Stephen Karcher

“I sometimes call myself three legged man. When I stand on the first leg, I’m a scholar and intellectual. I’m interested in languages and books and how they work, in just what a wisdom book is and how it affects us and, as a translator of ancient Chinese characters, in seeking out the deeper mythic meanings and associations embedded in them. When I stand on the second leg, I’m a dancer and a choreographer. I’m interested in how we embody meaning and perform it, in how I can create improvisational structures that let us walk the talk, keeping the experience of meaning alive and fresh and letting it move though us into a possible future. These two passions don’t always get along, but the tension between them gets resolved when I stand on or in the third leg, in the ritual space where the Dream Body and the Sangoma or spirit-intermediary live. This realm of dream image and imaginal body, this uniting third space, is where the Yijing can enter us and change the shape of what those old ages called our heart-mind.” -Stephen Karcher, Ph.D.

Over 40 years ago, a fated encounter in a Vancouver, B.C. Canada bookstore that had first appeared in a precognitive dream introduced Stephen to Richard Wilhelm and Cary Baynes’ translation of the I Ching, the first publication to bring this ancient divinatory tool to the West. This encounter was the seminal, life altering moment that called Stephen to what became his life work.

He is today one of the most creative and controversial writers and practitioners in the field of Yijing studies, divination and myth. An internationally recognized scholar, translator, graphic artist and initiated diviner, Stephen has lectured and taught on the Yijing and other divination systems throughout the U.S., Great Britain, France, Spain, Switzerland and South Africa. He pioneered a depth psychological approach to divination during his tenure as Research Director of the Eranos Foundation in Ascona, Switzerland from 1988 to 1996 and is a prolific author, with ten books and numerous articles in the field of comparative mythology, divination, depth psychology and religious experience. Formerly a faculty member of the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, California, Stephen gives lectures, workshops and private divination consultations. He is currently working on two illustrated books that expand and deepen the processes intrinsic to working with Taoist Astrology, the Five Processes or Elements and the I Ching as a divinatory tool including the latest version of his ongoing translation project, “I Ching: Guideways for Change.”

“Karcher liberates meanings…that have been missing from our understanding for a couple of thousand years…revealing a whole new landscape of interpretation that makes previous translations feel cramped by comparison.”

Stephen now lives in Port Townsend, WA.

Stephen Karcher