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"Fixing the Augury"

dfreed

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The Master said: 'The men of the South have a saying: "A man without fixity will not make a shaman-healer." How right! "Not fixing the power of an augury will lead to failure."' The Master said: ‘They do not simply read omens.’

This passage is found in the Analects, a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to Confucius (i.e. 'the Master'). An 'augury' can be thought of as an omen, or as a particular response from the Yi.

We find 'fixing the augury' (or not) a few times in the Zhouyi (hexagram and line statements), for example:
Line 32.1: 'Firm fixing (nothing favorable)'
Line 42.6: 'Stand firm. Do not perform a fixing rite.'

And we also find 'fixing' in the Ten Wings (Yijing Commentaries), for example:
Wing 4, about 32.1: 'disastrous firm fixing; seeking too much at the start'.
Wing 6 - Dazhuan, about 42.6: 'Not enriching him, maybe striking him. Stand firm. Do not perform a fixing rite - disastrous'.

(All of the above are from Richard Rutt's Zhouyi.)

*******
I understand this idea in at least a few different ways; Fixing the augury - the omen, the Yi's response (not in order of preference, correctness, or historical accuracy):

I. Performing one kind of divination, then another: i.e. divination using tortoise shells (oracle bones), followed by yarrow stalk divination (the Yi).

In this case, 'fixing' meant to confirm or to get more details about a situation - perhaps that the oracle bones might give you an accurate, but very broad understanding, whereas the Yi might then provide more details.

In another example a diviner - or shaman-healer - first offered a response based on the person's name and the name of where they lived, and they felt both of these were auspicious. They then went on to offer a response based on the Yi.

II. Performing a specific 'fixing' ritual, ceremony, or sacrifice to ensure - or help ensure - the omen (reading, augury) will happen.

I have heard this described by Stephen Karcher: that along with pig rituals, or river god rituals, etc. there were (are) also 'fixing' rituals, and perhaps accompanying offerings and/or sacrifices. (See my post 5 below for more on what Karcher says about this)

This reminds me of 'fixing' dye color to yarn or fabric, as a way to make it longer-lasting (and not have it fade or run).

This also reminds me of what may have been rites, rituals, sacrifices ... to ensure success - though perhaps these were not specifically fixing rites, or were meant for 'fixing the augury': a ruler would ask about victory in a particular battle (the augury, omen, divination), and they would also attempt to ensure success by sacrificing captives or by performing other sacrifices and rituals, both before and after the battle that they asked about.

III. Using the Yi (or another oracle or divination system) so that a diviner not only made predictions about a situation, but also offered action(s) that would influence and change the situation.

This suggest the idea of the Yi's transformation from an oracle to a 'book of wisdom' - or a melding of these two. I also see this reflected in Confucius' words, that shaman-healers 'do not simply read omens.'

My understanding is that in ancient China - as now - diviners (using Yi or oracle bones), and shamans, and healers were often different, seperate people and professions, though they could be combined; the same is true in our modern world, where we can have tarot card readers, and also people who use and interpret the Yi, and also medicine women, and also acupuncturists and doctors and therapist, etc ...

... and we can also have combinations of these: an acupuncturist who also consults the Yi, or an herbalist who also reads tarot cards, a therapist or yoga teach who also teaches meditation ....

IV. Similar to Rutt, Edward Shaughnessy describes this idea of fixing as 'making constant'; John Blofeld refers to 'assuring continuance' and '(in)constancy of heart' ... and ....

V. Fixing the augury' means following through with the Yi's insights, or suggested actions ....

Since most of us in the modern world do not perform rituals and sacrfices in the same way - or to nearly the same extent - as was done in ancient China (and elsewhere in the ancient world), this last idea perhaps best fits with how many of us now use the Yijing:

.... we get information / insights about a particular situation we queried the Yi about, and we then make use of this information and/or we follow through with the Yi's recommendions and suggestions - including taking specific actions, or changing our perspective / point of view, or changing our attitudes, etc.

For me, this last way of 'fixing the augury' has an aspect of confirming or 'fact checking': that we consult the oracle, then follow it's advice or make use of the information we've been given, and then we can know for ourselves if the oracle worked for us, or perhaps if we understood it correctly (or not)!

Example -- I once asked about someone who was particularly difficult for me to to communicat and interact with. Looking only at the trigrams and the moving lines, I got a sense that this person was dealing with - or acting from a place of - imbalance (Water below), and this resulted in their 'acting out' - responding to their inner conflict in ways that were outwardly irrational or inappropriate (Thunder above). (Note: no one on this forum.)

In this case, what I asked the Yi was more along the lines of 'give me information about ...', however, just having this information was enough for me to 'fix the augury' - by responding in ways that worked for me, and I believe didn't further fuel the flames.

Best, D
 
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hilary

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We find 'fixing the augury' (or not) a few times in the Zhouyi (hexagram and line statements), for example:
Line 32.1: 'Firm fixing (nothing favorable)'Line 42.6: 'Stand firm. Do not perform a fixing rite.'
It's good to know that what's translated as 'fixing' is heng 恆, the name of Hexagram 32, so we can learn more about it from LiSe.
 

hilary

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II. Performing a specific 'fixing' ritual, ceremony, or sacrifice to ensure - or help ensure - the omen (reading, augury) will happen.

I have heard this described by Stephen Karcher: that along with pig rituals, or river god rituals, etc. there were (are) also 'fixing' rituals, and perhaps accompanying offerings and/or sacrifices.

This reminds me of 'fixing' dye color to yarn or fabric, as a way to make it longer-lasting (and not have it fade or run). It also reminds me of what may have been 'fixing rites' for the ancients: a ruler would ask about victory in a particular battle (the augury, omen, divination), and they would also attempt to 'fix the augury' by sacrificing captives (or by performing other sacrifices and rituals), both before and after the battle that they asked the Yi or oracle bones about.
I've never seen a suggestion that this required major sacrifices, have you? Rutt:

"Waley suggested that a heng ceremony was a rite for fixing an omen as a mordant fixes dye. It may have been as simple as burying an oracle bone or drawing a circle round a place."

That reminds me of graffiti carved onto school desks: you don't just carve 'Lucy+David4eva', you add a heart round the words. Or several concentric ones, to make sure. The boat (or the moon) goes to and fro, to and fro, between the two shores: a round trip, representing continuity.

He goes on, "Gao takes heng to mean 'patience'," and under 32 says Kunst doesn't believe in heng rituals either.

That's for 5.1, where at the outskirts altar it's fruitful to use heng. Its next appearance is 16.5: 'heng, not dying'. Rutt goes with Waley: 'Perform the heng ritual and there will be no death.' That seems plausible: something to strengthen the bonds of the spirit to this plane. Then there's 32, and then 42.6.

I'm going to look this up in some more books.
 

dfreed

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Hexagram 32, ... we can learn more about it from LiSe.

LiSe writes:

The old diviners gave this combination of trigrams a name: Héng, a ferry, or the moon with its phases. It is a description of things which always follow the same basic pattern, with the result that they are steady and persevering.

I can see this applying to both the meaning of this hexagram (this combination of trigrams), and also to a specific 'steadying-perservering' ritual. (Also see the video at the end of the next post, where Han Boering talks about the small boat, ferry of Hex. 32)

Richard Sears breaks it down a bit differently: the character for heart plus the phonetic (sounds like) character for the sun's path = constant, regular, persistent. (Perhaps Sear's decomposition may apply to later - or more recent - meanings for Heng? I'm not sure.)

Best, D
 
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dfreed

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I've never seen a suggestion that this required major sacrifices, have you? .... It may have been as simple as burying an oracle bone or drawing a circle round a place."

Yes, I agree, and I've edited / changed II. above to reflect this.

Reflecting on Confucius' words (that we started with, above) Stephen Karcher says: How true! Not fixing the de (the spirit's power and virtue) of an omen leads to failure. Just reading it is not enough. Such fixings range from literal rituals through (to) meditations that 'fix' the heart to ceremonies of marriage ....

"Gao takes heng to mean 'patience'," and ... Kunst doesn't believe in heng rituals either.

I gather that all (or almost all) Yi scholars and authors think that words in the Yi can have different meanings, and also change over time.

Richard Rutt provides examples of the process of vocabulary (word meanings, usage) change, for Heng and other terms (p206-7):

HENG: sacrifice > OFFERING (how he uses it) > make offering > get offering received > penetration > SUCCESS (its use/meaning since Han times).

These changes in meaning and changes over time make me think that Heng can be a lot of different things:

* Heng as an offering

* Heng as a 'fixing ritual' - the subject of this thread - and as Karcher mentions, there are a 'range' of fixings (which I touch on, I, II, III ...)

* Heng as the name of hexagram 32 (trigrams Thunder above, Wind below)

* Heng as a character with many different meanings:
----- long term, fixed, perseverance, law, often, stretch, continuous, appearance of the moon, last quarter of the moon, weeks (LiSe);

----- duration, continuity, endurance, steadiness, constancy, consistency, ... (that which) endures, survives; (to be) regular, lasting, chronic, persistent, perennial, perpetual, prolonged; (to) last, go on, endure (changes) .... (Hatcher)

The boat (or the moon) goes to and fro, to and fro, between the two shores: a round trip, representing continuity.

Here is a video of the late Han Boering doing a reading about Hex. 32. He talks about trigram Wind as a boat or ferry going back and forth - and also about how we can understand Heng - through the interaction of trigrams Wind below, Thunder above:

In this moment you set your course (Wind) and you react to impulses (Thunder) you get from the outside ....

The hexagram is depicted with a little boat (one association for Wind), a ferry that goes to and fro between the shores of a river .... which returns to its starting point, and in this way there is continuing (LiSe's steady and persevering) development.

 
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my_key

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I really like this kind of exploration of divination. Here's my contribution:

'Fixing the Augury'; 'Fixing the Omen'; ' Making an Offering'; 'Making a Sacrifice' are all very much based in the shamanic roots of Yi. In those times heng was necessary for the wu-intermediaries to be able to fully and enduringly manifest the guidance from their spirit connections. There needed to be a ritual completed that symbolised the 'fixing' of the new spirit energies so that the message would become embedded.

For example, a shaman may place an effigy of the power animal he has just encountered during his journeying onto his medicine wheel or altar. The effigy could be a model or a drawing or some other symbolic representation such as a stone. In this way the spirit influence begins to be fixed.

These days the 'fixing' can still use rituals or symbolism that act as the bedrock for actions to be taken, or desisted from. This will allow the spirit influence to renew our situation. Additionally, too persevere in helping to grow the seed that has been planted during the consultation we have to complete symbolic actions that make the new bond more secure.

These 'fixing' rituals and the way we follow through on the message must stem from the heart. So in this day and age we might meditate on a reading; write down our interpretation of the message conveyed; reflect over a few days and notice how the message changes or becomes clearer; do a drawing of what the message means; create some other meaningful image / symbol - a piece of craftwork, a sculpture etc; write a single meaningful word; create a detailed action plan; display your created image / symbol in a prominent place (fridge magnets are good aids for this) or place a new stone / object on your altar.

Importantly we have to also set intentions for change rooted in the message and then manifest these intentions. This shows that you have taken the message to your heart and have avoided the potential failure associated with just reading the words of the hexagram in a book.

Your 'ritual' offering can be just the time you have devoted to making the message a significant part of your world, or the 'ritual' sacrifice might be that which you have released or changed.

Fixing the Omen is, I think, about giving yourself the best chance for change through the flexing of your power and virtue - perhaps some of which is only newly acquired. The phases of the moon have to work their magic and the ferry has to set sail, however in either case it is important to demonstrate that you are committed and on board for the journey. When we have shown our commitment to the message, the new patterns in our life required for success then become fixed. Thus, the Noble One establishes the new borders that have emanated from the spirits so that he may receive the new blessing.
 
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dfreed

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'Fixing the Augury' ... are all very much based in the shamanic roots of Yi.
I know it sounds kind of cool, but I never quite get what people mean when they talk about the Yi's 'shamasnic' roots?

We know it has roots as an oracle, and with divination and was tied to seeking responses from the ancestors, but that doesn't mean or imply it's 'roots' are related to shamanism, or shamanic practices? Of course, someone might assume that, or have a different understanding of what shamanism is.

Maybe you can help me understand then, what you mean by the 'Yi's shamanic roots'? Are you perhaps speaking more poetically (as Karcher does) or metaphorically (or mythically), or maybe you're using Shamanic' as a sort of catch-all idea, where we can gather lots of stuff we think - or assume - is related to the Yi?
 
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my_key

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I know it sounds kind of cool, but I never quite get what people mean when they talk about the Yi's 'shamasnic' roots?

We know it has roots as an oracle, and with divination and was tied to seeking responses from the ancestors, but that doesn't mean or imply it's related to shamanism, or shamanic practices? Of course, someone might assume that, or have a different understanding of what shamanism is.
The etymology of the word 'shaman' indicates 'a person who 'knows''. Oracle readings and divination were usually carried out by individuals who were able to interpret the meaning of the symbols or the oracle. They 'know' while others do not. My hunch is this type of person was the go-to guy for interpreting the oracle.

Shamanism has many forms however is generally accepted as a practice that involves a gifted individual who can interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance. These states were very often induced through psychedellic substances being imbibed. In the altered state it is easier to connect with spirit guidance or to bring them, their energies or their message back into the physical world. They can then impart healing or use the energies for other purposes including oracle and divination practice. One of the most famous oracles, the Oracle at Dephi, was reported to have been high (i.e. an altered state of awareness) on gaseous emissions from the rock surfaces around her abode for all of her consultations.

Ancestor worship is also a big thing in many indigenous cultures that still practice spiritual healing and oracle work much of the latter being seen as having conversations with the dear departed from your lineage. Shamans in these cultures are greatly revered for their wisdom and insights.

Oracle roots? Shamanic roots? - you can call it what you like really. You seem to be looking for incontravertable proof I'm happier to interpret a shed load of circumstantial evidence based in experience. For me it does not in the least sound 'kind of cool' voicing a shamanic connection. It's more a case of repecting the possibility of such a connection in a celebration of the fullness of the ancestral roots of this wise old practice we all indulge in on this forum.
 
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dfreed

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The word 'shaman' indicates 'a person who 'knows''. Oracle readings and divination were usually carried out by individuals who were able to interpret the meaning of the symbols or the oracle.

Shamanism ... (is about someone) who can interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance ....

I agree, Yi diviners were / are those whom can understand / interpret the responses we get from the Yi - and I think many of us are on this forum to hone our craft.

My definition (and understanding) of 'shamans' and 'shamanism' includes these trance-like states being a necessary part of shamanism. However, we don't need to induce a trance or other altered state to interpret or understand the Yi.

So it seems we're using the term in very different ways.

And you'll have to excuse my dig at being 'cool'. Being a diviner or shaman, or a Buddhist, or Taoist, etc. are all valid; it's just that I've grown up in a time and place where things like gurus and shamans, and being 'unattached' or conversely, 'prosperity consciousness' - or 'the power of myth' or things being 'archetypal' were 'in vogue' at different times. It reminds me of someone I know now who goes around bragging she's a 'life coach', which is a cool way of saying she's trying to practice counselling or therapy without the proper training or license.

PS - I just queried 'shaman' on the internet and the first entry was "60-Minute Online Shamanism - Workshop" (eye roll). And I found this definition, which is how I understand shamans and shamanism:

Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner who is believed to interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance.

However, it seems you are applying a much broader definition than the one I use.
 
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dfreed

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the Oracle at Dephi, was reported to have been high (i.e. an altered state of awareness) on gaseous emissions from the rock surfaces around her abode

Tibet has a tradition of oracles, but I don't think it involves people taking substances to induce their trance states. And the Oracle of Delphi being high from emissions - that just sounds like it might be a modern stoner fairy tale to me. But it makes me curious (and suspect) who 'reported' this?

I recently read something by Michael Kenna - an ethno-botanist (who took lots of magik 'srooms) and Yijing enthusiast - where he equates a supposedly ancient, matriarchal 13-month, 384-day lunar cycle / calendar with the 384 lines in the Yi - and he went on to describe how this calendar freed those matriarchal-lead societies from the more dominant, aggressive male sun cycle cultures ....

It's what you get when you mix (and mix up) a few too many drug-induced shamanic trances with one's understanding of the Yi. For one thing, it leads to a completely fabricated history (including the history or 'roots' of the Yi), but one that does sound pretty cool!

But perhaps you're referring to something different than this.
 
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my_key

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Tibet has a tradition of oracles, but I don't think it involves people taking substances to induce their trance states. And the Oracle of Delphi being high from emissions - that just sounds like it might be a modern stoner fairy tale to me. But it makes me curious (and suspect) who 'reported' this?
You are right! Altered states of conciousness are not always induced by people taking substances. Follow your curiosity.
I recently read something by Michael Kenna - an ethno-botanist (who took lots of magik 'srooms) and Yijing enthusiast - where he equates a supposedly ancient, matriarchal 13-month, 384-day lunar cycle / calendar with the 384 lines in the Yi - and he went on to describe how this calendar freed those matriarchal-lead societies from the more dominant, aggressive male sun cycle cultures ....
Many cultures have found ways to free themselves from Sun dominance to Moon or Mother Earth ways of being.
It's what you get when you mix (and mix up) a few too many drug-induced shamanic trances with one's understanding of the Yi. For one thing, it leads to a completely fabricated history (including the history or 'roots' of the Yi), but one that does sound pretty cool!
Really!? Is that what you get?
But perhaps you're referring to something different than this.
All things are connected.

Back to Shamanism v Oracle.

No worries feel free to dig at whatever you like. All digs are shaped by our experience. It is good you speak your truth based on your experience
My definition (and understanding) of 'shamans' and 'shamanism' includes these trance-like states being a necessary part of shamanism. However, we don't need to induce a trance or other altered state to interpret or understand the Yi.
We are on the same page here. However, maybe the work of our ancestors - Wilhelm, Legge, Cleary et al - has made the 'knowing' easier to access for us mere mortals, allowing a degree of successful divination to be achieved without trance. Back in the early days though those guys who 'knew' didn't have a corner bookstore handy so had to go find the author to get the lowdown.

One last thing, which I missed from my earlier post. The Yi and many of the writings around it, down the ages, I agree, do place great importance on a 'Fixing of the Augury', as you outlined in your Oracle-based perspective. 'Fixing the Omen', believe it or not, is also a key stage in many, if not all, shamanic practices - whether they are trance induced or not.

Take Care
 
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dfreed

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I see this - in large part - as being about how we view 'shamanism' - as either a specific practice or more broadly as something coming from - or through - 'those who know'.

Many cultures have found ways to free themselves from Sun dominance to Moon or Mother Earth ways of being.

I'd be interested to see examples of this.

The only 'cultures' I've seen whom have done this are modern 'moon' based religions, but I sense (ie. including my bias) that what they are doing is largely mimicing what they think ancient 'matriarchal' societies did. But seeing some examples of this, may sway my stance here.

As I understand it, most ancient cultures recognized both the sun and moon, and their respective cycles and importance. Many ancient cultures kept records of both the solar and lunar cycles, and many blended the two into a lunar-solar calendar, which is the pre-cursor to our modern 'Gregorian' calendar, which has months - or moon cycles - and a yearly (seasonal) cycle.

And even today many lunar-based calendars are adjusted so the two cycles are brought into sync, often by including a 'leap' month which again brings the two cycles into sync.

But to see or seek 'dominance' of one natural 'cycle' over the other (regardless if it's moon over sun or sun over moon) seems to me to be fabricated - whether it was done by the ancients or - in the case of Micheal Kenna (correction: Terrance McKenna) - by a modern guy.

dfreed said:
It's what you get when you mix ... a few too many drug-induced shamanic trances with one's understanding of the Yi. For one thing, it leads to a completely fabricated history (including the history or 'roots' of the Yi), but one that does sound pretty cool!
Really!? Is that what you get?

Well yes, that is one of the things I get from this.

The ancients did keep track of the moon cycles and they also kept track of the sun's seasonal cycle, and ended up blending both of them.

But as far as I know, there are no 13-month, 384-day ancient calendars (as Kenna (correction: this is Terrance McKenna) suggested there are/was). Such a calendar would be of limited use to any ancient culture or society: as a reckoning of the passage of time, the seasons would very quickly get out of whack: you'd end up with the summer solstice happening in the 3rd month, then the 4th month, then the 6th month ....

As far as I can tell, this 13-month, 384-day is based on one man, Kenna (correction: Terrance McKenna), using his intellect, and combining two completely unrelated ideas (moon cycles and the number of Yi line statements) to create a calender that does not exist and would be largely un-useable if it did exist.

Call me cynical, but I can't imagine any ancient culture - matriarchal or otherwise - of createing a made-up, useless way of reckoning time, nor how this would 'free' them in any way.

maybe the work of our ancestors - Wilhelm, Legge, Cleary et al - has made the 'knowing' easier to access for us mere mortals .... Back in the early days though those guys who 'knew' didn't have a corner bookstore handy so had to go find the author to get the lowdown.

Why do you assume that it was just 'those guys' who knew - who had this knowlege? I expect there are lots of ways to pass down traditions and wisdom that don't necessarly have to include trance-states: myths and ancient stories, the oral tradition of passing along practices, beliefs, knowledge ....

It is fine if you want to include trance-states (drug-induced or no) in this tradition (and this may well be true!), but there is no proof or history or archeological evidence of these practices related to the Yi - as far as I know.

- but perhaps more to the point ...

Fixing the Omen', believe it or not, is also a key stage in many, if not all, shamanic practices

I'm not sure what 'fixing the omen' means in this shamanic context. Can you provide some examples and definitions of how and where this was/ is being used?

One overall idea I have - and probably where we're seeing things differently - is that I prefer (and am willing) to just let the Yi be the Yi, and in the same way as I'm willing to let other traditions, beliefs, divination systems be what they are - be it Mongolian shamanism, Tarot, Tibetan oracles or Buddhism, or Christian prayer.

There are most definately 'correspondences' overlapping meanings and ways of seeing (Yi and Tarot; Yi with Jungian thought, etc.), but I don't think this necessarily means they have shared histories or ways of creating resonance.

Making connections - creating a resonance - with the greater (vast) universe may be part of who we are as a species - maybe it's 'written into' our DNA. But I think this has developed in different, seperate, and unique ways across this planet - and I don't feel the need 'connect' these to make any one of them (the Yi, tarot, the Bible, Buddhism, Ifa, shamanism) be valid.

But I gather that you do want to make these connections, and give some importance to them. As a way of understanding the Yi, this is of fine (and for some, perhaps necessary), but I don't think we should make up stuff, nor bend (or make up) history in order to somehow validate these connections we want to make.

And if we do, we often end up are fabricated histories and connections:

* I read a pseudo-academic paper where someone (a guy) tried to draw a connection between the Ifa oracle, oral tradition of the Yoruba people of Africa and the Yi, and how Ifa was the what the Yijing came from (in part because he felt the Chinese were too stupid or uninventive to have come up with their own oracle!)

* I was in a long discussion with someone (a guy) who created his own Yi (with Hex. 33 as the first hexagram), and offered the Yi's 'history', which included ancient (but unidentified) matriachal cultures, and tracing the Yi's 'roots' all the way back to an ancient society (in Turkey) from before or after the 'Younger Dryas' period - a period of climate change which happened 14,000 or so years ago.

Again, these may be of use (or are necessary) to some peope, but I think we need to acknowledge that they are mythical and poetic, and not necessarily real or a part of history.

D
 
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hilary

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Richard Rutt provides examples of the process of vocabulary (word meanings, usage) change, for Heng and other terms (p206-7):

HENG: sacrifice > OFFERING (how he uses it) > make offering > get offering received > penetration > SUCCESS (its use/meaning since Han times).

These changes in meaning and changes over time make me think that Heng can be a lot of different things

* Heng as an offering

* Heng as a 'fixing ritual' - the subject of this thread - and as Karcher mentions, there are a 'range' of fixings (which I touch on, I, II, III ...)

* Heng as the name of hexagram 32 (trigrams Thunder above, Wind below)

* Heng as a character with many different meanings:
----- long term, fixed, perseverance, law, often, stretch, continuous, appearance of the moon, last quarter of the moon, weeks (LiSe);

----- duration, continuity, endurance, steadiness, constancy, consistency, ... (that which) endures, survives; (to be) regular, lasting, chronic, persistent, perennial, perpetual, prolonged; (to) last, go on, endure (changes) .... (Hatcher)
You're right to say that one character can mean more than one thing. However, here you're talking about two completely different, unrelated characters which happen to have the same pronunciation. Heng 元 as in yuan heng, li zhen is what Rutt is talking about on p206-7, the one that means 'offering made/received' and hence 'success'. There's a nice article from Harmen somewhere about heng and the closely-related-maybe-interchangeable xiang... will add a link if I can find it. Heng 恆 the name of Hexagram 32, the one we're translating 'fixing', is different.

(But to add to the fun, some say 恆 is the name of a ritual. Half the words in the dictionary seem to be the name of a ritual...)

hese 'fixing' rituals and the way we follow through on the message must stem from the heart. So in this day and age we might meditate on a reading; write down our interpretation of the message conveyed; reflect over a few days and notice how the message changes or becomes clearer; do a drawing of what the message means; create some other meaningful image / symbol - a piece of craftwork, a sculpture etc; write a single meaningful word; create a detailed action plan; display your created image / symbol in a prominent place (fridge magnets are good aids for this) or place a new stone / object on your altar.
Yes. I also strongly associate 32 with forming new habits, making something part of the daily round, part of our habitual way of thought. 'We are what we repeatedly do' - see nuclear hexagram of 32...
 

dfreed

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You're right to say that one character can mean more than one thing. However, here you're talking about two completely different, unrelated characters which happen to have the same pronunciation.

One thing I quoted are the many different glosses - which I found looking at LiSe and Hatcher - of what this one specific 'Heng' can mean (Hatchers reference for this is heng2 - 2017). This is (as far as I know) the name for Hex 32, and it's also the same Heng I found in Richard Sears' decomposition of the character.

I also thought that Rutt was talking about how this one character changed over time. But perhaps he was mixing the two 'Hengs' - or he was talking about the other character?

If there is something here I didn't understand or get right, this was an inadvertent oversight on my part, and would welcome knowing where I erred so I can try and correct it.

All that aside, do you think that this one 'Heng' we're looking at - and referring to - may carry some or all of the different meanings and uses I mentioned - and that these also may have changed over time?

Best, D
 

dfreed

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Yes. I also strongly associate 32 with forming new habits, making something part of the daily round, part of our habitual way of thought.

Hilary, My_Key: Most assuredly so! This as another way of 'fixing the omen'. E.g. a way of making an idea or action a part of our (daily) lives.

Best, D
 

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I also thought that Rutt was talking about how this one character changed over time. But perhaps he was mixing the two 'Hengs' - or he was talking about the other character?
Yes, he's talking about the other character. Pinyin is fun this way: if I open Wenlin and just look up 'heng', it gives me a choice of 26 characters.
If there is something here I didn't understand or get right, this was an inadvertent oversight on my part, and would welcome knowing where I erred so I can try and correct it.

You just need to read closely. Even though Rutt doesn't include the character, he does give you enough information to work out which he means on p206: that 'the first English word in capitals is that used in my translation' - 'offering' - and 'the figure shows the number of occurrences in Zhouyi' - 47.
All that aside, do you think that this one 'Heng' we're looking at - and referring to - may carry some or all of the different meanings and uses I mentioned - and that these also may have changed over time?
Yes, definitely. The modern dictionary says 'permanent, lasting', not 'fixing, as of an omen'. Schilling emphasises that to 'fix' something is to ward off from it any baleful influence, so for him it's a protective/banishing power.
 

dfreed

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Yes, definitely. The modern dictionary says 'permanent, lasting', not 'fixing, as of an omen'. Schilling emphasises that to 'fix' something is to ward off from it any baleful influence, so for him it's a protective/banishing power.

Yes, for me this also is a way of 'fixing the omen' - to make it more lasting. It seems that there are different meanings for 'fixing the omen' and I started by mentioning a few of these. My sense is that any of this may be correct, and that we can also gleen from all this our own sense of what 'fixing the omen' means - or what role it plays in our practice.

on p206: that 'the first English word in capitals is that used in my translation' - 'offering' - and 'the figure shows the number of occurrences in Zhouyi' - 47.

I did probably gloss over this, but at the time I also didn't know the number of occurances of either Heng. Regardless, I still get the sense that it (or either of these hengs) carry multiple meanings and assocations - which I think was one point I was trying to make.

Thanks, D
 

dfreed

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Schilling emphasises

Sorry for my aging, COVID memory, but are you reading Shilling in the German? I know a few people really like his translation, but since I don't read nor speak German, I don't know how much I'll get from him?

I'm waiting for inter-library loan to start up again at my library system so I can borrow Shilling and Field and others ... before I purchase them.

(... and applying Google Translate to Shilling - is questionable at best! Maybe I should supplement this with an English-German dictionary?)

Thanks again, D
 

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Sorry for my aging, COVID memory, but are you reading Shilling in the German? I know a few people really like his translation, but since I don't read nor speak German, I don't know how much I'll get from him?
Yes - though not very well. It's a good way to discover exactly how much German I've forgotten. No use to you if you don't know the language!
 

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Yes. I also strongly associate 32 with forming new habits, making something part of the daily round, part of our habitual way of thought. 'We are what we repeatedly do' - see nuclear hexagram of 32...
Indeed!!
43 as a nuclear works away to teach us / challenge us to stand in our power and make the appropriate (different / new) choices so that we are not waved around by external circumstances like a flag on a stick. We definitely need to be conscious, too, of the fact that flags are not the only thing that end up on one end of a stick, in our world. We need to stay well clear of that end for that reason.

Q: What's brown and sticky?
A: A stick.

Stay with the stick-ness (i.e fix that augury) rather than being drawn into thinking / behaving in less productive mind pursuits or habits and you won't go far wrong.
 

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My apologies for interrupting this bickering between old friends, but back on topic ...

From what I've heard from Harmen, one of the earliest uses of the Yi was not to ask questions, but something more like an affirmation, a statement of the desired outcome and a request for the ancestors to support or affirm it. So, if you (one) receives a positive response, you have to somehow acknowledge that response. For me, that's what fixing the augury might mean.

I have mixed feelings about the whole concept of affirmations, at least how the word is usually used these days. All that prosperity consciousness and stuff brings me out in a rash. At the same time, I get the concept. I don't really use this idea when I consult the Yi, but I've thought about how it could be done, making a positive statement that expresses your desired outcome, then seeing how the Yi responds. It's certainly not a concept I'm deeply attached to, but I've thought about it.

By the way, @my_key, I don't see anything inherently ridiculous about shamamic roots of the Yi, whether or not that involves the use of mind changing substances. There has been a lot of serious anthropological research and academic discussion about the influence of psychedelics, in particular, on human culture. No doubt some people leap on the idea and are over enthusiastic about it, but I don't find it useful for people to sneer at it or dismiss it as a "stoner's fantasy." It's an hypothesis, and an interesting one.
 
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dfreed

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... from Harmen, one of the earliest uses of the Yi was not to ask questions, but something more like an affirmation, a statement of the desired outcome and a request for the ancestors to support or affirm it.

I think this goes back to even before the Yi, to tortoiseshell divination by the Shang. The way I understand it (or explain it to myself) is that they would make a statement - "start planting millet just before the third full moon" - and then they would seek the blessings of the ancestors - or more generally, the ancestors' response.

With tortoiseshell divination, I don't know how the cracks (response) were interpreted, or how detailed they were, or if they provided 'options' - ex. "if you first sacrifice 30 horses, then ....'' or "it is more auspicous to do this on the fourth full moon."

I was looking again at Zuo Commentary (Richard Rutt, pp 173-201) examples of Zhouyi (Yi) divination from around 671-487 BC. In a few of the examples, they first divined using tortoiseshells, and then followed this by yarrow stalks, the Yi. (This was a time when both kinds of divination were in use.)

This is what I described at the beginning of the thread as 'Performing one kind of divination, then another' - an example of 'fixing the omen' as a means of verification, or to get more details.

Many of the queries in the Zuo are straight-forward, and similary to: "the Marquis of Jin asked about the marriage of his daughter" or "Duke Huan moved his troops north and was ready to attack - he consulted a diviner".

The tortoiseshell 'response' is never elaborated upon (at least in these examples), but the Zhouyi's was - and the responses are often quite detailed and make very creative use the hexagrams' names/meanings, text, and trigrams.


I have mixed feelings about the whole concept of affirmations, at least how the word is usually used these days. All that prosperity consciousness and stuff brings me out in a rash.

I hear ya! I have had the same reaction to these two ideas and to a few others: it's not that they aren't useful, but that are often misused (or abused, or overused).

When I think of 'affirmation' (without the overlay), I think of it more as a 'confirmation':

* we place a hand on a Bible, and repeat, 'I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ...."; and this is a way we ritualistically confirm we're going to tell the truth when we testify in court.

* or, setting aside much of what happened in Washington DC on Jan 6, the whole purpose of the gathering of Congress was to affirm what people already knew about the election (or at least most of us did) - the ritual of the Electoral College confirmation.

(I'll set aside 'prosperity consciousness'!)

.... I get the concept. I don't really use this idea when I consult the Yi, but I've thought about how it could be done, making a positive statement that expresses your desired outcome, then seeing how the Yi responds. It's certainly not a concept I'm deeply attached to ....

I started this thread as an exploration of the possibilites of what "fixing the omen" means - or might mean. And this includes uses and meanings which may or may not have been around when the idea was first conceived.

Mainly, I think of it now as:

'Fixing the augury' means following through with the Yi's insights, or suggested actions .... I know what the Yi is telling me, but how do I put that into action, how do I make it real?


Best, D
 
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rosada

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Agreed. And not just the importance of putting the insight into action, but also just being able to hold on to it. This idea of needing to "Fix the augury" reminds me of times when I've had dreams that I recognized were giving me some sort of important insights or messages and then the frustration of finding I'd lost track of them when I awoke.
 

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