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I Ching on Obama

A round-up of readings from the run-up to the election, with thanks to Google.

The earliest pertinent reading I found was from 24th May:
What will an Obama presidency bring to the nation?
Now, there’s some ambiguity around this reading: for one thing, by July the original poster was saying the question had been different; for another, the hexagram numbers aren’t given, and there’s no actual translation of the lines. But the answer looks to be
49, Radical Change, changing at lines 2, 4 and 6 to 9, Small Taming.
Radical Change, hm? Not that I’ve been following the campaign closely from over here, but hasn’t ‘change’ been something of a theme?

Moving on to September, we have,
Will Obama become president?
The response was Hexagram 26, Great Taming, moving at lines 3 and 5 to 61, Inner Truth. Line 3 shows how much work was still to do, and no-one posting at the time ventured an interpretation, but both lines are favourable.

As far as I know, there’s just one I Ching reading online dedicated to McCain, and that’s at our own I Ching Community, where Willowfox asked about both candidates on September 21st – when the outcome still wasn’t obvious from the polls. Yi gave her 20.1.2 to 61 (Seeing Inner Truth) for McCain and 31.6 to 33 (Influence’s Retreat) for Obama, and she concluded it would go to McCain by a narrow margin – not an unreasonable response to a reading that mentions Retreat. (It’s a reminder, though, that the I Ching isn’t limited by its commentary. The writers of commentary take a very dim view of 31.6, but the text itself doesn’t mention good or bad fortune, just eloquence.)

Into October, and there’s,
Will Obama be the next president?
with the response 18.2.6 to 15: Corruption, and dealing with Corruption, with Authenticity. The writer concluded the corruption was America’s and Obama would shortly be dealing with it.

Then “Who will win the election?” – non-partisan author and a complex method, concluding it’ll be Obama.

This thread from the I Ching Community (October 19th) contains several interesting readings:

  • “Will Obama be the next President?”19.2 to 24
  • “Who will be the next President?”13.1.2.3 to 6
  • “What will be the world’s response?” 1.1.2.5 to 56

…and a second Hexagram 49 about Obama.

Then
Is Barack Obama going to be the next president of the United States?
received hexagram 11 in response – unchanging, apparently (though the writer might just not have known about or had access to changing lines – it’s not clear).

Here’s an interesting one: a worried Democrat on October 28th asking,
What do I need to know right now?
and receiving Hexagram 49 (surprise…) changing in the fifth place to 55, Abundance/ Feng. 64% of respondents to this post thought the reading meant an Obama win (while only 13% thought it was about a pet squirrel called Ralph).

And finally… on November 4th I found a Twitter message from _Darryl:
“I Ching, what can you tell me about Obama’s chances of winning tomorrow? Answer: hexagram 49”

(Radical Change. I think we get the idea.)

20 responses to I Ching on Obama

  1. Ah – one I missed! No doubt there are lots. Question – did anyone apart from Willowfox actually do a reading about McCain?

    By the way, do you like the link to your last post? I think you’re the first blog owner to comment since I installed the Commentluv plugin. Nice to know it works!

  2. My gosh, I am just a rank beginner, but it seems to me that asking the I ching who is going to win an election is like asking it to give you lottery numbers, or who is going to win at the horse racing track…… maybe i am missing something here, but this all seems to be not exactly the purpose or usage the i ching is designed for…

  3. Well… the I Ching is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t come with a manual to explain how to use it or what it was designed for. I think the most useful questions to ask are those that allow us to change what we do or how we are for the better, and asking for predictions is rarely going to do that.

    That doesn’t mean the I Ching can’t make accurate predictions, or that we can’t learn something from looking at predictive readings with the benefit of hindsight. Hence this post.

  4. Can’t believe I missed this one, from Jaliya: a full interpretation of 13.1.5 to 56, also with Obama in mind. Seeing 13 for the Democrat candidate reminds me of a reading last time around – see the end of this article on hexagram 13.

  5. Hilary,

    Just read the end of your article on hexagram 13, and it brought to mind a couple experiences of the last year or so when I’ve asked questions of the form “What possibility is there that x will happen?”

    What I wanted, of course, were predictions – how likely was x to actually occur? What I got – and it took a couple times of bewildered hindsight for me to get suspicious – were very literal answers: Here’s how the event of “x happening” is POSSIBLE (no matter, apparently, how slim the chance actually was).

    I had quite the little spat with Yi when this dawned on me, and I still think I’d prefer (as if Yi should care about my druthers!) that if something has very long odds of being pulled out of the fire by us mortals, that Yi just say so. I have no feel for where Yi draws the line between “here’s how it’s (barely) possible” and “it cannot be done,” but I’ve learned to be cautious around readings like this.

    Might this be an explanation for the Kerry-Bush reading (13.2.5 to 14)?

  6. Some perspective, upon realizing my comments are a bit bratty (!):

    My questions were (1) What chance of Tiger Woods winning (some major championship he ended up losing)? and (2) What chance of Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic party nomination? (this towards the end of the primaries when it was reasonably clear she wouldn’t but was still hanging on).

    My grounds for being peevish with Yi were that if THOSE two people couldn’t pull victory out of the jaws of defeat – despite some indication from Yi that they could – there’s vanishingly little hope for the rest of us…

  7. That’s an interesting suggestion for the Kerry reading.

    Maybe you could make life a lot easier for yourself by simplifying your question down to ‘What’ll probably happen for X in this contest?’

    It’s been my experience, though, that Yi is happy to play endless games with us in readings like this where we’re just asking out of curiosity – see this post, for instance.

  8. Asked on November 2nd about McCain:

    What is the likelihood that McCain will be the next president? 40.4.6>4:

    Releasing the thumbs also.
    Partners arrive, especially true.

    ‘A prince uses this to shoot a hawk, up on the high ramparts above.
    Nothing that does not bring harvest: he gets it.’

    Of course I didn’t find it very reassuring, so I asked a few qualifying questions and came to see that the answer I’d received was in the context of my hope that Obama would win. I breathed a sigh of relief (but began doubting it on election night and went on to neurotically bite my nails big time until it was called).

  9. > the Kerry-Bush reading (13.2.5 to 14)?

    My first thought was 13.2 = Kerry appealed only to those inside the Democratic tent, so to speak, which was a mistake, and 13.5 (I love the image in that line so much) was Obama’s campaign. Just thought.

    I asked about Obama’s chances a few too many times, and got some discouraging answers along the lines of 33, 12, and 23, usually in combination with something else. Late in the day I realized these responses were comments on my own emotional state, which was wild with anxiety. I often find that the yi will address only my emotional state, not the question, when my emotional state is too tumultuous to understand an answer.

    The last response I got, just a few days before the election, was 42-23. Which could and probably does mean a lot of things, but my immediate understanding was “it is going to be fine, SETTLE DOWN,” and I did.

  10. I discovered a post-it while cleaning yesterday, which was from an online reading on election night:

    How can I expect this evening to turn out for Obama? 17.3>49. Great answer! We did follow the responsible manager and let the small son (Bush, I think) go.

    And for McCain? 47.4>29. Election Night is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of watching the slow arrival of an elaborate bronze chariot. The solution came slowly and the end probably felt pretty shameful to him.

  11. To the question:

    Where would Obamas way lead if he comes up with essential points of view, with an essential way how an in which direction he would actually do “Change”.

    In opposistion to the Slogan: “Change, Change, Change”

    The answer was 53, 3,5,6 to 2

    Very encouraging, if he would state exaxt statements of requiremts for essential change.

    And that he did.

    Question was asked on 4th of June.

    The nex one was asked on 6th of November, two days after the election and was: What will be the Dao of Obamas presidency.

    54 unchanging.

    Now this will mean change, IMHO.

  12. 53, 3 There must be a permanent thread in your emotions, reactions and deeds, so others can expect what you will do next. If there is not, cooperation or building up a life together is not possible. This solid structure together is made by everyday small events.

    53, 5 What is part of your being or your aims will always reveal itself, and it will have more effect if it realizes itself day by day than by pouring out everything at one go.

    53,6 The spirit becomes rich by never letting the waterwheel stop, supplying the soul with slaking waters every living day. Only day by day one develops pureness, innocence, modesty. The moment the waterwheel stops, they are gone.

    2,0 The earth lies motionless, time after time. Nothing moves, nothing lives. *But deep in her darkness something is waiting.* Patient, or asleep.
    Then the energy and the vibrations of thunderstorms touch her, and suddenly she is all over vibrant with life. Lightning, thunder, rain, they come and go suddenly, * but a whole year of luxuriant growth has started*. Day after day more life, but the earth herself did not change. She is eternal dark, quiet and patient.

    From LiSes interpretation

  13. 54 as the dao of the presidency? That’s really interesting. It certainly makes sense that anyone entering that office does so as the Marrying Maiden, though I’d never exactly thought of it that way before.

  14. Some interesting stuff, but as for me, I just want to see what the next four years have in store, and I’ll use that as my guide. I had an I ching reading once, and none of it seemed to apply to my life whatsoever.

  15. Quite – readings like this aren’t really of practical use, they’re just interesting for people who study divination anyway. But if you had a reading done in response to a question of yours and it didn’t seem to apply, then the odds are you had a badly-interpreted reading.

  16. Fasinating website to read but i thought i ching was supposed to be used for personal reading not for predicting elections.. but it very interesting how the result have come out as a radical change which i guess obama is.

  17. Well, there are no stone tablets anywhere to tell us what the I Ching is “supposed to be used for” – though the personal readings seem to be the core of the thing, to me. I wouldn’t be remotely interested in it if all it could do was predict elections.

  18. It was one heck of a race, one of the most enthralling and exciting US elections in my lifetime. Mc Vain threw it all away really, he tried to motivate his base, but that just ensured that he would alienate all the moderates and independents.
    .-= badger´s last blog ..5 Great Marathon Ideas… =-.

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