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Blog post: Divination is a relationship

hilary

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Talking with Yi is a conversation – and with regular readings, we develop a relationship with the oracle. We habitually talk about it as a person: ‘Yi’ rather than ‘the Yi’; something we can ‘get to know’ rather than just ‘learn’; something that speaks. (The roots of the word ‘oracle’ are in Latin orare, ‘to speak’. Oracles can talk.)
The reason Yi speaks is, of course, because it has words of its own. Tarot speaks through images; Yi speaks through the patterns we call hexagrams, but also in words, like we do. I think this leads to a different experience of divination: having a conversation with a person, versus applying a system. Yes, just as with tarot, there’s a system of symbols to learn and apply, and skills to develop – and beyond that, Yi also has something to say. Yes, there’s water above heaven (clouds in the sky, inner constancy in the face of outer uncertainty, and so on…) – and also, Yi says, ‘Wait, with truth and confidence…’
Consequently, a lot of good divination advice is also good relationship advice. Talk openly and often; be honest and straightforward. Let no topic be off-limits. Have boundaries: keep your autonomy, don’t become dependent on having Yi tell you what to do. And so on.
Also, of course, we are actually talking to a 3,000 year old book, or something that speaks through the book – and however we conceive of this speaker, it certainly can’t get bunions. Talking with Yi is also not like talking with a human being.
This has a lot of implications. Some of them make it rather like talking to an infinitely wise person, beyond ordinary human limitations: someone who can’t possibly misunderstand your question, but whose ideas of what constitute good or bad fortune might be quite different from your own. However, another is that you will tend to hear Yi speak in your own inner voice.
By ‘inner voice’ I mean both the tone of voice, and also the kind of thing it can say. If your own inner voice is hypercritical, or sarcastic, or sanguine, then your Yi will tend to sound like this, too. Yi is not your inner voice, of course, and it can and will shatter that illusion from time to time and sound unmistakably other. However, it remains true that it’s harder for a pessimist ever to hear Yi being optimistic, or a laid-back character to hear Yi being fiercely critical, or vice versa.
And this is why, even though your relationship with the oracle is an absolutely individual one, and you are the only true authority on the answers you receive, it’s also good to share a reading with another person and listen to their response – because you get to hear the reading speak with a different voice. I’ve had a few I Ching chats with Change Circle members recently, and it seems to me that what I contribute is only partly familiarity and skill with the ‘system’ of how Yi makes meaning; it’s also how I make it possible for people to hear Yi differently. The same kind of thing happens in Clarity’s forums: ‘Here’s how I hear the reading,’ we say. ‘Does that resonate for you?’ And then, perhaps, comes that unmistakable sense of being spoken to.
 

diamanda

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Thanks for this super intriguing post Hilary!

Yi is not your inner voice, of course, and it can and will shatter that illusion from time to time and sound unmistakably other
A huge thanks for this particular statement.
You've phrased in a single sentence what divination really means.

All the points you make are so true and valid.

What I would like to add is:

The Serenity Prayer has immense wisdom in it, and the Yi reflects this totally.

THE SERENITY PRAYER
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
There are actual instances in the I Ching which state:
"you cannot divine" (e.g. 18.2, or 60), or,
"you can divine" (e.g. 25.4)

Equally, there are answers which say you can do something to change this, and others that say you can't.

It's very important to be as cool-headed as possible.
Then again, when we're really into the deep of a situation, and very emotionally involved, it's invaluable to seek outside opinions. Totally invaluable, I fully agree!
 

moss elk

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Useful post.

I don't think you intended it but,
the bold part below could easily be misread to imply that one cannot misunderstand their own reading. (Which we are each capable of) The sharing part is where the 2nd set of eyes may see what we mistook.


And this is why, even though your relationship with the oracle is an absolutely individual one, and you are the only true authority on the answers you receive, it’s also good to share a reading with another person and listen to their response – because you get to hear the reading speak with a different voice.
 

jukkodave

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We habitually talk about it as a person: ‘Yi’ rather than ‘the Yi’
The reason Yi speaks is, of course, because it has words of its own. Tarot speaks through images; Yi speaks through the patterns we call hexagrams, but also in words, like we do. I think this leads to a different experience of divination: having a conversation with a person, versus applying a system.

Also, of course, we are actually talking to a 3,000 year old book, Talking with Yi is also not like talking with a human being.

Yi is not your inner voice, of course, and it can and will shatter that illusion from time to time and sound unmistakably other.
The differentiation between the Yi and the Tarot in terms of words and images is useful to explain why somethings are best asked with one and some things best asked with t'other.

But it is like talking to a Human being, because we are talking to ourselves. The "Yi" cannot reveal anything that we cannot know anyway. It is an inanimate collection of translated words of varying quality, it has no consciousness of its own.
But as a tool to the inner world, whether that is the inner world of self consciousness or the inner world of more consciousness, it can be a valuable tool. If we use it like that and not just as a tool that removes much of our self responsibility.

It sounds like our "inner voice" because that is perhaps the only part of our consciousnesses that we know how to access consciously. The unconscious part, being rather more drect and honest, has no need to pacify fragile egos and will tell us very bluntly, shatter the "illusions" of the limits of the conscious part of us and remind us, what we know anyway, if we are behaving like fools.

Dave
 

moss elk

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The "Yi" cannot reveal anything that we cannot know anyway.
I'm curious if anyone else is curious about the meaning of this statement.

It seems quite certain, and possibly loaded as well.
 

jukkodave

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I'm curious if anyone else is curious about the meaning of this statement.

It seems quite certain, and possibly loaded as well.
Depends what you mean by "loaded". But simple logic, simple Psychology, just really straight forward
All it does is point out the obvious, that as the "Yi" is not a c"conscious "entity in its own right, that there is nothing external to us in any conscious sense, then it only what "we", as human beings , could know anyway, that is being revealed. The knowing exists in us already or we wouldt even be able tp make personal sense of any reading otherwise.

Dave
 

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