General query on the Coronavirus using the seven card horseshoe spread.
After six cards were picked from a Thoth tarot deck that was spread out horizontally and face down it was noted that the only card that was face up was the Death card. Not wanting to skew the result with the decision of picking it up or ignoring it, I placed it back into the pack, reshuffled, then spread the remaining cards out again in order to pick out an unbiased final card. Despite this, I think the appearance of this card in this way was rather synchronistic considering the subject matter.
3 of Swords. Saturn in Libra. Sorrow.
7 of Disks. Saturn in Taurus. Failure
Ace of Cups.
8 of Cups. Saturn in Pisces. Indolence.
5 of Wands. Saturn in Leo. Strife.
6 of Disks. Luna in Taurus. Success.
It doesn’t take an expert to spot the negativity apparent in this reading. Of the five small cards featuring the planet Saturn, only the 10 of Wands, Oppression, failed to make an appearance.
The first card, representing either the past or the first point being raised by the cards, is represented by Saturn in the sign of Libra and the Saturnian Sephira of Binah. Human grief and the after effects of suffering are clearly portrayed. The traditional astrological nature of the card’s Zodiacal decan, being the second of Libra, is a force that represents a hatred of evil. With Libra being seen the sign of justice and balance, and with the equilibrating force of nature coming under the influence of Libra’s ruler, Venus, and with Saturn representing old age and death, there is a symbolic connection to the destructive aspect of nature acting as the agent of sorrow apparent here.
Representing the present moment is the 7 of Disks, where Saturn is once again the guest in the domain of Venus, though her nature here is that of natural effects and the ownership of possessions. Saturn’s role can be seen as akin to the negative force of nature in the form of old age, barrenness and death in the heart of spring, or perhaps a winter that lasted too long, leading to financial and physical hardship and the loss of wealth and possessions.
The Ace of Cups in the future placement suggests a positive turn of events in what appears to be a bleak present. It symbolises nature in the form of the feminine symbols of the lotus and the water of life and is derivative from the Moon, which is traditionally represented by nature goddesses such as Artemis and Diana and so can be seen as the completion of a natural cycle in its due course. In the context of a viral pandemic, that assumably means its waning back into obscurity.
The situation of the Coronavirus itself is summarised in the form of another Saturnian card, this time that of Saturn in Pisces, representing Indolence, or the failure to take proper action at the correct moment. This suggests that doing nothing is not an option and where we currently are is the result of a failure to act in an effective way. Mixed with the element of Water Saturn becomes a force of invasive sluggishness that bogs down the progression of natural and emotive cycles apparent in the Ace of Cups. Saturn’s force is truly pervasive at the moment, perhaps due to his approaching the end of his earthy domecile of Capricorn as he prepares to enter his more transformative and humanitarian domecile of Aquarius on 22nd March. Saturn’s movement from one sign to another on the cusp of winter and spring may be producing a last capricious act as he departs his more heartless abode for his more progressive one. Being a Saturnian arrangement, there is not likely to be a speedy outcome in this resolution. I will hazard a guess and say that the crisis will not be significantly diverted until Saturn has reached 5º Aquarius, where it will have shaken off its old energies more effectively, which, due to an upcoming period of retrograde motion (signifying a setback after an initial period of slow improvement), will not happen until January 29th 2021.
The External Factor in this reading was represented by the Five of Swords, which crosses the malefic energies of Mars and Saturn with the fiery and virile force of Leo. Such a combination would produce an effective and malignant power that has the capability of causing a lot of trouble. Yet here, for the first time, the energies of the Sun, the ruler of Leo, are brought into the equation, for the King of the Planets has the ultimate influence over each of the planets, even though they occasionally and temporarily bring him woe.
Representing ‘Hopes and Fears’ comes a more positive card, the 6 of Disks. Here, the Moon is in her exaltation in Taurus, representing the restoration of the natural order, while the Solar nature of the ‘6’ suggesting glimpses of hope appearing after times of darkness and difficulty.
Confirming the solar nature hinted at in the 6 of Disks is The Sun as the card symbolising the Final Outcome. Generally representing principles of hope and triumph, the appearance of the Sun, the rays of which provably destroy aggressive viruses, suggest that the strengthening of the Sun will signify the main turning point of the current crisis, though the Saturnian elements involved will not make this an overnight thing. While it’s notable that The Sun signifies recovery from illness in divinatory readings, it’s important to remember that it can occasionally signify sudden death.
Overall, the diagnosis is poor in the short term with a slow growth towards improvement in the summer months. This pretty much verifies what most of us currently guess to be the case, so while no great mysteries are revealed by this reading, it is interesting to note the synchronistic nature reflected in both the cards and the current zodiacal transit of Saturn, which was at the mystical 29º at the time of this reading, This position, known as the anaretic degree, is one in which a planet displays a final burst of violent energy before it shifts into the next sign.
However, with Saturn going retrograde on May 22nd, there may either be another, if slower, resurgence of the virus after what appeared to be a gradual improvement, or there may be some very Aquarian difficulties and instabilities with matters such as social order. These may remain in effect until Saturn returns to direct motion (September 29th at 25º Capricorn), and will improve again once he returns to Aquarius (December 17th), with his reaching 5º Aquarius on and immediately after January 29th signifying the conclusion of the most immediate issues.
The I Ching often provides some interesting synchronicities when used as a method of divination or contemplation. Having recorded and analysed the results of Tarot readings for some time with the notion of trying to find statistical biases in the planetary and zodiacal themes of my results, I recently started to do the same thing with the I Ching to see if anything significant became apparent.
Since April 4th of this year, a total of 40 I Ching consultations have been recorded, resulting in the creation of a total of 68 Hexagrams (this includes those created from Changing Lines). These 40 readings led to the formation of 240 (as 40 x 6 = 240) lines, of which 122 (50.83%) were Yin lines and 118 (49.17%) were Yang. The proximity of these figures show the expected probability of 50/50 being very closely approximated.
The same can be said for the actual numbers of heads and tails thrown in these castings, in which three coins are thrown and given scores to produce the necessary Trigrams and Hexagrams. The scoring system works like this:
Changing Yin: 3 Tails = 6. Yang: 2 Tails and 1 Head = 7 Yin: 2 Heads and 1 Tail = 8 Changing Yang: 3 Heads = 9.
With a Hexagram requiring 18 separate coins to be tossed (in batches of three), 40 different initial Hexagrams required a total of 720 coins being flipped. In my results, 378 (52.5%) of these coins came in as Heads and 342 (47.5%) came in as tails. While this varies a small amount from the expected 50/50 ratio, it’s still too close to be recognised as a skewed result.
Things become a little more complicated when analysing the probabilities of producing Changing and Unchanging Yin and Yang lines, but the expected probabilities for each of these expressed as fractions is:
This reveals that although the balance between Yin and Yang in total is about what it should be (see the second paragraph above), an imbalance of probabilities is notable around the Yin lines, with the Changing Yin Line appearing 33% less than it should and the Unchanging Yin Line appearing 13.3% more than it should. In total, Changing Lines should appear 25% of the time (as 1/8th + 1/8th = 1/4 = 25%), but in these results, due to the particularly large skew in results relating to the Changing Yin, the Changing Lines appear exactly 5% less than expected.
Is this significant, though? Well, almost. A skew of 5% is on the very cusp of what you could call significant in statistical terms so this doesn’t clearly represent what could be called ‘interference’ from the magical mechanisms that are supposed to lie behind such divinatory methods. I believe it would take at least 1,000 readings to reach what could be called a truly significant set of statistical results, but as this would probably take several years to complete, I can’t present anything solid and ‘scientific’ being expressed thus far.
However, at this early stage, the fact that most of the apparent skewing comes around both the Changing and Unchanging Yin lines can lead to a hypothesis being drawn about a possible synchronistic ‘interference’ (at least as far as my own results are concerned) coming from the Yin, the feminine aspect of the Tao.
Something I’ve often struggled with when performing Tarot readings is applying fitting interpretations of the Court Cards. While capable of making approximate meanings of their importance, after facing a larger than average flush of Royal figures in a recent reading, I found myself appealing to Crowley’s Book of Thoth for aid. Not finding this especially helpful due to its emphasis on likening the Court Cards to certain personality types, I decided to do a couple of things I’d always neglected to before. Firstly, I followed the advice suggesting the consultation of the I Ching hexagrams to provide a more detailed and accurate interpretation. While familiar with both the I Ching and the Tarot for long enough, having not read the Book of Thoth for a while, these correspondences were something I had completely forgotten about. Following that, I also refreshed myself with the Court Cards’ correspondences to the Minor Arcana, which I’m much better at accurately interpreting. After taking these steps to refresh myself with basic and obvious knowledge I was able to apply a far more satisfying set of interpretations than I had before, so thought I’d share the methods of application here.
As Crowley’s interpretations of the Court Cards in the Book of Thoth are found in full on the Hermetic Library page, they have only been summarised with a brief quote in this post. Similarly truncated summaries of the corresponding hexagrams from Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching have also been included, as have a series of short tables revealing the correspondences between the Court Cards, the Zodiacal decans and the Minor Arcana.
The Knight of Wands
The moral qualities appropriate to this figure are activity, generosity, fierceness, impetuosity, pride, impulsiveness, swiftness in unpredictable actions. If wrongly energised, he is evil-minded, cruel, bigoted and brutal. He is in either case ill-fitted to carry on his action; he has no means of modifying it according to circumstances. If he fails in his first effort, he has no resource.
Corresponding Small Cards
7 of Cups
8 of Wands
9 of Wands
51. Chen. The Arousing/Thunder.
The hexagram Chên represents the eldest son, who seizes rule
with energy and power. A yang line develops below two yin lines and presses
upward forcibly. This movement is so violent that it arouses terror. It is
symbolized by thunder, which bursts forth from the earth and by its shock
causes fear and trembling.
The Judgement Shock brings success. Shock comes–oh, oh! Laughing words–ha, ha! The shock terrifies for a hundred miles, And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.
The shock that comes from the manifestation of God within the depths of the earth makes man afraid, but this fear of God is good, for joy and merriment can follow upon it. When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted. This is the spirit that must animate leaders and rulers of men—a profound inner seriousness from which all terrors glance off harmlessly.
The Image Thunder repeated: the image of Shock. Thus in fear and trembling The superior man sets his life in order And examines himself.
The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbour any secret opposition to the will of God. Thus reverence is the foundation of true culture.
The characteristics of the Queen are adaptability, persistent energy, calm authority which she knows how to use to enhance her attractiveness. She is kindly and generous, but impatient of opposition. She has immense capacity for friendship and for love, but always on her own initiative.
Corresponding Small Cards
10 of Cups
2 of Wands
3 of Wands
17. Sui. Following
The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is
above; Chên, the Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy
in movement induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the
Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her
consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.
The Judgement Following has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame.
In order to obtain a following one must first know how to
adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in
this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is
necessary if they are to follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force
or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating faction, he invariably arouses
resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous movement can
lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, “Perseverance
furthers” – that is, consistency in doing right – together with “No
blame.” Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this
condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn
follow others without coming to harm. The thought of obtaining a following
through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea;
this is why the appended judgment is so favourable.
The Image Thunder in the middle of the lake: The image of Following. Thus the superior man at nightfall Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.
In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image – thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image. Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favourable until one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.
The Prince of Wands
The moral qualities appropriate to this figure are swiftness and strength. But he is sometimes inclined to act on impulse; sometimes easily led by external influences; sometimes, especially in trifles, a prey to indecision. He is often violent, especially in the expression of an opinion, but he does not necessarily hold the opinion about which he is so emphatic. He states a vigorous proposition for the sake of stating it. He is in fact very slow to make up his mind thoroughly on any subject, but always sees both sides of every question. He is essentially just, but always feels that justice is not to be attained in the intellectual world. His character is intensely noble and generous. He may be an extravagant boaster, while slyly laughing both at the object of his boast and at himself for making it. He is romantic, especially in matters of history and tradition, to the point of folly, and may engineer “stunts” or play elaborate practical jokes.
Corresponding Small Cards
4 of Cups
5 of Wands
6 of Wands
42. Yi. Increase.
The idea of increase is expressed in the fact that the
strong lowest line of the upper trigram has sunk down and taken its place under
the lower trigram. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which
the Book of Changes is based. To rule truly is to serve. A sacrifice of the
higher element that produces an increase of the lower is called an out-and-out
increase: it indicates the spirit that alone has power to help the world.
The Judgement Increase. It furthers one To undertake something. It furthers one to cross the great water.
Sacrifice on the part of those above for the increase of
those below fills the people with a sense of joy and gratitude that is
extremely valuable for the flowering of the commonwealth. When people are thus
devoted to their leaders, undertakings are possible, and even difficult and
dangerous enterprises will succeed. Therefore in such times of progress and
successful development it is necessary to work and make the best use of time.
This time resembles that of the marriage of heaven and earth, when the earth
partakes of the creative power of heaven, forming and bringing forth living
beings. The time of INCREASE does not endure, therefore it must be utilized
while it lasts.
The Image Wind and thunder: the image of Increase. Thus the superior man: If he sees good, he imitates it; If he has faults, he rids himself of them.
While observing how thunder and wind increase and strengthen each other, a man can not the way to self-increase and self-improvement. When he discovers good in others, he should imitate it and thus make everything on earth his own. If he perceives something bad in himself, let him rid himself of it. In this way he becomes free of evil. This ethical change represents the most important increase of personality.
Keywords: Addition, Increase.
The Princess of Wands
The character of the Princess is extremely individual. She is brilliant and daring. She creates her own beauty by her essential vigour and energy. The force of her character imposes the impression of beauty upon the beholder. In anger or love she is sudden, violent, and implacable. She consumes all that comes into her sphere. She is ambitious and aspiring, full of enthusiasm which is often irrational. She never forgets an injury, and the only quality of patience to be found in her is the patience with which she lies in ambush to avenge.
Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.
27. I. The Corners of the Mouth.
This hexagram is a
picture of an open mouth; above and below are firm lines of the lips, and
between them the opening. Starting with the mouth, through which we take food
for nourishment, the thought leads to nourishment itself. Nourishment of
oneself, specifically of the body, is represented in the three lower lines,
while the three upper lines represent nourishment and care of others, in a
higher, spiritual sense.
The Judgement The Corners of the Mouth. Perseverance brings good fortune. Pay heed to the providing of nourishment. And to what a man seeks To fill his own mouth with.
In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the
right people should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own
nourishment in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have
only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he
cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man fosters
and takes care of superior men, in order to take care of all men through them.
Mencius says about this: If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not,
we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important.
The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must
not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure
the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior
parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of
his nature is a superior man.
The Image At the foot of the mountain, thunder: The image of Providing Nourishment. Thus the superior man is careful of his words And temperate in eating and drinking.
“God comes forth in the sign of the Arousing”:
when in the spring the life forces stir again, all things comes into being
anew. “He brings to perfection in the sign of Keeping Still”: thus in
the early spring, when the seeds fall to earth, all things are made ready. This
is an image of providing nourishment through movement and tranquillity. The
superior man takes it as a pattern for the nourishment and cultivation of his
character. Words are a movement going form within outward. Eating and drinking
are movements from without inward. Both kinds of movement can be modified by
tranquillity. For tranquillity keeps the words that come out of the mouth from
exceeding proper measure, and keeps the food that goes into the mouth from exceeding
its proper measure. Thus character is cultivated.
The Knight of Cups
The characteristics of the person signified by this card are nevertheless mostly passive, in accordance with the Zodiacal attribution. He is graceful, dilettante, with the qualities of Venus, or a weak Jupiter. He is amiable in a passive way. He is quick to respond to attraction, and easily becomes enthusiastic under such stimulus; but he is not very enduring. He is exceedingly sensitive to external influence, but with no material depth in his character.
Corresponding Small Cards
7 of Swords
8 of Cups
9 of Cups
54. Kuei Mei. The Marrying Maiden.
Above we have Chên, the eldest son, and below, Tui, the
youngest daughter. The man leads and the girl follows him in gladness. The
picture is that of the entrance of the girl into her husband’s house. In all,
there are four hexagrams depicting the relationship between husband and wife.
Hsien, INFLUENCE, (31), describes the attraction that a young couple have for
each other; Hêng, DURATION (32), portrays the permanent relationships of
marriage; Chien, DEVELOPMENT (53), reflects the protracted, ceremonious
procedures attending THE MARRYING MAIDEN, shows a young girl under the guidance
of an older man who marries her.
The Judgement The Marrying Maiden. Undertakings bring misfortune. Nothing that would further.
A girl who is
taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave with special
caution and reserve. She must not take it upon herself to supplant the mistress
of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to untenable relationships.
The same is true of all voluntary relationships between human beings. While
legally regulated relationships based on personal inclination depend in the
long run entirely on tactful reserve. Affection as the essential principle of
relatedness is of the greatest importance in all relationships in the world.
For the union of heaven and earth is the origin of the whole of nature. Among
human beings likewise, spontaneous affection is the all-inclusive principle of
The Image Thunder over the lake: The image of The Marrying Maiden. Thus the superior man Understands the transitory In the light of the eternity of the end.
Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolises the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.
Keywords: Unfortunate Marriage.
The Queen of Cups
The characteristics associated with this card are principally dreaminess, illusion and tranquillity. She is the perfect agent and patient, able to receive and transmit everything without herself being affected thereby. If ill-dignified, all these qualities are degraded.
Corresponding Small Cards
10 of Swords
2 of Cups
3 of Cups
58. Tui. The Joyous/Lake.
This hexagram, like
sun, is one of the eight formed by doubling of a trigram. The trigram Tui
denotes the youngest daughter; it is symbolized by the smiling lake, and its
attribute is joyousness. Contrary to appearances, it is not the yielding
quality of the top line that accounts for joy here. The attribute of the yielding
or dark principle is not joy but melancholy. However, joy is indicated by the
fact that there are two strong lines within, expressing themselves through the
medium of gentleness. True joy, therefore, rests on firmness and strength
within, manifesting itself outwardly as yielding and gentle.
The Judgement The Joyous. Success. Perseverance is favourable.
mood is infectious and therefore brings success. But joy must be based on
steadfastness if it is not to degenerate into uncontrolled mirth. Truth and
strength must dwell in the heart, while gentleness reveals itself in social
intercourse. In this way one assumes the right attitude toward God and man and achieves
something. Under certain conditions, intimidation without gentleness may
achieve something momentarily, but not for all time. When, on the other hand,
the hearts of men are won by friendliness, they are led to take all hardships
upon themselves willingly, and if need be will not shun death itself, so great
is the power of joy over men.
The Image Lakes resting on one another: The image of the Joyous. Thus the superior man joins with his friends For discussion and practice.
A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other. It is the same in the field of knowledge. Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalising force. It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices application of the truths of life. In this way learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas there is always something ponderous and one- sided about the learning of the self-taught.
Keywords: Pleasure, Help from Friends, Still Water.
The Prince of Cups
The moral characteristics of the person pictured in this card are subtlety, secret violence, and craft. He is intensely secret, an artist in all his ways. On the surface he appears calm and imperturbable, but this is a mask of the most intense passion. He is on the surface susceptible to external influences, but he accepts them only to transmute them to the advantage of his secret designs. He is thus completely without conscience in the ordinary sense of the word, and is therefore usually distrusted by his neighbours. They feel they do not, and can never, understand him. Thus he inspires unreasonable fear. He is in fact perfectly ruthless. He cares intensely for power, wisdom, and his own aims. He feels no responsibility to others, and although his abilities are so immense, he cannot be relied upon to work in harness.
Corresponding Small Cards
4 of Swords
5 of Cups
6 of Cups
61. Chung Fu. Inner Truth.
blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water. Thus visible effects of
the invisible manifest themselves. The hexagram consists of firm lines above
and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of
prejudices and therefore open to truth. On the other hand, each of the two
trigrams has a firm line in the middle; this indicates the force of inner truth
in the influences they present. The attributes of the two trigrams are: above,
gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors; below, joyousness in obeying
superiors. Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes
achievements possible. The character of fu (“truth”) is actually the
picture of a bird’s foot over a fledgling. It suggests the idea of brooding. An
egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but
there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened. Far-reaching
speculations can be linked with these ideas.
The Judgement Inner Truth. Pigs and fishes. Good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers.
fishes are the least intelligent of all animals and therefore the most
difficult to influence. The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before
its influence can extend to such creatures. In dealing with persons as
intractable and as difficult to influence as a pig or a fish, the whole secret
of success depends on finding the right way of approach. One must first rid
oneself of all prejudice and, so to speak, let the psyche of the other person
act on one without restraint. Then one will establish contact with him,
understand and gain power over him. When a door has thus been opened, the force
of one’s personality will influence him. If in this way one finds no obstacles
insurmountable, one can undertake even the most dangerous things, such as
crossing the great water, and succeed. But it is important to understand upon
what the force inner truth depends. This force is not identical with simple
intimacy or a secret bond. Close ties may exist also among thieves; it is true
that such a bond acts as a force but, since it is not invincible, it does not
bring good fortune. All association on the basis of common interests holds only
up to a certain point. Where the community of interest ceases, the holding together
ceases also, and the closest friendship often changes into hate. Only when the
bond is based on what is right, on steadfastness, will it remain so firm that
it triumphs over everything.
The Image Wind over lake: the image of Inner Truth. Thus the superior man discusses criminal cases In order to delay executions.
Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.
Keywords: Inmost Sincerity.
The Princess of Cups
The character of the Princess is infinitely gracious. All sweetness, all voluptuousness, gentleness, kindness and tenderness are in her character. She lives in the world of Romance, in the perpetual dream of rapture. On a superficial examination she might be thought selfish and indolent, but this is a quite false impression; silently and effortlessly she goes about her work.
Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.
41. Sun. Decrease.
represents a decrease of the lower trigram in favour of the upper, because the
third line, originally strong, has moved up to the top, and the top line,
originally weak, has replaced it. What is below is decreased to the benefit of
what is above. This is out-and-out decrease. If the foundations of a building
are decreased in strength and the upper walls are strengthened, the whole
structure loves its stability. Likewise, a decrease in the prosperity of the
people in favor of the government is out-and-out decrease. And the entire theme
of the hexagram is directed to showing how this shift of wealth can take place
without causing the sources of wealth can take place without causing the
sources of wealth in the nation and its lower classes to fail.
The Judgement Decrease combined with sincerity Brings about supreme good fortune Without blame. One may be persevering in this. It furthers one to undertake something. How is this to be carried out? One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice.
not under all circumstances mean something bad. Increase and decrease come in
their own time. What matters here is to understand the time and not to try to
cover up poverty with empty pretense. If a time of scanty resources brings out
an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed of simplicity. For simplicity is then
the very thing needed to provide inner strength for further undertakings.
Indeed, there need by no concern if the outward beauty of the civilization,
even the elaboration of religious forms, should have to suffer because of
simplicity. One must draw on the strength of the inner attitude to compensate
for what is lacking in externals; then the power of the content makes up for
the simplicity of form. There is no need of presenting false appearances to
God. Even with slender means, the sentiment of the heart can be expressed.
The Image At the foot of the mountain, the lake: The image of Decrease. Thus the superior man controls his anger And restrains his instincts.
The lake at the foot of the mountain evaporates. In this way it decreases to the benefit of the mountain, which is enriched by its moisture. The mountain stands as the symbol of stubborn strength that can harden into anger. The lake is the symbol of unchecked gaiety that can develop into passionate drives at the expense of the life forces. Therefore decrease is necessary; anger must be decreased by keeping still, the instincts must be curbed by restriction. By this decrease of the lower powers of the psyche, the higher aspects of the soul are enriched.
The Knight of Swords
The moral qualities of a person thus indicated are activity and skill, subtlety and cleverness. He is fierce, delicate and courageous, but altogether the prey of his idea, which comes to him as an inspiration without reflection.
Corresponding Small Cards
7 of Disks
8 of Swords
9 of Swords
32. Heng. Duration.
The strong trigram Chên is above, the weak trigram Sun
below. This hexagram is the inverse of the preceding one. In the latter we have
influence, here we have union as an enduring condition. The two images are
thunder and wind, which are likewise constantly paired phenomena. The lower
trigram indicates gentleness within; the upper, movement without. In the sphere
of social relationships, the hexagram represents the institution of marriage as
the enduring union of the sexes. During courtship the young man subordinates
himself to the girl, but in marriage, which is represented by the coming
together of the eldest son and the eldest daughter, the husband is the
directing and moving force outside, while the wife, inside, is gentle and
The Judgement Duration. Success. No blame. Perseverance furthers. It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
Duration is a state whose movement is not worn down by
hindrances. It is not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression.
Duration is rather the self- contained and therefore self-renewing movement of
an organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in accordance with
immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending. The end is reached by an
inward movement, by inhalation, systole, contraction, and this movement turns
into a new beginning, in which the movement is directed outward, in exhalation,
diastole, expansion. Heavenly bodies exemplify duration. They move in their
fixed orbits, and because of this their light-giving power endures. The seasons
of the year follow a fixed law of change and transformation, hence can produce
effects that endure. So likewise the dedicated man embodies an enduring meaning
in his way of life, and thereby the world is formed. In that which gives things
their duration, we can come to understand the nature of all beings in heaven
and on earth.
The Image Thunder and wind: the image of Duration. Thus the superior man stands firm And does not change his direction.
Thunder rolls, and the wind blows; both are examples of extreme mobility and so are seemingly the very opposite of duration, but the laws governing their appearance and subsidence, their coming and going, endure. In the same way the independence of the superior man is not based on rigidity and immobility of character. He always keeps abreast of the time and changes with it. What endures is the unswerving directive, the inner law of his being, which determines all his actions.
Keywords: Perseverance. Keeping to the Path.
The Queen of Swords
The person symbolized by this card should be intensely perceptive, a keen observer, a subtle interpreter, an intense individualist, swift and accurate at recording ideas; in action confident, in spirit gracious and just. Her movements will be graceful, and her ability in dancing and balancing exceptional.
Corresponding Small Cards
10 of Disks
2 of Swords
3 of Swords
28. Ta Kuo. Preponderance of the Great
This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two
weak lines outside. When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is
well and there is nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the
situation. Here, however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a
beam that is thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a
condition that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will
The Judgement Preponderance of the Great. The ridgepole sags to the breaking point. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. Success.
The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy
for the strength of the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests,
sags to the breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the
load they bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore
extraordinary measures are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of
transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success.
For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at
the center of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to
be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gently
penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute
of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be
successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates
is a momentous time.
The Image The lake rises above the trees: The image of Preponderance of the Great. Thus the superior man, when he stands alone, Is unconcerned, And if he has to renounce the world, He is undaunted.
Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone, and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it must renounce the world.
Keywords: Great Carefulness. Weak Beam.
The Prince of Swords
A person thus symbolized is purely intellectual. He is full of ideas and designs which tumble over each other. He is a mass of fine ideals unrelated to practical effort. He has all the apparatus of Thought in the highest degree, intensely clever, admirably rational, but unstable of purpose, and in reality indifferent even to his own ideas, as knowing that any one of them is just as good as any other. He reduces everything to unreality by removing its substance and transmuting it to an ideal world of ratiocination which is purely formal and out of relation to any facts, even those upon which it is based.
Corresponding Small Cards
4 of Disks
5 of Swords
6 of Swords
57. Sun. The Gentle/Penetrating Wind.
Sun is one of the eight doubled trigrams. It is the eldest
daughter and symbolizes wind or wood; it has for its attribute gentleness,
which nonetheless penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots.
The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the
penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In
nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky
clear and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that
thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the
powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those
intrigues which shun the light of day.
The Judgement The Gentle. Success through what is small. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. It furthers one to see the great man.
Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It
should be effected not by an act of violation but by influence that never
lapses. Results of this kind are less striking to the eye than those won by
surprise attack, but they are more enduring and more complete. If one would
produce such effects, one must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the
penetrating influence works always in the same direction can the object be
attained. Small strength can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself
to an eminent man who is capable of creating order.
The Image Winds following one upon the other: The image of the Gently Penetrating. Thus the superior man Spreads his commands abroad And carries out his undertakings.
The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the ruler’s thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and repels.
The character of the Princess is stern and revengeful. Her logic is destructive. She is firm and aggressive, with great practical wisdom and subtlety in material things. She shews great cleverness and dexterity in the management of practical affairs, especially where they are of a controversial nature. She is very adroit in the settlement of controversies.
Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.
18. Ku. Work on what has been Spoiled.
The Chinese character ku represents a bowl in whose contents
worms are breeding. This means decay. It is come about because the gentle
indifference in the lower trigram has come together with the rigid inertia of
the upper, and the result is stagnation. Since this implies guilt, the
conditions embody a demand for removal of the cause. Hence the meaning of the
hexagram is not simply “what has been spoiled” but “work on what
has been spoiled”.
The Judgement Work on What Has Been Spoiled Has supreme success. It furthers one to cross the great water. Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.
What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work. It is not immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, that has caused the state of corruption, but rather the abuse of human freedom. Work toward improving conditions promises well, because it accords the possibilities of the time. We must not recoil from work and danger—symbolised by crossing of the great water—but must take hold energetically. Success depends, however, on proper deliberation. This is expressed by the lines, “Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.” We must first know the cause of corruption before we can do away with them; hence it is necessary to be cautious during the time before the start. Then we must see to it that the new way is safely entered upon, so that a relapse may be avoided; therefore we must pay attention to the time after the start. Decisiveness and energy must take the place of inertia and indifference that have led to decay, in order that the ending may be followed by a new beginning.
The Image The wind blows low on the mountain: The image of Decay. Thus the superior man stirs up the people And strengthens their spirit.
When the wind blow s slow on the mountain, it is thrown back and spoils the vegetation. This contains a challenge to improvement. It is the same with debasing attitudes and fashions; they corrupt human society. His methods likewise must be derived from the two trigrams, but in such a way that their effects unfold in orderly sequence. The superior must first remove stagnation by stirring up public opinion, as the wind stirs up everything, and must strengthen and tranquillise the character of the people, as the mountain gives tranquillity and nourishment to all that grows in its vicinity.
Keywords: Troublesome Services. Arrest of Decay. Hard Work.
The Knight of Disks
Those whom he symbolizes tend to be dull, heavy and preoccupied with material things. They are laborious and patient, but would have little intellectual grasp even of matters which concern them most closely. Their success in these is due to instinct, to imitation of Nature. They lack initiative; their fire is the smouldering fire of the process of growth.
Corresponding Small Cards
7 of Wands
8 of Disks
9 of Disks
62. Hsiao Kuo. Preponderance of the Small.
While in the hexagram Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT
(28), the strong lines preponderate and are within, inclosed between weak lines
at the top and bottom, the present hexagram has weak lines preponderating,
though here again they are on the outside, the strong lines being within. This
indeed is the basis of the exceptional situation indicated by the hexagram.
When strong lines are outside, we have the hexagram I, PROVIDING NOURISHMENT
(27), or Chung Fu, INNER TRUTH, (61); neither represents and exceptional state.
When strong elements within preponderate, they necessarily enforce their will.
This creates struggle and exceptional conditions in general. But in the present
hexagram it is the weak element that perforce must mediate with the outside
world. If a man occupies a position of authority for which he is by nature
really inadequate, extraordinary prudence is necessary.
The Judgement Preponderance of the Small. Success. Perseverance furthers. Small things may be done; great things should not be done. The flying bird brings the message: It is not well to strive upward, It is well to remain below. Great good fortune.
Exceptional modesty and conscientiousness are sure to be
rewarded with success; however, if a man is not to throw himself away, it is
important that they should not become empty form and subservience but be
combined always with a correct dignity in personal behavior. We must understand
the demands of the time in order to find the necessary offset for its
deficiencies and damages. In any event we must not count on great success,
since the requisite strength is lacking. In this lies the importance of the
message that one should not strive after lofty things but hold to lowly things.
The structure of the hexagram gives rise to the idea that this message is
brought by a bird. In Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT (28), the four strong,
heavy lines within, supported only by two weak lines without, give the image of
a sagging ridgepole. Here the supporting weak lines are both outside and
preponderant; this gives the image of a soaring bird. But a bird should not try
to surpass itself and fly into the sun; it should descend to the earth, where
its nest is. In this way it gives the message conveyed by the hexagram.
The Image Thunder on the mountain: The image of Preponderance of the Small. Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence. In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief. In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift.
Thunder on the mountain is different from thunder on the plain. In the mountains, thunder seems much nearer; outside the mountains, it is less audible than the thunder of an ordinary storm. Thus the superior man derives an imperative from this image: he must always fix his eyes more closely and more directly on duty than does the ordinary man, even though this might make his behaviour seem petty to the outside world. He is exceptionally conscientious in his actions. In bereavement emotion means more to him than ceremoniousness. In all his personal expenditures he is extremely simple and unpretentious. In comparison with the man of the masses, all this makes him stand out as exceptional. But the essential significance of his attitude lies in the fact that in external matters he is on the side of the lowly.
Keywords: Non-essential. Success of Trifles. A Wounded Bird. Small Divergences.
The Queen of Disks
Persons signified by this card possess the finest of the quieter qualities. They are ambitious, but only in useful directions. They possess immense funds of affection, kindness, and greatness of heart. They are not intellectual, and not particularly intelligent; but instinct and intuition are more than adequate for their needs. These people are quiet, hard-working, practical, sensible, domesticated, often (in a reticent and unassuming fashion) lustful and even debauched. They are inclined to the abuse of alcohol and of drugs. It is as if they could only realize their essential happiness by getting outside themselves.
Corresponding Small Cards
10 of Wands
2 of Disks
3 of Disks
31. Hsien. Influence (Wooing)
The name of the
hexagram means “universal,” “general,” and in a figurative
sense “to influence,” “to stimulate.” The upper trigram is
Tui, the Joyous; the lower is Kên, Keeping still. By its persistent, quiet
influence, the lower, rigid trigram stimulates the upper, weak trigram, which
responds to this stimulation cheerfully and joyously. Kên, the lower trigram,
is the youngest son; the upper, Tui, is the youngest daughter. Thus the
universal mutual attraction between the sexes is represented. In courtship, the
masculine principle must seize the initiative and place itself below the
feminine principle. Just as the first part of book 1 begins with the hexagrams
of heaven and earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins
with the hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social
The Judgement Influence. Success. Perseverance furthers. To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.
The weak element is
above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each other, so that they
unite. This brings about success, for all success depends on the effect of
mutual attraction. By keeping still within while experiencing joy without, one
can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds. This
is the meaning of the added admonition, “Perseverance furthers,” for
it is perseverance that makes the difference between seduction and courtship;
in the latter the strong man takes a position inferior to that of the weak girl
and shows consideration for her. This attraction between affinities is a
general law of nature. Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all
creatures come into being. Through such attraction the sage influences men’s
hearts, and thus the world attains peace. From the attractions they exert we
can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.
The Image A lake on the mountain: The image of Influence. Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him By his readiness to receive them.
A mountain with a
lake on its summit is stimulated by the moisture from the lake. It has this
advantage because its summit does not jut out as a peak but is sunken. The
image counsels that the mind should be kept humble and free, so that it may
remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up counselling a man who
thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else.
Keywords: Influencing to Action. All. Jointly.
The Prince of Disks
The character denoted by this card is that of great energy brought to bear upon the most solid of practical matters. He is energetic and enduring, a capable manager, a steadfast and persevering worker. He is competent, ingenious, thoughtful, cautious, ‘trustworthy, imperturbable; he constantly seeks new uses for common things, and adapts his circumstances to his purposes in a slow, steady, well-thought out plan. He is lacking almost entirely in emotion. He is somewhat insensitive, and may appear dull, but he is not; it so appears because he makes no effort to understand ideas which are beyond his scope. He may often appear stupid, and is inclined to be resentful of more spiritual types. He is slow to anger, but, if driven, becomes implacable. It is not very practicable to distinguish between the good and evil dignities in this card; one can merely say that, in case of his being ill-dignified, both the quality and quantity of his characteristics are somewhat degraded. The reaction of others to him will depend almost entirely upon their own temperaments.
Corresponding Small Cards
4 of Wands
5 of Disks
6 of Disks
53. Chien. Development (Gradual Progress)
This hexagram is
made up of Sun (wood, penetration) above, i.e., without, and Kên (mountain,
stillness) below, i.e., within. A tree on a mountain develops slowly according
to the law of its being and consequently stands firmly rooted. This gives the
idea of a development that proceeds gradually, step by step. The attributes of
the trigrams also point to this: within is tranquillity, which guards against
precipitate actions, and without is penetration, which makes development and
The Judgement Development. The maiden Is given in marriage. Good fortune. Perseverance furthers.
The development of
events that leads to a girl’s following a man to his home proceeds slowly. The
various formalities must be disposed of before the marriage takes place. This
principle of gradual development can be applied to other situations as well; it
is always applicable where it is a matter of correct relationships of
co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official. The
development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action would not
be wise. This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on
others, for here too the essential factor is a correct way of development
through cultivation of one’s own personality. No influence such as that exerted
by agitators has a lasting effect. Within the personality too, development must
follow the same course if lasting results are to be achieved. Gentleness that
is adaptable, but at the same time penetrating, is the outer form that should
proceed from inner calm.The very gradualness of the development makes it
necessary to have perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress
from dwindling to nothing.
The Image On the mountain, a tree: The image of Development. Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue, In order to improve the mores.
The tree on the
mountain is visible from afar, and its development influences the landscape of
the entire region. It does not shoot up like a swamp plant; its growth proceeds
gradually. Thus also the work of influencing people can be only gradual. No
sudden influence or awakening is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite
gradual, and in order to obtain such progress in public opinion and in the
mores of the people, it is necessary for the personality to acquire influence
and weight. This comes about through careful and constant work on one’s own
The characteristics of an individual signified by this card are too various to enumerate; one must summarize by saying that she is Womanhood in its ultimate projection. She contains all the characteristics of woman, and it would depend entirely upon the influences to which she is subjected whether one or another becomes manifest. But in every case her attributes will be pure in themselves, and not necessarily connected with any other attributes which in the normal way one regards as symbolic. In one sense, then, her general reputation will be of bewildering inconsistency. It is rather like a lottery wheel from which the extraction of any number does not predict or influence the result of any subsequent operation.
Being ‘Earthbound’ the Princesses do not have any Zodiacal attributes.
52. Ken. Keeping Still.
The image of this
hexagram is the mountain, the youngest son of heaven and earth. The male
principle is at the top because it strives upward by nature; the female
principle is below, since the direction of its movement has come to its normal
end. In its application to man, the hexagram turns upon the problem of
achieving a quiet heart. It is very difficult to bring quiet to the heart.
While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in
nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that
always posits movement as its complement. Possibly the words of the text embody
directions for the practice of yoga.
The Judgement Keeping Still. Keeping his back still So that he no longer feels his body. He goes into the courtyard And does not see his people. No blame.
True quiet means
keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the
time has come to go forward. In this way rest and movement are in agreement
with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life. The hexagram
signifies the end and the beginning of all movement. The back is named because
in the back are located all the nerve fibers that mediate movement. If the
movement of these spinal nerves is brought to a standstill, the ego, with its
restlessness, disappears as it were. When a man has thus become calm, he may
turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the struggle and tumult of
individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace of mind which is needed
for understanding the great laws of the universe and for acting in harmony with
them. Whoever acts from these deep levels makes no mistakes.
The Image Mountains standing close together: The image of Keeping Still. Thus the superior man Does not permit his thoughts To go beyond his situation.
The heart thinks
constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart-that is, a
man’s thoughts-should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All
thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore.
Keywords: Peace. A Mountain.
Further I Ching Correspondences
In addition to the sixteen Court Cards, five of the cards of the Minor Arcana (those corresponding to Decans ruled by Sol), also have their equivalent Hexagrams. (Click Hexagram links for summaries).
“Science describes the least of things. The least of what something is. Religion, magic—Bows to the endless.” – Joseph Solomon, A Dark Song.
According to the below TED Talk, divination primarily acts as a method to unlock the unconscious mind by prompting it with symbols and non-linear connections, so that it lends solutions to problems through the language of symbolism.
On the surface of things there is no falsehood in such statements. I would concur that when a divinatory system such as Tarot, Geomancy or Astrology is learned thoroughly the answers one can provide oneself with are based on what has been learned but can be expressed intuitively, like when you can ride a bike or drive a car so well that many of your actions, which you once struggled to learn, come as second nature.
The video therefore provides an accurate depiction of divination at the most rudimentary and basic level. But those of us deeply entrenched in matters of religion, magic and spirituality desire to understand far more that the mere surface of things. That which is ‘occult’ stands for that which is ‘hidden’ and to understand what is hidden one must delve into depths that lie beyond exoteric or materialist understanding.
It is true that divination, like all magical processes, can assist the conscious mind to channel unconscious forces. But the next question a magician would ask in response to such a statement is ‘what is the unconscious?’ To begin to answer this, one might explore the depth psychology of Carl Jung, in which the unconscious is portrayed as a realm of archetypes that transcends the personal space and touches on an objective reality known as the Collective Unconscious, which in mystical parlance can be understood as the realm of the gods.
Despite the fact that such language can be interpreted either mystically or materially according to one’s beliefs, the most fascinating aspect of Jungian psychology (which overlaps with, but cannot be wholly equated with Magic) is found in the concept of synchronicity as ‘an acausal connecting principle’ through which the events of the inner world are acutely mirrored in the outer world in a striking, meaningful and timely way that is beyond everyday coincidence. Unlike other aspects of the notion of the collective unconsciousness (which some proponents assert can be expressed as a purely biological phenomenon) synchronicity is difficult to quantify materially. The best efforts to do such a thing came from some of the extra-curricular work of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who Jung worked with sporadically over the course of multiple decades in order to prove a quantum connection between the interior and exterior worlds. Ultimately though, to the frustration of both, their efforts failed.
With the application of a magical understanding of synchronicity however, the unveiled Self can be understood as a pure reflection of the One described by Hermeticism and Advaitism, as a spark of the Divine in Gnosticism, as God itself in Thelema, as the Kingdom of Heaven that is within you in Christianity, as The Superior Man in Taoism, and so on. What all have in common is the notion that the utmost Self, like the unconscious, can be found within oneself and beyond oneself simultaneously and the realisation of this fact in the form of non-dual awareness enlightens ones views on the fullness of reality in a way that is significantly beyond ‘the least of things.’
“What the superior man seeks, is in himself; what the ordinary man seeks, is in others.” – The Ethics of Confucius.
Then there is the I Ching. This is a form of divination that, having cast used many times, I find difficult to connect to any of the aforementioned ideas that could explain divination as a process that connects the rational mind to the intuitive mind. Such is the frequency of depth, profundity and synchronicity revealed when consulting this oracle that even with no real understanding of the physical form of the hexagrams whatsoever one can obtain answers to one’s questions that are too solid in their clarity to come from any rational or symbolic prompt impressed upon the intuitive mind.
An excellent summary of the I Ching that I find highly satisfactory comes from Chapter XVIII of Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice, which states:
The Yi King is mathematical and philosophical in form… It is in some ways the most perfect hieroglyph ever constructed. It is austere and sublime, yet withal so adaptable to every possible emergency that its figures may be interpreted to suit all classes of questions. One may resolve the most obscure spiritual difficulties no less than the most mundane dilemmas; and the symbol which opens the gates of the most exalted palaces of initiation is equally effective when employed to advise one in the ordinary business of life. The Master Therion has found the Yi King entirely satisfactory in every respect. The intelligences which direct it show no inclination to evade the question or to mislead the querent. A further advantage is that the actual apparatus is simple. Also the system is easy to manipulate, and five minutes is sufficient to obtain a fairly detailed answer to any but the most obscure questions… There is, on the surface, no difficulty at all in getting replies. In fact, the process is mechanical; success is therefore assured, bar a stroke of apoplexy.
The passage continues with an elucidation of divination as a system through which one can obtain clarity in the same way as that postulated in the above TED video. Yet, as one may expect from a Magus as venerable as Crowley, it also provides an explanation of the difference between the use of divination as a means of understanding the divine aspect of oneself rather and the mundane method of obtaining intuitive solutions to one’s problems in the way the speaker in the TED talk suggested.
But, even suppose we are safe from deceit, how can we know that the question has really been put to another mind, understood rightly, and answered from knowledge? It is obviously possible to check one’s operations by clairvoyance, but this is rather like buying a safe to keep a brick in. Experience is the only teacher. One acquires what one may almost call a new sense. One feels in one’s self whether one is right or not. The diviner must develop this sense. It resembles the exquisite sensibility of touch which is found in the great billiard player whose fingers can estimate infinitesimal degrees of force, or the similar phenomenon in the professional taster of tea or wine who can distinguish fantastically subtle differences of flavour. Divination affords excellent practice for those who aspire to that exalted eminence, for the faintest breath of personal preference will deflect the needle from the pole of truth in the answer. Unless the diviner have banished utterly from his mind the minutest atom of interest in the answer to his question, he is almost certain to influence that answer in favour of his personal inclinations.
The psycho-analyst will recall the fact that dreams are phantasmal representations of the unconscious Will of the sleeper, and that not only are they images of that Will instead of representations of objective truth, but the image itself is confused by a thousand cross-currents set in motion by the various complexes and inhibitions of his character. If therefore one consults the oracle, one must take sure that one is not consciously or unconsciously bringing pressure to bear upon it…
To summarise, the importance of rational self-knowledge is a necessary factor in divination, and in accordance with some of the more materialist explanations, divination is an excellent took of self-analysis. Yet, as one becomes accurately exposed to the deepest parts of oneself, one unlocks and illuminates aspects of one’s true nature. As things stand, there are aspects to the Self and to the mind that go beyond what can be summarised materially, and until such time that our scientific knowledge of these things becomes more advanced, tools such as magic, religion, divination and depth-psychology provide some of the best techniques we have to better understand such things.