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Answers of the oracle
good and bad fortune, the mandate and the right time
versions). The upper part is shi,
scholar, the picture is a weapon or a phallus. The weapon looks identical to
ancient spear-points, maybe it has something to do with “aquiring metal arrow”
(like in hex.21.4). Probably few people had a metal one, it gives chances for
good hunting or fighting. The scholar was originally a person trained in a
certain field or a soldier. In Japanese, it is the character for 'samurai'.
Jiù: fault or
mistake. Foot above man. The foot is upside down
(sui): walk slowly or with difficulty. Wieger: with shackles. The character at
right is another old version: man, another (shackled or hindered?) man, a
mouth and ? (shackles or old shoes?).
Shuo Wen: dragging oneself along, hindered by worn-down shoes. R+K: to
differ from what you should be. Do wrong to, inflict calamity;
Wen (language, culture, name
of King Wen) with mouth.
is hindered or acts wrong (without culture?): words, emotions, expressions. Meanings: not reckoning
with, let go, fail, oppose, stingy, regret, shame, tied to, not able to detach
Xiong: pitfall, baleful, terrible. It is exchangeable with 1, praying
figure with cross in face or mouth: desperate or unanswered prayer? Meaning also
right (2): Xiong elder brother: the one who performs the prayers.
regret. A woman
wearing a feather hair-dress. On oracle bones this graph means měi, covered
weather, exchangeable with hui, to regret, and mu, ancestral mother (1), (2) is
W-Zhou. Later ‘regret’ is the same character with the radical heart added,
‘mother’ the same without the hair-dress. Mei: every; each, frequent; often.
Wenlin says: the original meaning of
was 'growing plants', from 'grass' and mu ('mother') as phonetic. "Already from
the earliest times applied to a homophonous abstract word: each, every;
Li: adversity, threatening danger. It is a scorpion under a cliff. Terrible, formidable, persuade, advise, encourage, harsh, severe, serious evil, oppress(ive), cruel, whetstone. The scorpion (1) has also since old times the meaning '10.000'. This term is usually a warning for possible danger. Sometimes 'danger - auspicious': the danger does not necessarily end in disaster, it can be overcome if you pay heed to the warning. Then there is also the value of danger: it leads to experience and circumspection. Not to forget the value of the oracle: warning you before you have to suffer the experience. (see below: more about li)
|Wu you li Wilhelm translates: 'nothing furthers'. Quite another possibility is 'avoid probing: harvest'. At first sight the meanings are very different, but look at the action one should take: in both cases none, just let things happen, don't try to direct them, or take the known road. The second option is more positive, though. Makes me think of Zen. It occurs in 4.3, 19.3, 25.6, 27.3, 32.1, 34.6, 45.3, 54.0, 54.6, 64.0. In 37.2 it says 'without probing progress' (Wilhelm: she should not follow her whims - ??)|
|You you wang Wilhelm: 'undertake something' in hex.2 and 14, 'have somewhere to go' in 36 and 40 and 'if you let it take it's course' in 44. Occurs in 2.0, 14.2, 36.1, 40.0, 44.1. It says 'have probe go': explore events or the best course of action, in order to find out what to do.|
you you wang In most cases you you wang is preceded by li: harvest or
profit. Occasionally, in 3.0 and 33.1, by yong: benefit, use, avail of. Li you
you wang occurs in 22.0, 23.0, 24.0, 25.0, 25.2, 26.3, 28.0, 32.0, 41.0, 41.6,
42.0, 43.0, 45.0, 57.0.
Ming: mandate. A
man (often looking rather like a seal) under a big roof, with mouth: giving
orders. The seal would be an indication of having received the seal or
mandate. On OB it was identical with ling ’fate’, of the pictures the middle
one. (Maybe the roof is no roof at all. According to Wang HongYuan: a
right time, opportunity. A sun or day and sì, a
foot-issuing-forth. (Man’s biological clock is every day set right by sunrise!).
Si as character has as meaning 'temple', so the right time might also be the
time the gods think right.
Wu: without, lacking, nothingness, not-have. A person dancing with ox-tails in his/her hands (according to Lindqvist: millet, but there are many photos of shamans dancing with ribbons, feathers or plants). A Wu or shamanka dancing for rain. The meanings are closer to without/in need of, whereas the other wu is closer to without/avoid. This wu occurs only in 3.3, 53.1 and in 'Sequence' 56-57.
Wu: without, avoid. See also wu-lacking. A man exerting himself, pushing away something. 1: man with crippled leg: lame. This way of writing wu occurs innumerable times in the YiJing. I think in many cases 'avoid' is a better translation than 'without' or 'no'. It indicates that faults can be avoided or the omen changed for the better. The YiJing does not predict a fixed future, it just tells you to what future your actions might lead. there is a possibility though that the two characters wu were originally the same picture.
Zheng: chastise. At left the oldest version. A foot going towards a walled city or towards a target. Later ‘road’ (2) was added (only half of the road, 3). If this figures in an answer of the YiJing, it rarely means you have to go and attack a city, nowadays it will mean: go ahead and do what you want or should, or solve this dilemma, attack the problem, gather all your resources and march ahead.
".. almost always, the I Ching
shows not only 'good fortune or misfortune' but also the energies and reasons
behind it. Often, these will resonate with what you already almost-knew.
About Li Harmen Mesker says: Personally I wonder why li 厲 is translated as 'danger' all the time. I mean, there are older meanings, closer to the time when the Yijing is supposed to be written, which are equally valid, or, in my opinion, more valid. One of those meanings is 'to inspire, to excite'. Another is 'arriving at a high place', mainly used for birds. In old texts the phrase 貞厲 could mean something like 'the divination arrives high, is received by the ancestors' (just speculating). 厲 also means 'strict, stern', as in Lunyu VII.38. The general meaning that I sense in this character is that of ability, have the power or strength to achieve something. 貞厲 could therefore mean 'the divination is powerful, has result'.