remod

Asking for feedback

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

  I'm looking for feedback on a card I designed for casting I Ching hexagram.

  You can use one or, better, two or, even better, seven of them (if you want to take advantage of their "tracking" capability) to cast an heaxgram line by line.

 

  It is equivalent (from a probabilities point of view) to using the yarrow stalks method.

 

  I also added an "index" to retrieve the hexagram number from the line (the four circles) which is not really intuitive but, once clarified, shouldn't be too much difficult to use. (of course, one can use any other index to go from the hexagram lines to its number).

 

  I did not get much comments on my (scarcely visited) web site, so I'm posting around trying to find someone interested enough to provide some feedback (wether positive or negative!). I'm using seven of them and found it very useful not to have to pick pen and paper between each line to mark the casted line.

 

  Any question or comment is really welcome!

 

  The image below shows the front and the back of the card:

127_card_both.png

 

 

Edited by remod
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The design is beautiful.

 

With my limited knowledge of the topic, I'm curious how one would use the card to cast a hexagram in response to a query.  I'd be interested in knowing that process if you care to explain further.

 

 

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Hi, silent thunder. Thanks for replying!

 

The easiest way to understand it is to consider two of those cards.

You shuffle, flip and turn the two cards and then make a sort of "L". The front card tells you which line you got (the bigger lines at the top or the bottom of the card), If the two ideograms (one black, the other red) in the top left corner are the same. It's a moving line.

 

I've prepared a picture with an example (see below).
Let me go line by line:

 

 1. Broken line, same ideograms -> moving line (as if you got 6 with the coins)

 2. Solid line, different ideograms -> non-moving line (as if you got 7 with the coins)

 3. Broken line, different ideograms -> non-moving line (as if you got 8 with the coins)

 4. Broken line, different ideograms -> non-moving line (as if you got 8 with the coins)

 5. Solid line, same ideograms -> moving line (as if you got 9 with the coins)

 6. Broken line, different ideograms -> non-moving line (as if you got 8 with the coins)

exampleBC.png

On the right of the picture is shown what happens if you use seven of those cards and stack them while casting: they will form both the primary and the secondary hexagram (moving lines are marked with a red dot).

 

The result is the hexagram 48.1.5 > 19.

 

Hope it's a little bit clearer. Please, do not hesitate to ask!

 

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Yes that's much clearer, thank you.

Clever idea for revealing the moving lines using the matching symbols and I like the use of rotating the top card 90o to form that relationship.

 

How many cards comprise the entire deck?

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Posted (edited)

I printed seven of them (to be used as shown in the example).

 

You can use just two cards and draw the lines with pen and paper as usual.

 

Using just one card is possible but a little bit inconvenient (you should flip and turn the card, draw the line, and remember which red ideogram is on the top left corner. Then you flip and turn the card again and look at the black ideogram to check if it's the same, in which case it's a moving line. Rather cumbersome ...)

 

Also, you can use six cards (or seven to have the index available) in conjunction with any other method (e.g. three coins). Just cast the line as usual and stack the card to build up the hexagram.

Do you think it's a useful feature to be able to keep track of the forming hexagram without having pen and paper at hand?

 

P.S. I didn't explain how the four circle index works but is not really needed for casting.

 

Edited by remod
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Posted (edited)

The cards look excellent.

 

I like the layout as well. The hexagram looks great like that.

 

I've been experimenting with a 12 sided die balanced to reflect yarrow stalk probabilities,  but I don't consult the oracle often. 

 

I've used it around major strategic life decisions; moves and job changes, stuff like that. 

 

Very useful in that context. 

 

I highly recommend the David Hinton translation,  set up to be read straight through without the divination based structure. I found it to be helpful, particularly in terms of thinking of the 64 hexagrams as an organizing structure, as in feng shui and baguazang, for example. 

 

 

Edited by Sketch
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the comment, Sketch.

 

To get yarrow stalks probabilities I guess you are using two 12 sided dice, or are you throwing a single die twice?
Depending on this I can think of two ways to mark the faces to have yarrow stalks probabilities.

I'm curious about your solution.

 

 

Edited by remod

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One die, with 5 unbroken lines, three unbroken moving lines, seven broken lines and one moving broken line.

 

Yes, that is sixteen sides, which the die in fact has. A 3d printed metal die. I believe I just demonstrated how much use it's gotten by forgetting the number of sides.

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Got it, it's sixteen sides dice. Nice!

 

Yes, those are the yarrow stalks probabilities, (the same produced by the cards above).

 

I'm always happy to see explorations on methods for casting I Ching hexagrams.

 

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There's was an interesting comment made by about changing traditional ways to make it easier to do. The problem lies in discerning whether the traditional way is somehow essential to the ritual. In this case, I wonder if the traditional way of holding the stalks and taking the time to cast them in some way impacts the divination that may be lost when not done. 

 

Wonder if @Taomeow has any thoughts.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the comment, forestofemptiness.

  It's a very good question indeed and when I started thinking about alternative ways for casting I Ching hexagrams, I ask myself the same thing.

 

 I thought a lot about it and, in the end, I said to myself that what was important to me was:

  • being able to follow the yarrow stalks probabilities for moving/non-moving lines,
  • having a simple and portable casting method,
  • retain the feeling of manipulating a set of objects to get a line,
  • using something I felt a strong affinity with.

After having tried and devised lots of different methods (based on dice, cards, coins, ...) I found that using these cards has an additional benefit: they allow me to cast an entire hexagram without having to stop after each line to take the pen and draw it on a piece of paper. Which is something that often distracted me from the question I had in mind.

 

But I would really love to hear about how important and relevant the traditional methods are for you and why.

This post is exactly to get this type of feedback!

 

Thanks!

Edited by remod
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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

There's was an interesting comment made by about changing traditional ways to make it easier to do. The problem lies in discerning whether the traditional way is somehow essential to the ritual. In this case, I wonder if the traditional way of holding the stalks and taking the time to cast them in some way impacts the divination that may be lost when not done. 

 

Wonder if @Taomeow has any thoughts.

 

And I hoped to keep my thoughts to myself! :D

 

I admire the effort and contemplation @remod put into creating the method, but I wouldn't use it.  I've given a fair try to all kinds of "new and improved" divination techniques in my day, from a box of "I Ching cards" I once picked up at Barns & Noble (with nice artwork in the traditional style of Chinese ink painting illustrating each hexagram) to the online I Ching, to the esoteric numerology method with 4 coins.  Still, I prefer the traditional ways precisely because of what you suggested -- things are lost when the method is modified or simplified.  Sometimes subtle things, and sometimes the not-so-subtle baby is thrown out with bathwater.

 

The yarrow stalk method was originally developed as a cooperation between the I Ching and the diviner plant which yarrow was known to be in shamanic traditions predating the I Ching.  The divination was understood as a sort of brainstorming session between the two sages, with you facilitating the exchange of opinions between them.  You did it by giving them time to discuss the issue and together come up with the best answer. 

 

It is not uncommon for serious taoist divinations (besides the I Ching there's a number of other systems) to be performed using three different oracles and going with the "majority vote," so to speak -- all three agreeing is a strong confirmation, two out of three, good enough but might give one pause since it entails uncertainties, two out of three saying "no" might mean you are going against the will of destiny if you insist on a particular course, and all three saying "no" is enough to stop anyone but a madman.   There's something of that vibe in the yarrow stalk method, since yarrow itself is not an inert observer, it's an active oracle. 

 

There were attempts to improve the three-coins method toward imbuing the divination with some of that "active participation" from the coins.  Some suggested using ancient Chinese coins, hoary and wise and world-savvy.  Others, to fish out the current ones from your wallet and use those -- they are in tune with the current times, they have been around modernity and know it better.  Then there's the metal container requirement advocated by still others -- shaking the coins inside the container rather than in your hands removes your own unconscious influence on the outcome, your own electromagnetic field gets shielded away from the coins this way and the outcome is thought of as more objective.  And so on.  In any event, none of them overcome the main limitation of the coins -- namely the statistical equality of the even and odd outcomes.  In the real world, yin outcomes outnumber yang outcomes, i.e. things that are a certain way tend to stay that way more than they tend to change.  So the coins divination might be giving yin and yang sides an equal opportunity to manifest, but in the human world, where "the more things change, the more they remain the same," their chances to manifest are not equal.  Whether there's mysterious forces that take care of this discrepancy by somehow producing more "things-stay-the-same" outcomes is a matter of debate. 

 

In any event, I am seldom faced with an issue that asks for the yarrow stalk method, it is reserved for the most serious decisions.  If I'm trying to decide whether to buy or not buy an item on Amazon, I might use the online oracle.  Questions of in-between seriousness are the six coins questions to me.  

 

And for deep contemplation and meditation I use the Circular I Ching.

 

190754_101438869938773_2973775_n.jpg.d3913df39671b15648b1e1141ccefc4d.jpg

 

Edited by Taomeow
Typo corrected
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Thanks for your feedback, Taomeow!

 

Let me pick a couple of things from your post.

 

If I understand correctly, you too think that the asymmetry in the moving/non-moving line is significant. I always felt the same and this motivated me in avoiding methods that would generate lines with a different distribution. The card is designed to give lines with the same distribution as the yarrow stalks.

 

I choose to focus on cards exactly for the affinity paper as with wood; I felt that cards still retain that "being part of the natural world" that the yarrow stalks, as plants, have. That is also what made me discard computer-generated casting methods (even if I wrote one); I felt no connection at all with the casting process.

However, I can't deny that I might be biased by the long western tradition of using cards for divination.

 

Finally, you mention that you use a six coins method. Is the one with five equal coins and one different coin to represent moving lines? Or is it something different?

 

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Posted (edited)

Since I'm at it, and just to show a completely different approach, the picture below shows a set of eight cards that can produce lines with yarrow stalk distribution. I focused on designing "abstract" cards as I don't like the commonly found 64 cards "I Ching decks" that try to replicate the tarots feeling, I feel they are too limiting in trying to squeeze an entire hexagram into a single picture.

 

allcards.png

 

(the back is identical for all cards: backsmall.png)

 

I use this more for their trigram part than to actually cast a hexagram. I still prefer to use a set of identical cards, it feels more "natural" to me.

 

Didn't want to sway the discussion, I still am more interested in having feedback on the card I showed in the first post.

 

 

Edited by remod
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I couldn't agree more about the tarot flavored cards, and many other attempts at fusions and tables that equate things that don't equate. 

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The card in the first post is a pretty hard working piece of design. There's a compact elegance that suits the material. 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, remod said:

Thanks for your feedback, Taomeow!

 

Let me pick a couple of things from your post.

 

If I understand correctly, you too think that the asymmetry in the moving/non-moving line is significant. I always felt the same and this motivated me in avoiding methods that would generate lines with a different distribution. The card is designed to give lines with the same distribution as the yarrow stalks.

 

Yes, theoretically, the asymmetry is significant.  But since the whole process is not exactly in the realm of the "ordinary reality," maybe that asymmetry gets autocorrected by the process itself.  I am not entirely sure.  I would have to ask the I Ching. :) 

 

The same distribution as the yarrow stalks sounds good.  But it still takes the yarrow oracle itself out of the process.  Don't mind me if it's not a concern to you -- I'm a traditionalist, I collected my yarrow in the flowering meadow by the lake and, after making the divination stalks, didn't use them for two years as the method prescribes, giving them time to mature.  I'm not particularly trained to sense energies of "all" stuff as some claim to be and some really are, but to the extent my ting (listening with the whole being) skills have been developed, I can often tell an empty ritual from a ritual that opens the door to genuine subtle energies of the world (or deities or spirits, depending on what or who the diviner is working with.)  I can feel the difference.  When I use traditional methods, they somehow switch me to a different, "attuned" wavelength -- like a radio that starts broadcasting loud and clear instead of indistinct and noisy.  Not a perfect metaphor of course...  hard to explain, but for me, impossible to ignore.

 

18 hours ago, remod said:

I choose to focus on cards exactly for the affinity paper as with wood; I felt that cards still retain that "being part of the natural world" that the yarrow stalks, as plants, have. That is also what made me discard computer-generated casting methods (even if I wrote one); I felt no connection at all with the casting process.

However, I can't deny that I might be biased by the long western tradition of using cards for divination.

 

I think there's additional factors in one's own wuxing make up that provide or block affinity with various elements/phases.  I'm of the Wood phase and like to handle objects made of wood, if I go hiking I always end up picking up a stick, taking it home, doing some minimal work on it and making a walking stick out of it. :D I've a bunch of wooden taijiquan implements  which I'm trained to use for MA and for qigong, and I still prefer paper books to electronic ones.  So who knows.  Still, we're surrounded by "mundane" paper, and to me, cards don't feel the same as plants they once were.  But I guess they can be consecrated and then "a withered tree sprouts a fresh shoot," as Hexagram 28 put it. :)

 

18 hours ago, remod said:

 

Finally, you mention that you use a six coins method. Is the one with five equal coins and one different coin to represent moving lines? Or is it something different?

 

 

  It's a typo.  I mean three coins.  Thanks for noticing, I fixed it.     

Edited by Taomeow
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

What is this? 😍

 

This is the cat's meow of all of taoism. :) 

 

It's the ancient (before the commentaries and before the linear arrangements) representation of the I Ching generated by the initial (and eternal) transformation of wuji into taiji, with further division into "families" of trigrams, with further formation of hexagrams. 

190754_101438869938773_2973775_n.jpg.d3913df39671b15648b1e1141ccefc4d.jpg

If you look at the white semi-circle on the left in the center, that's the original true yang.  As it floats upward (because it's lighter), follow the rest of the white segments of the concentric circles above it and the six form the first hexagram, Qian, heaven.  The black semi-circle on the right, the original true yin, sinks downward (because it's heavier).  Follow the rest of the black segments of the concentric circles below it and the six form the second hexagram, Kun, earth.  The world is set in motion, tao-in-motion.  As the world turns, other trigrams and hexagrams are formed.  To a total of 64 hexagrams containing all of the meaningful reality.  Beyond 64, further divisions become too numerous, forming structures too complex and chaotic to yield any meaningful information about the whole.  That's the realm of hundun, chaos.  (Which sadly is where our "studies" of "everything" based on smaller and smaller divisions and subdivisions into millions and billions of bits of fragmented information, absolutely impossible to put together into a coherent picture of reality as a whole, have taken our own "modern" science...  but don't let me digress.)         

 

  

 

 

Edited by Taomeow
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26 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

It's the ancient representation of the I Ching generated by the initial (and eternal) transformation of wuji into taiji, with further division into "families" of trigrams, with further formation of hexagrams. 

190754_101438869938773_2973775_n.jpg.d3913df39671b15648b1e1141ccefc4d.jpg

 

Incidentally, this is also what inspired me in creating the index at the center of the cards. The four circles work according to the same principle.

 

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