I was first introduced to the I Ching in Spring of 2005, when I took a continuing education class about it. It was my first time even hearing about such a thing, and the idea intrigued me, so I signed up for the class. It was the first class I took with my teacher, before my journey with Tai Chi began. We used the Wilhelm and Baynes translation of the I Ching for the class, and never consulted the Oracle during the class itself but rather talked about the history of the I Ching, how the trigrams and hexagrams were constructed, how to consult the Oracle and interpret the results, things like that. I started consulting it a bit during the class, out of curiosity more than anything. I was highly skeptical, but open to the possibility that – if nothing else – the Oracle might serve as a way to know my inner and hidden thoughts about an issue. Interpretation is based on the interpreter, after all.
I have been consulting the Oracle ever since, so it’s been over 13 years now. I tend to save it for big issues these days, or when someone asks me to consult it. I used to randomly just throw it, with an open ended “talk to me”, similar to how someone might consult a daily horoscope. But I haven’t done that for a while.
After all this time, I’m still on the fence about how the I Ching works. I only know that, in my experience, it does work. I have thrown some truly stunning hexagrams in answers to questions. And sometimes I’ve thrown what seems to me nearly gibberish. I’ve learned that the clearer the question, the better the answer. I have come to regard the I Ching as an old friend, as a helper, as an advisor. Is it a means through which a spiritual agency communicates with me? Perhaps. Is it a means through which some part of my unconscious mind communicates with me? Also a possibility. The important thing and truly astonishing thing, for me, is not how it works, but the mere fact that it works. And that it has worked for a few thousand years.
What I intend to do in the next 64 entries is to go hexagram by hexagram, in order, through the I Ching, and give my thoughts on what they mean to me, a modern user of the Oracle. I will consult any of several translations, as needed, and will reference any that I quote. I hope you will enjoy reading this part of the blog, as much as I intend to enjoy taking a stroll through the 64 hexagrams that make up the I Ching.