I just wandered over to Luis’ Yi blog, where I read that…
“Many people, with a only few years of reading and using the Yi, feel otherwise compelled to, and capable of, holding debates about it with those that have spent most of their life dedicated to its study. Even those life-timers, if sincere, will tell you that they are but mere students of something that cannot be exhausted.”
Now on the one hand, I understand his exasperation. This comes very naturally to me: I have an academic background and a healthy respect for the truth, I know what kind of work and humility is really involved in research, and those who dogmatically propound half-baked theories without doing the real work in any area drive me nuts.
On the other hand… I think there’s an important distinction to be made here. The Yijing is something to study, which is what Luis is talking about here; it’s also something to divine with.
It’s true that study – of your own journal of readings, of the Chinese classics, of the language, of the cultural context of the original text – always deepens and enriches divination. It’s also true that someone doing their first ever reading can have insights that elude the ‘life-timers’.
Divination happens in a moment of spontaneous connection and communication. The message isn’t just something you understand from the text; it’s something that arises somewhere in the space where you’re listening. To receive a reading that speaks to you, you don’t have to learn early old Chinese, or study the Great Learning, or even refer to your 40 years’ worth of reading journals. You only have to show up with your beads or coins and an open mind.