On the Oracle
1. Heaven is one, earth is two; heaven is three, earth four; heaven is five, earth six; heaven is seven, earth eight; heaven is nine, earth ten.
This introduces the mathematical foundations of the I Ching.
It makes an association between odd and even numbers.
Odd are the yang or solid masculine lines.
Even are the yin or broken feminine lines.
By association this gave the sequence of numbers a relationship to the cycles of nature and its changes.
It began as the cycle of nature giving validity to numbers, but over time, the perspective came to be the numbers giving an apparent validity to nature.
This odd-even factor in the work of the Duke of Chou and posthumously his father King Wan, became the logic by which the trigrams were comprehended and the lines fathomed.
It became the new standard of interpretation.
It allowed for Fu Hsi’s trigrams of the second and third son and the second daughter and third daughter to be reversed.
This further set the foundation for the mathematically altered sequence of change which became known as the Arrangement of Later Heaven.
The introduction of mathematical reasoning marked a new era of exploration and discovery within the I Ching, an era which has continued for over 3,000 years.
Through this association mathematical deduction became the standard means for understanding the changes and nature.
A profound reversal thus occurred.
Nature came to be seen as the result of numbers.
Changes in numbers became the standard for seeing changes in nature.
Mathematical abstractions began to prevail over the common sense of natural experience.
Both systems of Fu Hsi’s Earlier Heaven and of the Duke of Chou’s Later Heaven were included in the I Ching, but the earlier arrangement became marginalized and officially discouraged.
A new order was born and officially established.
The old familiar and simple ways of nature and its oral teachings were replaced by abstract contemplation.
This could be considered to mark the beginning of science, with its mental abstractions, disrespect for the standards of nature, and subsequent evolution of pollution.
It could also be considered as the influence of Kabbalah and its mathematics merging with the original changes.
Magical squares, based on mathematical arrangements, so predominant in Kabbalistic magic and insight, became a standard for the Five Stages of Change.
The Five Stages of Change were also referred to as the Yellow River Map (Ho T’u), and the Lo River Map (Lo Shu).
The Yellow River Map (Ho T’u)
The first map, the Yellow River Map interposed numbers to the five elements.
This map became known as the Five Stages of Change.
These five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth) are not similar
to what is known as the four elements (fire, water, air and earth) in the West which add to the understanding of the seasons and the Zodiac.
In these five elements there is no air!
The five elements were actually representations of the five moving lights (other than the Sun and the Moon) in the heavens.
They represented the five visible planets (five stages of change), but presented them as static factors or elements to be understood through numbers.
In China, the names of the planets are the same as the names of these five elements.
Water Ball = Mercury
Metal Ball = Venus
Fire Ball = Mars
Wood Ball = Jupiter
Earth Ball = Saturn
In India, the five moving lights represented the five planets and the five types of yoga.
Mercury = Raja Yoga, union through mind.
Venus = Bhakti Yoga, union through love (and beauty).
Mars = Hatha Yoga, union through physical energy.
Jupiter = Jnana Yoga, union through contemplation and understanding.
Saturn = Karma Yoga, union through work.
The five elements originated from the five planets,
But were presented mathematically as symbolic factors in a mandala, as numbers through which abstract deductions could be made.
It translated or converted planetary functions and perceptions into numerological deductions and associations.
A numerological era thus became established.
It is to be noted that in the first map there is no reference to directions of trigrams.
It consists simply of numbers to elements.
It became used as a code for understanding.
It marks the replacement of standard astrological or experiential perception, by numerological deduction and association.
The Lo River Map (Lo Shu)
Here the numbers have been arranged according to the Magic Square of 15.
Counting each row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally the numbers will always add up to 15.
Magic Square of 15
This is a distinctly Kabbalistic numerological logic!
According to the numbers, the trigrams were positioned and then the elements were included.
Following this the directions and the seasons were also added.
This became a numerological code that would replace or alter previously simple and accepted astrological perception.
The seasons replaced the zodiac.
The directions replaced the houses.
The seasons and the directions anchored the mandala in a natural sequence.
The trigrams and elements were added in a mathematically determined manner.
Originally the trigrams were related to the natural sequence of the seasons.
The longest day represented the greatest brightness and the three solid lines of the Creative.
The longest night represented the greatest darkness and the three broken lines of the Receptive.
These two extremes were naturally opposed to each other in the original sequence.
This new arrangement was a radical change from Fu Hsi’s original sequence.
The natural sequence in which opposites are opposite and neutralize each other was replaced by mathematical considerations.
In this new system, the original sequence is altered.
The extreme light (yang) and the extreme dark (yin) were not opposite each other but on the same side of the circle.
While the horizontal and vertical trigrams are opposite and neutralize each other, the diagonal trigrams do not!
A numerological pattern replaced the natural Sequence of Fu Hsi’s Earlier Heaven arrangement, where alternation and balance of opposites prevailed.
The new mathematical pattern became the standard for understanding the implications of the hexagrams and the lines.
It was put down in writing and came to interpenetrate, overwhelm and replace the old oral teachings of a natural way of change.
This deviation from nature in the name of mathematical deduction brought about a corruption of the original pristinely clear natural sequence of change.
It developed into an era of seemingly profound abstraction with little or no natural common sense.
The seemingly wise and profound abstractions and perplexities of Chinese thought became a standard for spiritual wisdom, but were in fact, based on non-sense or mathematical speculation.
Life became so complicated that peace would only develop from letting go of all thought, becoming nothing or a non entity.
Wisdom escaped through the gateway of zero, a mathematical concept!
The texture of change became abstracted.
The emperor got new clothes!
2. There are five heavenly numbers. There are also five earthly numbers. When they are distributed among the five places, each finds its complement. The sum of the heavenly numbers is twenty-five, that of the earthly numbers is thirty. The sum total of heavenly numbers and earthly numbers is fifty-five. It is this which completes the changes and transformations and sets demons and gods in movement.
There are five heavenly numbers.
1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are the heavenly numbers.
These are the odd numbers and they symbolize the active, firm, yang or male energies.
They are not energies in themselves but a representation of them.
The odd numbers were given an association to the solid lines.
A transition was made from firm changes and solid lines to odd numbers.
There are also five earthly numbers.
2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 are the earthly numbers.
These are the even numbers and they symbolize the passive, yielding, yin and female energies.
They are not energies in themselves but a representation of them.
The even numbers were given an association to broken lines.
A transition was made from yielding changes and broken lines to even numbers.
When they are distributed among the five places,
The five places here, represent the north (1), east (3), centre (5), west (7) and south (9).
This marks the introduction of a new concept.
Instead of the natural four phases of change in the light and the dark, a mathematical association was made that was not based on the natural sequence.
This association was based on a magic square – an ability to add the numbers up to the value of 15.
When the yang numbers were put in this order and added horizontally the sum was 15.
3 + 5 + 7 = 15
When added vertically the sum was also 15.
1 + 5 + 9 = 15
This was given a special power, assuming it was the new order of the universe.
Four of the five numbers were then given control over the four directions, or, the four directions were placed by the numbers on this map.
The numbers were not placed in a natural sequence or cyclic order.
The physical directions then appeared to give validity and meaning to these numbers.
This was an assumption and a deviation from the natural insights of the original changes, and their balanced sequence.
each finds its complement.
The complement here is the number that would allow the addition to come to 15.
It was not a balance of odd and even, nor of light and dark.
In the year cycle the longest day is on the opposite side of the longest night.
In the day cycle noon is on the opposite side of midnight.
In the moon cycle the full moon is on the opposite side of the new moon.
This is the natural order of nature!
In this mathematical association odd lines opposed odd lines!
A neutrality was lost and it was replaced with a mathematical concept based on the number 15.
A new speculative process was introduced based on numerological association devoid of natural observation and confirmation.
This new process was based on a belief system of numbers and the sum of 15.
This deviant association was made to replace the original natural one.
The sum of the heavenly numbers is twenty-five,
1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 25
There are five heavenly numbers that add up to 25.
that of the earthly numbers is thirty.
2 + 4 + 6 + 8 = 20
From the diagram or Lo River Map there are only four even numbers and they add up to 20.
So here it seems like the reference is to the Yellow River Map of the five elements (or planets), where in the centre there are 5 white dots surrounded by 10 dark dots.
It seems that the number 10 was added to the four earthly even numbers to make a total of 30.
2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 10 = 30
This appears to be the manipulative assertion of a lesser logic, when compared to the natural order of Earlier Heaven, where everything is in balance as perceived by changes in nature.
The sum total of heavenly numbers and earthly numbers is fifty-five.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 55
It is this which completes the changes and transformations and sets demons and gods in movement.
Here the statement is made that numbers complete the changes and transformations and they set demons and gods in movement.
This is a good example of what happens when someone gets out of touch with nature.
Ignorant assumptions are made and passed on.
Complications increase complications and great confusion occurs when an incorrect standard is embraced.
This confusion and disorientation became the perplexity and seeming profundity of what was previously lucid Chinese thought.
Lo River Map:
The even earthly numbers were then placed between the odd or heavenly numbers in such a manner that all the directions , horizontally, vertically and diagonally added up to 15.
This became the mathematical model for the changes.
The five elements were then added to the map with wood being given two places adding to seven, and earth being given two places adding to 10.
In this way the five elements were placed in the 8 places, and earth was no longer placed in the centre for the number 5.
The trigrams were then added to this map.
The logic here seems to be based on the Clinging Fire representing the south and the greatest light and the Abysmal Water representing the north and greatest darkness.
The Arousing Force was given to the east and spring. and the Joyous Lake to west and autumn.
Then the greatest darkness was placed in the summer and the greatest brightness and strength in the autumn.
This is what happens when someone who has not properly experienced the natural changes in life, assumes that they can make a better oracle.
An age of darkness and ignorance followed.
3. The number of the total is fifty. Of these, forty-nine are used. They are divided into two portions, to represent two primal forces. Hereupon one is set apart, to represent the three powers. They are counted through by fours, to represent the four seasons. The remainder is put aside, to represent the intercalary month. There are two intercalary months in five years, therefore the putting aside is repeated, and this gives us the whole.
The number of the total is fifty.
Fifty yarrow stalks are employed to divine a hexagram.
Of these, forty-nine are used.
One stalk is separated from the fifty to represent what does not change.
They are divided into two portions, to represent two primal forces.
The forty-nine stalks are then divided into two piles.
This symbolically refers to the forces of light and darkness, firm and yielding, creative and receptive, and to yang and yin.
Hereupon one is set apart, to represent the three powers.
One stalk is removed from the right hand pile.
This symbolizes what is above (the zodiac), what is below (earth), and what is in between (Man who tries to imitate the action of the gods or moving lights.)
They are counted through by fours, to represent the four seasons.
The stalks are then removed four at a time from each pile, the left hand pile first.
These symbolize the four seasons or complete cycles.
The remainder is put aside, to represent the intercalary month.
The remaining stalks in each pile (less than four) represent the extra portion of the moon cycle or month.
The moon cycle was considered to be a month.
There are two intercalary months in five years,
This extra portion of the year adds up to two moon cycles or months (intercalary) every five years.
therefore the putting aside is repeated,
Count through the right hand pile by fours and put the remainder aside.
and this gives us the whole.
This represents the whole universe, and also what is required to determine the odd or even, yin or yang of each change or line.
The forty-nine stalks are then put together and the process is repeated.
Three times to determine one line.
Eighteen times to produce the whole hexagram.
This description is giving abstract numbers
1 an association to natural phenomena and its changes.
2 represents the light and the dark.
3 represents the stars or lights above (zodiac), the houses below (lines on the earth), and man representing or aspiring towards the moving lights in between.
4 represents the four seasons of the year and the four phases of the moon cycle.
Numbers were used to represent or replace the direct perception of actual phenomena.
The natural cycles gave to numbers relevance and meaning.
It was this meaning that the divination process would tap into and obtain insight.
What came out of this association to the universe around us (astrology) would be (revealed) determined through the use of these yarrow stalks for divination.
This represents the numerological foundation of divination using yarrow stalks.
It provided an alternative to understanding the world around us from simple natural perception.
This allowed people to seemingly access the realms of astrological understanding through the use of yarrow stalks and its numbers.
The apparent randomness of the moment would be given meaning and order by the combination of numbers through the use of yarrow stalks.
A means of tuning in through the use of numerology was developed and it became the way to develop wisdom for the year to come.
It would represent a seemingly simpler substitute for actual astrological perception.
The belief in a meaningful moment would become what is scientifically referred to as the superstition of divination.
This would also include both the numerological belief in the value of numbers and their inherent meanings, and the astrological belief of what is above, what is below and what is in between (zodiac, houses, and moving lights or sun, moon and planets).
3. The numbers that yield THE CREATIVE total 216; those which yield THE RECEPTIVE total 144, making in all 360. They correspond to the days of the year.
This is determined by counting the number of stalks needed to obtain the maximum yang lines.
That is, when the lines are nines exclusively.
Because it takes three divisions of the stalks and subsequent countings to get one change or line,
it will take eighteen divisions to get one hexagram.
49 stalks are used.
The number or remainder for the first (old yang) line is 13.
5 + 4 + 4 = 13
x6 (for 6 lines)
78 (for 6 solid lines)
For six lines 294 stalks are used.
78 stalks yield The Creative with all the lines changing.
49 stalks are used.
The number or remainder for the first (old yin) line is 25.
9 = 8 = 8 = 25
x6 (for 6 lines)
150 (for 6 broken lines)
For six lines 294 stalks are used.
150 stalks yield The Receptive with all the lines changing.
When the Creative and the Receptive are added
78 + 150 = 228
228 stalks remained to make these two changing line hexagrams.
588 stalks were used and 228 stalks remained to make these two extreme hexagrams.
These numbers do not correspond to what has been said here!
The numbers that yield THE CREATIVE total 216;
To obtain the 216 stalks referred to one must take the numbers remaining for one change and subtract them from the 49 stalks used.
For a solid changing line: 5 + 4 + 4 = 13, then 49 – 13 = 36
These represent the 36 stalks not used.
They represent the complete cycles of the four seasons.
If these are counted 6 times, or once for each line they will total 216.
36 + 36 +36 +36 +36 +36 = 216
It could be argued that these are not the stalks that determine the Creative hexagram, but rather the ones that don’t!
those which yield THE RECEPTIVE total 144,
To obtain the 144 stalks referred to one must take the numbers remaining for one change and subtract them from the 49 stalks used.
For a broken changing line: 9 + 8 + 8 = 25. 25 stalks are used.
49 – 25 = 24 24 stalks are not used.
If the stalks not used are counted through 6 times for the 6 lines they will total 144.
24 + 24 +24 +24 +24 +24 = 144
making in all 360. They correspond to the days of the year.
When the numbers not used to obtain the Creative 216
and the numbers not used to obtain the Receptive 144
are added together, they total 360.
216 + 144 = 360
It is these numbers that are here said to correspond to the number of days in the year.
Actually they correspond to the 360 degrees in the zodiac, or a complete cycle of the seasons.
There are 365 days in the year.
This is a loose reference to the year cycle.
This whole process is exceptionally complicated and convoluted.
It does not represent the clear and simple logic previously associated with the changes.
There is an expression in the western world,
“BS baffles brains”. (BS refers to distortion and untruth.)
Bizarre lengths were utilized to come up with this association to the number of days in a year.
Interestingly, the number arrived at, 360, is actually the number of degrees in the zodiac or of the cycle of the year.
It seems as if the writer of this segment was trying to get people’s minds to accept the validity of this process and its numbers.
It would appear as valid if the numbers confirmed or corresponded to the seasons of the year.
The seasons were, in the Arrangement of Earlier Heaven, represented by increasing light and darkness.
This was a more natural and less abstract assessment.
5. The numbers of the stalks in the two parts amount to 11,520, which corresponds with the number of the ten thousand things.
This was done by counting the stalks which were not the remainders that determined the hexagram lines, but the stalks that were not used.
It was the ones that were counted through by fours which represented a whole cycle of the year with its seasons.
There are 384 lines in the I Ching.
192 in the yin part 192 in the yang part.
For each yin line 24 stalks are not used. For each yang line 36 stalks are not used.
192 x 24 = 4608 192 x 36 = 6912
When totaled the number of stalks not used comes to 11,520.
These represent the 10,000 things.
This is a very loose association at best.
It is based on a convoluted or distorted logic.
It is basically saying that the number of stalks in total represents the number of experiences that one can have, and therefore validates the process.
Who will question this?
Who will do the math?
The number is large enough to include all imaginable possibilities and therefore worthy of determining the hexagrams.
This is a complicated way of saying that these numbers include all wisdom.
It was a replacement for using the changing lights and their sequence to determine the changes.
Numerology replacing astrology!
6. Therefore four operations are required to produce a change; eighteen mutations yield a hexagram.
Therefore four operations are required to produce a change;
These are the four steps using the stalks to obtain a remaining number.
- Dividing the stalks into two piles.
- Taking one stalk out (putting it between the ring finger and the little finger)
- Counting the left hand pile by fours (putting remainder between ring finger and middle finger)
- Counting the right hand pile by fours (putting remainder between fore finger and middle finger)
It is these stalks that are counted to obtain a number (3 or 2)
eighteen mutations yield a hexagram.
The four operations are done three times to obtain three numbers which are totaled to obtain a yin or yang line (6,7,8,9)
To make six lines it will take 18 divisions, or, the four operations will be repeated 18 times.
This simply impresses one with the numbers used.
7. The eight signs constitute each a small completion.
The eight signs are the eight trigrams which when taken together in sequence represent the zodiac circle or a complete cycle of wisdom.
A small completion refers to the fact that each hexagram contains two trigrams.
One upper or outer trigram.
One lower or inner trigram.
There is a cycle of trigrams above and a second cycle of trigrams below.
The cycle of 8 trigrams above is a small completion.
The cycle of the 8 trigrams below is another small completion.
Together the two trigrams represent the whole hexagram and the two small completions together represents the complete cycle of 64 hexagrams.
8. When we continue and go further and add to the situations all their transitions, all possible situations on earth are encompassed.
When we add all the possible changing lines and their transitions to a second hexagram, the number is so great, that it includes all possible situations on earth.
Here we see the complexity and vastness of numbers being given as the reason for wisdom in all situation on earth.
The math will seemingly replace and include natural perception and therefore become the new standard of validation.
Encompassing all situations on earth is the standard for validity and for wisdom.
This is done by the zodiac (heavenly lights), the astrological houses (lines on the earth) and the moving lights.
An understanding of this allows one to elevate one’s nature to the level or light of the gods.
9. It reveals Tao and renders nature and action divine. Therefore with its help we can meet everything in the right way, and with its help can even assist the gods themselves.
It reveals tao and renders nature and action divine.
Through the use of the changes one can see the essence of all things, and the balance of dualities like light and dark, firm and yielding, creative and receptive.
This is an affirmation of what astrology and the hexagrams can do.
Nature is the relationship of heavenly light above, to the earthly darkness below, and of life in between.
What is action divine, but the movement of the heavenly lights (Sun, moon and planets)?
Therefore with its help
By using the changes and astrology, by referring to it for advice
we can meet everything in the right way,
The changes and astrology set the standard for the proper way of living.
By understanding cycles and the fluctuations of life, of the day (houses), of the year (seasons and zodiac signs), and of the moon, the sun and the other moving lights (planets); we come to know the circumstances of the light and the dark and what is appropriate and what is not.
and with its help can even assist the gods themselves
By using the changes we align with and assist the gods themselves.
The gods here refer to the moving lights in the heavens.
This is a direct reference to the sun, moon and planets which were considered to be gods.
We elevate our nature by living according to, or aspiring towards, the gods or planets.
In this way we can have a positive relationship to our planets and even assist them, as opposed to going against them and our higher nature.
10. The Master said: Whoever knows the Tao of the changes and transformations, knows the action of the gods.
Whoever knows the tao of the changes and transformations,
To know the balance or essence of the hexagrams and changing lines,
To know the balance or essence of the changes in the lights above (the zodiac signs),
the darkness below (houses), and their changes (Sun moon and planets as they relate to the zodiac signs, the houses and each other).
The light and the dark change through the seasons, and through the hours of the day, and through the phases of the moon.
knows the action of the gods.
To know the action of the gods, is to know the movements of the heavenly lights (Sun, moon and planets).