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Reading the I Ching: Working With the Magical Symbols From the Chinese Book of Changes


Many practitioners of the craft use the tarot as their main divinatory tool to explore the intricacies of the ever-changing time-space. In China they used the I Ching, the Book of Changes for this: instead of 78 cards you have 64 chapters, each divided in 7 parts. Each chapter contains a unique symbol, a so-called hexagram, and together these 64 hexagrams form the oldest layer of the I Ching. In this lecture I will talk about this oldest layer and with the help of the audience demonstrate how they can be read when you consult the book to receive guidance for all earthly and otherworldly matters.


Harmen Mesker (1966) started his study of the Yijing in 1982 when he was sixteen years old. Over the years he has expanded his knowledge and experience and shares this through courses, workshops and lectures with the rest of the world. His main interests are the history and language of the Yi, as well as the oldest usage of the book in early China. Harmen studied Chinese to keep up with the latest developments and to be able to read the oldest Chinese books on the Yi. He is one of the initiators of the Dutch Foundation for Yi Studies and has published several books on the Yijing (in Dutch). In 2016 Harmen was appointed as chief editor of the renewed version of the Dutch edition of Richard Wilhelm’s Yijing translation. He recently started a YouTube channel (called YiTube) that will show instructional videos on all aspects concerning the Yi. On his personal website he shares his latest projects as well as an ongoing research journal on the text of the Book of Changes. Harmen is frequently consulted to assist with the translation of old Chinese texts and had an advisory role in several Dutch translations of Daoist inner alchemy texts.