2020 Perfect Vision

Change, at Varying Temperatures

Our times leading into the year 2020 have been challenging and full of change. A culminating fruition of patterns, becoming clearer, in human consciousness. The way we think, the essence of our being, the things we do, the effects we engender, all as if coming to a boil on the gas stove of deeper understanding and love. The first order for 2020: Forgiveness. Get over it, move forward. The second issue is building trust, and the third is “Know thyself”.

I’m offering a reduced fee for the folks who, like me, in this seacoast town, are off-season. Even if you’re not off-season, you are welcome.

Winter discount:
Flat fee of 60 dollars per hour.
15 dollars for one question: 15-20 minutes.
20 dollars a person in group readings-up to 1/2 hour.

 
Simply contact me, we’ll set up an appointment and I will send payment details and instructions.

Thank you for visiting. Happy New Year!

2018, a Very Good Year

A special gift reading for a friend:

Hexagram #18, changes to #28

#18 – Work on What Has Been Spoiled

There are times when we need to strive for greater balance, or acceptance, and other times when we feel able to steadily go with the flow. In this case both streams of energy are working together, both the push/hustle towards a goal, while balance in steady focus is required to “work on what has been spoiled.”
I think of it as similar to the work required to repair and prepare a garden for Spring, after a long tough winter. If you love to feel your hands in the soil, it’s a joy. If you feel it is a chore, it is still something you need to accomplish. Either way, you know what to do, you are handling it. It is also dramatically evident in things like roads, bridges, buildings, being repaired.
Six in the fifth place: An individual is confronted with corruption originating from neglect in former times. He lacks the power to ward it off alone, but with able helpers he can at least bring about a thorough reform, if he cannot create a new beginning, and this also is praiseworthy.
Six in the fourth place: This shows the situation of someone too weak to take measures against decay that has its roots in the past and is just beginning to manifest itself. It is allowed to run its course. If this continues, humiliation will result.
Nine at the top: “Not every man has an obligation to mingle in the affairs of the world. There are some who are developed to such a degree that they are justified in letting the world go its own way and in refusing to enter public life with a view to reforming it.”1 But this does not imply a right to remain idle or to sit back and merely criticise. Such withdrawal is justified only when we strive to realise in ourselves the higher aims of mankind. For although the sage remains distant from the turmoil of daily life, he creates incomparable human values for the future.

1. Goethe’s quote after the Napoleonic wars is an example of this in European history.

#28 – Preponderance of the Great
There is something heavy in the middle, such as a freight truck over-filled with a great and valuable load. The balance is at a tipping point. Timely action to relieve the weight taxing the supports, is needed.
There is a natural expectation/sense when something is in need of direct and adept attention. Something has to be done, it may involve hard and hearty work, yet gentle attitude:
“It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the centre of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gentle penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous time.”

Providential Grace

“The idea of increase is expressed in the fact that the strong lowest line of the upper trigram has sunk down and taken its place under the lower trigram. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which the I Ching is based. To rule truly is to serve.
A sacrifice of the higher element that produces an increase of the lower is called an out-and-out increase: it indicates the spirit that alone has power to help the world.”

Hexagram 42, Increase

 
There are several hexagrams that come to mind, sharing the idea of accelerated growth, such as:

The Marrying Maiden (54), Abundance (55), Revolution (49), Ting (50), Gathering Together (45), Pushing Upward (46), Increase (42), Deliverance (43), The The Power of the Great (34), Progress (35), Fellowship With Men (13), Possession in Great Measure (14), even The Creative, #1 and the Receptive, #2.

The twist with Increase is that this surge of growth comes from a decrease of the higher in favor of the lower. The imagery calls forth society, business, politics, economics, etc.  We can hope that Increase in this way would be a blessing, while perhaps not sustainable. Some would see it as evening out of the odds, some would see it as lady luck, some would see it as the answer to a prayer.

In a way, it is like the idea of “turning the other cheek.” How often do we bear with insult and refrain from retaliation? If it is more than half of the time, we are contributing evenly but not fully addressing our intent. If it is all the time, then we have learned the meanings of both “turn the other cheek” and “to rule is to serve”.

Going further, to serve is to serve without wanting rulership, it is merely to do right in every situation. Is that kind of behavior only for saints? Can we manage it?

Backing down, it seems that there are many reasons why we do what we have to do. I am not saying that reacting is wrong, I’m saying stop a minute and measure how often you refrain.

How do I best choose my battles? (assuming this is a good question to ask the I Ching)

Kathi

Creating Reality

In every moment there is something inside of us which resonates with greater truth. And there is no moment better than right now. The simple curiosity and innocence of childhood is within our experience and can refresh the psyche and increase vitality.  There is a give and take in this universe, we are not alone, all things are connected. Experience is influenced by choice but is created after all from universal energy. Our minds, hearts, beings are made of the same substance as the stars.

I Ching opens up a window into that space of synchronicity. I notice often that the vibratory level of the question is raised through the answer. Thereafter one develops a knack for asking the right questions, because if one doesn’t, the Oracle will indicate something deeper that needs answering. A reading like that tends to be challenging because at first the expectation is limited to the content of the question. It may take conscious effort to connect to the truth of the message.

The greater truth is available as an avenue for growth, relaxation, grounding, expansion. Knowing where you are on your path through life on this planet is a gift, a jewel. Early on in my explorations of the I Ching I recognized the synchronicity of questions and Oracle’s answers, the process places one’s intention into high gear, so it’s good to be clear on what one’s intention truly is.

Three Coins
 
 
 

The I Ching and Beauty

Beauty is the word I choose with which to characterize the symbols, writings, symmetry and process of exploring the I Ching and the oracle. There are multi-layers of connectivity, in a matrix whose conductive paths range through points from poetry to science and beyond. One finds an art in the process, the way the movement of chess pieces is beautiful, the way Einstein’s theory is beautiful, the way a poem by Basho is beautiful. But there is an even deeper place of universal precision. I used to think of it as specified “cause and effect”, while at vibratory level, it is more akin to “interchange”. Though I’m an historically avid reader of I Ching, it continues to unfold an ever-widening perspective, new facets are revealed, the volume increases, the curve reaches higher — I continue my learning, and though I don’t have a doctoral degree, what would be called an ICMD (in case there ever is such a thing), discovery is beautiful too. When I say beautiful, I mean to say it evokes something sacred or heartfelt, inspires and perhaps even awes. The shape, movement, and other qualities bring something fundamental forward that resonates on a profound level.

Preponderance of the Small, Contemplation — Painting by Katherine Bloom

Preponderance of the Small, Contemplation — Painting by Katherine Bloom

I Ching can change your life

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.

Mathematics, Time, Perception

After a reading was completed recently, the extremely intelligent recipient, smiling, asked “What part of the universe are we speaking to?” The I Ching messages had been particularly meaningful throughout the reading.

ichingtimeline

Click to see Timeline of Events in Classical China

Though I have been studying I Ching and practicing the I Ching Oracle for over 4 decades, and search out every book written in regard to it — books deciphering the I Ching were written as far back as the Ch’ing Dynasty and new books on the subject consistently emerge. Having compared all available and current published translations, (the best in terms of depth, “poetry” and fullness is the Wilhelm/Baynes, imo) I would have to say the true origins are still a mystery, and perhaps no one knows. The beginnings of the I Ching go back several thousand years, and there are variances in interpretations through processes of translation and historic/cultural adaptations. The answer to the question for now would have to be “All and any whole or part.” The I Ching, and the hexagrams contained therein, constitute a paradigm of ancient Chinese philosophy that echoes through time. Both Taoism and Confucianism helped form the foundation of its teachings, while in practice any belief system can be enhanced by its practical advice. It continues to reflect the shape of the world today — western science, philosophy, theology, art, and culture have all benefited from the I Ching. The social, political, and spiritual ideas have a wealth of meaning for the world we live in now.  I Ching is said to have inspired the mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz in 1670 to create and document the binary numeral system (base 2) that eventually made it possible for our computers to exist, while scientists and scholars have also noted correlations between the I Ching and the genetic code.  I Ching has also been a vital source of information in philosophy, psychology and eastern religion, in understanding the nature of time and existence, and in finding answers regarding any of life’s fundamental as well as particular questions through the Oracle, and thereby inspiring an exemplary life. Some of the secrets regarding how the Oracle messages are derived can be found in the annals of the book, such as “The Great Treatise” section, the middle section in the Wilhelm translation. There, various ideations and comments are noted, with historical references and empirical concepts documented. There appears to be a profound numerical design to both the book itself, and in the methods of obtaining a divination. Carl Jung, in his forward to the Wilhelm translation, has named it “synchronicity” which might be the best way to explain how converging coordinates of time, space, matter, energy* create a point. I Ching is mathematically precise, while flexible and non-linear — it shows any and every given moment can be a learning experience and and an opening to a fundamental truth through the Oracle, using the “formulas” of the hexagrams that become “crystallized” — and any resulting gem has many facets. It is called the “Book of Changes” aptly — in that it shows a capacity to illuminate relationships between experience/events/feelings as they are in motion, without hampering the movement, while delivering an essential insight into dynamics and causes/effects. CH-CH-CH-CH-Changes! Then, in a way which seems magical to me, the words divined reach out and connect with the seeker, as if from a vast wellspring of consciousness, and become animate.  During the moments the coins are tossed, or the yarrow stalks counted, the phenomenon begins to occur, and a resulting combination of possibilities outline what the seeker needs, and answer what the seeker asks. It may be the essences of all four of *the above-mentioned coordinates and more, combined, or just plain luck, or synchronicity, as Jung would say. I like to think of it as a collective that emerges and connects, from a pansophy of Taoist sages, scholars, kings, emperors and philosophers whose breadth of experience and understanding pushed civilization forward in the times and discoveries of their day, and today inspires the hearts and minds of the current populace, who can join with ancient wisdom and renew lessons that never get old, with ideas that can be understood in any language with crystal clarity.

References can be found in the article “The History of the I Ching” by Jessica Burde, 2008

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Excerpt from “I Ching: A Biography” by Richard J. Smith

(from the Huffington Post 4/09/2012)

The following is an excerpt from ‘The I Ching: A Biography‘ by Richard J. Smith.

What makes a classic? First, the work must focus on matters of great importance, identifying fundamental human problems and providing some sort of guidance for dealing with them. Second, it must address these fundamental issues in “beautiful, moving, and memorable ways,” with “stimulating and inviting images.” Third, it must be complex, nuanced, comprehensive, and profound, requiring careful and repeated study in order to yield its deepest secrets and greatest wisdom.

One might add that precisely because of these characteristics, a classic has great staying power across both
space and time. By these criteria and by most other measures as well, the Yijing certainly fits the bill. And yet it seems so different from other “classics” that instantly come to mind, whether literary works such as the Odyssey, the Republic, the Divine Comedy, and The Pilgrim’s Progress or sacred scriptures like the Jewish and Christian Bibles, the Qur’an, the Hindu Vedas and the Buddhist sutras. Structurally it lacks any sort of systematic or sustained narrative, and from the standpoint of spirituality, it offers no vision of religious salvation, much less the promise of an afterlife or even the idea of rebirth.

According to Chinese tradition, the Yijing was based on the natural observations of the ancient sages; the cosmic order or Dao that it expressed had no Creator or Supreme Ordainer, much less a host of good and malevolent deities to exert influence in various ways. There is no jealous and angry God in it; no evil presence like Satan; no prophet, sinner, or savior; no story of floods or plagues; no tale of people swallowed up by whales or turned into pillars of salt. The Changes posits neither a purposeful beginning nor an apocalyptic end; and whereas classics such as the Bible and Qur’an insist that humans are answerable not to their own culture but to a being that transcends all culture, the Yijing takes essentially the opposite position. One might add that in the Western tradition, God reveals only what God chooses to reveal, while in traditional China, the “mind of Heaven” was considered ultimately knowable and accessible through the Changes.

The “absolute gulf between God and his creatures” in the West had no counterpart in the Chinese tradition. Yet despite its brevity, cryptic text, paucity of colorful stories, virtual absence of deities, and lack of a sustained narrative, the Yijing exerted enormous influence in all realms of Chinese culture for well over two thousand years — an influence comparable to the Bible in Judeo-Christian culture, the Qur’an in Islamic culture, the Vedas in Hindu culture, and the sutras in Buddhist culture. What was so appealing about the document, and why was it so influential?

For those who think of themselves as secular, rational, and scientific, the Yijing seems to be a work of “awesome obscurity,” full of unfamiliar symbols and cryptic sayings, and reflecting a worldview sometimes described as “mystical” or “prelogical.” And for those of a more religious disposition, the lack of a cosmology based on the willful actions of a god or gods seems equally puzzling. In either case the Changes appears to be little more than a series of briefly annotated broken and solid lines that have no meanings except for those arbitrarily imposed on them by centuries of often-conflicting Chinese commentaries.

Yet there is logic to the work, which, for at least three thousand years, China’s greatest minds have sought to fathom and articulate. Into the twentieth century, the Yijing occupied a central place in Chinese culture, from the realms of philosophy, religion, art, and literature to those of politics and social life. Thinkers of every intellectual persuasion found inspiration in the language, symbolism, and imagery of the Changes. The work also inspired many impressive artistic and literary achievements, and it provided an analytical vocabulary that proved extraordinarily serviceable in virtually every area of elite and popular culture, including science and technology. In premodern times, Chinese scientists used Yijing-derived symbolism, numerology, and mathematics to explain a wide range of natural processes and phenomena in the fields of knowledge that we now call physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, medicine, meteorology, and geology. And even today many devotees of the Changes see in the mathematical symbolism of the document the seeds of modern scientific theories, from the binary logic of computers to the structure of DNA. In short, to understand much of Chinese history and culture, we need to understand the Changes.

From the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) through the Qing (1644–1912 CE), the Yijing remained a work of enormous and unchallenged scriptural authority; everyone in Chinese society esteemed it and employed it in some way, from emperors and officials to artisans and peasants. Commoners used pages from the book as a charm to ward off evil, and scholars gave it pride of place as “first among the [Confucian] classics.” Although the document contains few explicit references to supernatural beings or supernatural forces, it has always had a profoundly spiritual dimension. Indeed, the Changes describes itself as “the most spiritual thing in the world.” By virtue of its spiritual power, we are told, the Yijing “lets one know what is going to come, and by virtue of its wisdom, it becomes a repository of what has happened.” But whereas most religious traditions, both East and West, have emphasized the activities of a god or gods as an explanation for cosmic processes, devotees of the Changes have long held the view that such explanations reside in the cosmic powers embodied in its lines, trigrams, and hexagrams.

The central preoccupation of the Yijing throughout the imperial era (from the Han to the Qing) was how to understand the patterns and processes of nature, and how to act in harmony with them. The most common term for nature in premodern China was Dao, usually translated as “the Way.” Although this longstanding metaphysical concept had neither a personality nor a particular identity, it remained an overarching unifying truth among the Chinese in the same general sense that concepts such as Yahweh, Allah, God, Brahman, and Ultimate Reality were in the Judaic, Islamic, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, respectively. To fathom the Dao was to understand the various types of change in the universe, from the cosmic to the mundane, from recurrent cycles of movement — ebb and flow, rise and decline, advance and retreat — to physical and metaphysical transformations. From this sort of understanding came an appreciation of proper timing and positioning, essential in a culture where the ritual ideal had always been to do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, facing the right direction.

The Yijing’s great prestige and multifaceted cultural role in China naturally commended it to several civilizations
on the Chinese periphery — notably Korea, Japan, and Vietnam — each of which had long been influenced significantly by Chinese philosophy, religion, art, literature, and social customs. In all these environments, the Changes enjoyed an exalted reputation, and in each it was employed in a variety of cultural realms, as it had been in China. The process of transmission in East Asia was relatively uncomplicated — in part because the classical Chinese language in which the Yijing was written served as the literary lingua franca of virtually all educated Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese elites until the late nineteenth century. Despite this powerful cultural common denominator, however, over time the Changes came to be used and understood in ways that reflected the particular needs and interests of the host environment, and in the process the Yijing became domesticated.

Similar processes of appropriation and adaptation took place much later in the West, but for somewhat different reasons and with sometimes radically different results. First, the Yijing had to be translated into various Western languages by scholars who had different levels of language ability and different political, religious, or personal agendas. In East Asia the Changes remained part of the dominant culture into the twentieth century, whereas in Europe and the Americas, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, the radical otherness of the Yijing led to its use primarily as a countercultural document. To be sure, some individuals — Christian missionaries in particular — tried to find affinities between the Changes and the Bible, and scholars of various sorts sought to understand the document on its own terms, as a historical artifact rather than a living document. But on the whole the Yijing served in the West as a tool for challenging the establishment rather than supporting it.

Excepted from ‘The I Ching: A Biography‘ by Richard J. Smith. Copyright © 2012 by Princeton University Press. To read more from this book, or learn about the “Lives of Great Religious Books Series”, visit Princeton University Press.

Equal Temperament

i ching symbolInteresting how Zhu Zaiyu, in China in 1584, was creating music based on mathematical ideas (Zhu Zaiyu was the first person to solve the equal temperament problem mathematically), while in Italy, Jacopo Brocardo (Anglicised as James Brocard(e), Latin: Jacobus Brocardus Pedemontanus) (c.1518 – 1594?), who was an Italian Protestant convert and biblical interpreter, had prophesied the year 1584 as the inauguration of a major new cycle.

The two figures frequently credited with the achievement of equal temperament are Zhu Zaiyu or Chu-Tsaiyu in 1584 and Simon Stevin in 1585. According to Fritz A. Kuttner, a critic of the theory,[1] it is known that “Chu-Tsaiyu presented a highly precise, simple and ingenious method for arithmetic calculation of equal temperament mono-chords in 1584” and that “Simon Stevin offered a mathematical definition of equal temperament plus a somewhat less precise computation of the corresponding numerical values in 1585 or later.” Both developments occurred independently.[2]

Kenneth Robinson attributes the invention of equal temperament to Zhu Zaiyu[3] and provides textual quotations as evidence.[4] Zhu Zaiyu is quoted as saying that, in a text dating from 1584, “I have founded a new system. I establish one foot as the number from which the others are to be extracted, and using proportions I extract them. Altogether one has to find the exact figures for the pitch-pipers in twelve operations.”[4] 

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Fu Xi

“Traditionally, Fu Xi is considered the originator of the I Ching (also known as the Yi Jing or Zhou Yi), which work is attributed to his reading of the He Map (or theYellow River Map). According to this tradition, Fu Xi had the arrangement of the trigrams (八卦 bāgùa) of the I Ching revealed to him supernaturally. This arrangement precedes the compilation of the I Ching during the Zhou dynasty. He is said to have discovered the arrangement in markings on the back of a mythical dragon horse (sometimes said to be a turtle) that emerged from the Luo River. This discovery is said to have been the origin of calligraphy. Fu Xi is also credited with the invention of the Guqin musical instrument, though credit for this is also given to Shennong and Huangdi.”

From Wikipedia, information about Fu Xi, who some consider to have been a mythological character.

iching, katherinebloom

Fu Xi, with the 8 trigrams and a turtle, as imagined by the Song painter Ma Lin