IChing Inspiration

My introduction and inspiration from I Ching began in 1999.  What awes me in 2016 is the work of blogger “taobabe”.  Check out her work publications here @taobabe.wordpress.com.

IChing Trigram Map

IChing Trigram Map

My introduction to IChing was a “Heart of Art” workshop for Collages on May 22,1999 led by Liza Hyatt author of Art of the the Earth and The Mother Poems in Indianapolis.

My coin tosses that day chose for inspiration: IChing Hexagram #10 “Treading or Conduct”.  The abbreviated explanation comes from Wilhelm commentary The Spirit of the Art of Living: when threatened, in danger or deprived of power…to come to terms with it…stand still and wait, there may be guidance… claim destiny, simply proceed with faith and victory and progress.  “Wow” I said to myself.  “That is profound.”

My collage image includes a lizard approaching a leopard’s tail. (The translation suggests tiger’s tail.)

#10 Conduct

#10 Conduct

My second collage of the workshop illustrates “heaven” over the “lake”, which is also an interpretation of hexagram #10.

#10 Conduct, also

#10 Conduct, also

IChing’s foundation are eight basic trigrams. One way to choose a trigram is to flip three coins with “heads” as broken line and “tails” as solid line. These trigrams have fascinating layers of meanings. Some meanings include our environment: heaven, earth, thunder, underground water, mountain, wind, flame and lake. Terms like “keeping still”(mountain), “arousing”, “gentle”(wind), “clinging”(fire), “receptive”, “joyous”, “creative” and “abysmal” provide more definition of the trigram. Another layer of metaphors include family members: father, mother, three sons and three daughters with birth order being significant. Yet another layer of meanings relate the trigrams to eight points on the compass: NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW, N. Hours of the day 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 are also associated with the trigrams. The first or upper trigram is combined with a second or lower trigram. There are 64 possible combinations of the upper and lower trigrams.

Multiple meanings of trigrams

Multiple meanings of trigrams

IChing is also referred to as the book of Changes. Chinese thought recognizes the essence and importance of change with the element of time. When incompatible conditions meet, they change to the other, following each other in time.

What is the purpose? The goal of consulting IChing is to be a better person. Many of these lessons may have been taught and learned, however sometimes a reminder or spark of imagination is helpful.

Purpose by Wu Wei

Purpose by Wu Wei

Due to the multiple meanings in our environment, a situation like a major storm/100 year flood (July 1999 Las Vegas) made me think of the image “thunder on the mountain”, which is associated with hexagram 62: Thunder above and Mountain below. This translates to “preponderance of the small” or that success comes from modesty and conscientiousness. That got my attention. I had never heard it put that way.

The next collage I did explored hexagram 59: Wind above and Underground water below which translates as “dispersion”. Unselfish, steadfast pursuit of justice dissolves egotism. Dissolving egotism leads to gathering together.

#59 and #62 Illustrated


The next hexagrams I read about were #61 Inner Truth, #18 Decay, #28 Preponderance of the Great and #53 Gradual Progress.

When I was short of time for collages and noticed that landscape photographs from calendars could illustrate #41 Decrease (Mountain above, the Lake below) or #61 Inner Truth (Gentle wind above, the Lake below) or #45 Gathering together (Lake above, the receptive Earth).  Interesting!  Popular images of nature are integral to IChing.


#41 Mountain above, Lake below: Decrease


#61 Inner Truth and                                     #45 Gathering Together


Eight collages:

#7 The Army The earth above, ground water below June 13,1999


#7 The Army

#9 Taming the Power of the Small Gentle wind above, Heaven below


#9 Taming the Power of the Small

#11 Peace The earth above, Heaven below


#11 Peace

#16 Enthusiasm Thunder above, Earth below July 16, 1999


#16 Enthusiasm

#22 Grace   Mountain above, Fire below


#22 Grace

#27 Providing Nourishment Mountain above, Thunder below June 10, 1999


#27 Providing Nourishment

#34 Power of the Great   Thunder above, Heaven below June 9, 1999


#34 Power of the Great

#38 Opposition Clinging flame above, Joyous Lake below: Retain individuality. Example: fire and water when in contact retain their own nature. June 9, 1999


#38 Opposition

Why bother?  IChing with its 64 patterns/codes/states was developed 5,000 years ago by Fu-Hsi.  Watson and Crick discovered DNA (genetic code) in 1953 and won the Nobel prize in 1962.  There are more than enough similarities in the 64 patterns of IChing and DNA for high statistical correlation.  Are they describing ONE system?  Studying IChing gives us the opportunity to explore life lessons with stereoscopic insight.


Reading List:

The IChing or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm translated Chinese to German, Cary Baynes translated German to English copyright (1950), 27th printing 1997, Princeton University Press

IChing The Book of Change, translated by Thomas Cleary 1992 Shambhala

The IChing or Book of Changes, A Guide to Life’s Turning Points by Brain Browne Walker, 1992 St Martin’s Press

The IChing and the Genetic Code, The Hidden Key to Life by Dr. Martin Schonberger, 1992, Aurora Press (originally published in German in 1973)

IChing Life, Living It by Wu Wei, 1996 Power Press iChing, a practical guide to interpretation and divination by Will Adcock, 2000, Anness Publishing Limited

Ta Chuan The Great Treatise, key to understanding the IChing and its place in your life by Stephen Karcher, PhD 2000 St Martin’s Press

Understanding the IChing, The Wilhelm Lectures on the Book of Changes by Hellmut Wilhelm and Richard Wilhelm, Bollingen Series, 1995 Princeton University Press

A Woman’s IChing by Diane Stein 1997 The Crossing Press

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