heads, 9, also marked with a straight line, but because it's a 9, it is further marked with an x in the middle of the line, and a toss of three Tails, is a 6, and also marked, but with a O in the space. These last two are called "Changing Lines", because these lines not only speak in more detail about the subject at hand, but are then changed to the opposite line when, after reading the First Hexagram, it is re-drawn and the next Hexagram represents what this situation/action, will further develop. What has never failed to amaze me, is how, out of 64 possible combinations of my coin toss, seemingly random, but actually no more random than one's birth, it can be so amazingly RELEVANT!

...So anyway we now have four of the six lines of our Hexagram, looking like this

___0___
___x___
_______
___ ___

and let me just Actually TOSS the other two>>>>>> it was a 7 and an 8, which added to the top gives us the final hexagram
(there is a chart to locate it, dividing it into two Trigrams, upper and lower.... they all have a name,too! this one is Wood over Water)

___ ___
_______
___0___
___x___
_______
___ ___


This Hexagram is #48, called "Ching,The Well' (Wow! This is the I Ching speaking directly to us!) it is the universal Image of the "Inexhaustible dispensing of Nourishment" -and that includes Wisdom! the Image is Water over wood, both wood as a bucket and wood as a plant that sucks water out of the ground. "Thus the Superior Man organizes human society so that all parts of the whole benefit"

The Judgement verse says,

"The Town may be changed,
but the Well cannot be changed.....
They come and go from the Well... (and then a warning )
If one gets almost down to the water
And the rope does not go all the way, (this signifies only a partial understanding, which is worse than none at all)
Or the Jug Breaks, it brings misfortune." (The breaking of the jug means carelessness, but also in the sense of mis-using
the Military, the "groundwater" of defence in excess, resulting in the annihilation
of the State. WHOA! like I said, Bush needs to consult this Oracle! That's what I got
last time I asked about the him and the Iraq War!)

Then, each Hexagram has six "Lines", which can be read as a general progression of the situation or the lesson, but in the case of our two "changing lines", (even though they were superficially picked to illustrate the mechanism) they are speaking further to us:
9 in the third place means:

"The Well is cleaned, but no one drinks from it.
This is my Heart's Sorrow,
For one might draw from it.
If the King were Clear-minded,
good Fortune might be enjoyed in common." (It's the Book itself speaking, and HOW TRUE! King George is definitely NOT clear-minded!)

6 in the fourth place means:

"The Well is being lined. No Blame" ( it will soon be in use again! How exciting!)

Ok, as if that wasn't Far-Out Cool enough, we now re-draw the Hexagram changing the marked lines to their opposite sex:
We now have (no more marks)

___ ___
_______
_______
___ ___
_______
___ ___

#47 "Oppression/Exhaustion" the Image of a Lake drained dry from below...Like our Economy?! and explains
"Thus everywhere Superior Men are oppressed and held in restraint by inferior Men" (ain't THAT the Truth!)

... but The Judgement says

"Oppression. SUCCESS. Perseverance. (a favorite concept in the I Ching as in "Furthering through Perseverance")
The great man brings about good fortune.
No blame.
When one has something to say,
it is not believed" .... and explains in the footnotes, "Times of Adversity..can lead to success if they befall the right man.
He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends
someone, it creates a power within to react that is bound in time to manifest itself even though for the
time being outward influence is denied .

"Thus the Superior Man stakes his life
On following his Will."
(for this alone is superior to all external Fate)


Pretty much IT in a nutshell, wouldn't you say?

I will be asking the I Ching to speak to us regularly, as I regularly have alot on my mind, and things are in an especially huge state of flux right now.
Please think about what's going on in the World and what larger issue you might want to consult with the Oracle about. Please no personal stuff at this time, as I'm doing this for free, and I want to stick to the Big Picture. "Yes" and "No" questions don't really work here, and a humble universal approach works best. I will try to pick the best topics first, and I can't guarantee I'll address all of them, but I'd like to hear from People! Your Guide and Reader, Mme. Zaratamara


**************************************************************************


3/14/05 Good Morning!

Today I will ask the I Ching to speak to us about the Social Security issue.
The Hexagram derived from my coin tosses is:
#15, MODESTY ...with marked lines in the first and fourth places

___ ___
___ ___
___o___
_______
___ ___
___o___


The Judgement says "Modesty creates Success.Thus the superior man carries things through"
(as in "Don't mess with it)
the Commentary says,
"Modesty creates success, for it is the way of heaven to shed its influence downward and to create light and radiance. It is the way of earth to be lowly and go upward.It is the way of heaven to make empty what is full and give increase to what is modest. (thus)Modesty that is honored spreads radiance; Modesty that is lowly cannot be ignored. This is the end attained by the Superior Man."
The IMAGE:
"Within the earth, a mountain:the image of Modesty.
Thus, the superior man reduces that which is too much,and augments that which is too little.
He weighs things and makes them equal"
(pretty good picture of what Social Security is supposed to do, isn't it?)
It goes on to say,
" the wealth of the earth, in which a mountain is hidden is not visable to the eye, because the depths are offset by the height of the mountain. Thus high and low compliment each other, and the result is the plain. (the "level playing field idealized, until recently, it seems, as the Great Society). Here, an effect that has taken a long time to achieve, but that in the end seems easy of accomplishment and self-evident, is used as the image of modesty. The Superior Man does the same thing when he establishes order in the world; he equalizes the extremes that are the source of social discontent and thereby creates just and equitable conditions."
(George Bush, of course, seeks to do just the OPPOSITE, as evidenced by his actions favoring the rich, of which his Social Security privatization scheme is one.)
Now the "Changing " lines:
>Six in the beginning means
"A superior man modest about his modesty

May cross the great water(he is lowly in order to guard himself well) Good fortune"
The meaning here is that Modesty in a lowly place cannot be ignored(the People)and even dangerous enterprises, such as crossing the great water, can be accomplished if done in the simplest most straight-forward way.(the way SS was always supposed to work)
>Six in the fourth place means:
"Nothing that would not further modesty in movement.
He (the superior man) does not overstep the rule"
( of course, GW is NOT a modest man, and would wish to once again "overstep the rule" in his arrogance)

This hexagram then Changes to #55 , Abundance
___ ___
___ ___
_______
_______
___ ___
_______


"Abundance has success.
The King attains abundance.
Be not sad.Be like the sun at midday"
( midday suggests that this extraordinary condition of abundance is usually brief) It explains,
"There is only one means of making foundations firm in times of greatness, namely, spiritual expansion. Abundance can only endure if ever larger groups are brought to share in it, for only then can the movement continue without turning into its opposite".. and, very interestingly, goes on to recommend in
the IMAGE:
"Both thunder and lightning come:The image of Abundance.
Thus, the Superior Man decides lawsuits And carries out punishments."
("The trigrams Li, light and clarity, and Chen, shock, terror, give the prerequisites for a clearing of the atmosphere by the thunderstorm of a criminal trial.Clarity within makes it possible to investigate the facts exactly, and shock without ensures a strict and precise carrying out of punishment.")
This says to me, that we must clarify the facts, and a due punishment -and rejection of Bush's plan- will ensue. This already appears to be happening, as Bush's Privatization scheme is being widely exposed and rejected, even by his own party members.
(Now, if we can just get some more clarity on 9/11, perhaps we can mete out the justice so long overdue where this "king" is concerned!)
Your humble reader, Mme.Zaratamara
5:59 AM

8 Comments:

Blogger Zaratamara said...

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5:18 AM  
Blogger Zaratamara said...

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5:59 AM  
Blogger Hilary Barrett (onlineClarity I Ching) said...

Greetings, Mme Zaratamara!

I like your idea of inviting the I Ching to comment on world affairs - I hope you keep it up. (I've just started my own I Ching blog so I appreciate the company.)

Do you think you might ask about global warming? Its impact on the world... or its impact on the US alone... over the coming decade, for instance.

That's an intriguing reading on getting out of Iraq. How do we get out? And Yi says 'Well, how do you think? You withdraw!'

I'll think about this some more and blog it presently... Thank you for doing the reading.

(BTW, sorry to say, 33 changing at lines 2 and 4 gives Hexagram 57. I've been consulting Yi for years, too, and I still slip up.)

10:21 AM  
Blogger Zaratamara said...

By Golly, Hilary! You're right! (Guess it's time to re-write my dog-eared copy of the chart!) Thanks so much for noticing, and for checking out my new blog. I will correct that (18, WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED, was so apropriate it didn't ring a bell, but so is the Gentle! It is this ceaseless movement in the right direction that we the People must exert, like the wind, and like the struggle against the Viet Nam war, we will wear down this stoney obstinance with truth! I will correct this immediately, and then ask about the Global Warming. Hope to hear from you again! So cool to have others involved this way! Best regards, Mme Zaratamara

My apologies to my readers. Let's take a look at this again, then. I'll edit the reading asap! Mme.Z

11:29 AM  
Blogger Zaratamara said...

( I am re-posting this reading, with the corrected change)
Good Morning!
Mme. Zaratamara has been asked to consult the I-Ching on the question "How do we get out of Iraq?"
I have just tossed the coins and this is the Hexagram:
_______
_______
___x___
_______
___o___
___ ___

This is #33 RETREAT! (I know. Blows MY mind every time, too!)

It pictures a time when the "power of the Dark" is ascending. The light retreats to security so that the dark cannot encroach upon it(a matter not of Man's will, but of Natural law) therefore in this case withdrawel is proper; it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one's forces (similar to what Jesus said about not resisting evil).
The Judgement line says
"RETREAT. Success.
in what is small, perseverence furthers"
(Hostile forces favored by the time are advancing. In this case retreat is the right course and through retreat success will be achieved. Retreat is not to be confused with flight, which means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas Retreat is a sign of strength. We must be careful NOT TO MISS the right moment, while we are still in possession of power and position.One must interpret the signs of the times before it is too late and prepare for a provisional retreat before one is drawn into a desperate life-and-death struggle. Thus, success lies in being able to retreat at the right moment and in the right manner, making it the voluntary withdrawel of a strong (person), not the forced flight of a weak one."
THE IMAGE:
"Mountain under heaven..
thus the superior man keeps the Inferior man at a distance,
not angrily, but with reserve"

Now come the "changing"Lines (marked with the x and 0)

Six in the second place says:
"He holds him fast with yellow oxhide.
No one can tear him loose"

Retreat is hampered by the Inferior (Bush et al)perseverence in what is "small"(short-sighted and self-serving)

Nine in the Fourth place says:
"Voluntary Retreat brings good fortune to the superior man
And downfall to the inferior man."
(in voluntarily retreating the superior man does not have to do violence to his convictions. The one who suffers is the inferior man, who will degenerate when deprived of the Guidance he needs. This is also applicable to the attitude nescessary toward the Neocon infestation of our government: we do not simply abandon the field to the inferior man, we make it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in "single acts of resistence". In this way we prepare, while retreating, for a counter-movement. Understanding the laws of such constructive retreat is not easy, but "Great indeed is the meaning that lies hidden in such a time"

Incidently, this Hexagram is linked to the sixth month (July/ August in the Chinese year)

NOW the hexagram is redrawn with the "changing" lines and we see:
_______
_______
___ ___
_______
_______
___ ___ #57 The Gentle,

Penetrating Wind
(this is also the Hexagram of home-coming!)
The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is disolved by the penetratiing light principle. Like the wind that disperses the clouds in nature,and can even erode stone, so in human life it is the penetrating clarity of judgement, ceaselessly expressed, that thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues that shun the light of day. The Judgement says:
"The GENTLE. Success through what is small. It furtheres one to have somewhere to go. (like,Home!)
It furthers one to see the great man" (the "great man" is refered to as the "ruler" of the hexagram, the fifth line, which says "Perseverence brings good fortune. Remorse vanishes. Nothing that does not further.
No beginning, but an END.
Before the change, three days, After the change, three days"
(the Beginning has not been good, and the moment has been reached when a new direction can be taken, but such changes must be made with great deliberation and care for success to be achieved)
and it notes, "In contrast to the situation in #18, Work on what has been spoiled, where it is a question of compensating for mistakes of the parents, is is work on public matters that is described here, characterized not so much by love that covers up defects, as by impartial justice, as symbolized by the West,Metal, Autumn.) In order to enforce commands, it is nescessary to first ABANDON A WRONGE BEGINNING so that a good end is attainable."
The Image:
"Winds following one upon the other; The Image of the Gently Penetrating.
Thus the superior man
spreads his commands abroad
And carries out undertakings"
The penetrating quality of the wind depends on its ceaselessness. This is what makes even gentle wind so powerful; Time is its instrument.Change is effected not by an act of violation, but by influence that never ceases, and always moves in the direction of the desired goal. Results of this kind are less striking than those won by surprise attack, but they are more enduring and complete."
It may not yet be clear who the "Great Man" is (it could be the People as a greater body)...
Clearly, we must keep a constant wind-like pressure on our demands for this Change, penetrating the dark motives of the Warmakers with our myriad small but ceaseless voices speaking Truth to Power, that cannot but eventually accumulate to achieve our goal,ending the Occupation and entering upon a new and better way.
Mme Zaratamara

1:06 PM  
Blogger Zaratamara said...

Today I was beginning to fix my mind on Global Warming, almost turned off the TV when I saw that Bush's press conferance was beginning. Since I feel he's badly in need of monitoring, I put the I Ching aside and watched, as tortuous as it usually is discerning the the truth amid the jingoistic platitudes. Afterwards, I felt that I simply HAD to ask the Great Book to speak about (and TO) George Bush, especially since the Oracle was initially intended as guidance for rulers. There is no question in my mind what the I Ching thinks of our Illustrous Leader, and it follows with some stern advice on War.
The Hexagram that came up was
___ ___
___ ___
___x___
___x___
___o___
___ ___ #62 Preponderance of the

Small (Thunder above, arousing talk, and below is Mountain, keeping still, secrecy)
"When strong elements within preponderate, they nescessarily enforce their will. This creates struggle and exceptional conditions in general. But in the present hexagram it is the weak element that perforce must mediate with the outside world. If a man occupies a position of authority for which he is by nature really inadequate (!) extraordinary prudence is necessary." say the notes.
The Judgement says
"Preponderance of the Small. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
Small things may be done;
Great things should NOT be done.
The flying bird brings the message:
It is not well to strive upward,
it is well to remain below.(then there is)
Great good fortune."
(it signifies a time where a transition must be made, but without going too far)

The IMAGE:
"Thunder on the mountain:
The image of Preponderance of the Small.
Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence.
In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief.
In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift"
(Hmm, obviously that's not our guy)
Now, the three changing Lines:
>Six in the second place means:
"She passes by her ancestor
And meets her ancestress.
He does not reach his prince
and meets the official.
No blame."
"This represents an official who does not surpass the yielding prince, because he himself is yielding in nature. In the nine in the third place he meets with an official with whom he is united through the relationship of holding together." (Prince Cheney?)
>Nine in the Third says:
"If one is not extremely careful,
Somebody may come up from behind and strike him.
Misfortune!" (Hmmmmm)
>Nine in the Fourth place says:
"No blame. He meets him without passing by." (the place is not the appropriate one.It is the place of the minister)
"Going brings danger. One must be on guard.
Do not act. be constantly persevering."
(the line is too readily inclined to be drawn into excessive movement, which would be dangerous. Hence, the warning against action, the book explains.)Makes sense to me. All his "actions" have been pretty disastrous so far!

Now the hexagram Changes to:
___ ___
___ ___
___ ___
___ ___
_______
___ ___ #7 The Army

(Got HIS number, didn't it? Quite a lecture here for GW on this topic, so I'll go through the whole sequence)
The Judgement:
"The ARMY. The army needs perseverance
And a strong man.
Good fortune without blame.
How could this be a mistake?"
Then it explains just how, warning:
"..war is always a dangerous thing and brings with it destruction and devastation.
Therefore, it should not be resorted to rashly but, like a poisonous drug, should be used as a last recourse.
The justifying cause of a war, and clear and intelligible war aims, ought to be explained to the people by an experienced leader. (as opposed to someone who was deferred and shirked his combat duty?) Unless there is a definate war aim to which the people can consciously pledge themselves, the unity and conviction that lead to victory will not be forthcoming. (even so,) the leader must also look to it that the passion of war and delirium of victory do not give rise to unjust acts that will not meet with general approval. (like torturing prisoners) If justice and perseverance are the basis of action, there is no blame and all goes well." (we KNOW where it has gone instead!)
the Image:
"In the middle of the Earth is water: the image of the Army.
Thus the superior man increases his masses
by generosity toward the people."
( well, his rich "base", anyway...)and goes on to explain,
"Ground water, invisibly present within the earth, is like military power invisibly present in the masses, to be drawn up in defence in time of need (see also, reference to The Well in my introduction.) he who is generous toward the people wins their love, and a people living under a mild rule becomes strong and powerful. Only a people economically strong can be an important military power. such power must therefore be cultivated by improving the economic condition of the people and by humane government. Only when there is this invisible bond between government and people, so that the people are sheltered by their government as groundwater is sheltered by the earth, is it possible to wage a victorious war."
Since we are almost at the anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq, and since war is such a pre-occupation of this "Leader", I will read all six lines in progression. (I will even send GW a copy.)
>Six at the beginning means:
"An army must set forth in proper order.
If the order is not good, misfortune threatens."and notes,"Joyousness is not the proper frame of mind for the onset of a war. A just and valid cause must exist, and the obedience and co-ordination of the troops must be well organized, otherwise the result is inevitably failure."

>Nine in the second place means:
"In the midst of the Army.
Good fortune. No blame.
The King bestows a triple decoration."
and explains: "The leader should be in the midst of his army, in touch with it, sharing good and bad with the masses he leads. This alone makes him equal to the heavy demands made upon him."

>Six in the third place means:
" Perchance the army carries corpses in the wagon.
Misfortune." suggests defeat.

>Six in the fourth place means:
" The army retreats. No blame."
It explains, "In the face of a superior enemy, with whom it would be hopeless to engage in battle (The broader Iraqui "Insurgency", being those battling our occupation for their sovereignty) an orderly retreat is the only correct procedure, because it will save the army from defeat and disintegration. It is by no means a sign of courage or strength to insist upon engaging in a hopeless struggle regardless of circumstances"
(see the post where Retreat is discussed when I asked about Iraq.)
>Six in the fifth place means:
" There is game in the field.
It furthers one to catch it.
Without blame.
Let the eldest lead the army.
The younger transports corpses;(thus the right man is not put in charge)
Then perseverance brings misfortune"
Interpretation is, "This points to an enemy invasion. Energetic combat and punishment are here thoroughly justified, but they must not degenerate into a wild melee in which everyone fends for himself; this would lead to misfortune.The army must be directed by an experienced leader. It is a matter of waging war, not of permitting the mob to slaughter all who fall into their hands; if they do, defeat will be the result, and despite all perseverance there is danger of misfortune."
>Finally, the six at the top means,
"The great prince issues commands,
founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed."
("The war -as qualified in the fifth line- has ended successfully, and the king divides estates and fiefs among his faithful vassals. But it is important that inferior people should not come to power. If they have helped, let them be paid off with money, but they should not be awarded lands or the priveledges of rulers, lest power be abused.") Nuff said.
(Comments are welcome)
Your Faithful Reader, Mme.Zaratamara

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