(some silly stories)
When Wei Rong wanted to marry Mei Li, he had doubts as to her fidelity. So he went to master Liu for advice.
Master Liu asked Wei Rong what the first thing was, which caught his attention this morning, when he left his cabin. "It was a stone" said Wei Rong. "It had fallen off the little wall around the yard, and I put it back in place".
And what was the first impression when he went on his way to visit master Liu? "I startled a bright bird. It soared up into the sky with a screech, but then found a branch and started to sing beautifully".
Master Liu said to him: "Your mariage will be strong and longlasting. The stone has been part of a big mountain and still carries that essence. Mountain is the image of solid sturdy things. You will have to be inventive to keep your home joyful and interesting, but you will not have to fear infidelity of your wife."
"The bird is akin to fire. It brings light and insight, but has no solid footing. You yourself will have to set severe borders to what you do. If you are not careful with the people or businesses you get involved with, you will get separated from your base and fly around aimlessly."
"So it is not your wife who might jeopardize this marriage, it might be you yourself, if you don't learn to settle down."
Master Liu knew the image of first mountain, close by, and then fire, at the outside, it is the image of wandering.
Many years later Wei Rong came again. Everything master Liu had told him, had happened exactly as predicted. When he had met another woman and spent some time with her, he realized what the consequences would be, and could refrain in time. So when he had again a problem for which he had no answer himself, he asked master Liu. "My son is now almost grown up, and he is a good son. But he has such weird ideas, I am afraid he will make a mess of his life and ours as well".
Again master Liu asked what he had encountered on this day. First Wei Rong had been sitting at the fireplace, looking into the flames for hours, not knowing what to think of this change in his son's ideas. At the end of the morning he had walked down to the lake to catch some fish for his family. After the meal he had taken the road to master Liu.
Master Liu could reassure him. "Fire close by means he is capable to keep order in your family, and if there is disorder he will take care of that. Lake outside means the community is important, there is no selfisness. Your son's ideas are inspired by a genuine wish to improve life for everyone involved. Now and then things have to be changed and renewed. That is scary for those who are used to the old ways, but without inspired young people who dare to make drastic changes, life will stagnate. Fire and lake means necessary changes for a new order"
When master Liu grew old, he decided to find a pupil. He had gathered so much experience, and so much proof about the precision of his predictions, that he wanted it to be saved for later generations. He found a young lad with a bright mind, and started to teach him everything. But when he had to go to a doctor in another village, he saw how the doctor made small signs on strips of bamboo. He understood that the doctor had a mysterious way to make records, and to give messages to others without having to meet them personally. The doctor made these little signs, and gave the bamboo-strip to a man - who came back with the right herbs!
Master Liu asked the doctor if he could please write down the signs for mountain and water, fire, marsh, heaven and earth, wind and thunder. And the signs for good and evil, luck and mishap, and several other signs for things which could go well or wrong.
So master Liu started his big work. Together with his pupil he made a book of bamboostrips with the names of the natural phenomena, and with the signs for good and bad, wherever appropriate. They organized them into collections of related predictions. The stories were easy to remember now. The boy saw the signs, and knew which story went with them.
It was the beginning of the big work from master to pupil who became master - to pupil who became master - to pupil ... and so on and so on. The little signs were written so often that they became signs in their own right. The character for water became a three-line "gua" with the meaning of water, and that happened with all eight of the natural-phenomena-signs of master Liu.
the day of asking what the next ten-day period will bring
Gui day today – the Wu is wearing her animal mask and all her feathers and bells. She will perform the ritual for the next ten-day period. The whole village is sitting in a circle around the ritual space where she will dance. Strings are attached to a long pole, which horizontally shuts off one end of the dance-floor, and at every string a chicken hangs upside down. They are the payment for the gods, and also for the Wu, because gods and Wu always share everything.
They need to know if the weather will be steady in the coming period. Do they have to hurry to get the harvest in? Or is it better to wait until the next period? For the crop waiting would be better – but if a storm comes, it might destroy everything. It is an important decision.
The Wu dances in circles, faster and faster, shaking her bells, and also shaking the big pumpkin with beans. Big flat beans, six of them, one side painted black, the other side white. Through a hole in the pumpkin the gods make the beans fall out, one by one. Everyone watches them flying, so they will know where they fall.
Exhausted the Wu falls prostrate on the floor. Nobody moves, in silence they wait until she comes back on earth again. When she finally opens her eyes and raises her head, she looks around until she sees one bean. A white one, the gods are telling her to start with the white ones. She collects them all, sits down cross-legged and puts them in a line, starting with the white ones, and then the black ones. Three white, three black. Everybody smiles, they know what this means. It is the moon of spring, when the cold of winter and the hunger are over. When the rains start, and when the first fresh greens can be collected. The crops start to grow. It is usually the most happy period of the year. This means the weather in the next ten days will be fair, and the harvest can wait. The crop has another chance for growing, it will be bigger.
But then suddenly one of the chicken manages to wriggle her leg out of the string. Screeching she runs across the dancing space. This cannot be anything else than a very bad omen. Everybody is looking anxious at the Wu now. She sits in deep thought, trying to grasp the meaning of what happened. The beautiful picture of the spring moon is scrambled and one of the beans has even been turned over.
Very softly she begins mumbling words about storms and darkness and misfortune.
Nobody can sleep that night, and the next day they all start the harvest. Not with songs and laughter this year, but filled with fear. They never before have managed to bring it in so fast, and they are just in time. Big black clouds move in faster than they ever before saw clouds move across the sky, and within minutes the most severe thunderstorm is raging. Even the old people cannot remember such dark and awful weather. The clouds are so black and thick that it is as if the sun is down. The whole day and most of the night the earth is trembling by the thunder and the terrible rains. The next morning the sun rises bright in a crystal-clear sky. The entire village is greeting her, laughing, crying, all talking and singing.
The Wu looks in her thoughts to the picture of the scattered beans. White-black-white-black-black-black. It engraves itself into her mind. Forever she will remember what this image means ..
When our universe began, there was a code, which made it possible for a universe to start. Without that code, the tiny beginning would have died out by lack of structure.
This code is similar to the code which makes fractals grow.
The Yi is a shorthand for the structure of this code. See Walter's books