The I Ching of the Goddess Paperback – 19 Dec 2001
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The original I Ching, according to Barbara Walker, was goddess based. Unfortunately, men hijacked it. As a result, for centuries devotees of the I Ching have been using an intrinsically flawed divination system, Now, thanks to the work of one of the premier feminist authors, we have an I Ching that is again goddess based, and therefore more authentic. Included in this kit are 64 I Ching cards, featuring Barbara Walker's original and her book, The I Ching of the Goddess (originally published in 1990 by Harper San Francisco; net sales 19,000).
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The I Ching, has always been singularly impenetrable to me,
So for me Barbara's work has been a very rare gift, an entry into, and a road map of an previous undiscovered, and undiscoverable country. In the Book of Runes, Ralph Bloom quotes his Friend Buckminster Fuller concerning his own efforts, "No easy task - to midwife the return of an ancient Oracle."
Barbara can honestly lay claim to similar Rebirthing of this Ancient Oracle; pointedly discarding centuries of Confucian, and Patriarchal overlay, she returns the I-Ching to a contemplation on the interaction of Eight basic Elements; Air, Sea, Fire, Thunder, Breath, Water, Mountain, Earth. So we are reintroduced to the Union of Earth and Sky, and the interaction of Earth Mother, Sky Father, and their children.
The Dance of these elements is explored anew, firstly through a collection of Images, akin to Tarot Cards; the stark, beautiful images used to present this re-envisioning of the I-Ching, are among the most profound you will ever find. Each "Card", each image and pairing of the elements deserves its own time for mediation. For that reason alone this presentation is well worth your time.
But Barbara goes far beyond that ... while showing due respect for the ancient sages where it is appropriate, she is not hesitant to slay some sacred cows, ... This from the Text accompanying Hex 49 Retreat. Air over Mountain;
This Hexagram advises one not to try to compete with superior powers but to fall back, and concentrate on small internal reinforcements. One must retreat "in a Noble Way," saving face. Encountering this apparently ignominious bit of advice, Confucian court seers insisted that it really meant "successful progress," like nearly every other hexagram they interpreted to please a ruler. Such self-contradiction is one of the Major signs of the second hand nature of the courtly canon, pointing to an older, underlying tradition that was more direct and did not try to express two opposite ideas at once.
And here I would add, and I feel sure Barbara would support me; "That did not deny the full circle of nature, in its desire to present the ruler with a false vision of perpetual progress."
It must be remembered, that the world view of those practicing the Confucian I-Ching was one in which if the Emperor conducted the Rituals it was his duty to perform, with Firm Correctness; he would there-by assure the proper, and harmonious functioning of the Universe itself; clearly with all due respect to that ancient tradition; few today even among the Magickally inclined could embrace such a world view.
And so Barbara discards the Confucian overlay in order to return to the original, balanced, Taoist oracle she sees underpinning the efforts of the Confucian Seers, who she takes to task several times in the book; and while she does so; she does not waste time, text, and space on this - pointing out where her vision differs from theirs, then moving on to and exposition of the important points. Such as her discarding the confused King Wen Arrangement of the Hexagrams, in favor of the Elegant Fu Hsi arrangement.
If I may be allowed one last point, I have noticed both here at Amazon, and on the wider web, that the most consistent criticism of this work is that it does not address interpretation of the changing lines found in the Confucian I-Ching; it somehow seems to escape the reviewers that this must be a purposeful departure from the Confucian Canon.
The Goddess I-Ching presents us with a Holistic, Pagan vision of the Hexagrams, rather then a deconstructionist Patriarchal one. It is not that different between a poets approach to a flower, and that of Scientist. The poet approaches the flower as a whole, presents you a vision of the flower as a whole; the scientist dissects the flower; and while he might at the end of the day be able to expound in great detail on the anatomy, cell structure, and pigments of the flower; that made it a thing of beauty, he has destroyed it in the process. Barbara is asking us to envision the Hexagrams as a Dance of the Elements, not as things to be deconstructed into their individual lines; and yes this is a radically different vision, but I find it a very beautiful one.
I do concede to the Traditionalist this small point, I much prefer the method for interpreting coins tossed into lines provided in A Guide to the I Ching by Carol K. Anthony to that provided in this text; which to my mind produces too many transitions, and gives a far more chaotic result; however even here, in these chaotic times, perhaps Barbara has the greater insight.
So the I-Ching of the Goddess is not a traditional rendering of the I-Ching, but is in fact often a critical response to it, and its fascination with Status, Hierarchy and Correctness; that I feel contains insights both for those who have found the Confucian vision impenetrable and those who having found insight in that Oracle; remain open minded enough to consider this opportunity to broaden their horizons.
These cards have brought immediate healing to those I know who have sought to bring understanding to their lives. I have used many divining methods for answers to my souls journey and family and friends, and I consider this divining tool to be very prophetic, numinous and contains within it the gift of bringing forth our own seeds for us to make conscious choices from.