For the better, ultimately. Why?
The I Ching Oracle is mystical, while following the laws of the Universe in a very practical manner; connecting thoughts, ideas, and questions from a universal vantage point based in mathematical theory infused through esoteric channels: “Synchronicity” as Carl Jung called the phenomenon. Yet even with it’s numerical basis and structure, the text and passages of the I Ching are lovely and often poetic.
I often recommend trying it with some online resources, because it is a very facile way to become initiated. It’s similar, in a way, to how I first became introduced to the I Ching many years ago. As a teenager, I’d spotted a small box called “I Ching Cards” on a table in my favorite bookstore. I did not know anything about the I Ching, nor about Chinese philosophies, but through an instant attraction, or perhaps fate, I elected to buy the cards, with money from my part-time after-school job, my small collected earnings which I would spend now and again, on books. As I recall, the box of cards cost 6 dollars, which in retrospect, seems to have an interesting significance (because hexagrams are made of six lines). That aside, when I first opened the box, there were a few “Introduction” cards, and upon reading the first one which explained that I Ching is an oracle, I became interested and enthused, simply because it seemed like fun. The other introductory cards, placed in sequence at the top of the deck, went on to explain the three ways of drawing an oracle, and the upper/lower trigram grid used for finding the correct number of the oracle drawn. The first method of casting the oracle (since this was a deck of cards) was to shuffle the cards and draw one. Then the two traditional methods, that of using three coins and that of using 49 yarrow stalks (actually 50, but one is always set aside) were outlined. Being a teenager and somewhat impatient, I decided to shuffle the cards and draw one from the deck. Immediately, the message I received had a resonance with a soul/knowledge/seeking coming from within, and instantly opened the door into a new way of seeing, and affirmed my original conviction that the world is a wondrous place, that the universe is magical, and that deeper understanding is possible.
I remember drawing cards, for the next several months, and coming to know the language of the I Ching. The cards however, were limited, there were only 64 cards for the basic hexagrams, but the 384 lines were not represented which I discovered when I decided after several months to try the coin method of drawing an oracle instead of randomly drawing a card from a shuffled deck. At that point, my little deck of I Ching cards were superseded by the Wilhelm/Baynes complete edition, which I purchased in the same little bookstore. Then the journey really began.
I Ching accompanied me wherever I went thereafter, to college, university, dormitory, first apartment, moves to new places, new appointments, career, vacations, holidays: I carried the I Ching with me everywhere I went. And though there have been lengths of time that I did not feel the calling to cast an oracle for answering my personal questions, the wisdom it imparted was always in my mind, the lessons I learned always continued. I would often open the book just to read, I found I could open it to any page whatsoever and find something there that would speak to me. And then, there is the “Great Treatise” and “Commentaries” sections of the book, which give deeper explanation of the structure, the forces at work, the notations of past scholars and sages, which I spent many an hour studying. The ancient Chinese system of thought, the delicacy of the language, and my growing knowledge of Asian arts and ideas, inspired me to express what I was seeing and learning through my artwork, creative writing, and thought processes.
I was known from an early age as a gifted I Ching reader. Any time a friend had a difficult situation or question, they would come and ask for an I Ching oracle. No one was ever disappointed, because the I Ching can and will speak to anyone about any aspect of life. And often an I Ching reading will open your eyes to something you weren’t seeing. During that type of reading I Ching answers might seem mysterious, or cryptic, but over time I have found without a doubt that it will often point, not to the particular answer of a petty question, but to the greater wisdom that lies beyond. In such case, I Ching seems to rise above the question in order to more profoundly answer, and as such, requires the seeker to expand their levels of awareness.
So there is unlimited value in that.