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Depth Readings - an old approach

kevin

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A friend recently told me that they were interested in depth readings but not in a conversational approach. They asked me my view.

Well more and more I do readings by a conversational approach.

I recently tracked down a missing friend for friend and found that he was OK and thriving? that he had a spiritual crisis and had hidden away to resolve it? also that he was drinking rather too much but was amongst friends? That he had contemplated going to a monastery and had rejected the idea? it took some 20 readings done very quickly ? in a ?conversational approach?.

No time for depth, grab the gist and ask the next question.

But I don?t always do this. If I am delving into deep spiritual questions I will most likely add the method of ignoring the text completely and merely consider the hexagram name, the trigrams and the nuclear hexagram.

For me, readings of the Yijing focusing heavily on its text alone can be conceptually problematic on two counts:

Firstly who were they who wrote the book with what in mind? What was their culture, their values, beliefs and mythology? ? What were the things they would have assumed the reader would have been aware of. We seem only to have shards.

The Chinese culture and religion seems to be the only major civilization where the religious myths have not been traced back to Ancient Sumer. Even the early copies of the Vedas of India show strong conceptual and linguistic roots in the Sumerian language. (No they were not originally written in Sanskrit but a script akin to the latter day Sumerian tablets).

So too does the Old Testament which, in Genesis, is a retelling (in brief) of the Sumarian myth of creation.

To this degree we are possibly even denied a common mythical/cultural root as an avenue into the Yijing.

So how should we use it?

There are many Han methods carefully recorded for us and yes we also know that there was a schism where the earlier levels of understanding may well have been lost (See Wang Bi). Research and exploration is a wonderful thing, but here I am drawing pictures about finding a basis for an everyday approach.

So here is an idea? All well known ancient cultures? Egyptian, Judaist, Greek, Early Roman, Hitite, Canan? (Not so sure of Mayan) had religious practices which were firmly focused on aiding the daily survival. The concept of heaven as a dwelling place for people came about with Christianity.

Earlier societies religious concerns were focused on survival health and thriving. In the middle east, during the Pax Romanis, (Roman Peace), every woman, on average, had to have 5 children just to maintain the population at a stable level. In that time even an abscess on a tooth would almost certainly end in death? and this was a period where the region was without war or significant famine? Without many children ones old age (35 ? 45) was likely to be short - Life was indeed hard.

And religion was certainly not always about propitiating the Gods with prayer and sacrifice? in early Greece the gods were held in healthy disrespect? they would be petitioned and if they did not respond they were actively ignored, shunned. The Gods played ball or they could go and hang! Different cultures and different beliefs.

I wonder who were the early users of the Yijing? What did they believe?

Yes we have the Yijing itself, the book of Songs and the Great History (which I have not yet read as I have not found it in English yet). These give us some idea, but much was overlaid and lost.

Therefore, for me, forcing every linguistic drop out of the text is really a job for a linguist. Dictionaries of the usage of the words in the period are a help, knowing as much of the myths and folk tales (undoubtedly included in the Yijing) helps more.

However there are many references which appear to elude us until we find the correct shards? Or are some meant to elude us? Which Wing was it where the writer wrote that no man can understand every hexagram? Does he/she think we are stupid? that we can?t study? I think the Yijing deliberately goes beyond the limits of the mind in a Daoist fashion.

This is the point where the demon of Jung is often summoned up? ?Well there are these archetypes, see? and they are common to all humans and so, well I guess, I can make some assumptions?? I think this is only partially true. I wonder how many folk actually take the time to learn the nature of the Chinese concept of heaven, one example, which appears so profusely in the Yijing and which is so very different from that of the Judeo-Christian concept?

I always feel like saying to those of Judeo-Christian backgrounds, who try to argue the Yijing?s concepts in that value belief systems, ?Look you are now on Venus! The air is methane? don?t bother me with discussions of oxygen, Please! Learn to breath it or I will be on my own whilst you will be hammering it out, on your back, in the dust.

There are many routes into depth reading? the Shuo Gua is one I like a lot. It gives me the possibility to play with concepts and interactions in the hexagrams which seem to go back to the oldest shamanic roots. Dealing as they do with ;classical primal images of Weather, thunder, wind, sun and a powerful nature with objects like Mountain and Lake/Marsh.

However the Han concept of line positions seems to hold true to the hexagrams ?idea? development as well and this can lead to further non text led investigation of meaning.

Having played around a lot with Nuclear Hexagrams, Crossline Omens and other patterns I have come to the feeling that they are wonderful at gaining a deep feel for the pattern of the Yijing, but are perhaps pushing the model too far in terms of what deeper meaning might be derived in a casting. However I think they have a lot to add to the contemplation of the Hexagrams.

So I have two core approaches? techniques for divination? and techniques for contemplation?

I too fell prey to the ?Han Temptation? of trying to find patterns wherever I could. Their ghost, like ?Ghost Riders in the Sky? is perhaps always with us.

However the oldest levels predate Han and even Confucian thought of morals, order and the mean.

The oldest layers, seem to me, to deliberately confound the mind. Now where else do we see this? Zen perhaps? Lao Tsu?

If the oldest layers were written in a Daoist vein we might expect, depending on the level of sophistication at the time, that they did not mean to inform the mind but to ?uninform the mind? to allow understanding to develop. Understanding, I believe, is almost contradictory to knowing.

One day I sat on a mountain side all night within earshot of a rushing stream. I watched a village a few thousand feet below? their comings and goings? the lights winking on and off. I imagined them, the families and the folk ? singles old people the policeman on night duty, the dying and those giving birth as well as the farmers need to ensure the crops and the welfare of the animals.

And I imagined them as an old Chinese village not necessarily being too sure what had happened even five miles away that day? not having weather forecasts and not having news. No health service and no indication of raids by bandits or of wars which might call upon the younf whose vigour they would need to get through the work and the season.

What, I thought, might they want of me, were I to be their ancient Chinese Shaman? And all night the rushing stream emphasized the ever present nature of time and the strength of nature.

Then I went down and read the Yijing, in a different light!

And still I strive not to know, but to understand by reading with my eyes half closed and the words a little blurry.

--Kevin
 

kevin

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Greetings old friend MegaB
happy.gif


Just re-edited... sorry

--K
 

hilary

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Wow it is.

Trying to get to grips with just one small part of this - <BLOCKQUOTE><HR SIZE=0><!-Quote-!><FONT SIZE=1>Quote:</FONT>


I recently tracked down a missing friend for friend and found that he was OK and thriving? that he had a spiritual crisis and had hidden away to resolve it? also that he was drinking rather too much but was amongst friends? That he had contemplated going to a monastery and had rejected the idea? it took some 20 readings done very quickly ? in a ?conversational approach?.<!-/Quote-!><HR SIZE=0></BLOCKQUOTE> Kevin, how did that work? You may or may not want to write out the full list of 20 readings, even if you can remember them all... but could you give maybe a small excerpt, to show how you narrow things down to arrive at information that specific?
 

dobro p

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"So how should we use it?"

Simple. Sit with what the oracle gives you until a usable meaning emerges. (Work with a text that you know has been useful for you in the past.)

If a usable meaning doesn't emerge, get some help with it here, or ignore it and move on.

You're making things way too complicated I think.
 
C

candid

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Nice, Kevin.

We do lose touch with the essential, living in the modern world. I wonder though if their questions then would be very different then as they are today. The young woman asking "what does Chou Lin think of me?" The trader asking "will this be a profitable year?" The ill asking "what herbs should I take?" Jungianism aside, has human nature really changed? Has nature itself really changed? After all, something sent the shaman alone to the mountain, then, as it was with you.
 

martin

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No, nothing changed, all same. You have airplane but doesn't matter.
What is name of young woman? Would like meet her.

Chou Lin
 

martin

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howmuch.gif
irked.gif
crazy.gif


Oh, forget had appointment, nice meet you Jiang Li, will phone ... err .. write you letter.
Bye bye!
 
C

candid

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Your loss is the wanderer's gain. I hear she cooks a mean Moo Goo Gai Pan!
 

lindsay

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Do we understand life in the Bronze Age? No. Do we live in the Bronze Age? No. Are our problems and their problems the same? No. Does it make sense to use a Bronze Age oracle to deal with our problems? Maybe. Do most experts on the Yi have a clue about bridging the culture gap? No. Can the gap be bridged? Probably not. So is it a bogus proposition to seek the historical and cultural roots of the Yi? Yes, it is always a speculative fiction, even for the Chinese. This is exactly the same position many Westerners find themselves in regarding Biblical religion. If you think you understand the Bible, read Leviticus carefully some time, then apply it to the present - if you can. But all this is beside the point. The point is, it's 2004 A.D. I am writing this on a computer connecting my home to the entire globe. My world is not the world of shamanism and animal sacrifice - that world is dead. I don't need a shaman, utterly useless to me. He offers me information, but I have more information than I can possibly use. The past is dead. I am not a hunter-gatherer. I am one in billions and billions of people alive today who are looking to the earth for support and the heavens for answers. I need a spirit guide for the 21st century.
 

bradford_h

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Hi Lindsay-
I've spent large chunks of time in my adult life hanging about with shamans, many from primitive cultures. Not the new age kind or the kind that charge money, but the kind you have to walk ten miles through the rainforest to visit. And on occasion I've been the first white man they've spoken to.
And let me say this about that:
They are still ahead of their time, and ahead of us. And no matter what century we are in, they still have a lot to teach us. Stuff that's relevant in any depth exploration of the psyche or any state of technology. You don't want to form your opinions about them from reading books and journals. You have to get up close and personal.
 
C

candid

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Lindsay, imo, anyone loony enough to be seeking answers by throwing coins or sticks, or utilizing cyber technology to the same ends, is entering shamanistic territory. It is completely irrational and superstitious behavior. Apply all the modern psychobabble and pseudo-scientific speculation we like; it is still belief and practice in magic.

If what you say (?He offers me information, but I have more information than I can possibly use.?) is accurate, you would not even be participating in these insane discussions, much less looking to an oracle for answers.

And the more provincial religions are no less superstitious. ?They? have their magical beliefs just as well. Step on a crack, break your mother?s back, and knock on wood. Praise the Lord and be healed. Turn water into wine and light a candle for the dead. Say ?bless you? when someone sneezes. Ask God for forgiveness.

I believe it is within human nature, then and now, to surpass our rationality and rejoin our ancestors dancing around the fire.
 

lindsay

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OK, guys, I'm wrong, you're right.

Brad, it's true I don't have any first-hand information or experience with shamans. I'd like to believe there is something very old outside the established religious traditions, but I don't know how to find it, at least the "real" thing, the authentic thing.

Candid, you are right about being superstitious. My own sense of it is very strong, and I am constantly amazed at how it affects my rational life. In fact, this is a huge topic I'd love to discuss at length.

Right now, though, I feel Kevin deserves a better response. I sympathize with his dilemma, but I also think Dobro is probably right about how to deal with the Yi. I hope to come back to it soon.
 

bradford_h

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Hi Lindsay-
This is an anecdote from my intro, just to give you an idea of the "primitive" wisdom these guys have to offer, at least when speaking among themselves or with peers. They still give the villagers and missionaries what they expect to see. The island was in Fiji.
Although he used mushrooms, a cousin of Datura and possibly toad venom, we never did these together. But he helped me learn how to dream properly.


In the early 1970's I went to stay with a shaman who served an island's population in an hereditary capacity. The local culture was beginning to move into the present era and had stopped practicing cannibalism a few decades earlier. The missionaries had begun the first stages of global enculturation - sixty miles from the nearest town the natives were now showering with their clothes on because they now knew their bodies were evil. But this shaman lived deeper into the rainforest and had never spoken with a white man before. I came to him bringing two questions: 1) In my culture it is believed that a person needs to be down as well as up, unhappy as well as happy, depressed as well as elated. Do you agree, or is it possible to be up, happy and elated all of the time? [I was asking if he was a counselor] and 2) I have been a student of people who perform your function in other societies and know some things about their methods. If I share some of these with you, will you share some of yours with me? His reply to me: "When you are up you have accepted your power, when you are down you have abandoned it. So instead of complaining, decide what you want. Then to answer your second question, if you have accepted your power these methods will come from you naturally. If you have abandoned your power, you can learn everything about these methods and they will still do you no good. Now why are you still here?" Here is a man from a culture that is far more primitive than the Zhou court, yet his degree of comprehension, his understanding of the human psyche, is already a few orders of magnitude greater than one who frets about the hopping of goats, the cleaving of shins or the twitching of captives.
 

jte

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Wonderful to juxtapose and then blend these two quotes:

"seeking answers by throwing coins or sticks, or utilizing cyber technology to the same ends, is entering shamanistic territory. It is completely irrational and superstitious behavior."

"They are still ahead of their time, and ahead of us."

And then factor in the knowledge (incontrovertible, I think, for most of us here) that the Yi does indeed work. So then, what are we (modern, Western, rationalist culture) missing? What are we, for all the very real power and benefits of the scientific approach, still not getting? That there really is a ghost in the machine?

Just food for thought,

- Jeff
 

martin

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Contrary to what many people seem to think I don't believe that our culture is more rational and less superstitious than other cultures, in the past and in the present.

Our science is a religion.
priests -> scientists
saints -> Nobel prize winners
magical rituals -> logical reasoning and experiments
language for the initiates (for example church Latin) -> mathematics
magical powers -> technical applications
one of the gods -> randomness
universities -> temples

Rational?
 

django

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Hi y"all
Interesting thread.I could be wrong, but,I think that all there ever was,was "shards" even for the ancient Chinese.
The Yi has been my daily "Bible" for around thirty five years and what it has taught me is, one has to correspond the shards in the Yi with ones own inner shards.
The "fools/Innocents" are then protected because this is extremely hard,dangerous demanding work.
When a young one demands that everything should be made clear on the plate the Spirit just smiles and moves on.
Django
 

kevin

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so much good stuff said here...

Will come back, but am working late (yet again)... Martin... eloquently put...lol

But... I have her Yi-mail address if you want it...

Thanks Brad on many counts - you open the space I am trying to move toward in the thread
happy.gif


--K
 
C

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Back in the early 70s I spent a weekend in Swami Satchidananda's retreat, in upstate New York. Granted, it wasn't in a secluded cave somewhere in Tibet, but the power in the gathering area while in his presence was remarkable. When he spoke, the room seemed to come alive with a glowful joy.

The questions were then, and still are: was that power generated through the crowd's inner desperation for relief from their suffering? Was it generated through their hope and expectation? Or was it really the bearded old swami's spirit?

Brad, curious here. If you met this same guy on a subway in NYC and he was reading the Wall Street Journal, would you have lent so much power to him or his words? Like the Swami, he didn?t say all that much.

Hbr 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

It's a funny world we live in.
 

bradford_h

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Interesting question, Candid.
He was blind so it would have been the braille edition.
But he introduced himself the night before I met him, when one of his two totems (the friendly one) played with me in a dream. I think he would have been expecting me on that bus and maybe tripped me or something. I wouldn't have been sensitive enough at the time to know him like that.
He did really like simple thought though. Of all the philosophers I introduced him to in the next two weeks, he liked Laozi and Zhuangzi the most.He really liked to laugh too.
 

lindsay

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Since President Bush seems willing to reorganize the US government at need, and since prominent members of his party have benefited from divination in the past, I wonder what would happen if he established a cabinet-level Office of National Divination, perhaps similar to the Supreme Court, with a panel of appointed distinguished diviners led by a Chief Diviner reporting directly to the President.

This would bring divination into the mainstream, in this country at least. Would we be better off or not? Seriously, how comfortable would you be if Bush consulted the Yi on every important policy issue before acting?
 

lindsay

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I forgot to mention this is not a politically-motivated question. I could have used any world leader as an example. My question is, what would it feel like to use the Yi for the purpose it was originally intended?
 

bradford_h

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Hi Lindsay
To my knowledge, the last person to do this faithfully was the Emperor Kang Xi (1655-1723) of the Manchu Qing Dynasty. He's the one who commissioned Li Guangdi to assemble the Zhouyi Zhezhong.
Reportedly he would hire and fire his top level people based on the Yi's advice. Apparently too he got pissed off in an Imperial way when he caught a diviner putting spin on an interpretation.
 
C

candid

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Brad, thanks for the introduction. He seemed interested then in hearing about such things as Laozi and Zhuangzi? Interesting.
 

bradford_h

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Zhuangzi had him rolling on the mats laughing.
He also really liked Aesop's fables (I wish I'd had the new unabridged Aesop at the time).
Nietzsche amused him too but he wasn't familair enough with the western culture that Friedrich was hammering on to realy understand what the fuss was about.
 

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