I Ching Over Easy by Bill Jarosin


Imagine you’ve had a bad day—very difficult, I know. You sit at breakfast and your over-easy eggs look like they’ve been sleeping around. Or later, you’re about to undergo the follicle-ectomy for which you paid two thousand bucks, and you wonder if this super-heated laser, bees-wax-on-the-side earlobe hair removal will prove to be “you go girl!” or just “you went.” Or later still, your boyfriend, girlfriend, or fill-in-the-blank, has an itch or something in their knee socks and serves you red wine with a supposedly romantic scallop dinner. Well, comes the morning after and you want to make sure that something like the previous day never catches you with your dollies removed again.

So think. What ya gonna do? Doesn?t sound like spooks, so “no” to Ghostbusters. Maybe it was all coincidence, but then you recall the panhandler in the park last week (the one with the oddly luminous halo around his head) frothing a bit about how there are no coincidences, all events being the result of karma, weak knees, or the CIA.

Then you remember those classes you took at Tree of Life Metaphysical Books and Gifts about the curds and wheys of various prognostication traditions. Tarot and auras and palms (climbing those trees was the bloody hard part). And then there was I Ching, that wonderfully obscure mystical cauldron of this-and-that-and-the-other eastern philosophy. Or so you thought going in, but coming out, due to the wonderful ministrations of the just-short-of-a guru’s-guru instructor, you found the I Ching to be easy when you approach it in one of two simple ways: either you adhere to the Method of Simplified Approach taught by your undeniably handsome teacher, or you just toss the book down the stairs and see what page it opens to. (This latter method, however, requires that you also dance three times around the kitchen table singing, up-tempo, “Three Coins in a Fountain.”)

Then again, and even better, you found out this never-inebriated teacher of divination actually gave readings at the very same location where he taught you to overcome philosophical obscurity by reading the Book of Changes (the I Ching) right-side up.

You even recall that workshop’s introduction, soberly made to impress friends and deflect drunken critiques:

I Ching (or Yi Jing) is the ancient book of Chinese divination. In fact, it is arguably the oldest book in the world. Made available to the West primarily by the translation of Richard Wilhelm after the Second World War, and popularized by the famous introduction of Carl Jung, it has become the worldwide standard of text-based divination systems.

Centered on the ideas of harmony expressed in Taoism and later developed and expanded in Confucianism, the text of the I Ching (“Judgements,” “Images,” and “Lines”) unfolds a sequence of “moments in time” represented by six-line figures called hexagrams. These hexagrams are believed to represent various interactions of the “five elements” (earth, air, fire, water, and metal), and so reveal basic structures of energy (“chi”) underlying the moment in which the questioner seeks advice. By so finding one’s position in relation to this flux of energetic moments, one then understands the circumstance of the issue asked, and by means of specific advice offered in the oracle, what to do.

So you’re sold, and make an appointment to ask about your too-runny eggs, your adventures in skin-abrasion therapy, and your inelegant lover.

What can you expect? Hand-holding, if you need (or a firm handshake). Maybe a Kleenex or two (or a kick in the butt, if requested, and then only metaphorically). But that?s not what you paid for; you can get all of this from others, and more pleasurably, no doubt?and without metaphor. What you paid for are all the bells and whistles of revelation. And so ye shall receive, and from your own lips. Whether you know about I Ching or not?took the workshop, slept through the workshop, or had a hot date with a red-wine-and-scallops sweetie the night of the workshop?doesn?t matter. At your appointment, you’re guided through steps that reveal the knowledge inside you, with an assist from the reader’s intuition, of course. (Did you really think that some guru exists that has your answer and not his?) And you leave with a bit of how to do it on your own when you get home and your loved-one has made peanut-butter-and-salami omelets for you. (“Note to self: ask the I Ching: Does my becoming-less-significant other really love me? Why is he/she/it doing this to me? Can I expect that he, she, or it will consent to some counseling in couple?s gastronomic symbolism?”)