I Ching: The Chameleon Book
The I Ching (Yijing) is an important text in the canon of world literature. It is also a divination tool familiar to millions of modern users. Books on the I Ching tend to approach it exclusively as one or the other: literary text or oracle. This annotated translation is designed to reconcile a century of provocative new scholarship with the function of divination for the modern reader. The most exciting new scholarship illuminates the epic tale of wise King Wen, valorous King Wu, and the rise of the Zhou dynasty. The emergence of this wonderful story explains countless cryptic allusions in the I Ching. It also provides an elegant way to recover the divinatory function for the modern reader, and suggests how it may have functioned for the original diviners. In this view, to make a divination is to read the moment against the dynasty change narrative -- truly to "consult King Wen".
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What an uncommonly revealing look at the I Ching! Most common interpretations seem like misleading conjecture & indulgently wishful projection after reading this one. Takes away the confusion and frustration I have encountered trying to make sense of my personal readings.
Not only does this book explain the actual historical realities the hexagrams were based on: it's also light and humorous reading. The author brings a knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine to the table showing hidden undertones of meaning that are woven into the I Ching.
From time-to-time there is a useful practical conclusion offered from the lines. My only wish would be to include more of these distilled recommendations which can be applied in the real world as in hexagram 29, line 5. I would indeed buy such a book and wear it out with daily use.