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I Ching -- Coin Method

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.divination,alt.philosophy.taoism,talk.religion.misc
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Re: I Ching -- Coin Method
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 05:17:49 GMT

500204 16 -- good day for this post 4 => 16 om

just through my force fields!

"DSJ" :
>>>> Been looking at the different methods of consulting the I Ching, 

>>> primarily I've seen Yarrow Stalk manipulation and 3 Coins,
>>> though there are countless methods, even using the Classic itself!
>>> as described in the recently-released Change Oracle:
>>> the bibliomantic selection of a hexagram can be used to generate
>>> a binary value (3 or 1 Yin vs 3 or 1 Yang) and an octal value
>>> (the *ba gua* or 8 trigrams, sometimes paired with numbers as
>>> 1-8; sometimes given binary values 0-7) that may be utilized as
>>> described in the Change Oracle (URL above) to construct a 
>>> divinatory hexagram, from bottom line upwards, with the same 
>>> chances of obtaining each hexagram as when using the Yarrow 
>>> Stalk Method (traditional). this argues its superiority.
>> Not really, since the yarrow stalk method known today is 
>> reconstructed 

and came to be regarded with a great deal of respect and renown.
Lynn writes:

	Various methods of yarrow (milfoil) stalk (*Achillea
	millefolium*) divination had been developed since the 
	Han era -- all apparently based on the brief description 
	provided in section nine of the Commentary on the 
	Appended Phrases, Part One, and commented upon by Wang Bi 
	and Han Kangbo. The reasons for various steps in the 
	process are given there. Extant written versions of these 
	methods were critiqued in the twelfth century by Zhu Xi, 
	who then wrote his own account of what he thought the 
	correct method should be. Zhu's composite or reformed 
	method became the standard way of yarrow stalk divination 
	for the rest of the traditional era and is still the most 
	generally used today.
	 The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching
	 As Interpreted by Wang Bi, by Richard John Lynn, Columbia
	 University Press, 1994; p. 19.

so while you are technically correct that what is purported to be
'The Yarrow Stalk Method' by numerous authors is actually what
should be called 'the traditional Yarrow Method constructed by
Zhu Xi out of a compilation', the fact that this method has become
popular and gained such renown speaks well for any method which
tends to approximate its result.

>> and it's not certain that it's asymmetric skewing of the probabilities
>> were inherent in the original yarrow method, which is quite unknown.

what gives you reason to presume that there was a single original?

>> The 3 coin method is actually the oldest method extant, which has
>> symmetric probabilities. Personally I believe symmetric probabilities
>> make more sense since there is no reason why yin or yang should have
>> differing tendencies towards change since they are polar opposites. 

you wrote this ambiguously, but it looks like you are saying that the
Coin Method is the oldest of those methods with symmetrical likelihood
of hexagram results (equal as regards Yang as Yin lines). how can you
be sure that some of the older Yarrow methods weren't symmetrical in 
this way?

there is a reason why Yin might be best favoured: the referent for the
oracle (The Ten Wings) may be unbalanced toward this pole also.

>> I believe that the assymetric probabilities built into the 
>> reconstructed yarrow rite 

what evidence do you have that anything was "re" constructed?

>> do not necessarily represent the original rite. 

or that there was such a simplicity as an 'original' rite?
whose? what was its shape and form? how have you become aware of it?

>> And also that they do not really fit into the conceptual 
>> framwork of yin-yang.

not on a flat-plane model, agreed. even the Fu Xi Square of hexagrams
and the Circular Arrangement by Shao are more thoroughly balanced and
symmetrical than the odds for the traditional Yarrow Method. 

>> Rather than make a coin method that mimicks the yarrow rite it would
>> be better to create a yarrow method that has the symmetric
>> probabilities of the coin method.

if that is your wont. I suggest that there are truly two trajectories
if one wishes to begin a thorough study of the oracle and its wisdom:

	FORM AND NUMBER -- the lines and their structure, binary
	   characteristics, hexavalued associations, and they dynamic
	   aspects of the motive graphics presented by the Changes 
	   Classic and its numerology 

	STYLE AND CONTENT -- the resource one takes for interpreting
	   the line-diagrams constructed is as important as the method
	   of derivation; identifying the character of the text to be
	   used by the magician in consultation (e.g. Confucian,
	   Taoist, Satanist, etc.) should be as important as arriving
	   at the proper system for generating the result (traditional
	   texts may be best served with traditional methods, while
	   atraditional consultation sources might best be served with
	   less commonplace variations -- it would seem to depend upon
	   the nature of both constructs)

>>>> and I've discovered that most books conflict on which side of 
>>>> the Chinese coin is YIN and which is YANG. 
>> This hardly matters, it is arbitrary for the purpose of the act, 
>> you only need to decide beforehand.

every detail matters to the dedicated magician.
>>> it is pretty easy to catalogue the array of suggestions by
>>> known sources on Coin Oracle specifics. for example, I can 
>>> tell you that the following completely consistently identifies
>>> Yin as a value of 2, Old Yin (2/2/2=6 being compared with
>>> Old Yang 3/3/3=9), though whether an inscribed or 'heads'
>>> ought be identified with it or a blank or 'tails', there is
>>> no *attempt* to be consistent, more than one source indicating
>>> that the selection is arbitrary and any binary decision-maker
>>> will suffice if clearly differentiated between possibilities:
>>> 	              Inscribed        Blank
>>>                   ----------------------------
>>> Legge--              YIN=HEADS (2); YANG=TAILS (3)
>>> Wilhelm--                YIN           YANG
>>> Blofeld--                YIN           YANG    (reversed is fine)
>>> R.L. Wing--           YIN=HEADS     YANG=TAILS (reversed is fine)
>>> Lynn--                   YIN           YANG
>>> Cleary--             YIN=TAILS (2); YANG=HEADS (3)
>>> Sherrill/Chu--       YIN=TAILS (2); YANG=HEADS (3)
>>> Reifler--                 2              3 
>>> Hook--                 YIN=2;          YANG=3; (you choose sides)
>>> add more from *your* favourite sources! refine these and pass on!!
>> Yin is always 2, yang always 3, but this doesn't matter greatly since
>> it is the numbers 6, 7, 8, and 9 that determines the hexagram. 

unless the numbers are something more than shorthand or counting chits.
if the numbers are themselves significant for their resonance, it could
make all the difference in the world how the rite is conducted. one might
as well say that the Lo River Diagram (magick square of Saturn) is 'just 
a bunch of numbers in boxes', and yet its structure and the relation in 
how they are layed out, compared for example with the Yellow River Chart,
is imperative to their understanding. this could also be the case in an
analysis of the symbolism of Change Oracle consultation. futz too much by
switching "meaningless variables" and you might overlook a profundity.

>> It doesn't matter whether you choose heads or tails to be yang.

ultimately? probably not. plus, some coins don't even *have* a
clear distinction such as 'heads' and 'tails'. it seems to me that
an ambiguous set of coins might be valuable, or one which had some 
kind of identifying 'Yinnage' or 'Yangage' to their symbolism.



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