Those wishing to learn more about the I Ching (Yijing), the Chinese Book of Changes, have two opportunities this spring.
Hilary Barrett, the host of Online Clarity, a forum and resource site, will offer her Foundations course. This class is perfect for those wishing to have a solid base with which to experience the I Ching.
1. Essentials before you start
What you need to have in place to start building a relationship with the oracle: a good translation, a Yijing journal, and the means to cast a hexagram.
2. Discovering the question
This is the invisible obstacle: often, what seems to be an interpretation problem is really a confusing-question problem.
3.Connecting to images, part 1 – the trigrams
Probably the single most important element of confident reading: really experiencing the connection between the Yi’s imagery and your question. No matter how complex a reading gets, you will always be using that inner touchstone. So we have several weeks to build confidence in that – starting with something as simple and elemental as the trigrams.
4. Connecting to images, part 2: single hexagrams
Developing the skills of connecting to and applying a reading, and getting a feel for a hexagram as a whole – through both ancient text and component trigrams, together.
5. Reading structure part 1: primary and relating hexagrams
The framework for good interpretation: knowing a reading’s basic structure and how its elements ‘talk to’ one another. (No more puzzling over apparent contradictions!) Primary and relating hexagram first, then…
6-7. Reading structure parts 2 and 3: moving lines
– understood through both line positions and steps of change, so you can handle multiple moving lines without confusion.
8. Foundations for a reading practice
Different ways you can integrate readings as part of your life and keep growing a strong working relationship with the I Ching.
Harmen Mesker, who runs the site Yijing Research (Yixue) will be offering a class for more experienced I Ching users. This will focus on the hexagram construction:
The workshop will focus on the hexagrams and their composition. During the course you will be challenged to work only with the hexagrams and their structures, and to put the text of the book aside. That doesn’t mean that the text is not important, after all, it is a vital part of the Book of Changes. But focusing on the hexagrams has several advantages:
The structure of a hexagram is easy to learn and to apply. Instead of working with four-hundred-fifty different pieces of text, you work with eight trigrams and six lines. No more, no less. Everyone can learn eight trigrams and six lines.
You are less dependent on the text of the Yijing. Which means that…
…you can consult the book wherever you are and whenever you want, without the need to have the book with you. Whether you are on the train, waiting for the bus or at the dentist, it doesn’t matter. You can make a hexagram everywhere and anytime and interpret it right away.
Through ‘reading’ the hexagram you will immediately get a general impression of the answer to your question. Hexagrams can tell you what your situation needs and how you should act. And when, for instance, two parties are involved (like with relationship questions, or business-client matters, colleagues etc.) you can instantly see how they relate to each other and how they interact.
When you know and understand the value of the hexagram, working with the text becomes much easier: the two parts of the book complement each other like yin and yang.