A Mirror of the Present

(from the The Original I Ching Oracle , Watkins Publishing, London, 2005, Introduction)

The Yi Jing has been used and is still used in so many different ways, that it is worthwhile to describe a bit more precisely the approach that is proposed in the The Original I Ching Oracle. The basic philosophy of this approach is an exploration of potential synchronicities. We assume that the random manipulation of the yarrow stalks, or the tossing of the coins, can offer, through the related Yi Jing texts and the associative process carried out by the consultant, valid insights about the archetypal energies active in the consultant’s situation and psyche and the developmental tendencies contained therein. In this sense we use the Yi Jing as a mirror of the present. On the other hand, we do not assume that the Yi Jing can foretell the future, because we do not assume that the future is univocally determined. A latent tendency in the present situation may actually develop into an actual consequence: but that is in no way a necessary conclusion, and, what is most important from our human standpoint, the outcome can often be affected by our choices and our actions. Nor we assume that the Yi Jing offers any imperatives, moral or otherwise. Quite understandably, sometimes when we are in a quandary we would very much like to be told what to do, which is the right choice – and sometimes we approach the Yi Jing hoping exactly for that kind of answer. Here again the analogy with dreams may prove a valuable guideline. A Yi Jing consultation produces a series of images, which is like a dream connected with a given situation and a given question. Dream images may give us a clear sense of what we want or have to do in a situation, but they never tell us what to do. The same applies to the images of the Yi Jing. It is crucial to realize that the responsibility for all choices always rests with the consultant herself or himself.

Read on: interrogating the oracle