From The I Ching Oracle: A 64-Card Illustrated Deck and Guidebook by Catherine Pilfrey © 2023 by Catherine Pilfrey. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.
The following excerpt is from the guidebook that introduces and accompanies the new I Ching Oracle card deck by Catherine Pilfrey, a beautiful 64-card deck applying the ancient wisdom of the I Ching to modern life.
Developed more than three thousand years ago, the I Ching has its roots in Confucian and Daoist philosophy and is the basis for Chinese medicine and feng shui. It explores the fundamental question of how to understand the laws of change and live in harmony with them instead of fighting against them.
The I Ching is a guide to access your inner wisdom, the wisdom of ancestors and the universe, when you have questions about what to do in your life. It answers the question of how to be your best self in any given situation. How do you stay calm and focused even when things are falling apart around you? How do you handle a tough conversation with your partner? How do you find a career that is fulfilling?
You consult the I Ching by throwing coins, sticks, or drawing cards. You form a question and contemplate the answer so you can adopt the wisdom of the I Ching in your everyday life.
I was first introduced to the I Ching by a friend when I was at art college in Toronto. He consulted it regularly when he had questions about how to work through issues in his life. I found it intriguing but also a little cryptic.
A year later my boyfriend came back from an extended work trip and told me that he had fallen in love with another woman. He still loved me, but now he also loved her. I was not prepared to break up, so I became embroiled in this terrible limbo of his indecision until it finally occurred to me to consult the I Ching. I got Hexagram 23 (Splitting Apart). I was horrified. This was not the answer I wanted to hear, so I threw the coins again. I received Splitting Apart again.
Wow, that got my attention! I knew this was the right thing to do; I had just been too afraid to face it. So I took the instructions to heart. I found a new apartment and moved out.
That began my deep connection to the wisdom of the I Ching, the wisdom of the ancients, but also my inner wisdom that emerges in the process. Since that fateful day I have consulted the I Ching regularly for guidance on issues—big or small—that arise in my life, from how to handle a situation at work or an argument with my partner to how to proceed with a project I am excited about.
This wisdom is always available through consulting the coins, the profound translations of the original text, and now through The I Ching Oracle card deck.
The central theme of the I Ching is that things are constantly changing. As the Buddhist teachings on impermanence state, we cannot escape the fact that things are always in flux. Just as there is birth and new beginnings, there is also growth, sickness, and eventually decay and death. Things go well, and then they don’t. This applies to our personal lives, our communities, our countries, and the planet. Nothing is exempt.
But there is no need to be overwhelmed by change. Just as good times come to an end, so do challenging times. The I Ching instructs us to come to terms with the truth of change—to have faith when times are difficult and to be generous when things are going well. We can always be hopeful when we understand the laws of change.
We can also learn to be more flexible and adaptable. Through the I Ching, we see that true happiness is not based on external factors. It is dependent on our mindset, our understanding of impermanence and having an open heart. This will enable us to experience joy even when things seem to be falling apart.
Given the nature of change, it is important to think of others and our impact on the world. The I Ching encourages us to strive continually to be our best selves through cooperation, generosity, working for the common good, self-awareness, humility, sincerity, integrity, flexibility, and perseverance. By doing this, we connect with our true nature, which is fundamentally openhearted, thoughtful, and wise; we set ourselves up for true success.