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Shaman and divination
making contact with the spirits

Yi: change
6 versions. The old pictures at left show the sun with its rays emerging from behind a cloud or a moon with the sign for sacrifice. On OB often used to indicate change of weather. The Yi-sacrifice is a sacrifice to the sun. Yi-ri (change-day): good fortune of the sun (appearing after absence, thanks to an ancestor or spirit).
In Northern China weather was unpredictable: long droughts, sudden torrents. Too much rain was life-threatening: the Yellow River might cause a flood.

Zhen: trial (ask oracle). Zhen is a ding, a sacrificial vessel (1) with the sign bu for ‘divination’: crack in scapula or tortoise-carapace (2). Oracle-consulting, but also receiving an answer. And the obligation to follow the advice of the gods: so it is also perseverance and correctness. Sometimes the Yi says “not permit determination”: don’t ask advice, find out every moment anew what this moment asks for.

Gua: hexagram
andGui: sundial  see the page 'From GUI to GUA

Bu: fortune telling, foretell, predict, select, choose, divination. To make the cracks (for pyromancy). Diviner, charged with making or reading the cracks. The ideogram is a picture of a crack. Bu-gua: divine by eight trigrams or 64 hexagrams.

Gua bian: transformation of one hexagram into another.

Bian: bells on horses trappings (2), with a hand with stick: to beat (3). Meanings: change of a musical note: half tone lower. Change, modify, vary, change of conduct, to reform oneself, change one’s place. Transform.

Huŕ: change, transform, reform, evolution, change morals; convert, melt; dissolve; thaw, digest; remove, burn up; incinerate, disguise, die; pass away, culture, chemistry.

Bian hua: change, transformation, variation, mutation,

Bian gua: change of horoscope, sudden change of opinion, break one's promise, retract one's word, sudden change of a situation.

Wu: shaman/medium. Wang Hong Yuan: derives from the character for 5, Leyi: bamboo strips laid in cross which was the prop for the diviner. Magus, mage, shaman, witch, wizard, female shaman or shamaness (should be shamanka); the four Wu spirits, to whom sacrifices were made. Corresponding to the four great territories Fang, assistants of the great ancestor Di. (Ancestress Di, see Di!). Northern -, Eastern Wu, etc. To perform the ritual dance Wu. Wu Di: to perform the sacrifice Di for the (four) Wu spirits. Shuo Wen: a dancing sorceress with long sleeves (this probably refers to Wu=not). Two other versions: 1 and 2.

In DaZhuan: bu shě, divining.
Shi: yarrow divination. Bamboo-shaman: in the modern character bamboo is added (bamboo or ‘plants which grow in winter, like bamboo’), indicating he is the chronicler, who writes on the bamboo strips, or maybe it indicates the sticks he uses for divination. This is the ancient character, later the next 'shi' was used.

Shi: chronicle(r), official in charge of chronicles, historian, assistant, affairs, to charge. Two different characters, with almost the same original character. The left one is Ricci 9721, the right one R.9711. A hand with a bow drill (to mark the oracle bones to seek the divine guidance) indicates the official. The chronicle officials were responsible for divination.
The Di shi feng (Di - chroniclers - wind) were the Phenix assistants of Di, in charge of the winds.

Gui: ghost, bad fortune, calamity, name of a tribe at the North-East of the Shang.
Ideogram: person with demon's head. 1: with ‘altar’ or show, omen, 2: a female one.

Shen: spirit, god, deity, divinity, soul, mind, vitality; energy, supernatural, magical, smart, clever.
Composed of altar (show or omen, 1) and a drawing of a lightning bolt (2).

Tian: heaven
The one at right says most clearly what is meant: above the head. But all three might be pictures of "the Godhead". All are oracle bone characters. Meanings: overhead, sky, heaven, god, day, weather.

Tu: earth, soil; clay, land, opium, local, native, indigenous, uncouth, crude. This is part of the character for hexagram 2.

Di: earth. The left part is tu, a clog of earth (1: three other forms). The right part is ye, a water jug for oblations or for adding water to the wine: 2. The oldest form of this character is ta, snake (3) or female sex organ (woman yin) (2)