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Thread: Shang divination invocation

  1. #1
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    'Oh Nature, give us cracks; in these bones, a sign!

    Shang Dynasty began c. 1700 BC

    I wonder what a yarrow invocation would be like?

    I think it should contain references to the full moon, the ancestor's gaves from where the yarrow is harvested and that yarrow is round and spiritual, "those divine things!" last phrase taken from the Great Treatise.

  2. #2
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    Excellent subject, Sun! I think invocations are very important in Yi divination. They are rarely mentioned by the "experts," but no shaman would attempt an encounter with the Other Side without introducing herself/himself. Invocations make crystal clear what our intentions are in divining. Does anyone else use them?

    The full moon? I've always wondered why LiSe renamed her website to share emphasis between the Moon and the Sun. Not that I understand any of this planetary symbolism in any case. Can somebody explain what this "sun" and "moon" stuff is all about?

    Lindsay

  3. #3
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    Because I think Sun and Moon created the hexagrams of the Yijing.
    From winter to summer 6 moons
    From summer to winter 6 moons

    The ancient sundial of the Zhou was a Gui, a tablet which was at one end round, at the other end straight. At the round end a biao, a gnomon, which cast a shadow, longer in winter, shorter in summer. Midwinter is moon 10 (hex.2), the shadow goes across all lines. Midsummer is moon 4 (hex.1), hardly any shadow, and not dividing any line.

    LiSe

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    I tried to upload the animation, but it was too big, so you will have to look here:
    http://www.anton-heyboer.org/ and for the story click on the animation.

    LiSe

  5. #5
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    Dear Lindsay and Lise:

    the sun and the moon are also understood to be the two entities that have taken the Universal Divine One Energy and divided the two into yin and yang. The Buddhists say that throughout the universe this energy condition is extemely rare. Now when you look at a picture of a Buddha you will always see the sun and moon in the picture and understand its significance.

    The shang invocation was written of by this new professor who wrote the articles on shang and Zhou history that many of us are excited about.

    Sun

    another invocation:

    "May the water from the Heavenly Fountain cleanse our being. May the water from the Heavenly Fountain quench our spiritual thirst. May the water from the Heavenly fountain cure our wounds. May the water from the Heavenly Fountain bless us all."
    Hua-ching Ni, in speaking of the I Ching's image for itself, The Well (Hexagram 48)

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the clarification, Sun. Somebody on this website is going to ask you this question sooner or later, so it might as well be me: who is this "new professor" of whom you speak? We have some serious Chinese history and sinological buffs around here - Hilary, LiSe, and Bradford, to name a few - and all of us would like to know what you've read.

    Lindsay

  7. #7
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    Chung-Kwong Yuen of the Department of Computer Science, National University of Singapore. :


    The Zhou tribe totem was the bear which does relate to the Yellow Emperor, and in fact the tribal surname Ji's idiogram is "female" next to a bear footprint. Their founder Hou Ji was supposedly born by another Gao Xin wife, Jiang Yuan, whose name indicates descent from the Jiang tribe that claimed to be descendents of Emperor Yan and was later closely allied with the Zhous, and its chief Jiang Tai Gong was the Zhou army supreme commander, who was then granted the dukedom of Qi, hence the Qi pedigree from Emperor Yan, both ally and competitor to Yellow Emperor.

    The name Zhou seems related to their agricultural practice: the ideogram was originally a rectangle divided into four parts, each with a dot in the middle probably indicating seed or fertilizer, and the meaning of the word is "boundary", probably footpaths dividing fields into farming plots. The use of fertilizers to maintain productivity and retard soil exhaustion, and the use of boundaries to reduce top soil loss from water flow, were probably important agricultural inventions, which the Zhous may or may not have made.

    The name Hou Ji actually means Lord Grain; it is not clear whether the Ji is connected with the Ji used for the tribe surname(different ideogram). Ancient Tibetan books referred to them as "dragons", so apparently they inherited the dragon totem from the Emperor Yan tribes and took it westwards.

    The Zhous have a rather weird story about succession: the uncles of King Wen, the founder of Zhou state, were supposed to be so impressed with their nephew that they voluntarily renounced their claims to succeed their father so that their younger brother, King Wen's father, could later pass the chiefdom to him. In actual history, after their father's submission to Shang as vassal, the younger brother was allowed to marry a Shang princess, thus attaining a higher status - indeed part of Shang king's objective was to ensure that a close relative would rule the vassal state. Confucian scholars, however, eagerly seized on the story as a moral tale of virtue and modesty. This younger brother was initially well trusted by the Shang King, his cousin by marriage, and given authority to conquer western barbarians lands, but soon his success started to threaten the Shangs, and he was executed using some convenient pretext. Despite this, his son Prince Wen initially served the Shangs loyally and was allowed to marry the Shang King's sister (who did not produce an heir however - Prince Wu was born of the Youxin princess), but was himself imprisoned and probably died in custody, though the official story was that he was released after his ministers organized a successful bribe.*

    When his son King Wu set off the invade the Shang capital, he brought in a chariot the shrine tablet representing the spirit of his father, presumably to receive the blessing of King Wen in his effort to avenge all the wrongs inflicted on the Zhous by the Shangs. Zhou propaganda downplayed this issue however, preferring to see the war as heaven mandated assertion of right to rule rather than tribal vendetta. ***

    ***The accepted idea that the Duke of Zhou (King Wen's son) wrote the line statements of the Yi can also be questioned because the Duke spent most of his life at the Shang court and could have written down the line statements and hexagrams as part of his learning and training at the Shang court.

    ****You see here that the author says that a shrine tablet was carried into the battle of Mu rather than the dessicated corpse of King Wen as speculated by S. Marshall in the Mandate of Heaven.

    ***represents my own comments

  8. #8
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    Professor of computer science... probably not quite so reliable on early Zhou history as SJM!
    (Mind you, Steve is pretty good with computers, to judge by his site, so you never know, maybe it works both ways...)
    Next Change Circle gathering April 26th
    Post your reading here!
    (and pick up the 'Shadow hexagrams' pdf)


  9. #9
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    Just come across an interesting one:
    Centre for Zhouyi and ancient Chinese philosophy, Shandong university
    Enjoy!
    Next Change Circle gathering April 26th
    Post your reading here!
    (and pick up the 'Shadow hexagrams' pdf)


  10. #10
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    Thank you Hilary!

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