I have had a copy of I-Ching – a.k.a. Book Of Changes – since I was about 15. Like old ephemerides, they tat apart from such regular use.
It’s a book of divination – Jung went mad for it as proof of synchronicity and all. Of course, the cosmology behind it is ravingly complex – similar to the other Ancient Chinese arts/sciences of acupuncture, Feng Shui & so on – but the actual book itself is easy to use. You can just get three coins with heads & tails on them, shake them around and throw six times. Each throw creates a line and you wind up with a hexagram which you then read the ‘result’ for.
It has a rich history too. In Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, he has Eliza, his seductive spy-princess-courtesan character, using it to communicate in code. With just a few little lines that could pass as a doodle, one could be directed to a paragraph that says the king is about to be deposed. Neal Stephenson himself is a Scorpio genius…though you do not enter his world lightly. The moment i began to read Quicksilver, i took a deep breath & started cancelling social engagements etc, all the better to lie on the couch with sandwiches and The Book. Anyway, the I-Ching as spy code is totally fascinating and no doubt the theory of it being used in such a way has some accuracy.
I go on and off it. It’s not at ALL New Agie & comforting like – say – The Goddess Oracle.
It constantly moralises & addresses one as if one were an aspiring ruler. It’s sexist – The Superior Man is often evoked to remind you of how to conduct yourself. And sometimes reading it is like being whacked over the hand with a ruler by some maniac but maybe-correct teacher. I haven’t got this hexagram for ages but i remember oh-my-godding when I’d ask the same question too many times, i would – without fail – keep getting the Number 4 Hexagram:
“Youthful Folly —
It is not I who seek the young fool — It is the young fool who seeks me.
At first, I inform him with clear answers; But if he importunes, I tell him nothing,
He must persevere to succeed.”
The I-Ching also has an annoying habit of being right. Note that I’ve tried some of the online versions but i think there is something magical about having it as an actual book.