Encountering the Oracle:
Working with Tarot and the I Ching

When you start working with the Yi or Book of Changes, it is always useful to establish a "working relationship"
that would satisfy both seeker and Oracle. For example, you could ask a question that can establish a relationship between you -the seeker- and the Oracle -the provider of wisdom. Be always mindful that with divination you are entering a world different from your every day reality and that the energies you will be encountering should be approached with the right attitude, as well as with humility and respect.

There are many I Ching books in the market today and you should consult more than one to get an idea of how the Yi works with you. I have studied with Stephen Karcher, so I often consult him first. Nevertheless, I tend to go back and forth between the Wilhelm translation, Ritsema's and (lately) Richard John Lynn's. I also love The Living I Ching by Deng Ming-Dao. The most important thing is to allow the trigrams and hexagrams to talk to you, to understand their rhythm, the ways that the ideograms, the xiang (symbols), the words, the energies come together through your heart-mind. We must learn to feel through the mind and think through the heart as if they were one unit. I like the way that Ritsema and Sabbadini invite us to enter the linguistic tapestry of the Yi through associations, allowing the words to acquire resonance according to our personal interpretation of the hexagrams received with the question Every one will react differently to the hexagrams and their meaning. I often use the "Shadow" Hexagram in a completely different way than Karcher suggests, and the Nuclear Hexagram (just like the Relating Figure that results from the changing lines) could reflect the heart of the matter, the energies that might be working against the situation (Ritsema calls it the Counter Hexagram), but could also serve to enhance the overall meaning or tie things together. I believe that the hexagrams work in pairs, but only to an extent. So we should not be too rigid in pairing them all the time the same way as suggested by Ritsema or Karcher. What about pairing them with their shadow instead? There is validity also in seeing the hexagrams before and after in order to place the answer within a specific sequence. Are you confused? Do you know the etymology of the word "confuse"? This is where the various elements of the Oracle have to be allowed to do their alchemy. And this alchemy is eventually what resonates within you. It is a very personal journey. And, it can also be fun. I just don't believe in the penury of self-knowledge. So enter the world of nonsense and allow the "image concepts" offered by The I Ching answer to take you places you have never been before.

I always use at least one Tarot card at the end of a Yi reading to help me tie things together. This helps me extract the essence of the overall reading, or I might be asking for a specific approach to contradictory statements along the way. What about using one Tarot card each for the Main, the Relating, and maybe the Nuclear hexagrams; or maybe to interpret any specifics of the changing line(s)? Be spontaneous and see what happens.

Let's see a reading made on August 14, 2008 asking the I Ching for a way to explain my use of both Tarot and the Yi in divination. I believe that pictures are worth a thousand words. Hope that you can discern some of the hidden meanings, in addition to my brief interpretation today, which might change next time I read it anyhow.

August 2008 Reading