We all know symbols are everywhere, but how often do we actually stop to think about them? Last week’s posts were about divination symbols. Continuing on with that, today I’ll take a look at the I Ching. The I Ching is all about the dynamic balance of opposites — those forces beyond our control. And where have you heard that before?
The symbols of I Ching go way back– long before recorded history. With the trigrams (symbols) involved, the I Ching is considered the oldest book of divination. According to lore, this dynamic balance of opposites was conceived by the first of the Three Sovereigns, Fu Xi. The Three Sovereigns were mythological god-kings or demigods who ruled China from approximately 2852 to 2205 B.C.E. Sovereign Fu Xi is similar to the Egyptian proto-god Thoth, for he too brought writing, etc to his people.
According to legend, Fu Xi received his insight into the I Ching in the arrangement of markings on the back of a mythical dragon-horse living in the river Luo. Some versions of this myth say the I Ching appeared on the back of a turtle. A side note: calligraphy appeared the very same way.
A point to ponder: When so many cultures share striking similarities in their mythology, it shows you just how ancient these stories are. Compare the lives of Jesus to Osiris/Dionysus and Buddha sometime. Same details, different men. I find that fascinating.
The I Ching
Coins with markings are the popular tool for reading I Ching today. Still in use, though less popular, are yarrow staves (dried stalks of the yarrow plant). Modern coins or ancient staves are cast and the symbols, or kua, are read. You start with hexagrams comprised of six stacked horizontal lines. These lines are either a Yang –a solid line, or a Yin — a broken line with a gap in the center. The yin (female energy) and yang (male energy) represent the duality in life. The various combinations of lines in each hexagram represent states of change.
When the lines are stacked, you get 64 possible combinations leading to 64 hexagrams. Like the runes (see previous post), each one means something. Basically, it goes like this: an unbroken line symbolizes the positive/yes and the broken line symbolizes the negative/no and these two primary forces in the universe affect the energy of all living things.
This is an excellent step by step example of I Ching being read:
Just for fun ~ Get your I Ching read.
Tomorrow ~ More!
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
~Henry Ward Beecher
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