When I was 17, I discovered astrology. When I was 18, I discovered the I Ching. Both of these divination systems are symbolic, require interpretation, and provide a wealth of information about you and your life. Carl Jung, who coined the term synchronicity, dallied in both systems. But it was the I Ching that provided the basis for his theory of synchronicity.
In 1949, in his introduction to the Richard Wilhelm translation of the I Ching, Jung first expressed his ideas about synchronicity: the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that can’t be explained by cause and effect and is meaningful to the observer. In other words, when you ask your question and toss the coins, you are snapping a moment in time, freezing it, and the I Ching enables you to explore that moment and all its ramifications. I read those words and I was hooked.
Here’s how it works, for the Western mind: take three pennies, toss 6 times. Heads count 3, tails count 2. If you pull a 9 on any line -marked like this: ___x____- it changes to a 6. If you pull a 6, a divided line, you mark like this:,___o___.
The problem with the Wilhelm version of the I Ching, at least for me, is that everything is interpreted through daily life in China five thousands years ago. Yes, the system is chatty. It talks to you. I can make symbolic leaps, but since my initial discovery more than 40 years ago, the I Ching occasinally irritates me. I get the symbolism in Hexagram 1, the Creative, in this line: Hidden dragon. Do not act. My intuition says, okay, but…
Over the years, I’ve bought a lot of I Ching books that provide a more Western friendly interpretation to the hexagrams and the changing lines. In other words, the Chinese daily life stuff from 5,000 years ago was reinterpreted. But it wasn’t until I started blogging that I discovered Adele Aldridge’s interpretation of the I Ching and a light bulb in my head exploded.
Wilhelm: Hidden dragon. Do not act.
Aldridge: I am like a hidden dragon and cannot act. My creative force is still within. I am not yet recognized. I remain true to myself, uninfluenced by failure or success while I wait for my own ripe time. The evocative image that Adele created for this line
speaks to me at an archetypal level.
This volume covers the first 16 hexagrams and each one of them is a gem, with an illustration that beautifully expresses each line of each hexagram. I suspect Adele realizes she has taken on a lifetime commitment with this project!n Even though the subtitle of the book is ” A Woman’s Book of Changes,” the material is relevant to men as well. The material is good for beginners and also for anyone who has used the Ching. There’s mystery in this ancient divination system, so much mystery that philosopher and writer Terrence McKenna came to believe it was a kind of blueprint for existence, some sort of f Rosetta Stone that contained everything we needed to know about life.
The book is a true labor of love.