LiSe and the Book of the Moon
I have 5 great loves in my life. Four of them are people, but I do not need to talk about them. They are alive, very much so, much more than I could ever say in words.
But the fifth one is a book, an ancient one, the I Ching or Yi Jing. Its name is well known in the West nowadays, but its contents are difficult to grasp. Many people have written about it, explained it, or maybe only added to its enigma. And this will go on and on, because for everyone it has a different meaning
I will try to add some new ideas, maybe clarifying some things to someone, but in the first place simply because I love this book and because it gives much more value and insight to my life.
Thinking about it as a book of wisdom, exploring it, finding forgotten meanings that suddenly open up a sentence, or using it as an oracle, it all helps to make the voice of my intuition audible. Usually the voice of common sense is much louder, but this book gives sound to that faint voice within. It makes my intuition the guide of my life.
I want to share it - so I made this website.
And where does the moon come in?
Some say, the character I (in Pinyin: Yi), CHANGE, like in the name of the I Ching, is a combination of the sun and the moon. The modern way of writing the character certainly looks like that. A square, sometimes a circle, with a
Others say it represents a lizard or chameleon. If one adds the character for insect, it is the chameleon that has the task in every Chinese house – or tent – to catch all flies and other insects. Dries Langeveld told me this. He had gone to the zoo in Amsterdam, because they have one there.
In old times characters were not specified. One character served for many words. Yi was change, easy, chameleon, kick, tin and give. Later ‘metal’ was added for tin, and ‘insect’ for chameleon, so no mistakes would be made. But in old texts all those meanings are possible. So the chameleon might be the real explanation.
But if you look at the oldest form of the character, at least the oldest one I could find, it looks like a moon with rays: moonshine.
|Karlgren shows four old versions of the character Yi (b, c, d and
e). It looks like the moon with rays emanating from it.
The long rows at left are the character 'moon', from top left: old ones, to right bottom: modern ones.
According to Marshall ('The Mandate of Heaven) Yi is a
picture of the sun, peeking out from behind a cloud. At that moment the
light and warmth of the sun are more intense than when the sun is far from
clouds. When it suddenly emerges from behind a dark cloud it makes a vivid
And then, more than 10 years after the start of this website, Harmen tells me, the lines are the name of a sacrifice. So the character as a whole is a sacrifice to the moon, in the dark. Used as verb: give, grant or bestow.
In all cultures, even today, and also here in the West, the moon stands for changeability. And that is not only an idea. The moon brings about the tides in the seas, and also the tides in all living creatures. In astrology too the moon
The moon was not only changeability because of its influences, but also because of its phases. New, half and full moon. When electric light did not exist yet, the phase of the moon was very important. When the weather changed
Yi means also ‘easy’. And ‘exchange’: money or goods changing ownership. It is in the name of trade-companies and banks. The first time you see that, as an I Ching-lover, it feels almost like blasphemy.
When I imagine those old days, I think: it is not either the moon or the chameleon. It is both. They had both, and everybody knew both. But writing was unknown. They talked, and things had a name.
Personally I rather think the chameleon was named after the moon than the other way round, but by the time they made a character for it, that was not important any more.
The master says:
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