I’ve been told that the study of changes is an aspect of Chinese Medicine. To know when something is to change, and then to aid the change is to know health.Life is constantly changing and though there may be a pattern to it, it is always in transition. The central tenet is “As above, so below.” A mirror is established between heaven and earth, with man, its junction, in the middle communicating that change. The easiest way that early man had at his disposal to communicate the changes of the times was through the making of a time. Time to the early Chinese was very positional, it was by the changes that occurred in the directions that time could be laid out between days, weeks, months and then years. Time was seen qualitatively in relation to changes of factors in the environment. Elements transformed into one another, and their occurrence was marked with initiations, fixity, and transitions. As the changes in the heavens occurred, the earthly transitions were noticed, and a symbolic relationship arouse through early man’s consciousness. Markers in the sky were grouped and explored, while changes on the earth were also observed. Tools were then developed to further examine the observation. The calendar was one of early man’s first technologies. The Tai ji pole is one of the first developments of it. Essentially it is a very large sundial with positional markers all around. Ancient astrologers examined the changes in the sky and correlated them with the changes on earth to come up with a method of communicating the changes. Strange insight lead to strange developments, as the Tai ji pole evolved into the symbol that it is today, the yin/yang sign. The crest of white shows the height of summer, while the descent of black shows the emergence of winter. The interplay of the two dots in both, show the balancing times of the equinoxes. There is so much depth to this simple symbol, that thousand of years of compounded information gets stored into it as the world has changes. The fact that these changes occur in large scale and then can be compared to that in the small scale shows a continuity of correlation of the interdependence of all things.
The Yi jing, is a study of that relational change. Evolving out of the Zhou yi, the Yi jing is now an amalgam of Daoist, Confucianist, and Buddhist interplay. There are even local shamanic correlations that can be universalized with various ethnographic groups all over the world. Having a rich history, it is extremely difficult to separate and winnow out different particulars out it, since it has had so many diverse interpretations.
I have been tinkering with it for over ten years, and haven’t really given it much due until the past 2 years. It wasn’t until this year that amazingly it simplicity started unfurling. Though I know there is much more to uncover, I know that it simply is an observation that must be experiential in order to comprehend the subtle changes that it has.
My first excitement was coming to know tidal guas. After repeatedly drawing them, I finally was able to tie them to the Gnomen. The Gnomen is a further development of the Tai ji pole where slits were marked on the pole at six positions to show a marker. These were points of definitive change for the Ancient Chinese. It was at these lengths of the Gnomen that twelve months of the year were designated. These six markers, later became known as the six levels.
The fascination is that the six levels were heavily used by Zhang Zhong Jing in his treatise, The Shan han lun, which is a tome for Chinese Medicine. The Shan han Lun, is one of the classics of chinese medicine and shows the relational progression of illness due to cold damage. There is so much more to uncover as one unplucks the layer of the old in order to grasp meaning from it.