Magick, shamanism and Taoism.
The I Ching in Ritual and Meditation by Richard Herne, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN, 2001, 346 p., ISBN 1-56718-207-0

It's a diverse book, I'll give it that! At times it appears to be a "Wicca meets I Ching" sort of book.  

Part One gives a background in Chinese Magick as well as a bit of information on Korea and Japan. (He talks about the concept of the World Tree being important to the Chinese. I know it's at the heart of Northern European paganism, but this about the Chinese was new to me.)

Part Two is devoted to Magickal Tools such as Ritual Sword, Robe, Bell, Spirit Wand, Fan, etc. These are short chapters of two or three pages each, and offers some history as how each tool may have been used in early ceremony.

Part Three is Practical Magick Work. This is the part that seems most Wiccan to me as it primarily talks about different spells and rituals, and how to perform them. Mudras are used quite a bit, but I am unfamiliar with most of the ones used in this book. Also, this section includes meditations on each of the trigrams.

Part Four, The I Ching Hexagrams, for each hex. shows a picture of the Archaic Form, gives Esoteric Interpretations, Opposite Hexagram, Polarity, Compass Directions (for each trigram in the hexagram), Family Members (both Early and Later Heaven when they are different), body part, colors, Symbolic Creatures, Plants, Metals and Precious Stones, Emblems, Ritual Tools, Gods and Goddesses, and Magickal Workings which are "...a selection of the types of ritual practice, meditation, object of charm-working, and so on, that are appropriate to the nature of each Hexagram." p. 174 (For instance, Magickal Workings for Hex. 7 are "Bringing forth latent qualities of leadership. Gathering like-minded friends. Directing talents to their proper uses. Authority over spirits. Gathering all necessary powers for the successful manifestation of the Will. Improving teaching skills. Divination." p. 188)

The appendices include background on The Eight Taoist Immortals; I Ching, Tarot, and the Qabalah; Pronounciation of Chinese; and A List of Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits. Following that, there is a short chronology of the Chinese Dynasties (a list of dates), a glossary, bibliography and further reading, and the index.

I have no idea whether the information about rituals is historically accurate. Herne doesn't suggest how ancient peoples did things, rather he gives ideas on how we today can do things. He gives outlines for rituals which in some cases are step-by-step and specific in what is to be performed, but all along he encourages the reader to use her/his own intuition and creativity in performing a ritual.
All and all, an interesting book. :-)

Michelle Moruud

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