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Jul/Aug 2001 ē Miscellaneous

The English Book of Changes: A User's Guide

by Richard Beard


You will need three English coins of the same denomination, preferably silver and minted in the same year. Heads, our Queen, is warp. She is light, warm, strong, rigid, active, odd. Tails is weft: dark, cold, supple, restful, and even. Although weft is weak and warp is strong, there is strength in weakness, and weakness in strength.

The English Book of Changes is an oracle that responds to sincere meditation on any given situation, exploring both its correctness and its consequences. The wisdom of the Book is based on ancient texts handed down through generations, their origins often lost. They take into account your present circumstances, analyse possibilities for action, and frequently refer you back to your past. The ideal place to consult the Book is wherever you feel the most self-possessed and serene, such as the patio or conservatory, or even in the bathroom!

1. Take your three coins in cupped hands, shake, and let fall simultaneously on a flat surface.

2. Heads equals a value of one.

3. Tails equals a value of two.

Add the numeric values of the tossed coins - the four possible results are:

6 - Young Weft
5 - Young Warp
4 - Old Warp
3 - Old Weft

4. Repeat this operation five times to obtain the 6 mystic lines of an ancient English hexagram.

The hexagram is constructed, and should be read, from the bottom to the top. The relevant ancient text depends on the numerical value of each throw of the coins, and its position in the hexagram.

 

Position in hexagram

Old  Weft

(coin value 3 )

Old Warp

(coin value 4 )

Young Warp

(coin value 5 )

Young Weft

(coin value 6 )

Sixth

Easier said than done

What goes around, comes around

Wonders will never cease

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Fifth

Ignorance is bliss

Mustnít grumble

Actions speak louder than words

The darkest hour is just before dawn

Fourth

The best things in life are free

Business is business

Cream rises to the top

Better safe than sorry

Third

Half a loaf is better than none

The only way is up

Every dog has his day

Itís alright for some

Second

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

More haste, less speed

The poor are always with us

First come, first served

First

Thereís one born every minute

One good turn deserves another

Make hay while the sun shines

Back to the drawing-board

 

An example: In a genuine controlled experiment, with witnesses, using The English Book of Changes, coins were thrown while meditating on the question: How should I respond to my failure as a novelist? The coin values achieved were 3, 5, 5, 6, 4, 4. This creates the following hexagram, which should be read from bottom to top:

 

4

___    ___

What goes around, comes around

4

___    ___

Mustnít grumble

6

___    ___

Better safe than sorry

5

________

Every dog has his day

5

________

The poor are always with us

3

________

Thereís one born every minute

 

To benefit fully from each consultation, adapt yourself to the symbolic, ancient language of The Book, which demands sincere reflection and meditation. If the sacred texts sometimes seem bizarre and impenetrable, you have simply resisted learning how to approach them.

 

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