I Ching and the Bible : An Oracle

Joseph Murphy, a metaphysical author of the early twentieth century, combined the I Ching (aka : The Book of Changes), an ancient Chinese oracle, with the timeless wisdom of the Bible. The I Ching consists of 64 hexagrams. One throws coins or lots in order to derive a hexagram in response to one’s question. Murphy linked a biblical verse or idea with each hexagram.

Here I will dispense with Murphy’s philosophical rationale and simply offer you a sample of his oracular offerings. I asked a question about whether a certain relationship will be restored.51IamP75kGL._SL300_

I received: Hexagram 50 with changing lines 1 and 5.  The relating hexagram, which is derived from the changing lines, is hexagram 1.

I have reproduced, below, the commentary on this Hexagram (with moving lines) as described in the traditional I Ching, translated by R. Wilhelm. I place, alongside this reading, Joseph’s Murphy’s biblical rendition of the same hexagram.

In the traditional I Ching (see Wilhelm text below), hexagram 50 represents a caldron, which is a vessel that was used to cook food as offerings in a Temple, for ancestors, or at banquets.  This hexagram points to the inner changes that need to be nourished in order for something good to be accomplished. The moving lines indicate (1) that something impure (causing stagnation) must be removed from the caldron; one may have to accept an inferior position (i.e. being a concubine) for the sake of a better future or result (i.e. represented by one’s son). In moving line (5), the caldron has jade handles, enabling a person to carry it correctly. This indicates readiness; the things in the caldron are cooked. The person carrying the caldron shows proper respect for the offering being made.

With respect to the question asked, the hexagram suggests that the relationship has led to inner transformation; or inner transformation is necessary for the relationship to go forward. With regard to the moving lines: a) There is some stagnation in the relationship; an obstacle needs to be removed. One must accept the inferior conditions, currently, for the sake of a future benefit. b) Eventually, inner changes, represented by cooked things inside of the caldron, will produce a readiness to move ahead again.  Things will be cooked, prepared, and settled.

It is unclear whether the hexagram is to say that inner changes are the goal, to which the relationship has led, or whether the relationship will, in fact, be restored.

The relating hexagram is hexagram 1.  This hexagram indicates new and vigorous beginnings. The inner changes, produced by hexagram 50, will completely renew the relationship or the person asking the question will be renewed — or both.

Joseph Murphy’s biblical I Ching relates the caldron image to two biblical verses: “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of … a caldron” (Job 41:20) and  “… the caldrons and the candlesticks … ” (Jeremiah 52:19). For Murphy, the caldron represents one’s subconscious mind, which is full of wisdom and intelligence. The smoke represents one’s spirit.

Murphy cites other pertinent biblical verses in explaining the changing lines. The first changing line cites this biblical verse: “This city is the caldron … I will bring you forth out of the midst of it” (Ezekiel 11:7). Here, “the city is your mind (caldron),” from which must be removed  “negative patterns.” The changing line in the fifth place cites this biblical verse:  “And two golden rings shalt thou make …” (Exodus 30:4). Here, the “ring is symbolic of love, peace, and unity with God. A ring, being a circle, is also a symbol of Infinity and of God’s love. In simple, everyday language, all it means is that you are now getting your conscious and subconscious mind to agree on harmony, health, peace, and right action. As you adhere to this procedure, you will, by the law of attraction, get others to aid and assist you in the realization of your heart’s desire.”

Murphy’s biblical I Ching offers a thought-provoking set of images for scriptural meditation. A more thorough analysis of his book would be required, in order to assess whether his biblical glosses correspond, in any substantial way, to the traditional interpretations of this Chinese oracle.

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HERE ARE THE TEXTS OF THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE ICHING (WILHELM) AND MURPHY’S BIBLICAL ICHING

50. Ting / The Caldron

above LI THE CLINGING, FIRE
below SUN THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD

The six lines construct the image of Ting, THE CALDRON; at the bottom are the legs, over them the belly, then come the ears (handles), and at the top the carrying rings. At the same time, the image suggests the idea of nourishment. The ting, cast of bronze, was the vessel that held the cooked viands in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. The heads of the family served the food from the ting into the bowls of the guests.

THE WELL 48 likewise has the secondary meaning of giving nourishment, but rather more in relation to the people. The ting, as a utensil pertaining to a refined civilization, suggests the fostering and nourishing of able men, which redounded to the benefit of the state. This hexagram and THE WELL are the only two in the Book of Changes that represent concrete, men-made objects. Yet here too the thought has its abstract connotation. Sun, below, is wood and wind; Li, above, is flame. Thus together they stand for the flame kindled by wood and wind, which likewise suggests the idea of preparing food.

THE JUDGMENT

THE CALDRON. Supreme good fortune.

Success.

While THE WELL relates to the social foundation of our life, and this foundation is likened to the water that serves to nourish growing wood, the present hexagram refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm root in the cosmic order. Here we see civilization as it reaches its culmination in religion. The ting serves in offering sacrifice to God. The highest earthly values must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself apart from man. The supreme revelation of God appears in prophets and holy men. To venerate them is true veneration of God. The will of God, as revealed through them, should be accepted in humility; this brings inner enlightenment and true understanding of the world, and this leads to great good fortune and success.

THE IMAGE

Fire over wood:

The image of THE CALDRON.

Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
By making his position correct.

The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.

THE LINES

Six at the beginning means:

A ting with legs upturned.
Furthers removal of stagnating stuff.
One takes a concubine for the sake of her son.

No blame.

If a ting is turned upside down before being used, no harm is done-on the contrary, this clears it of refuse. A concubine’s position is lowly, but because she has a son she comes to be honored. These two metaphors express the idea that in a highly developed civilization, such as that indicated by this hexagram, every person of good will can in some way or other succeed. No matter how lowly he may be, provided he is ready to purify himself, he is accepted. He attains a station in which he can prove himself fruitful in accomplishment, and as a result he gains recognition.

Six in the fifth place means:

The ting has yellow handles, golden carrying rings.
Perseverance furthers.

Here we have, in a ruling position, a man who is approachable and modest in nature. As a result of this attitude he succeeds in finding strong and able helpers who complement and aid him in his work. Having achieved this attitude, which requires constant self-abnegation, it is important for him to hold to it and not to let himself be led astray.

MURPHY

50. TING/THE CALDRON Above: Li, the Clinging, Fire Below: Sun, the Gentle, Wind, Wood

The Judgment “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of … a caldron” (Job 41:20). The caldron is another name for your deeper mind, which is full of wisdom, power, and love. The smoke coming out is your exaltation; the Spirit within you is God. You are inspired from on high and everything you do will prosper. The Image “ … the caldrons and the candlesticks … ” (Jeremiah 52:19).

It is said man is the candle of the Lord, symbolizing the fact that you are to shed your light (intelligence) in all phases of your life. Believe that God is guiding you and that Divine-right action governs you in all ways and the caldron (your subconscious mind) will then respond. From this, you will find harmony and peace in your life.

The Lines

Six at the bottom: “ … This city is the caldron … I will bring you forth out of the midst of it” (Ezekiel 11:7). The city is your mind (caldron), and you must cleanse it regularly and systematically by giving yourself a transfusion of faith, confidence, love, joy, and goodwill. As you fill your mind with these qualities, you neutralize and wipe out all negative patterns in your subconscious mind (the caldron). The lower is always subject to the higher. You are on the way to great accomplishments and achievements.

Six in the fifth place: “And two golden rings shalt thou make …” (Exodus 30:4). Gold means power, purity; a clear sky and fair weather, a clean mental and emotional atmosphere. A ring is symbolic of love, peace, and unity with God. A ring, being a circle, is also a symbol of Infinity and of God’s love. In simple, everyday language, all it means is that you are now getting your conscious and subconscious mind to agree on harmony, health, peace, and right action. As you adhere to this procedure, you will, by the law of attraction, get others to aid and assist you in the realization of your heart’s desire.

Murphy Ph.D. D.D., Joseph. Secrets of the I Ching: Get What You Want in Every Situation Using the Classic Bookof Changes (p. 160). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eclipses: spiritual significance (links)

1. Atlantic Monthly Article: Eclipses and Religious Significance

This article offers a balanced perspective.

2. Here’s a good survey on the spiritual significance of eclipses in religious history:

Christianity Today on Eclipse

Note: Some predict doom and gloom. The eclipse today, they suppose, is a divine portent for judgment; they cite scriptures from Joshua, Joel, and Revelation.  As this article points out, however, today’s eclipse is a natural occurrence: “The events described in Joshua, Joel, and Revelation are not regular natural occurrences, they are special supernatural events.”

3. Bible Verses on Eclipses

See link above

4. Jewish Prophecies re: Eclipses

See link above — for your interest

Jacob’s Ladder: music, mysticism, marvel

John #22 

Hello, Lightworkers:

Today I’ll refer you to some different perspectives about this fascinating text in the Gospel of John, pertaining to the ladder that extends from earth to heaven. What is this ladder?

John 1: 51 (Jesus’s saying) alludes to Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28:12 (Jacob’s dream)

John 1:51: “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Genesis 28:12 “He dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

1. Jewish Mysticism – Kabbalah: Jacob’s Ladder as Prayer :

Kabbalah on Jacob’s Ladder

2. Here is a good article, summarizing Christian interpretation:

Christian Interpretation Jacob’s Ladder

3. African American Spirituals (see links below )

a) Angelic Choir

b) World War II Recruitment Film

c) Here is a Scottish Male Choir, singing the African American Spiritual   We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: African American Spiritual

4. Esoteric: Lecture by Manly Hall: The Physical dimension is a manifestation of an Invisible dimension. So taught Manly Hall, an esotericist and mystic.

Note on biblical inerrancy

stock-vector-christian-bible-dove-concept-white-dove-representing-the-holy-spirit-flying-out-of-the-bible-130384721Gospel of John #20

Hello Lightworkers,

Some heated remarks — and debates – take place concerning biblical literalism or inerrancy. Here’s a quick idea to provoke insight and debate.

In my view, the theology of the cross from the New Testament actually disrupts biblical inerrancy. For instance, in the Gospel of John, Jesus’s miracles and teachings are life-giving, while the opposition to them is fueled by a kind of biblical literalism and deadening religious orthodoxy.

(On this: see John 7 , especially 7:24: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” To judge by appearances is to judge according to mechanistic adaptations of the law of Moses and scriptures).

The anti-Jewish tendencies of the scripture should be repudiated, in turn — lest we ourselves lapse into a fanaticism based on the letter of the text. The Jews, in the Gospel of John, are the bad-guys, caricatured to display what not to do–(even though Jesus himself was Jewish).  The Jesus movement in its early days constituted a branch or sect of Judaism. The disciples of Jesus were both Jews and Gentiles —  not yet “Christians,” nor was their religion one that supplanted its own Jewish ancestry.

The theological message remains vital. The life-giving presence of God –through miracles, teachings, etc. – disrupts religious structures that are based on conformity to doctrine or to the letter of the law. Extreme biblical literalism collapses if we soak in this presence of the Christ.

 

 

Interlude: a few facts re: Gospels

This post is for our Lightworker’s Study of the Gospel of John, which will be conducted for around 40 days. On the left, click the folder icon, then sign up.  

Religious tolerance illustration#14: John study

Hello Lightworkers, We are taking a little break, in that today’s post will provide background information about the Gospel of John. This information is standard and you may know it already.

I give information only sparingly, since there is already enough information out there–in fact, too much. Who needs more piles of facts? Instead, I aim for inspiration and illumination. Today is an exception. I will provide some facts.

The genre of Gospel: canonical and non-canonical

While there are four Gospels in the New Testament, other early Christian works (outside of the NT canon) fit the literary genre of Gospel, such as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas, among others. Canon means “rule”. The canon is constituted by the sacred scriptures, authorized by the early church, to be the rule for faith and morals.

It is debatable, why certain early Christian works were not included in the canon, especially those contemporaneous with the NT itself. Did Mary’s authority, in the Gospel of Mary, challenge the emerging precedence of Peter in the church? So that Mary’s leadership, like that of females more generally, needed to be suppressed?

Gospel of John within the Bible

Considering just the four gospels within the NT (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Gospel of John is distinctive, because it freely elaborates upon many of the stories about Jesus, which are found in the other three Gospels. John’s theology of the Word, Light, and Life, and his emphasis on miracles (which he calls “signs”), are also unique.

Three of the Gospels (Luke, Mark, Matthew) are called synoptic,—from the root, syn=together + optic= related to seeing or the eye. These three can be “seen together,” since they share much source material.

All four gospels, including John, consist of earlier sources (whether in writing or transmitted by oral traditions): a) sayings and sermons (teachings); b) miracles (e.g. healings, nature miracles like ‘stilling a storm’, provision miracles like ‘feeding the multitudes’); c) controversies (e.g. Sabbath disputes; doctrinal debates); d) the account of Jesus’s passion (i.e. trial, crucifixion and death); e) the empty tomb stories,  resurrection appearances, ascension; f) birth narratives (only in Luke and Matthew); g) possibly a “signs” source, i.e. a cycle of miracle stories, upon which John depends.

Question : if you were to dig up these sources – in a jar, from the desert – and to compile a book out of them, what principles and message would motivate your composition? How would you tell the story, in terms of your themes and audience?

Be sure to subscribe to this Bible Study, so that you will receive posts in your in-box. We will cover John for around 40 days.

 

 

The Shift: Speaking our Truth, Seeing into the Beyond (Prophets)

#12 John 1: 6-8

Hello Lightworkers, and prophets:

At the moment, many of us sense that our world is shifting, not only economically and politically (where the old order is breaking down) but also spiritually. We are less inclined to trust experts or conventional authorities, while we are eager to embrace our inner knowing.

Question: What is your inner knowing prompting you to do? What holds you back? If you look at this decision closely, where’s the light within it? How can you move past fear, step-by-step, into a fuller presence of yourself?

Like John the Baptist, at the start of John’s Gospel, integrity and sincerity are required of us, so that we may be prophets in three senses of the word. 1. Prophecy means “to speak for” or “on behalf of”; 2. and to speak “in advance” (temporally) or to foretell; 3. the prophet is sent by God.

Let’s unpack these meanings.

John 1: 6-8 “6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.”

1. In witnessing this reality, our inner knowing prompts us (like a prophet) to speak for and on behalf of the light.  In life, to stagnate is to die, since life by its nature grows, dynamically. Similarly, light needs to be circulated, shared, and spoken about, just as light that is hidden under a bushel – or in a cabinet – will fail in its function of providing illumination. Despite inhibitions (which are natural), it is time that we express the light, or soul-presence, within ourselves and on behalf of others.

2. We who are sensitive to spiritual realities may, like John, perceive the light before it comes into the world. Dare to speak of change, to welcome it, and to prepare others for it–rather than clinging to the old order.

3.  Because the prophet is sent by God, with the task to elicit recognition of the light from others, s/he knows that s/he is not, her or himself, the light.  There is no conceit in someone, whose function is to get the self out of the way, in order to become a clear channel for the the divine truth.

Question:  How will you serve as a prophet of the light? How can you share and testify to this light? So that others may dwell in it too?

Hi All, We’re focusing on the Gospel of John. You can subscribe to receive the posts immediately or weekly.  

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Greek Icon John the Baptist

Demonizing love/sexuality: Attacking the Light

Gospel of John #11: verse: John 1:11. The theme is the theology of the light-worker who suffers rejection by the mainstream.  

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Awakening the Sexuality : Coming of Age Story

Hello Lightworkers,

How do we establish our identity as a group without making an enemy of non-conformists?

In Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson recounts the sexual awakening of Jeanette within a fervent evangelical church in northern England. Demonized by the community, Jeanette is subjected to an exorcism because of her putative sin: same-sex love.

Exorcisms are sometimes justified in terms of ethical dualism. What is good must banish what is evil. John’s Gospel works with such metaphysical dualism.

Light is good. Light banishes darkness.

If the so-called “evil” (the sin, darkness) is actually not evil at all — but rather good (e.g. a kind of love) –, however, then the exorcism turns upside down.

A religious authority (such as an exorcist), in claiming the good light, in fact brims with punitive intent, inasmuch as s/he punishes the good as if it were evil.  This malice may be fabricated by projections of his/her own shadow of fear. The accused becomes a light-bearer, in truth.

The Gospel of John articulates a theology for lightworkers. The light-bearer often suffers rejection, even at the hands of religion (hence, the crucifixion): 1:11: “He [the light-bearer] came to his own, and his own people did not accept him.” The light is love itself, for “whoever walks in love lives in the light.” 1 John 2:10

Even though John’s Gospel contains no exorcisms, his theology of the light entails an admonition, pertinent to the kind of exorcism (demonizing) that is portrayed by Winterson in the context of a provincial evangelical church.

Anyone who tries to expunge another’s flourishing love (such as the zealous and misled exorcist) hides from the light. For John, the light exposes hearts (3:19-21). Good people gravitate toward the light, while evil-doers hide from the same, for fear of being exposed.

Misbegotten exorcisms may be Satan’s ingenious tactic: convince legal and moral authorities (churches, law-givers) that certain manifestations of love (i.e. same-sex) amount to evil, and that their perpetrators are demon-infested, in need of purification. Next, invent a ritual for expelling the so-called pollutant.

Jesus himself was accused of being demon-possessed. His family, thinking him mad, urged exorcism.  In this context, Jesus remarked: (Mark 3:23-24) “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Satan means adversary or one who opposes or hinders; deception is his weapon. Satan maligns the light (i.e. acts of goodness and love), falsely in the name of the light. The one who falsely claims to be in league with the light turns to attack the light-bearer–hence betraying that he is divided against himself.

Goodness has the last word, however, according to the Gospel story. For to expunge the light would be to kill Life itself, which is indomitable (hence, the resurrection).

PS: This issue remains controversial for some, while for others it will be non-controversial.

PPS: If you believe this is a non-issue: Christian Mommy Blogger Marries Female Athlete

 Choose Light. Choose Love. Choose Life.