“I first met Richard Wilhelm at Count Keyserling’s during a meeting of the “School of Wisdom” in Darmstadt. That was in the early twenties. In 1923 we invited him to Zurich and he spoke on the I Ching (or Yi Jing) at the Psychology Club.
Even before meeting him I had been interested in Oriental philosophy, and around 1920 had begun experimenting with the I Ching. One summer in Bollingen I resolved to make an all-out attack on the riddle of this book. Instead of traditional stalks of yarrow required by the classical method, I cut myself a bunch of reeds. I would sit for hours on the ground beneath the hundred-year-old pear tree, the I Ching beside me, practicing the technique by referring the resultant oracles to one another in an interplay of questions and answers. All sorts of undeniably remarkable results emerged-meaningful connections with my own thought processes which I could not explain to myself…
During the whole of those summer holidays I was preoccupied with the question: Are the I Ching’s answers meaningful or not? If they are, how does the connection between the psychic and the physical sequence of events come about? Time and again I encountered amazing coincidences which seemed to suggest the idea of an acausal parallelism (a synchronicity, as I later called it). So fascinated was I by these experiments that I altogether forgot to take notes, which I afterward greatly regretted. Later, however, when I often used to carry out the experiment with my patients, it became quite clear that a significant number of answers did indeed hit the mark.
I remember, for example, the case of a young man with a strong mother complex. He wanted to marry, and had made the acquaintance of a seemingly suitable girl. However, he felt uncertain, fearing that under the influence of his complex he might once more find himself in the power of an overwhelming mother. I conducted the experiment with him. The text of his hexagram read: ‘The maiden is powerful. One should not marry such a maiden.’ “
above: CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
below: SUN THE GENTLE, WIND
COMING TO MEET.
The maiden is powerful.
One should not marry such a maiden.
Under heaven, wind:
The image of COMING TO MEET.
Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching