I Ching, Yijing or Zhou Yi
"Oracle of the moon": © 2000 LiSe

  Yi Jing, Oracle of the Moon

Sabian Symbols

The original symbols!
The book "The Sabian Symbols: A Screen of Prophecy" by Diana E Roche, with images of the original cards.
Dane Rudhyar adapted them to 'common sense', which is something you should not do with symbols. It narrows them down into descriptions and their metaphorical quality will be lost. It is like changing a dream to make it logical.

   I always saw around me that there was truth in astrology. Summer people are definitely different from winter people, just to name the most obvious one. It aroused my interest in the structure of astrology. 
   When I got to know the Yi better, I recognized a similarity between the astrological signs and the lines of the hexagrams. The bottom line is 'beginning' and 'action', just like Aries. The second line is the relation to others, like Gemini. And so on.
  About the bottom and top line is said that they are outside the world, like the astrological signs just before and after spring solstice: Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Taurus. These signs act from out the self, whereas the autumn signs are rather the 'partner'-signs. In the circle of the houses this is very visible. The houses at the East are the self, the opposite houses - corresponding with lines 3 and 4 - the other. 

But the Yi had 384 lines, and the 12 signs had only 360 degrees. Or 365 days of the year. It looked very much alike - but not quite right.  Then I realized that one could not combine a degree of the zodiac or a day of the year with a line of hex.1 or 2. No birthday could ever be pure yang or pure yin. But then there were still 2 hexagrams too much. 

  I came across a book by Han Boering. He says that the sentence 'Thereupon they (the trigrams) are doubled' (Wilhelm-Baines p.325) does not mean putting two of them on top of each other, but doubling every single line of one trigram. In a trigram one cannot tell if a line is young or old yang, but when they are doubled, it is different. Two closed lines is old yang, an open and a closed one is young yang. About which one of those two is situated above is not certain.
  According to Boering, in the first edition of Wilhelm, the open line below the closed one is young yin. In later editions a fault had crept in: young yang and yin were switched. In books of Chinese origin there is no consistence, some say closed below, others closed above. So there is no real certainty.
  This means that hex. 63 and 64 are pure yang and pure yin too, but in this case young yang and young yin. Now I had 60 hexagrams left over - and 360 lines.

And then - which degree with every single line? I thought that the sequence of the Yi might not be random. Maybe it had begun its existence based on the moon-months. Each one 29 or 30 days, and always alternating yang and yin of the same element (or 'movement').
  I decided to simply put the degrees and the lines together, both in their own sequence. 

  There are several series of 360 images for the degrees of the zodiac. I had three of them, but only of two the sequence was certain. The other one had been shuffled around to match the ideas of the astrologer who found and revised it. So I tried those two. One, by Charubel (or John Thomas) did match poorly. But the other one, the Sabian Symbols, by Elsie Wheeler and writer Marc Edmund Jones, seemed to fit more or less. Some lines and images did indeed go together wonderfully. But many other combinations did not make any sense.
  These zodiacal images are devised by clear-sightedness. I am always a bit wary of that. For every serious and genuine manifestation of it, there exist innumerable worthless ones. But I don't reject it completely. Maybe it has never been proven as true, but the contrary has also never been proven. 

  The Sabian Society has a beautiful website with material on Elsie Wheeler, Marc Edmund Jones, the Sabian Symbols, and a database with 30.000 nativities. And more.

Aries 1 goes together with hex.3 bottom line, Aries 2 with hex.4 bottom line, Aries 3 with hex.5 bottom line, and so on. Taurus 1 with hex.33 bottom line. And then Gemini 1 with hex.3 line 2, Gemini 2 with hex.4 line 2. The yang signs with the yang (odd) lines, the yin signs with the yin (even) lines.

  To give some examples of good matches:
  Hex.62 talks about a bird which says to stay down. The image for the bottom line is a peacock parading on a lawn.
  Hex.58 line 2 'sincere joyousness..'. The image: 'Contentment and happiness..'
  5.5: Waiting at meat and drink. Image: two men playing chess. (Both about spending time in a pleasant way)
  6.1: Not perpetuate an affair - Two lovers strolling.
  6.4: Not engage in conflict - A group around a campfire. 
  7.1: The army should set forth in proper order - A triangle with wings.
  7.6: The great prince issues commands, founds states.. - A council of ancestors.
  8.3: Hold together with the wrong people - An old-fashioned woman and a flapper (something like a hippie)
  8.6: He finds no head for holding together - A performer of a mystery play. 
  Just going through the first hexagrams. I used Wilhelm's translation, because almost everybody has it.
  Another beauty: 48.1: One does not drink the mud of the well - An old man attempting vainly to reveal the mysteries. 
  And 48.6: One draws from the well without hindrance - The flow of inspiration. 

BUT - no two different systems will match perfectly. Usually far from it. It doesn't mean they don't both come forth from the same universal patterns. They are too big for us to overview it, and besides, nature herself uses the same patterns and her children are all individuals. No two are identical, even if some come close.


last update: 01.12.2020


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