More Books, page 2
Continued from the previous page. (I really do own and recommend these books. Buy one and help pay for the web hosting! For the FTC: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”)
I Ching translations:
The I Ching: The Book of Changes
translated by James Legge. The first major English translation; second edition, 1899. Unlike Legge’s translation of Chuang Tzu,
I did not resonate with this I Ching
at all. Which is unfortunate because it was the first I Ching
I read, and I then had no further interest in it for years. It probably didn’t help that Legge scoffs at the book itself. The hexagrams are not given English names, and the text reads as if it was purposefully made difficult. Hexagram 3, DIFFICULTY AT THE BEGINNING
, is simply called “THE KUN
Kun (indicates that in the case which it presupposes) there will be great progress and success, and the advantage will come from being correct and firm. (But) any movement in advance should not be (lightly) undertaken. There will be advantage in appointing feudal princes.
I Ching: The Book of Change
translated by John Blofeld. One of the earlier English translations and apparently influential. It doesn’t seem to me that there is much to it compared to many versions that have appeared since.
Difficulty followed by sublime success! Persistence in a righteous course brings reward; but do not seek some (new) goal (or destination); it is highly advantageous to consolidate the present position.
The Pocket I Ching
translated by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes; edited and simplified by W. S. Boardman.
Sounds like it would be a simple excerpt of the text of the big Wilhelm book, but it’s not; the text is significantly, well, edited and simplified. For example, hexagram 3, DIFFICULTY AT THE BEGINNING
, is now called RESOLVING CHAOS
. The judgment:
Chaos and darkness whilst heaven creates.
In times of difficulty at the beginning,
Persevere. Appoint helpers. Do not rest.
For in this way comes success.
The succinct introduction is the one I might choose to show someone who wants to know what the I Ching
is all about.
Understanding the I Ching
translated by Tom Riseman. This one, Blofeld, and The Pocket I Ching are almost identical in size.
I think this one reads the best; but there is no index to the hexagrams by name.
Difficulty in the Beginning means great success and benfit
Nothing should be begun; helpers should be found.
I Ching: The Book of Change
translated by Thomas Cleary. The smallest “pocket” version of them all (6.7 × 4.1 × 0.5 inches).
Concise, very literal, no commentary, little introductory material. Doesn’t always read well.
Great success is beneficial for the honest. Do not deliberately
hold to a specific goal. It is useful to establish local leaders.
The Taoist I Ching (Shambhala Classics)
translated by Thomas Cleary. Commentary written by Taoist adept Liu I-Ming in 1796. The “Taoism” mainly consists of pervasive references to the relationships and transformations of yin and yang in the context of metaphorical (non-oracular) interpretation of the text, and is not always what modern westerners think of as Taoism. From hexagram 7, THE ARMY
This hexagram represents using yang to drive back yin . . . . The method of repelling yin is to get rid of wrong by means of right, to destroy falsehood by truth, like righteousness in the leader of the army.
This doesn’t sound very Taoist to me. But after reading Liu I-Ming’s commentary to
The Inner Teachings of Taoism
by Chang Po-Tuan, I understand that this type of interpretation is typical of the 12th
century Complete Reality school of Taoism.
Unveiling the Mystery of the I Ching
translated and elaborated by Tuck Chang. Viewable online at www.iching123.com
An interesting translation; the apparent goal is a very literal rendition, including amplification and clarification of many of the words and concepts along the lines of Legge. Each hexagram is accompanied by an illustration. Commentary includes historical notes and observations about line relationships and other structural features of the I Ching.
Viewable online at www.geocities.com/wu_weifarer/Yijing.html
A fairly free but nice-sounding version, all on one page and easy to save for later reading.
Accompanied by a number of Daoist quotes and links.
The Eclectic Energies I Ching
Accompanies an online consultation script at Eclectic Energies
Translated from the original Chinese by the author of the site, Ewald Berkers.
Said to be intended as a difference in style and interpretation from Wilhelm. Appears to have been clarified quite
a bit by way of amplification; definitely not a literal word-for-word approach. Viewable piecemeal by
consulting the oracle, or can be purchased as a .pdf file.
Divination, Order, and the Zhouyi
by Richard Gotshalk. A scholarly examination of what is known about the earliest form of the Zhouyi
, and reflections on its progression from simple oracle texts to verbal images, finally becoming a medium for active participation in the present by the inquirer. Lots of musing about the meaning of divination itself. The text is critically examined in light of the Mawangdui manuscript, and unabashedly edited in places (such as hexagram 52, whose text is treated as a displaced line 4, leaving it without a primary hexagram text). Lots of informative technical notes about the text, based on the latest research.
Before Confucius: Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics
by Edward L. Shaughnessy, author of
I Ching (Classics of Ancient China)
Unearthing the Changes
A historical and linguistic study of texts, poetry, and musical works from the time of the Zhouyi,
making use of bronze vessels and other sources that were not available to the commentators of later eras. “The eight studies presented in this book all address, in one way or another, the books that the Zhou people wrote.” Shaughnessy’s conclusions, as you might guess, tend to overturn commonly-accepted wisdom. For example, he confirms the accuracy of the “Shi fu,” the account of the Zhou conquest of the Shang that was rejected by Mencius and his successors because their heroes would just not do such things:
King Wu then shot the hundred evil ministers of (Shang king) Zhou. He beheaded and offered their sixty minor princes and great captains of the caldrons, and beheaded their forty family heads and captains of the caldrons. The supervisor of the infantry and the supervisor of the horse first [attended] to their declaration of the suburban sacrifice; then the southern gate was flanked with the captives to be sacrificed, all of whom were given sashes and clothes to wear. The ears taken were first brought in. King Wu attended to the sacrifice and the Great Master shouldered the white banner from which the head of Shang king Zhou was suspended and the red pennant with the heads of his two consorts. Then, with the first scalps, he entered and performed the burnt-offering sacrifice in the Zhou temple.
In case you were wondering, it was 177,779 ears taken and 310,230 captured men.
Researches on the I Ching
by Iulian K. Shchutskii. Translated from the Russian by William L. MacDonald and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, with Hellmut Wilhelm. This is an amazing work about the language, structure, and history of the understanding of the I Ching.
It is almost too much material to absorb the first time through. Shchutskii was one of the greatest Sinologists of the 20th
century, well-versed in the Chinese language as well as eastern and western philosophy, and so was uniquely qualified to write a comprehensive history of the I Ching
. Unfortunately, he died in a Soviet prison camp in 1937.
The I Ching Handbook
by Edward Hacker, Ph.D.
The original definitive source for anything and everything about the I Ching
, including its history, interpretation, structure, and methods of consulting. Summarizes popular topics of inquiry such as the basis of the King Wen sequence and classification of the hexagrams. Includes little-known topics such as hexagram cycles, flowers (Schoenholtz’ “first families”), and stories. Appendices include an explanation of the binary number system, tables of hexagram opposites, a Basic program for analyzing lines, and an extensive annotated bibliography. Unfortunately, due to its comprehensive nature, much of the information is merely a brief overview; it is more a survey of what is known about the I Ching
than a definitive text. Some of the information is updated and treated in more detail in
by Richard Rutt.
I Ching: An Annotated Bibliography
by Edward Hacker, Steve Moore, and Lorraine Patsco.
A greatly expanded version of the bibliography in the Handbook
above. An all-out attempt to list everything
published in the English language about the I Ching
, and related topics such as synchronicity and the T’ai Hsüan Ching; includes books, master’s and doctoral theses, journal articles, multimedia, and computer programs. Entries are mixed; some consist of just publication data and a brief description, while others include detailed summaries of the text. If you are a compulsive book-buyer in recovery, you should probably avoid this one.
Books about the I Ching:
A Guide to the I Ching
by Carol K. Anthony. Lots of straightforward commentary with the stated goal of self-development and
problem-solving. Tried-and-true; a good companion to Wilhelm and Baynes.
I Ching, The Oracle of the Cosmic Way
by Carol K. Anthony and Hanna Moog. Extensive commentary is written from a psychotherapeutic-like standpoint of freeing oneself from the ego; provides an interesting alternative perspective. Translation is based on Wilhelm. I had to get past the “retrospective-three-coin method,” which sounds to me like using the I Ching
as a Ouija board; one asks the Sage questions like, “Do I need to read the judgment text?” “any part of the main text?” “paragraph 1?” “Does this line refer to me?” “to a member of my family?” “a friend?” “the past?” “present?” “future?”
Just as there is something “out there” (a radio transmitter) to communicate with the radio, there is
something “in there,” that communicates with us when we have made ourselves appropriately receptive.
That which communicates is complete in its knowing—without limits.
The Everyday I Ching
by Sarah Dening. A very simple and accessible beginner’s self-help commentary. Not a translation; does not include any of the actual text or even the identities of the trigrams. Hexagram names are paraphrased; DARKENING OF THE LIGHT
is now called “Keeping a Low Profile.”
I Ching Life: Becoming Your Authentic Self
by “Wu Wei,” the person who renamed the I Ching
“The Book of Answers,” and from whom I bought the yarrow stalks that I use. I admit, I bought this mainly out of curiosity. As a beginner’s introduction, it doesn’t seem too bad. Written in an elementary self-help style: “A relationship is like a garden.” Describes using the I Ching
in everyday life, with lots of concrete examples. I like the emphasis on open-ended questions, along the lines of, “What can I expect from this course of action?” (“Wu Wei” blows his cover on the OTHER BOOKS AND PRODUCTS
page; the first two are by Chris Prentiss.)
I Ching Made Easy: Be Your Own Psychic Advisor Using the World’s Oldest Oracle
by Roderic Sorrell and Amy Max Sorrell.
The title and cover of this book make it look like a joke, but it gets better on the inside. A simple and understandable introduction to the I Ching,
it includes some basic introductory material, then a paraphrase of the hexagram and line texts, accompanied by lots of “real-life adventures.” Somewhat disappointing that it teaches only one method of casting, using six coins to choose exactly one line, with no mention of multiple lines or even a secondary hexagram. And there is no real translation included; you will need a companion book to go with it.
I Ching in Plain English
by George Hulskramer. Not much to say here. It’s the same size as the other “pocket” versions. It consists of a brief introduction, then a paraphrase with a little bit of commentary.
A difficult beginning means that success is there for the taking.
Gather all your energy, begin cautiously and persevere. Assure yourself of the necessary support.
Simply I Ching
by Kim Farnell. A brief introduction, then advice in place of a translation. Ends with “quick interpretations,” a few sentences summarizing each hexagram, for those in a hurry. The introduction describes the “mostly yang” or “mostly yin” method of coin casting, as opposed to heads = 3 and tails = 2. Associates each trigram with a family member, body part, season, direction, motion, color, and number. And it has a “hot” marketing word in the title.
Changing Lines: A New Interpretation of the I Ching for Personal and Spiritual Growth
by Robert R. Leichtman and Carl Japikse. Actually part of a series, including
that was intended to accompany a computer program called “I Ching On Line” (“please specify the size of floppy disk and system being used”). The introduction includes a very Confucian description of personal growth, as well as sound practical advice and examples about formulating a good question for consulting the I Ching
. No translation; the hexagram and line texts are advice, oriented toward self-examination and change.
(The next five are a little left-of-center for me; but of course others may have different reactions.)
The Tao of I Ching: Way to Divination
by Tsung Hwa Jou. If you are looking for “alternative,” this is it. Describes an unconventional way of using the yarrow stalks: counting off by eight to get the trigrams, then by six to get one moving line (also described in the Takashima Ekidan above). Then describes the “Plum Flower Mind I Ching,” which uses numerology based on the date, and symbolism found in unusual events in the environment. One is also supposed to get ideas from the quaint woodcut images that accompany the text. Oriented toward fortune-telling; an example is learning that an old man is going to die in five days.
Through constant use for religious purposes the coins and the book take upon themselves a magical quality of their own. This is certainly true of the Christian Bible as well, which can also be used for divining.
Exact dates can be predicted, there being many people who can do this with great accuracy, but much faith is needed.
While telepathy does not influence the I Ching to any extent, sometimes, if one’s contact is not very strong, and the person for whom one is consulting the oracle is ‘pulling’ the answer to their desire, distortion may take place whilst tossing the coins.
The I Ching and Mankind
by Diana ffarington Hook. The sequel to the above; broader-ranging in its syncretistic approach to ancient and modern religions and philosophies, and more detailed in its examination of hexagram and numerologic sequences and arrangements. Describes a system of mutating hexagrams taken from W. A. Sherrill, Heritage of Change,
which I incorporated into
The Virtual Yarrow Stalks I Ching
Some of the chapter titles:
The Sephirothal tree of life of the Kabbalah, the Chinese cosmos diagram, the secret of the Golden Flower and the raising of the kundalini
A comparison between the I Ching, the Ten Commandments, numerology and the Tarot greater arcana
An Anthology of I Ching
by W. A. Sherrill and W. K. Chu. Heritage of Change
referred to above does not appear to be commercially
available [but available online below], but Anthology
is. Said to be “drawn from a variety of classical Chinese sources,” it is mostly a collection
of advanced Symbol and Number School practices, the kind of thing that I am just not into. Chapter 3, on astrology,
is 107 pages long, over 40% of the entire book. Also included are many variations on the Plum Blossom method,
and things like Geomancy (as here defined, something like feng shui) and Directionology (determining what physical
direction to travel in a given situation).
The Authentic I Ching
by Dr. Wang Yang and Jon Sandifer. Describes two fortune-telling methods of using the I Ching
, the Mei Hua (Plum Blossom) and Na Jia methods, making much use of numerology, the Chinese calendar and the five elements, and line relationships. Numerous case histories are included as examples. Ends with a brief bit of advice for each hexagram and line.
Heritage Of Change
by W. A. Sherrill. Downloadable from
Harmen Mesker’s site
(Heritage of Change - Sherrill.pdf, 99 MB
). Subtitled “A Background to Chinese Culture and Thinking,” it describes the I Ching
as a substrate to many aspects of Chinese culture and philosophy past and present, and extols it as a guide to correct behavior.
By being capable of being classified as a book on divination many people have not sought it, thereby missing its primary value as a philosophy and how it was the fore-runner of Taoism, (scientific) Geomancy, and other Chinese philosophies and concepts.
Our purpose has been to show that Yi Ching does provide a sound basis for morality and establishes guidance to be used for an effective rich rewarding life.
A little more conventional than the books above, it does include such topics as trigrams and line relationships, moral philosophy, physiognomy, astrology, Buddhism, and, at great length, Confucius and his successors.
Tao Te Ching, 25th-Anniversary Edition |
translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. If you have an interest in Taoism, you probably have at least one Tao Te Ching, and there is a good chance that it is this one, maybe even on your coffee table. But there are more . . . .
Tao Te Ching
translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo. Ought to be more well-known than it is.
The unique style, rather than trying to convert the ideas into flowing contemporary English, is to render the Chinese in terse and literal form, adding no words that aren’t necessary. The result doesn’t carry you away so much as hit you between the eyes. Fine as a standalone version, and an invaluable companion to any other.
Tao called Tao is not Tao.
Names can name no lasting name.
Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.
Naming: the mother of ten thousand things.
Empty of desire, perceive mystery.
Filled with desire, perceive manifestations.
These have the same source, but different names.
Call them both deep—
Deep and again deep:
The gateway to all mystery.
Tao Te Ching (SkyLight Illuminations)
Lao-tzu's Taoteching: with Selected Commentaries of the Past 2000 Years
very readable translation, and commentary by Derek Lin. The translation itself is available online in an attractive form at Taoism.net
; I have it saved on my Android for anytime viewing.
translated by Red Pine. The title says it all; it’s one-of-a-kind.
Tao Te Ching (Penguin Classics)
translated by D. C. Lau. My first Tao Te Ching. Includes valuable textual notes.
Lao Tzu: My Words Are Very Easy to Understand. Lectures on the Tao Teh Ching
by Man-jan Cheng, translated by Tam C. Gibbs. The Chinese text, another very nice translation, and commentary in the form of brief lectures.
The Classic of the Way and Virtue: A New Translation of the Tao-te Ching of Laozi as Interpreted by Wang Bi
translated by Richard John Lynn. One of the more scholarly versions, including commentary by the third-century scholar Wang Bi.
The Gate of All Marvelous Things: A Guide to Reading the Tao Te Ching
translated by Gregory C. Richter. A word-for-word interlinear translation for digging deeper into the text; in the same vein as his I Ching translation.
If the only reading in Taoism that you have done is the Tao Te Ching, then it’s time to get Chuang Tzu.
The Book of Chuang Tzu (Penguin Classics)
translated by Martin Palmer; with Elizabeth Breuilly, Chang Wai Ming, and Jay Ramsay.
Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings
translated by Burton Watson.
In about 1993 I was poking around in a used bookstore in Honolulu (real books; this was the olden days, before the internet) and found a beat-up copy of part I of James Legge’s The Texts of Taoism,
containing the Tao Te Ching
and the first part of Chuang Tzu.
I was happy to find it but disappointed that I didn’t have its companion.
Months later, at the Pearl City swap meet, I was looking through some old books and found—a lone copy of part II!
It was in better shape and the cover was colored differently, apparently from a later printing. But I didn’t care; each book had been waiting to be found, like a lonely dog at the dog pound, and I was the one who had found them. (Or had they found me?)
It was the beginning of my serious reading of Taoism. This version is out of print, but
Also available online at The Internet Sacred Text Archive:
It is complete and apparently accurate, but not surprisingly has a 19th
-century sound to it.
As for modern versions, I personally like the way Penguin reads. Plus, it is complete and affordable. Burton Watson’s translation is very colloquial, and lots of people think it’s the best, but sometimes it sounds almost too casual to me; I like it but can’t say I always prefer it to Penguin. Plus, the complete version of Watson is the weighty
It’s o.k.; inner chapters only.
The Book of Lieh-Tzu
translated by A. C. Graham.
Shun asked a minister:
‘Can one succeed in possessing the Way?’
‘Your own body is not your possession. How can you possess the Way?’
Lieh-Tzu is next in the ranks of Taoist classics. Different; at times what you might call “colorful.”
Includes everything from psychedelic “mind trips” to a third-century version of biological evolution.
Lionel Giles’ 1912 version is available
at the Internet Sacred Text Archive. It is not nearly as readable as Graham, and leaves out chapter 7, Yang Chu (separately published as Garden of Pleasure
Wen-Tzu (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
translated by Thomas Cleary. Further teachings of Lao-tzu, as if transcribed by a disciple, sometimes in the form of a dialogue with Wen-tzu. Very easy and enjoyable to read. Somewhat eclectic in content, with themes from Confucian and other schools of thought here and there.
Great people are peaceful and have no longings; they are calm and have no worries. They make the sky their canopy and the earth their car; they make the four seasons their horses and make dark and light their drivers. They travel where there is no road, roam where there is no weariness, depart through no gate.
True earth arrests true lead;
True lead controls true mercury.
Liu’s (apparently controversial) premise is that this language is symbolic, a Complete Reality school code for mental and spiritual concepts: in the above case, true intent, true sense, and true essence. He goes on to criticize those who take the language literally, such as by seeking elixirs of immortality or energy circulation practices. It turns both the classic “philisophical” and later “magical” practices of Taoism on their heads, and illustrates how Taoism has been reinterpreted and variously practiced over the centuries.
Tao: The Watercourse Way
by Alan Watts. One of my early influences. A very eloquent summary of the deepest Taoist concepts: the yin-yang
polarity, the Tao as that from which one cannot depart, wu wei, te
as real virtue, even a brief description of the Chinese written language. If you are curious as to what Taoism is all about, or want to give someone else a book so that he or she can see what Taoism is all about, you might want to start here.
Taoism: An Essential Guide
The Shambhala Guide to Taoism
by Eva Wong. A comprehensive overview of all things “Taoist,” including the history of Taoism and its literary sources, numerous systems of Taoism throughout the ages including divination and internal alchemy, and specific Taoist practices such as meditation and ceremony. An invaluable sourcebook, by a devoted practitioner, for one seeking to learn more about the sometimes-bewildering diversity of practices and beliefs under the Taoist umbrella. Each chapter is accompanied by a useful selection of further readings.
Daoism: A Beginner's Guide
by James Miller. Traces the history of the proto-Daoism of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, through what are termed classical, modern, and contemporary Daoism. The author’s conviction is that Daoism has always been a living, changing set of practices and beliefs, influenced by its Buddhist, Confucian, and political environment, and interpreted and re-interpreted by many formal schools past and present. The western idea of “philosophical” as opposed to “religious” Daoism thus appears to be a gross oversimplification, in some ways the product of yet another rediscovery and reinterpretation of the classical Daoists texts by westerners over the past few centuries.
There once was a great white-bearded master who appeared at the boundary of the Central Territory on his journey west. Followers came from everywhere to sit at his feet, for he was a model of universal harmony. His teaching was so simple, yet so profound. His instruction was neither ordinary religion nor worldly wisdom, yet it revealed the truth of every aspect of the universe. All of his friends and followers lived virtuously and performed whatever work came to them joyfully. They maintained a peaceful, righteous way of life and enjoyed the abundance of their being. After their daily work was completed, they cleansed themselves carefully and fed themselves properly. Then they went to the garden where the old master stayed and awaited his precious instruction.
I teach the Integral Way of uniting with the great and mysterious Tao.
My teachings are simple; if you try to make a religion or science of them, they will elude you.
Profound yet plain, they contain the entire truth of the universe.
Those who wish to know the whole truth take joy in doing the work and service that comes to them.
Having completed it, they take joy in cleansing and feeding themselves.
Having cared for others and for themselves, they then turn to the master for instruction.
This simple path leads to peace, virtue, and abundance.
Some say the Hua Hu Ching
(“the Classic on Converting the Barbarians”) was burned but preserved in oral form during a period of political discord in China. Others consider it a late ideologically-motivated forgery. Make of all this what you will. See this article by
for more details.
The Ling Qi Jing (“magic chess,” “divine tokens”) is a Taoist oracle that dates back to the first few centuries CE. It consists of 125 oracle texts which are chosen by casting three sets of four tokens or coins. The Sawyer version seems to be more of a literal translation, and includes the oracle, an associated verse, and excerpts from several commentaries. Unfortunately, the work itself is suffused with a “yin = evil, yang = good” worldview that
is not what I consider Taoism to be. Kashiwa is a freer translation that gets away from this concept, and I tend to like it better. The verse is not included, there is not as much commentary, and he says that the latter is interpreted for the modern age, not literally translated. My advice with either version is not to spend too much time on the commentary; it tends to throw you off. Also, Kashiwa is logically ordered according to the line numbers, and the results are simple to look up. I went through and penciled in the traditional trigraph numbers, so it is then a simple matter to go straight to the result in Sawyer and compare the two.
So why would a person want to look at a little paragraph or two like this, when
the intricate microcosm of the I Ching is 1,000 years older? Sometimes you want to listen to a symphony, and other times you just want to whistle a tune.
The Tai Xuan Jing, or Canon of Supreme Mystery, is a four-line, base 3 oracle that is clearly patterned after the I Ching. In addition to solid and once-broken lines,
a third, twice-broken line, is added, so that in combination they represent heaven, earth, and man. It contains 43, or 81, tetragrams, reminiscent of the number of chapters in the Tao Te Ching. Most of the texts, depending on which edition you are using, are accompanied by nine
Apprasials, which resemble the line texts of the I Ching. These two English translations are commercially available; and even though they are ostensibly about the same subject, they are completely different books. Nylan’s is based on the “standard edition,” and the text is more structured, possibly reflecting more editing; while Walters says his is based on a simpler, alternative version found in an
old woodcut book in the British Library. The books take a completely different approach to consulting
the oracle as well. Note also that unfortunately, Nylan has a number of tetragrams displayed incorrectly; the graphics in Walters are correct.
Man is an amoral creature of order and ritual. No, he is essentially good, and just needs to be nurtured. No, he is basically evil, and needs to be whipped into shape. Fortunately, I am a Taoist, and can accept all these premises at once, thanks to Confucius, Mencius, and Hsün Tzu.
Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Penguin Classics)
by Pu Songling (1640–1715). Translated and edited by John Minford. I have been entranced by these stories ever since I heard them read by Wynette Yao on the Voice of Free China in the 1980’s. Especially the ones about fox fairies. “With elegant prose, witty wordplay, and subtle charm, the 104 stories in this collection reveal a world in which nothing is as it seems. In his tales of shape-shifting spirits, bizarre phenomena, haunted buildings, and enchanted objects, Pu Songling pushes the boundaries of human experience and enlightens as he entertains.”
Chinese Fortune Sticks
by Zhao Xiaomin and Martin Palmer. I picked this up on my last trip to Hawaii. Shaking a container of
numbered sticks until one falls out is said to be the most common method of divination in real Chinese temples.
This book is an interleaving of the oracle statements of five different deities.
The deity who seems to have the biggest following these days is
Tao Oracle: An Illuminated New Approach to the I Ching
(illustrated cards and a book)
by Ma Deva Padma. I got these for father’s day! The pictures are interesting. They would be good for choosing a random “hexagram for the day.” I wish they had the oracle text printed on them; then you could prop one up on your desk and ponder, or memorize it. There would be plenty of room on the card; they are big, I have what I would consider average-sized hands and I can barely hold them well enough to shuffle them. They come with a little book that contains a paraphrase, not a translation, and some Tarot-like card layouts for reading. The book is dedicated to Osho, and quotes him several times, fwiw.
The Whole Heart of I Ching (The Whole Heart series)
by Reverend Venerable John Bright-Fey. You can’t judge this book by its cover, which is silky, padded, and nicely bound, with an attractive graphic. The inside looks like an amateur web page, using several different sans-serif fonts in both black and red, with a white-text-on-red “mystic window” accompanying each hexagram. The cover might also have pointed out that rather than any sort of translation of the I Ching,
the book is actually a guide to Taoist meditation and “alchemic wisdom,” using the structure of the I Ching
as a template. Hexagram 3, line 1:
The Qi, initially blocked by a pillar of stone
And sacred tree,
Flows around the obstacles
And seeks rest and guidance
In the company of friends.
The I Ching of the Goddess
by Barbara G. Walker. Essentially a series of 64 essays loosely based on the trigrams and main theme of each hexagram, using matriarchal goddess and feminist imagery drawn from the legends of diverse cultures and eras. Often has a fantasy comic-book sound to it.
As a result of this prophesied cataclysm, motherhood in the after-time could manifest itself only as a terrible accusation in the eyes of women clutching their dead children in a black, poisoned, starving land. The Madonna figure changes to a spirit of the Waste Land, which medieval seereses described as all that would be left of the earth after the upheavals brought on by men’s greed and rampant aggression. The Madonna figure was imagined as always merciful and forgiving, but the wronged mothers of the barren future, seeing their children dead, would never forgive. [From the Ming I hexagram.]
No actual I Ching
text, or any mention of the lines. Accompanied by illustrations with varying degrees of erotic intensity, apparently favoring the woman-on-top position. (Also comes as a
boxed set with illustrated cards
The interesting thing about the book is that the hexagrams are arranged in the Fu Hsi order, the King Wen sequence being seen as less logical and therefore patriarchal. But they are numbered from 1-64 beginning with Ch’ien, rather than being assigned a logical binary value.