There are lots of online I Ching sites. Most suck. But I like this site because the interface is easy (”Throw coins virtually”) to ge an instant reading, because the readings are updated and non-cryptic, and because each reading links to the extremely murky Wilhelm translation.
Also this is the only site that understands the precedence of the changing lines in a reading (Ill discuss that in a second.) The site also retains your readings in the browser history.
You create a hexagram by throwing three coins. The result of each toss is a line. You build the hexagram one line at a time, starting at the bottom. The online version does this using “virtual coins.”
If the toss comes up mostly heads, thats a solid line. Mostly tails is a broken line.
If all the coins come up head or tails, thats a “changing line.” Each toss has one chance in four of being a changing line.
The hexagram you create reperesents the present situation. The future is represented by the hexagram created by substituting the changing lines — a changing solid line becomes a broken line, a changing broken line becomes solid..
If you get no changing lines, the situation is stable. Otherwise the flow is represented by the present and future hexagrams.
You look up (or let the online system look up) the I Chings readings for each hexagram.
If there are more than one changing line, one predominates. This site determines the predominant line. The reading for that line indicates the force driving the change.
What to ask?
After a few tries youll probably find that the type of question the I Ching answers best is something like “How does this notion/idea/plan of mine accord with the will of Heaven?” Youre not going to get a helpful answer to “Should I wear the paisley tie or the purple ascot to the party?” But if you ask something like: “Is it a good idea to buy that 1967 Jaguar XKE from my brother-in-law?” the answer the oracle gives may appear very relevant indeed.
Carl Jung and the I Ching.
Im a big fan of the I Ching, because like Carl Jung, Im kooky and smart.
I first read Jungs essay on the I Ching in high school, about 200 years ago. In it, he first introduced his concept of Synchronicity. The essay was the introduction to the translation of the I Ching by Richard Wilhelm. He called it the Book of Changes. You can find the full text here,
The idea that the universe is constantly in changing, and that we are part of that change: That seems natural, doesnt it? That there is a constant fluid flux between organization and entropy, growth and decay. You get the idea.
Shivas Dance: Creation and Destruction. All of us in motion, with or against the tide.
“Heres a quarter. Phone your mother. Tell her you will never be a writer.”
She was beautiful, and funny, and crazy, and she wrote like a dream.
If I could write, Id write like this:
From Orlando by Virginia Woolf
But what was worse, damp now began to make its way into every house —damp, which is the most insidious of all enemies, for while the sun can be shut out by blinds, and the frost roasted by a hot fire, damp steals in while we sleep; damp is silent, imperceptible, ubiquitous.
Damp swells the wood, furs the kettle, rusts the iron, rots the stone. So gradual is the process, that it is not until we pick up some chest of drawers, or coal scuttle, and the whole thing drops to pieces in our hands, that we suspect even that the disease is at work.
Everywhere the effects were felt. The hardy country gentleman now felt chilly. Rugs appeared; beards were grown; trousers were fastened tight under the instep. The chill which he felt in his legs the country gentleman soon transferred to his house; furniture was muffled; walls and tables were covered; nothing was left bare.
Then a change of diet became essential. The muffin was invented and the crumpet. Coffee supplanted the after-dinner port, and, as coffee led to a drawing-room in which to drink it, and a drawing-room to glass cases, and glass cases to artificial flowers, and artificial flowers to mantelpieces, and mantelpieces to pianofortes, and pianofortes to drawing-room ballads, and drawing-room ballads (skipping a stage or two) to innumerable little dogs, mats, and china ornaments.
Outside the house—it was another effect of the damp—ivy grew in unparalleled profusion. What light penetrated to the bedrooms where children were born was naturally of an obfusc green, and what light penetrated to the drawing-rooms where grown men and women lived came through curtains of brown and purple plush.
But Eusebius Chubb shall be our witness to the effect this all had upon the mind of a sensitive man who could do nothing to stop it. There is a passage towards the end of his memoirs where he describes how, after writing thirty-five folio pages one morning ‘all about nothing he screwed the lid of his inkpot and went for a turn in his garden.
Soon he found himself involved in the shrubbery. Innumerable leaves creaked
and glistened above his head. He seemed to himself ‘to crush the mould of a million more under his feet.
Thick smoke exuded from a damp bonfire at the end of the garden. He reflected that no fire on earth could ever hope to consume that vast vegetable encumbrance.
Wherever he looked, vegetation was rampant. Cucumbers ‘came scrolloping across the grass to his feet. Giant cauliflowers towered deck above deck till they rivalled, to his disordered imagination, the elm trees themselves. Hens laid incessantly eggs of no special tint.
Then, remembering with a sigh his own fecundity and his poor wife Jane, now in the throes of her fifteenth confinement indoors, how, he asked himself, could he blame the fowls?
He looked upwards into the sky. Winter or summer, year in year out, the clouds turned and tumbled, like whales, he pondered, or elephants rather; but no, there was no escaping the simile which was pressed upon him from a thousand airy acres; the whole sky itself as it spread wide above the British Isles was nothing but a vast feather bed; and the undistinguished fecundity of the garden, the bedroom and the henroost was copied there.
He went indoors, wrote the passage quoted above, laid his head in a gas oven, and when they found him later he was past revival.
The ghazal is a mystic poem of despair,, a plea from the Lover to the Beloved, expressed in sensous romantic terms. Theyre a big part of Persian-based Chisti Sufism. I sincerely hope you never feel so bad.
The Lover meets his Beloved and instantly loses his heart. She entices and seduces him, but then withdraws, leaving the Lover in dsepair.
Heartbroken and abandoned, alone and hopeless, the Lovers emotions swing violently between desire and despair until he finds himself begging for the Beloved to end his pain, either by fulfillment or death.
When the lover sings, he no longer cares which one the Beloved may choose. Just take my life! he sings.
Of course in the ghazal, the Beloved is God.
please install the flash player
Nothing says angst like a ghazal
And no one sings a ghazal better than Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan. When Mell Gibson movies start to heap on the torture and despair, suddenly the soundtrack turns to the Voice of Pain himself.
Best part is that his albums always list the performers as “Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party”... as if he gets together with his buddies on a Saturday night to wallow in despair..
Tell me Im the only man That you ever really loved Honey, take me back Deep in my memory A time when it was all Very right, so very nice
Here, darling, stands Another man thats wanting you In and out your life They come and they go, baby
Your days and nights like a wheel that turns Grinding down a secret part of you Deep inside your heart That nobody knows
You say comfort me To anyone who approaches Chalking up the hurt to “You live and you learn”
Well, weve both lived long enough to know That wed trade it all right now For just one minute Of real love
please install the flash player
Why did I think the Doobie Brothers were a pathetic excuse for a band?
The audacity — a pop song without a single rhyme!
The complexity of the lyrics, and the total unexpected twists of the tune. Nobody sells this crap better than Michael McDonald. “...You say comfort me to anyone who approaches...” Tell me that isnt fun.