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choppi

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What does this mean to you,
when the translation says "Sacrifice" or "Let a sacrifice be conducted", etc ?
Write to me directly, if you wish:
choppi@comcast.net
 

dobro p

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It means you give something - maybe effort, maybe time, maybe attention - in order to put yourself into some sort of connection with higher energies/higher consciousness. And you put yourself into connection with upstairs because you need to, because upstairs can do the job much better than downstairs.

Why do you ask?
 

lindsay

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Why does he ask? Maybe Choppi believes – as I do – that most occurrences of 亨 heng in the Yi ought to be read as 享 xiăng. I resisted the idea for a long time – I think emending long-established texts is often a very presumptuous exercise. But it’s the only explanation that makes sense in the light of history. There are 40-50 occurrences of “sacrifice” in the Yi, nearly all of them in the Judgment (guaci) texts. So perhaps Choppi’s question is a very astute one.

What would it mean if we read “sacrifice” wherever Wilhelm and others read “success”? Is there anything in modern experience that helps us understand these sacrifices? I assume animals were killed, possibly humans. The priestly barbeques described in Leviticus come to mind - but although the ancient Chinese were enthusiastic carnivores, they were never avid monotheists.

Most of the time the text just says plainly “sacrifice” or “great sacrifice”, period. This isn’t much to extrapolate from. Since it’s usually mentioned in the Judgment – that is, in the broadest response of the oracle to the question at hand – I assume it refers to something that ought to done after or because of the reading. Perhaps this particular reading was thought to be so favorable that we really should dispatch a few plump chickens to our ancestors in thanks. Or maybe a roast pig was considered a fair price for a successful divination. Not a good idea to neglect or cheat the spirit world. If this is true, then it’s pretty clear the old Chinese thought the Yi’s answers came from spirits who enjoyed a good meal. It doesn’t make sense to make a food offering unless there is someone to “eat” it.

Another possibility is that divination ceremonies were concluded with ritual meals or snacks. Communion, if you will. The sacrifice involved having the querent supply food and drink to a select group, picking up the bill as was his due. This was a way of ‘fixing’ the oracle.

In a way, having a party is a kind of modern sacrifice. Somebody supplies all the goodies so others can enjoy themselves and celebrate the occasion. Well, that’s the theory. Gifts are also sacrifices. We give gifts to symbolize our gratitude, our esteem, our love, our regard.

Clearly something more is required when the oracle speaks to you, connects with your life - if only an expression of thanks for the communication. I’ve felt that way. Sometimes it seems we spend too much time thinking about preparing for and executing the act of divination. What happens afterward is also important. The oracle gives you a gift. What is your response?

Perhaps it is 享 xiăng.

Lindsay
 

bradford

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What does this mean to you, when the translation says "Sacrifice" or "Let a sacrifice be conducted", etc ?
That's a really big question, especially considering that the Yi uses many different words that get translated as sacrifice or offering. Many kinds, all with different nuances. There are even a couple of cases of human sacrifice in the Yi. There is one place where I believe the Yi advises to sacrifice the very idea of sacrifice. And there is one instance where the Yi says that sacrifice is a way of saying "thank you" instead of "please."
Xiang is used several times, and the similar figure heng is used at least a few times with this meaning. And even when heng is translated as something like "fulfillment," it still hearkens back to the kind of fulfillment that you get from fulfilling your sacrificial duties.
Two things to remember -
Sacrifice is not just the purchase price for some future reward from heaven. It was made to partake in the same process by which heaven operates. The word sacrifice itself has the etymology "to make sacred," not just to give something up.
Second, the Chinese were as well aware as anyone that the food left on the altar never went uneaten.

If you want to really study the idea, I'd suggest using an electronic Yijing text and searching for the words "sacrifice" and "offering." For serious folk, doing this in my Matrix version would highlight all the different Chinese characters with these English words as glosses.
 

sparhawk

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Another possibility is that divination ceremonies were concluded with ritual meals or snacks. Communion, if you will. The sacrifice involved having the querent supply food and drink to a select group, picking up the bill as was his due. This was a way of ‘fixing’ the oracle.

In a way, having a party is a kind of modern sacrifice. Somebody supplies all the goodies so others can enjoy themselves and celebrate the occasion. Well, that’s the theory. Gifts are also sacrifices. We give gifts to symbolize our gratitude, our esteem, our love, our regard.

Clearly something more is required when the oracle speaks to you, connects with your life - if only an expression of thanks for the communication. I’ve felt that way. Sometimes it seems we spend too much time thinking about preparing for and executing the act of divination. What happens afterward is also important. The oracle gives you a gift. What is your response?

Perhaps it is 享 xiăng.
Weird... Lindsay, every time I think of you, you appear, after months of not writing... Are you a Genie? :D Have you seen this blog: http://manyulim.wordpress.com/ ??

Interesting take about heng vs xiang. Have you seen the discussion about 38.3 and tian vs yao? Brad, what about you?

Cheers,
 

lindsay

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I cannot resist quoting something I read that made me think about the problem of sacrifice in the Yi. This passage comes from Ron Geaves’s book “Key Words in Religious Studies” (Georgetown University Press, 2007):

“Sacrifice: The offering up of something to a deity in the hope that some kind of connection will be established between the sacrificer (and possibly their community) and the sacred. Sacrifice can be done for the following reasons: i) the belief that the gods literally needed sustenance; ii) the belief that it establishes communion between the deity and worshippers; iii) as a gift to supplement prayers of petition; iv) to pacify divine anger; v) to ward off evil spirits; vi) to seal a contract with the deity; vii) to offer homage or praise to the deity; viii) as an act to remove pollution and assist achieving purification.” (pp. 92-93)

A case can be made for applying some or all of these types of sacrifice to the Yi. As Bradford points out, the Yi is shot through with sacrificial language and concepts – and yet how little most of our readings seem to reflect this concern.

It is true we cannot go back and think like Chinese diviners 3000 years ago. But if we are going to use their book, if the Yi is to have any authentic meaning, perhaps we should consider how to understand ancient sacrificial notions in present-day terms. This is a problem that interests me a great deal.

I do not doubt there is something in our thinking and our living that parallels everything expressed in the Yi. You and I could live in the Bronze Age if somehow we found ourselves transported back in time. It might not be easy, but man (and woman) hasn’t changed much in the past few thousand years. Their experience is not fundamentally different from our experience.

For me, the difficulty is finding the key. The key that unlocks the Yi into my own life in the 21st century. Some say we have lost some of our humanity in this age. We no longer understand myth, we are strangers to nature, we are like children in religious matters, we have stunted our powers of non-rational apprehension. We avoid or deny the most basic aspects of our animal natures. Unfortunately the Yi seems to belong to a numinous sphere most of us have left behind. Fortunately, this is not an all-or-nothing situation. Much can still be learned. Sleepers can still awaken.

Lindsay
 

bradford

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I do not doubt there is something in our thinking and our living that parallels everything expressed in the Yi. You and I could live in the Bronze Age if somehow we found ourselves transported back in time. It might not be easy, but man (and woman) hasn’t changed much in the past few thousand years. Their experience is not fundamentally different from our experience.
I think this observation of yours warrants highlighting.
For my part, in translating, when I had an interpretation choice between a meaning that was an archetypal human experience and one that was narrowly culture-specific to the Early Zhou, I always looked hardest at the broader human option. The nearly absolute cultural relativism that characterizes modernist Yi scholarship, especially in Rutt and Gottshalk (and the Chinese modernists) shows way too narrow an understanding of what it means to be human. Culture is important to what we've become, but I think human nature is closer to being the underlying theme of the Yijing - and the one that has carried it through 3000 years. So I look for modern analogues of sacrifice not as something culturally separate, but as something with the same motives as long ago.
 

dobro p

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What would it mean if we read “sacrifice” wherever Wilhelm and others read “success”?
It would mean that the Yi had even more meaning for me than it does now. Doing what's required to get in touch with the divine is humanity's best task. There are so many ways to sacrifice, whether it's for the sake of getting in touch with upstairs, staying in touch with upstairs, or simply a thanksgiving for the connection with upstairs. Cook a turkey and eat it with your loved ones. Or sit down three times a day and meditate your way there with the help of your favorite oracle. Sacrifice.
 

dobro p

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“Sacrifice: The offering up of something to a deity in the hope that some kind of connection will be established between the sacrificer (and possibly their community) and the sacred. Sacrifice can be done for the following reasons: i) the belief that the gods literally needed sustenance; ii) the belief that it establishes communion between the deity and worshippers; iii) as a gift to supplement prayers of petition; iv) to pacify divine anger; v) to ward off evil spirits; vi) to seal a contract with the deity; vii) to offer homage or praise to the deity; viii) as an act to remove pollution and assist achieving purification.” (pp. 92-93)
All of these motives can drive sacrifice, but the second one's where the money is. Also, the motive driving sacrifice is chosen according to the level of being, level of understanding, of the user. Again, the second one's where the smart money's found.

It is true we cannot go back and think like Chinese diviners 3000 years ago.
We don't have to go back, because we think like them anyway. They're human and we're human - the similarities way overshadow the mere cultural differences. They sacrificed people, I employ a different sort of sacrifice, but the sacrifice is the commonality, and *that* is the human condition.

But if we are going to use their book, if the Yi is to have any authentic meaning, perhaps we should consider how to understand ancient sacrificial notions in present-day terms. This is a problem that interests me a great deal.
The key is to see the common human nature in the designers of the Yi and us. Not only that, the beauty of symbols is that they're trans-cultural, so we can use the Yi as usefully as they did. Maybe even more usefully, because we're not as distracted by culturally personal associations with the things in the Yi - I have no personal associations with a Ting, for instance, so for me it's a symbol pure and simple and can operate in my mind free of literal distractors.

For me, the difficulty is finding the key. The key that unlocks the Yi into my own life in the 21st century.
Read what I wrote just before this.

But I think if you *really* want to understand the Yi, if you REALLY want to make it useful in your life, you have to go some distance toward understanding yourself. Gee, that sounds trite. But can you tell me how you're ever going to achieve any depth with the oracle if you achieve no depth in yourself?
 

lindsay

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Bradford and Dobro, I agree with both of you. I am especially supportive of Brad's ideas about what a translation should be. I feel strongly the job of a good translation is to say clearly in one language what has been expressed in another, without embellishment or editorializing.

To do this, the translator has to understand what the original actually means in its own tongue and its own time. This is where amateur "translations" of the Yi often fail, while professional translations sometimes fall short in expressing original ideas coherently in modern language. In the case of the Yi, the best translations reach, as Brad points out, the archetypal, essential level of common meaning accessible to both ancients and moderns.

Luis/Sparhawk - I want to thank you for all the wonderful things you've posted here on Clarity. Your efforts are often greeted with stony silence, but I assure you there is at least one grateful fan out here in cyberspace.

For you - with your love of the strange - and for cat-lovers everywhere, I offer this interesting article:

http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/hkjo/view/44/4401532.pdf

Lindsay
 

lindsay

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Dobro, I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean the link is bad technically, I can only tell you it works for me. I just linked to the correct site a minute ago by using it. Perhaps someone else can confirm?

If you mean the link is bad from the point of view of content, well I'm not going to make any great claims for it. I thought one or two people might find it interesting, but it's not going to bring anybody's kettle to a boil.

Lindsay
 

martin

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It works for me too (dog divination?! :eek: lol) but it's a pdf-file. Perhaps Dobro doesn't have the right Adobe.
 
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sparhawk

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Luis/Sparhawk - I want to thank you for all the wonderful things you've posted here on Clarity. Your efforts are often greeted with stony silence, but I assure you there is at least one grateful fan out here in cyberspace.

For you - with your love of the strange - and for cat-lovers everywhere, I offer this interesting article:

http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/hkjo/view/44/4401532.pdf
Thanks, Lindsay! Cool article, indeed.

As for "sacrifice" and its possible semantic branches, the concept is not that strange to me. Perhaps because I've grown exposed to some African religions, where offerings and sacrifices are very common, I can relate to much of what the Yi tells us about it.
 

dobro p

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I've got an older version of Acrobat - that must be the source of the problem I'm having.

I see sacrifice as a pretty generic pattern of behavior: working out in the gym is sacrifice, cuz it's giving something in order to get something; giving your sweetie a Valentine's card is sacrifice, cuz it's giving something out of love and desire; listening to your university professor is sacrifice cuz it takes effort to keep paying attention when you'd rather be in the pub, and if you're a woman, being pregnant is sacrifice cuz you've given your body over to the process of baby-making.

See, I don't think sacrifice has to be burning rams and cattle in front of the temple or ripping the heart out of a war captive on the top of a pyramid.

And the idea that heng involves sacrifice is not a new one, but I've always thought that the emphasis of the meaning was more on attainment or success than on the act of sacrifice. I've always thought that the sacrifice element of heng1 was more or less a metaphor, rather than literal. I might alter that a bit now. Whatcha think?
 

lindsay

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Well, Dobro, I’d like to take one more crack at this, because I don’t think I made myself quite clear.

You say sacrifice is familiar to you because it is involved in any situation where you have to give something to get a desired result. You have to exercise hard if you want to keep those six-pack abs you undoubtedly have. It takes a lot of work to be successful in most lines of business. You need to study a lot if you want to become a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief. True, enough. No pain, no gain.

You are right – it makes sense to see this sort of quid pro quo as sacrifice. However, that is not what I am talking about – or, rather, that is not what the Yi is talking about.

When the Yi calls for sacrifice, all those hengs or xiangs are part of the reading itself, part of the oracle’s answer to your question. One part of the answer involves giving a sacrifice. This is not a question of giving up something to get a result (a successful divination) – you already have your result, and now you are being asked to make a sacrifice.

So my question is what is the nature of the sacrifice the Yi is asking for?

You could say the Yi is telling you that a sacrifice will be required in order to make the reading “come true”. That sounds good, but I don’t think it fits with the formulaic nature of heng/xiang. Heng/xiang occurs with very little or no reference to any specific or particular oracular pronouncement. In other words, heng/xiang is a formula, a call for sacrifice unrelated to any specific, individual situation. Whenever Qian or Kun or Zhun or Meng or Xu or etc. etc. come up, whatever the situation or circumstance, the Yi is asking us for a sacrifice.

So, here are some questions. Why should I be asked to sacrifice for some hexagrams and not for others? What is the purpose of this sacrifice? What kind of sacrifice is being called for? Who is the recipient of my sacrifice? Sacrifice is not just throwing something away (like a potlatch) so I can undergo loss or effort, it is an offering to some being – real, spiritual, or imaginary – for the purpose of pleasing or satisfying them.

Again, the Yi does not ask me to sacrifice in order to achieve something, the Yi has already given me what I want (a response). Neither the Yi, nor any god or power associated with the Yi, has the power to make things happen, to actualize readings – that is entirely up to me.

So what is my sacrifice for? Who benefits, and why?
 

Tohpol

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So what is my sacrifice for? Who benefits, and why?
Well, if there is a soul reality to all this rather than the precious lure of terra firma, then sacrifice begins to take on new dimensions. But the material world is the forge in which can beat that personality into shape I suppose.

My own view is that real sacrifice comes into play when we begin to tap the deeper alchemical layers of the I Ching, which must be after all, the function of this oracle: to offer glimpses, then insights and finally earth shattering patterns of understanding into the human condition. We can then start to apply the knowledge that's brought forth.

Needless to say, I don't think I've even begun to come within a million miles of that application yet.:bag:

But the world is awash with information that remains dead. So, in applying what we learn, based on discerning and really SEEING all this BS in ourselves it logically leads to a choice whether to slowly begin the sacrifice of the "old self" for the new self that is incrementally - and hopefully - making it's way towards the soul. Alchemy demands a sacrifice of the inauthentic; the fake. All that self-importance that takes a life time to dissolve. If at all.

Isn't the Yi like a manual for cultivating and growing a soul? Therefore there must be a conscious sacrifice of things which take us away from that cultivation, that "refinement." If we can't establish and apply simple understandings in at this level of being we won't be able to progress towards more difficult undertakings.

Sacrifice is part and parcel of that: choosing which Self you will nourish: the one that favours the entropic line or the one that gives birth to a more creative path. I think Faith and Will have to be partners of this idea of sacrifice - not yielding to the "lower" aspects of ourselves and reaching towards a re-connection with principles that may at least set us on the path of access to that Universal Way.

But like so much of this mass-mediocrity that swamps contemporary life it remains a theory because we are forced to be disconnected from anything that has a whiff of the sacred attached to it.

Sacrificing the artifice for something REAL?

Topal
 

martin

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I don't know enough about Chinese history to be sure, but the impression that I get is:
- That sacrifices were often conducted in a spirit of celebration. As a 'thank you'.
- That one of their purposes was to help those present to turn inward or purify oneself.
- Another purpose was to invite the ancestors, or evoke their presence.

So mostly it was not "if I do this I will get something" or "if i don't do this the gods will be angry" or something like that.
But I might be way off here .. :)
 

dobro p

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Hi Lindsay

Your post contains so much stuff that I'll take it on a bit at a time, I think.

When the Yi calls for sacrifice, all those hengs or xiangs are part of the reading itself, part of the oracle’s answer to your question.
Yup.

One part of the answer involves giving a sacrifice.
Yup.

This is not a question of giving up something to get a result (a successful divination) – you already have your result, and now you are being asked to make a sacrifice.
I see it differently than you at this point. I think that when you consult the Yi on a subject, the Yi gives you a picture of the situation at an archetypal level, the deep structure of the situation, if you like. But the Yi gives more than snapshot of the situation, it also gives you useful ideas for how to handle the situation in very general terms. And sometimes the suggestion it makes is to sacrifice. So, very often it says something like: "The contour of the situation is like this, and in this kind of situation, you would do well to sacrifice." It's describing the most effective role for you in the situation. It's not exactly a matter of giving something to get something, but sacrifice is required of you if you are going to put yourself into right relationship with the situation to get out of it what you can. It's not like a business transaction, it's more like a marriage ('what you get out of it is equal to what you put into it; and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make' - that sort of thing).

So my question is what is the nature of the sacrifice the Yi is asking for?
I think it's as I've been describing in this thread. It's the price of admission in order to access the heart of the situation, in order to activate it properly, so that it doesn't just all pass you by. The universe doesn't work for people who don't do the work.
 

sparhawk

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Going back to some of the African religions based on Yoruba traditions, just as a reference, the belief is, as I understand it, that there must be reciprocity between the querent and the different Orishas. We come to them for help and advise and we must give something in return, not as "payment" per se but as way to keep some sort of cosmological "balance." In Santería, for example, which is an Afro-Cuban religion with Yoruba roots, the Babalao (Priest), even if he's your blood brother, if he is divining for you, you must give him something in return, even if it just one dollar. Not to mention that results of the divination may call for offerings to different Orishas. Those can be in the form of animal sacrifices (usually pigeons, chickens or goats), fruit offerings or special prayers. All of that is supposed to keep universal balance.

The message within the popular adage, "there are no free lunches," is very much a living tradition in many cultures. I believe this is also the case of ancient Chinese traditions.
 

Tohpol

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Going back to some of the African religions based on Yoruba traditions, just as a reference, the belief is, as I understand it, that there must be reciprocity between the querent and the different Orishas. We come to them for help and advise and we must give something in return, not as "payment" per se but as way to keep some sort of cosmological "balance." In Santería, for example, which is an Afro-Cuban religion with Yoruba roots, the Babalao (Priest), even if he's your blood brother, if he is divining for you, you must give him something in return, even if it just one dollar. Not to mention that results of the divination may call for offerings to different Orishas. Those can be in the form of animal sacrifices (usually pigeons, chickens or goats), fruit offerings or special prayers. All of that is supposed to keep universal balance.

The message within the popular adage, "there are no free lunches," is very much a living tradition in many cultures. I believe this is also the case of ancient Chinese traditions.
I think so too. interesting.

From what I've gathered so far, the I Ching can be quite Confucian when it deems it necessary. I've quite a few raps on the psychic knuckles before. Such folly...

Isn't it true with all genuine spiritual traditions that the responses are only as good as the work you've done on yourself and the effort you put in? In Gurdjieffian terms, you have to "pay in advance" before any kind of real Work can be attained:

“Sincerity is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little.”

“Man such as we know him is a machine. Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”

That must be what the Siberian shamans were always going on about with the bloody process of initiation to become a seer. In another realm not so distant from the corporeal one, they'd be boiled alive and stripped of flesh in a metal cauldron whereupon they would return to claim their birthrights, I suppose having gone literally through hell and back. This was then transposed into their lives on Earth until they'd earned the right to lead the tribe or community. I think the sacrifice of animals and humans was a huge distortion of an earlier truth which demanded a sacrifice of the personality needs and desires. Sacrifice and suffering: a willing process taken on in order to break the bonds of material life, or something along those lines.

Does the I Ching have those same alchemical principles of sacrifice? I guess it does depending on how far you wish to take it...

So, I guess it's pretty hopeless. :D

Topal
 

dobro p

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I think the sacrifice of animals and humans was a huge distortion of an earlier truth which demanded a sacrifice of the personality needs and desires.
Actually, I don't think it's a distortion. It's just that at the early stages of anything, including human culture of course, things are terribly *physical*. Think of the development of a human - what develops first? The body in the womb, right? And even with the development of the mind through the years as the child grows, what sort of thoughts and emotions develop first? Body-based thoughts and feelings, right? And which comes to maturity first, the body or the mind? The body, right? So, it seems that we develop stuff, including sacrifice, on a physical level before we move on to the mental level. After that comes the spiritual...

Does the I Ching have those same alchemical principles of sacrifice?
By all means. And this is where the Yi gets really exciting, because of two things. First, it works as an oracle nowadays, thousands of years after it was devised, because it operates via a rich collection of archetypes expressed SYMBOLICALLY. That richness of symbology is what makes is so useful to us, and so usable by us. And secondly (and this really astounds me) I'm absolutely convinced, as you seem to be, that the Yi is a sort of secret manual of spiritual transformation - you call it 'alchemical'. I call it secret, not because the knowledge is hidden somewhere, but because it just isn't available to you until you know yourself well enough to start to recognize what the Yi's talking about in terms of working on your own transformation. A couple of days ago, I drew 59.4 - I mean, if ever there was an image of leaving the physical stuff and the mental preoccupations behind and going upstairs to the level of the spiritual, that's it. And the more I work with the Yi, and the more I familiarize myself with myself, the more I see this dimension to the Yi in every hexagram and in every line.

So, I guess it's pretty hopeless. :D
Quite the opposite. :D
 

dobro p

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Going back to some of the African religions based on Yoruba traditions, just as a reference, the belief is, as I understand it, that there must be reciprocity between the querent and the different Orishas. We come to them for help and advise and we must give something in return, not as "payment" per se but as way to keep some sort of cosmological "balance." In Santería, for example, which is an Afro-Cuban religion with Yoruba roots, the Babalao (Priest), even if he's your blood brother, if he is divining for you, you must give him something in return, even if it just one dollar. Not to mention that results of the divination may call for offerings to different Orishas. Those can be in the form of animal sacrifices (usually pigeons, chickens or goats), fruit offerings or special prayers. All of that is supposed to keep universal balance.

The message within the popular adage, "there are no free lunches," is very much a living tradition in many cultures. I believe this is also the case of ancient Chinese traditions.
Hey, thanks for posting that. I think you've illustrated the way it works really nicely with that Yoruba example. 'Balance', 'reciprocity', 'participation'. Bingo!
 

Tohpol

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Actually, I don't think it's a distortion. It's just that at the early stages of anything, including human culture of course, things are terribly *physical*. Think of the development of a human - what develops first? The body in the womb, right? And even with the development of the mind through the years as the child grows, what sort of thoughts and emotions develop first? Body-based thoughts and feelings, right? And which comes to maturity first, the body or the mind? The body, right? So, it seems that we develop stuff, including sacrifice, on a physical level before we move on to the mental level. After that comes the spiritual...

Ok, I can go with that. However, that's a very macrocosmic super-birds-eye view. Right now, all I see in the long distortion process we call his-story is precisely that - a constant hijacking of our potential by a small pathogenic section of humanity. How many collective sacrifices to we have to experience to get it? i.e countless wars and any number of horrors we can name ad infinitum. Which are still going on with equal ferocity I might add. It does make me wonder when this "after that comes the spiritual" cycle is going to kick in as I don't see much evidence of it. Sacrifice seems like (in this particular context) a niche activity by a very VERY small number of people. Maybe that's enough. Hmm. Sacrifice. What are we willing to sacrifice?


By all means. And this is where the Yi gets really exciting, because of two things. First, it works as an oracle nowadays, thousands of years after it was devised, because it operates via a rich collection of archetypes expressed SYMBOLICALLY. That richness of symbology is what makes is so useful to us, and so usable by us. And secondly (and this really astounds me) I'm absolutely convinced, as you seem to be, that the Yi is a sort of secret manual of spiritual transformation - you call it 'alchemical'. I call it secret, not because the knowledge is hidden somewhere, but because it just isn't available to you until you know yourself well enough to start to recognize what the Yi's talking about in terms of working on your own transformation. A couple of days ago, I drew 59.4 - I mean, if ever there was an image of leaving the physical stuff and the mental preoccupations behind and going upstairs to the level of the spiritual, that's it. And the more I work with the Yi, and the more I familiarize myself with myself, the more I see this dimension to the Yi in every hexagram and in every line.
I completely agree with the above. I feel I know what you mean having got rich glimpses into that dimension but I haven't reached that depth of "grooving" yet. My only reservation is that how far can we "rely" on the I Ching to see us through this process being that this old Ego, predator's Mind; machine; call it what you will - is so damn crafty? I suspect the kind of sacrifice that fits in with REAL spiritual advancement doesn't come in gentle waves of attrition but waves that knock you off your feet again and again until there is a vessel created within that is actually worth anchoring the correct kind of qualitative energy.

Perhaps, incrementally the I Ching guides us through that process of inevitable sacrifice at what ever degree because in the end maybe, in some weird way, the I Ching is us?

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble...One thing's for sure, this system is far more than just a divination system it is a wonderfully exciting code for the human condition that is truly awe-inspiring. I think that inspiration comes from what Luis mentioned: reciprocity That seems to be key in all of this. I see it as a process of "grooving" yourself into the frequency of the Yi i.e. You get guidance you apply it. Wait - grow - begin to SEE. You get guidance - wait - grow - begin to SEE. What you said in fact. This natural process seems to act like a kind of receptor/ligand combination at the psychic level whereby the very nature of this application - genuine application, mind - affects one's change in "resonance" which then aligns itself to the template that is the Yi - that is in fact a formalised Universe! Maybe that has something to do with it's close association with DNA?

That could all be codswallop of course, but fun to speculate.

Topal
 

hollis

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sacrifice

lots of good thought in this thread, about a very interesting subject.

a person 74 year old lady i know: she is also a mentally disabled adult. very capable, quite a character with a very strong mind and body. she has habits like spitting anywhere she chooses, breaking faucets when she turns them off, petting cats too hard, occasionally giving someone a good pounding. mouth like a truck driver, hope u get the picture. over the years, she has mellowed, but once in a while, crosses a line. so when she gets in trouble (when she crosses a line), she gets very upset and develops all kinds of psychosomatic ailments.

"my arm aches" "im dizzy" this can go on for days. she can work herself into such a state that once she was actually checked into a hospital! (all tests showed nothing wrong) so, we who know her, have wised up over the years.

BUT.

i've noticed.

after getting in trouble, turning red in the face and stewing for an hour or so, she will come out with cookies and candies to the grownup who disciplined her. if the grownup takes the candy or cookie, all her symptoms disappear. poof. gone. if the grownup does NOT take the cookie or candy, she gets really sick for days.

sometimes i think sacrifice can sometimes be like this?
 

sparhawk

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i've noticed.

after getting in trouble, turning red in the face and stewing for an hour or so, she will come out with cookies and candies to the grownup who has disciplined her. if the grownup takes the candy or cookie, all her symptoms disappear. poof. gone. if the grownup does NOT take the cookie or candy, she gets really sick for days.

sometimes i think sacrifice can sometimes be like this?

What an interesting example, Hollis! From personal experience, it is amazing what small offerings and sacrifices can do for your soul and state of mind. I also have an example from my father, who is a "Born-again-Christian", claiming he was never better, spiritually and economically than when he was tithing, religiously so (pardon the redundancy...), to his church. Once he stopped, his perception is that things went downhill.

In the end, I believe the whole issue of "sacrifice," in every semantic meaning, is something very subjective. However, I do believe in what I exposed above about some sort of "cosmic reciprocity".
 

hollis

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In the end, I believe the whole issue of "sacrifice," in every semantic meaning, is something very subjective. However, I do believe in what I exposed above about some sort of "cosmic reciprocity".
Hi , yes! Luis, I do not mean to detract from the serious discussion that Topal brings up... in that regard something else comes to mind, will post a little later as it is a quotation from a book not in my hands at the moment!
 

emc2cme

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English Etymology of "Sacrifice"?

Hi. I've read this thread with great interest. "Sacrifice" was something that I felt I understood intuitively, but have never really thought about. After reading Hilary's recent newsletter, I clicked on the link to this post, and have been thinking into the night, now, about this.

First, I did a reading, asking "What is the nature of sacrifice", drawing 22.1.2.3.5 (Grace), changing to 59 (Dissolution). Again, just on an intuitive level, that struck a chord somewhere deep inside--that sacrifice has to do with grace, with the dissolution of (in particular) the letting go of the mundane. I read LiSe's lovely translations of both hexegrams, and thought of a beautiful plant (the Grace part) being washed away in a flood (the Dissolution part). An absolute giving away of even the most beautiful things in our lives.

Then I searched for the English etymology for "sacrifice" and "sacred" and found:

sacrifice (n.)
c.1250, from O.Fr. sacrifise (12c.), from L. sacrificium, from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (prop. neut. pl. of sacer "sacred," see sacred) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious). L. sacrificium is glossed in O.E. by ansegdniss. Sense of "something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1592. Baseball sense first attested 1880. The verb is first recorded c.1290.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=sacrifice

sacred
c.1300, from pp. of obs. verb sacren "to make holy" (c.1225), from O.Fr. sacrer (12c.), from L. sacrare "to make sacred, consecrate," from sacer (gen. sacri) "sacred, dedicated, holy, accursed," from O.L. saceres, which Tucker connects to base *saq- "bind, restrict, enclose, protect," explaining that "words for both 'oath' & 'curse' are regularly words of 'binding.' " But Buck merely groups it with Oscan sakrim, Umbrian sacra and calls it "a distinctive Italic group, without any clear outside connections." Nasalized form is sancire "make sacred, confirm, ratify, ordain." Sacred cow "object of Hindu veneration," is from 1891; fig. sense is first recorded 1910, from Western views of Hinduism.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=sacred

Obviously, having to do with making the mundane into the sacred or holy (whole?), "binding", as they say, as do the Wiccans, to affirm a higher, more pure, to set apart? I really dislike the idea, however, of denigrating the mundane, as if this world were somehow less than the lofty spiritual plane...

Just some meandering late at night. But I sure love reading these threads:)

Nancy
 

emc2cme

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My words running ahead of my brain!

BTW, the point of what I was trying to say got away from me.

It seems that, in the English translation at least, the meaning of sacrifice is not to give up anything, but to make something sacred, to set it apart in some way.

And going back to the hexagrams in the reading I did for the nature of sacrifice (22.1.2.3.5 changing to 59), it seemed as if it was saying that even grace, the most beautiful of doctrines here in the west, is swept away in the act of dissolution, leaving what? I'm not entirely sure, but having once been in a devastating flood in which I lost almost everything (Kansas City, 1977), I can tell you that it's a liberating feeling, to lose the things to which I thought I was so attached. Thanks heavens I didn't lose my life, as some did--that'd have been a different story.

Anyway, I always caution my children about talking about anything important after ten o'clock at night, since it turns into blathering. I'm breaking my own rule here, with predictable results. Have a wonderful St. Pat's Day, all. And thanks for providing such stimulating food for thought!

Nancy
 

dobro p

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Sacrifice as 'making sacred'? Wow.

Lindsay, come back and talk with me. lol
 

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