Yijing Papers: the Foundations

Articles on the origin of the archetypal approach to the Classic of Change that rescues the old divinatory traditions.

Oracle’s Contexts: Gods, Dreams, Shadow, Language

Eranos Lecture/Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, 1992, v 53

Yijing is a set of oracular statements on human experience, a survey of the daimonic forces shaping our situation. The recognition of this unseen world is the therapeutic act par excellence: “not to learn something but to experience something and be set right.” The oracle’s signifiers are complex networks of meaning that disfigure everyday language to reveal the “God in the disease,” a daimon that the individual must make his/her own through continual creative re-enactment.

Making Spirits Bright: Divination and the Daimonic Image

Eranos Yearbooks, 1992: Yijing and the Ethic of the Image

We experience time as a division between subject and object. In the ancient world units of time were demonic images and divination was the art of “telling” this time. Jung said we are living in a kairos – the right moment for critical change – where the Gods weave critical events into our body, a binding related to the pagan Mystery Cults. The key is the divinatory images of the Gods through which a sacred cosmos is constructed.  Ethos anthropoi daimon, said Heraclitus: the ethos of humans is daimon. This dark saying or enigma suggests it is only through these images that we can respond once more to the world that surrounds us

The Yijing and the Ethic of the Image

Eranos/Uehiro Foundation Round Table Session 1992

Ethical practice is based on the relation of the individual to norms behind which is an implicit order. Depth psychology gives us new insight on traditional ethical stances: The implicit order produces an “unceasing stream or perhaps ocean of images and figures” that “constitutes [our] immediate experience.” Interaction with it through divination allows you to experience your own identity as a product of these images.

Which Way I Fly is Hell: Divination and the Shadow of the West

Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Spring 1994, vol. 55

Western culture, in search of a new vision, has been drawn into what Jung called the Shadow. The drive of our time is to experience the underworld of the psyche; the task imposed on us is the awareness this experience brings. Yijing enters modern culture through this Luciferian nick in the hierarchy of values. It is a sign that we are finally beginning to relate to the alien elements in ourselves, the underworld images which are the architects of our dreams and symptoms. Opening this symbolic reality can have a positive synchronous effect on both the individual and the world.

Divination, Synchronicity and Fate

Guild of Pastoral Psychology Lecture No 263, March 1998

Journal of Religion and Health, Fall 1998, Volume 37, No. 3

Divination means discovering what is hidden by irrational means and making something divine by connecting it with a god, spirit or archetype. This encounter with the unknown can be expressed through several key words: Dao, the way or path; De, the power and virtue that allows a thing to exist fully; Junzi, the Realizing Person who uses the oracle to follow the Dao and accumulate the power and virtue to become who he or she is meant to be; Guishen, the ghosts and spirits we encounter in divination; Xiang, the symbol used by the shen to move the gui;  Ming, the Bright Omen that is our fate; and Yi, the synchronistic process of change.

Jung, the Tao, and the Classic of Change

Harvest: A Journal for Jungian Studies 1999, vol. 45, No. 2

The connection between Jung’s psychology and Eastern thought the centers on the term Tao or Way. Eastern religious practices shaped his main ideas and made him aware of the West’s cultural ills. Jung saw I Ching as a way to connect with Tao, the catalyst through which change takes place. He insisted that “psychology in the stricter sense is bound up with the whole practical use of the I Ching”.

Journey to the West: C. G. Jung and the Classic of Change

Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Fall/Winter 1999, vol. 66

Jung’s Foreword to Richard Wilhelm’s The I Ching or Book of Changes is his most well-known work. The readings in it tell us about his inner relation to the book. As answer to a question about his “intention to present the I Ching to the English-speaking public,” Jung received Hexagram 50 Vessel. A careful look at the terms Change uses in this reading shows that his intention needed “correction.” Jung was challenged to help peel away the Confucian veil that obscures the power and the value of the Vessel. He was unable to respond and retreated into confusion.

Behind the Red Door: Kuan Yin, Goddess of Compassion

Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Fall and Winter, 1999

In this world, where life can change in a moment, we need a Great Protector. For half the world it is Kuan Yin, “she who hears the cries of the world” and responds with potent aid. Kuan Yin’s divinatory system, Jian Dong or the Sticks of Fate expresses the power of her Way; it is a boat that sails the troubled waters between the Tomb World and the Paradise Lands, cutting across boundaries to join the events of everyday life with the experience of the divine. In the figure of Kuan Yin, the Necessary Goddess was restored to the place from which she was banished by Confucian culture heroes and spiritual patriarchs.

Entering the Ghost River: The World of Change

Lecture, Los Angeles Jung Center, February, 2003

Yijing or Change is a text, a divination technique and a spiritual practice. It turns us away from logical thought to the underworld of the psychic images. It was connected with the change in the Mandate of Heaven (tian ming) that brought the Zhou Kings to power, enabling them to overthrow their corrupt overlords. It acts as a portable altar that returns us to the sacred chaos. Here we seek what Jung called the image of god that dwells deep within us that is our duty to manifest, spreading the great enterprise of transformation through the magical quality called “Change.”

Re-Enchanting the Mind: Reading, Myth and Mantics

Psychological Perspectives, vol 50/2, 2007

Divination and oracular speech reveal a language and a mirror that exists in the liminal realm between rational thought and the fertile chaos of the psyche, what Jung called synchronicity or unus mundus. The widespread interest in this occulted language acts as a strange attractor, drawing us into a place where the Others within have a chance to speak. It is capable of working “a profound transformation of our thought.” The primary purpose of divination is not prediction or problem-solving but re-enchanting the mind, luring it into the realm of the Others and opening a place for them in our imagination.

One Yin, One Yang, That’s Dao

Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, Fall 2010

I Ching, the Classic of Change, adds something crucial to our awareness that connects us to the Dao, the on-going process of the Real. The basic units of Change are Pairs. The oldest example is the Two Powers, seen as Gates of Change. They are embodied in two words that are qualities of the will:  Da, great, means to organize yourself around a central idea and impose your will. Xiao, small, means to be flexible and supple, adapting to whatever crosses your path. These are the tools of Realizing Person who uses Change to act in accord with the Way and become who he or she was meant to be.  The process is described as: One dark (yin), one light (yang), that’s the Way. This is the contradictory quality of the symbolic life that lets us recover our own true nature.