Is the I Ching for real?


“The I Ching does not offer itself with proofs and results; it does not vaunt itself, nor is it easy to approach. Like a part of nature, it waits until it is discovered. It offers neither facts nor power, but for lovers of self-knowledge, of wisdom — if there be such — it seems to be the right book. To one person its spirit appears as clear as day; to another, shadowy as twilight; to a third, dark as night. He who is not pleased by it does not have to use it, and he who is against it is not obliged to find it true. Let it go forth into the world for the benefit of those who can discern its meaning.”

Carl Jung, Foreward to the I Ching

I do not know what to make of the I Ching.
Believing in the I Ching suggests a very different model of reality than the present Western paradigm. The use of it can be a regressive return to a world of magic and the occult. And yet….
I was first introduced to the I Ching in college in the late sixties, by an archetypically feminine woman (or at least so I projected). As suggested it a previous post, I probably owe that relationship to Carl Jung and Bob Dylan. I didn’t pay much attention to the I Ching at that time.
Later, in the early seventies, I met a woman from Hawaii, the most feminine person I had known. By “coincidence”, of course, she was very much involved with the I Ching (thanks again, Carl and Bob.)
As an impertinent young man, the first question I asked the I Ching was “Who am I?”
It responded with six “strong” lines, ie., The masculine, the creative, the first hexagram. Not believing the results, I kept throwing the coins. It is my recollection that I threw twenty-two strong lines in a row.
The odds of throwing the equivalent of twenty-two “heads” is approximately one in four million, give or take an exponent or two. The others of throwing this particular hexagram make it more like one in 250 million.
My explanation for this shortly after it happened is that I had mis-perceived the coins in a biased direction, ie., that I had distorted the results and that it didn’t really happen.
Now, I am not so sure. In college, in a used bookstore in an out of the way corner a book presented itself to me: The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. It made me buy it. It didn’t make much sense at the time, but…
(And you might ask, “Well, what hexagram did your feminine friend throw?” It is my recollection that it was a long run of receptive lines, i.e, Hexagram 2. It was an archetypal relationship, to say the least.)

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