Online workshop The Mystery of the Text: Understanding the Words of the Book of Changes

Many users of the Yijing struggle with the text of the oracle: how can you read it in such a way that it always gives a meaningful and relevant answer to the question or situation that you address to the Book of Changes? This workshop will teach you that. We will explore the Chinese text, its origin and development, and will look at early usage and readings of this enigmatic yet fascinating oracle from early China. From there we will build a framework that will help you to understand the layout of the text, and how it conveys it messages in images. You will learn how to read the text, how to work with its images, and how to lift the veil of mystery from its words. After this workshop you know how the text can answer any question that you address to the oracle. You will be able to read the images and can practically apply them to any situation. Who’s afraid of the text? You won’t be after this workshop. Continue reading

Online Workshop ‘The Power of the Hexagrams’: start September 2020

(Click on the picture to hear the text in a video)

The Yijing, the Chinese Book of Changes, is a book of divination that is used by thousands of people all over the world. For more than twenty-five hundred years it is offering advice to those who have doubts and struggle with uncertainties in their lives. But many users of the book find it difficult to interpret the answers that the book gives them. This online workshop wants to help you with that. If you agree with one or more of the following statements, then this workshop is for you:

  • I always find it difficult to interpret the answers from the Yijing
  • I only use the text of the Yijing, and would like to do more with the hexagrams
  • I don’t know how to practically apply the trigrams
  • I know that every line in a hexagram has a general meaning, and I would like to use these in a reading
  • I have been using the Yijing for years, but I still feel like a beginner
  • I want to know more about the Chinese philosophy behind the Yijing
  • I want to pick Harmen’s brain on the Yijing
  • I want to have more confidence in my own interpretations
  • I want to integrate the Yijing into my own profession

If one or more of these statements apply to you then you will benefit from this online workshop. In eight lessons you will learn the power of the hexagrams, how to read them, and make them useful and meaningful for every question that you address to the Book of Changes. Continue reading

Hexagram 10, line 1

素履往无咎

Su 素: in early texts almost exclusively used as a descriptive adjective: ‘unadorned, plain, not processed or modified’. This also means that what follows it is a noun, an object. We already see this usage on bronze inscriptions from around 600BC, where it appears in lists of gifts from the king to the owner of the bronze vessel, who had it cast to commemorate the event (see for instance the Shi Ke xu 師克盨; Yang Xiaoneng, ‘The Shi Ke Xu: Reconsideration of an Inscribed Late Western Zhou Ritual Vessel’, Artibus Asiae, Vol. 52, No. 3/4 (1992), pp. 163-214. See also this article). In the same way it is used in the Liji 禮記:

大夫、士去國,祭器不逾竟。大夫寓祭器於大夫,士寓祭器於士。大夫、士去國:逾竟,為壇位鄉國而哭。衣,裳,冠,徹緣,鞮屨,冪,乘髦馬。不蚤鬋。不祭食,不說人以無罪;婦人不當御。三月而復服。
A Great or other officer, leaving his state, should not take his vessels of sacrifice with him across the boundary. The former will leave his vessels for the time with another Great officer, and the latter his with another officer. A Great or other officer, leaving his state, on crossing the boundary, should prepare a place for an altar, and wail there, looking in the direction of the state. He should wear his white upper garment and white lower, and his white cap, remove his (ornamental) collar, wear shoes of untanned leather, have a covering of white (dog’s-fur) for his cross-board, and leave his horses manes undressed. He should not trim his nails or beard, nor make an offering at his (spare) meals. He should not say to any one that he is not chargeable with guilt, nor have any of his women approach him. After three months he will return to his usual dress.
(tr. James Legge, modified)

Personally I would not have chosen ‘white’ as a translation of su 素. I think it refers to plain, uncoloured, raw material. Continue reading