Article #4: The Purpose of Consulting the I Ching Oracle by Carol and Hanna
Mar. 23, 2011
© 2011 by Carol K. Anthony and Hanna Moog
The purpose of consulting the I Ching oracle has traditionally been defined as “bringing oneself as an individual human being into harmony with the order of heaven.” Our new version of the I Ching differs from this definition in that it speaks of bringing oneself into harmony with the order of the Cosmos. The word “Cosmos” comes from the Greek and means “the Universe in its harmonious order.” This is not just a minor difference, but one that determines our relationship with the invisible world, and thereby the way by which we can bring ourselves into harmony with its order.
The traditional versions of the I Ching speak of the “order of heaven” in terms that create the impression that the entire Cosmic order is synonymous with the human-made feudal social order that has traditionally ruled China. This was an order that passed from one conquering warlord to another. This way of one group of people assuming power over others was passed on for so many centuries that it became viewed as “the way things are.” We do not need to look only at China to see that the feudal mindset was extended worldwide. Historians have upheld such structures to represent the “greatness” of human achievements when they point to the empires of ancient Egypt, Rome, and to others in the West, generally. The more power and grandeur each achieved, the more they have been admired.
The I Ching makes us aware, through its use over many years, that these hierarchical pretensions are in conflict with the Cosmic principles of harmony; when we follow them as “the way,” we create what the I Ching calls “misfortune.” Thus we find that our striving for power and dominance may succeed for a while, but that ultimately we are deprived of the joy of life. The Cosmos, as we see, wants us to have a joyful life.
All hierarchical ideas are products of the feudal mindset. Among them is the justification for the use of power, threats, and punishments, and the presumption that one group has the right to dominate another; other ideas are that we must uphold and be faithful to the established system; and that conflict is the natural state of things because ‘the world, visible and invisible, is divided into good and evil.’ All such ideas become “true” when we follow the way of grandiosity.
The I Ching has similarly made it clear to us that the feudal order described above, in its placing humans as the “centerpiece of creation,” is totally mistaken. We were shown that our conflicts, be they of a strictly personal or collective nature, are the consequences of this human-centered view. We were shown that the I Ching was originally given to humans to help them become free from this human-centered view, but that it became overwritten with edits made relentlessly over the centuries by one dynasty after another, with the intention to legitimate the authority of the feudal system and its right to control others. When writing I Ching, The Oracle of the Cosmic Way, we were guided by the Sage to separate those overlays from the underlying Cosmic Principles of Harmony that supercede all human-made social structures.
The Sage showed us that the Cosmos is a system of Principles of Harmony whose main principles are the equality, uniqueness, and modesty of all aspects of the Cosmos. Equality refers to the worth and dignity of its every aspect; uniqueness means that no aspect can be compared to any other in terms of “higher” or “lower,” or “more special,” or “less special.” Modesty, one of the central themes of the I Ching, is the result of understanding and following these first two principles, which are imbedded in our original human nature. For indeed, goodness is our true nature, and following the feelings within ourselves that “feel good” and “feel fitting” is what leads to the expression of our dignity, worth, and happiness. There are many other Cosmic Principles of Harmony the user of the I Ching becomes aware of in our version of the I Ching as he addresses the things that are causing disharmony in his life.