Excerpt: I Ching Mathematics for the King Wen Version

The following is from Chapter Two of I Ching Mathematics for the King Wen Version.


Despite the efficacy and elegance of the traditional model of interpretation, much of the efforts of advanced diviners over the past few millennia have been spent on bringing more material into readings in order to increase the probability of analyzing the Oracle’s reply correctly and thereby making the most auspicious decisions possible (such other relevant material includes the nuclear and transitional hexagrams).  It is to this end that the divinatory map is devoted.

As the diagram below demonstrates, the distance number and origin number combine with the predictive hexagrams to create a comprehensive interpretive model of change—


Diagram 1:  The Divinatory Map


The hexagrams on the horizontal axis then, are the result of divination, in which the Divinatory Hexagram expresses the subject’s present situation and the Derived Hexagram expresses the subject’s developing situation.  The hexagrams on the vertical axis, on the other hand, are the result of mathematical calculations between those on the horizontal axis:  The one at the bottom of the vertical axis expresses the difference between the predictive hexagrams and the one at the top expresses their sum.

The difference expresses the influence of the future pulling the subject forward toward the Derived Hexagram.  It is the distance number and represents the momentum toward the desired future.  Just as one’s goals and plans for the future influence present actions, the distance number represents the influence of the Derived Hexagram upon the Divinatory Hexagram.

The sum expresses the influence of the past setting into motion the seeds of the present situation. It is the origin number and represents the momentum pushing the subject into the present.  Just as every person still carries the influence of their three-year old self into the present, the origin number represents the influence of the past upon the present.

In order to show how the divinatory map is applied to specific readings, we return to the example introduced at the end of the previous chapter, which explores the result of a divination using the coin method to cast Hexagram #56 The Wanderer changing into Hexagram #37 The Family—


Example 1:  Divinatory Map for Hexagram #56 changing to Hexagram #37

Interpretive models, of course, are not abstractions.  They are the underlying principles that allow us to build a comprehensive—and comprehensible—narrative of the divination.  They provide us with better analytical tools with which to balance our communion with the Oracle’s reply.

In the present case, we can see how the divinatory map helps build just such a divinatory narrative—


Example 2:  Building the Divinatory Narrative

—especially, when placed within the context of the subject’s question, which in this instance involved starting up an eco-tourism business centered around visiting the ruins of ancient civilizations.  Suddenly, the Oracle’s answer emerges effortlessly.

Influence of the Past:  #11 Peace, which speaks to a time of social harmony, cultural flowering and widespread prosperity—all key elements of the Toltec civilization that constructed the ruins in question.

Focus of the Present:  #56 The Wanderer, which speaks to welcoming the eco-tourists to the site and helping them adapt to the physical and cultural environment.  It also speaks to the culture who left behind the ruins, those peoples of the past who were themselves, wanderers.

Influence of the Future:  #27 The Corners of the Mouth, which speaks to the act of providing nourishment—an essential feature of the proposed business, since eco-tourists come to the project in order to be fulfilled by a more meaningful experience than just wandering from one tourist trap to another.  The means to providing folks with such meaningful experiences, according to this hexagram, lies in making sure they have times of stillness and tranquility, so that they might absorb the atmosphere and presence of the people who built the ruins.

Focus of the Future:  #37 The Family, which speaks to maintaining the continuity of past generations and integrating their lifeways into the present.  This implies that what participants will take away with their experience will add to the culture within which they live by enriching it with the closer bond between nature and spirit that inspires indigenous people.

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