Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book of Changes

That's what the I Ching means. Jung's introduction is great - he basically says "God is in chance. The scientist in me wants empirical proof about statistical probabilities but I can't prove this yet. But because I'm in my 80s, I don't give a crap if I seem crazy for recommending this book and its methods, and using it has helped me a lot. It might be 100% projection, or partly projection, but it helps make sense of things."

I was flipping through the appendices trying to figure out how the heck you use "the oracles" of it. (This is not satanic; it's all about grace, perseverance, justice, kindness, honor, integrity, and Confucius was a major proponent of it.) There are two methods for casting lots - a practice which my professor friend pointed out shows up in the Old and New Testaments - one involving 49 stalks of thick grass, one involving three coins. I was reading and re-reading the grasses part of the numbering system, it almost felt too hard to even try. Then I read a sentence about Chinese coins with holes in the middle, and smiled because I had just this week been wearing some earrings I got in 7th grade made from Chinese coins with holes in the middle. That gave me the boost to try to grasp the coin method.

Long story short, there are 56 characters that are referenced based on throwing 3 coins six times in a row. The first character sometimes has variations of sub-wisdom added by a certain sage thousands of years ago which reflect a bit of a longer story to you as you go. (When I reference this below, I'll include brackets; these are statistically less likely to happen based on how the number system works, so they are more interesting to me.) A big part of its help seems to be in how the words can be used to reflect things you already know, but there is an element of "Whoa!" to it most of the time.

For instance, "Are Nate and I going to have a boy or girl baby someday?" The response was the character WOOING: The lower trigram is the youngest son, the upper is the youngest daughter. Thus the universal mutual attraction between the sexes is represented. Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being.

I laughed out loud. It was a lovely, positive, kind response, and it would not answer the question other than to imply our love is balanced. I just thought it was crazy that out of 56 characters, the one involving symbols of "youngest son" and "youngest daughter" came up.

"Is Jesus real?" I got these two characters:

PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT
     [Through friendly relations with people of lower rank, a responsible man succeeds in becoming master of the situation. He works for the rescue of the whole.]
THE WELL. Inexhaustible dispensing of nourishment. The life of man with its needs remains eternally the same. We must go down to the very foundations of life. Every human being can draw in the course of his education from the inexhaustible wellspring of the divine in man's nature.

About 5 questions later "Is Carl Jung helping me?"

OBSTRUCTION
     [It is not through any fault of yours that you are in this difficult situation.]
     [The situation cannot be managed alone. Gather trustworthy companions who can be counted on for help.]
THE WELL
PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT

* * *
I've worked out at least 20 questions starting last night, and I promise, the only two times the characters for "The Well" and "Preponderance of the Great" came up were in regards to Jesus and Jung. This is a lot of fun, and - as is usually the case with my blog thoughts - this is the only place where I get to talk about and share the kooky things I'm doing and thinking. Unless, of course, you are a friend of mine reading this, and you have a question that you wanna play the coin game with. I'm totes down for that.