Friday, December 21, 2018

What is the Yi Fa Society?

The Yi Fa Society is a "Secret School" founded on ancient formulas for the teaching of a complete system of inner alchemy.  It provides a complete curriculum of training taught over various levels, with both practical and philosophical teaching material.  It utilizes a complete system of Qi Gong (Yi Fa Qi Gong) for the cultivation of consciousness, and trains its members in the secrets and symbolic language of the I Ching. Its 8-level curriculum allows students to progress in understanding and self-transformation.

The structure of the Yi Fa Society emerged from a series of revelations which came as a result of a twenty-year study of the I Ching.  The I Ching is the foundational text of all Chinese spirituality; a three-thousand year old book that has been in continuous use since its creation, the oldest book of such kind in the world.   Used by most as a mere fortune-telling device, sages throughout history have understood it to contain a profound system of metaphysics, and the keys to understanding reality itself.   It also contains within it a system for personal transformation through a process of "inner alchemy".

The I Ching provides the symbolic basis of the system of meditation and inner-alchemy known as Qi Gong, but this too has usually been misunderstood by laymen as a mere system of health-exercises.  Thus, the Yi Fa Society has designed a new set of Qi Gong practices, known as Yi Fa Qi Gong, which are meant to use the principles of the eight elements (the four celestial and four terrestrial elements) to establish a progressive set of teachings by which its members can develop inner transformation, leading to what the I Ching refers to as the emergence of the "Superior Individual", the higher or true self, through the establishment of the True Will (that is, our fundamental natures).

The Yi Fa Society's system of teachings are done in eight levels, each of which provides a graduated series of secret practices and teachings that build on the former levels. It is not tied to any specific religious teaching, but rather to the perennial philosophy of enlightenment; although it makes use of symbols and concepts that have come into common use in Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (as all three were influenced by the symbolism and philosophy of the I Ching).

Where to Begin?

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please contact me here, on Facebook, or Google+ to receive an application form.  Likewise, please write if you have any questions.

The foundation of the Yi Fa is found in the I Ching.  This book provides the foundation for the entire Yi Fa curriculum, and while there are many worthwhile versions of the I Ching in publication today, the specific teachings of the Yi Fa are best expressed in the book "The Magician's I Ching", where the teachings of the I Ching as a system of divination, decision making, and tool for transcendence are explained in straightforward terms specifically designed for western readers, and for those who plan to actually use the I Ching as a system for self-transformation.

(if you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society and working its curriculum, which is a complete system of esoteric training, please contact me!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On The Gender of the Eight Trigrams

The 64 6-line Hexagrams of the I Ching are built on paired combinations of the 8 3-line trigrams (the bagua).  Thus, as the hexagrams represent all phenomena in the material world, the trigrams represent the eight fundamental elements, four terrestrial and four celestial elements.

These elements are equivalent to the four classical elements in Western esoteric symbolism. They are in essence a doubled-up version (with terrestrial and celestial/spirit equivalents) of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.

However, there is one complicated detail about these elements versus their western equivalent that some students have brought up: in both systems, there is a traditional attribution of 'genders' to the elements. But these genders do not appear to 'match up'. Let's review the basics:

In BOTH Western and Eastern symbolism, there are fundamental Masculine/Feminine forces: Chokmah/Binah, Animus/Anima, Shiva/Shakti, Yang/Yin, etc.

In Western symbolism, Earth and Water are feminine, Air and Fire are masculine.

In Chinese symbolism:
Earth/Mountain is masculine
Fire/Thunder is masculine
Moon/primordial-Water is masculine
Heaven is masculine

Air/Wind is feminine
Water/Lake is feminine
Sun/primordial-fire is feminine
The World is feminine

Before continuing, you should note that there is a connection between the physical image of the trigrams and their traditional 'gender': all the 'masculine' trigrams require an odd number of brush-strokes to draw, while all the 'feminine' trigrams require an even number of brush-strokes to draw.  But the various masculine trigrams and the various feminine trigrams also have another thing in common with each other, which we will bring up below. 

So now, let's focus on what is clear: in both systems of esoteric cosmology, there is a force far more fundamental than the level of elements that gets identified as the fundamental Masculine and Feminine duality. These are Yang (masculine) and Yin (feminine).

And of course, even this is not literally about 'gender' in the sense of which we tend to think of it now. Rather, they embody all the notions of duality itself; the important thing about this idea from a cosmological point of view is that it talks about all the qualities that a product of the separation from a single indivisible state of Oneness. All of our material reality is produced by this notion of the division into dualism.

To explain: you can't actually define anything positively. All definition, at its most basic level (that is, when you try to get the definitions of definitions of definitions) comes down to defining things by what they are not. This is because our entire process of thought is based on dualistic thinking. There is white and black, hot and cold, moist and dry, passive and active, positive and negative, etc.
It is only at the highest levels of awareness, and not in the level of phenomena, that this can be transcended, through the mystical process described as the Union of Opposites.

So from the esoteric point of view, the gender consideration of masculine and feminine is really about Dualism.

When we get down beyond the level of yin and yang, we are adding more elements of complexity. So Gender at the level of yin and yang is simple: Yin is everything we can define as archetypal female and Yang is everything we can describe as archetypal masculine.

At the level of elements, the reason for the gendering of elements is something more complex.  And here we get to the reason for the difference in the genders of the elements in Western and Chinese symbolism: the complex quality that the former chooses to focus on is different than the complex quality that the latter chooses to focus on.

With the Western elements, the 'male' elements have the quality of active inherent motion, while the 'female' elements have the quality of inherent stillness.

Earth and Water may move, in an earthquake or a rockslide or down-river or pouring down a sink, but this is only in reaction to what is around them: water and earth are passive, they sink down until they can reach a point of rest. Thus, they reflect the quality of Passive or Receptive nature that is attributed to the Feminine. They are also tangible, of matter, they rest in the world.

Fire and Air, however, are in motion. They rise. They only exist in movement. If air has no movement it has no qualities at all (at least, from the classical perspective) and has become foul and deathly. If fire has no movement it is extinguished. Thus they reflect that quality of Active and Creative that is attributed to the Masculine. They are also intangible, you can't actually hold on to them, they have no matter.

In the Chinese system, however, the quality being looked at is not motion and stillness, which is so important to the Yang and Yin duality, but rather the qualities of "strength" and "softness".

The Mountain, the Thunderbolt/fire, The darkness of the Moon (or the deep dangerous waters of the abyss), and the power of Heaven are all considered to be 'strong' forces.

The gentle Airy breeze, the still Lake, the warm clinging light of the Sun, and the receptiveness of the World are all considered to be "soft" forces.

So both classifications of these are examples of how to classify duality, but they focus on different aspects of duality.  This is because the purely Masculine and purely Feminine are absolutes. They do not exist anywhere in material reality; where they get closest is in Heaven and The World, but in all aspects at this dimension of reality, all phenomena contain a combination of Yin and Yang. They are a mix of the forces we call 'masculine' and 'feminine'. Depending on which aspects of the male and female you want to observe, there are thus different ways to categorize them.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Magic as a Human Tool

In my latest video, I look at forms of esoteric or magical systems, like the I Ching, as a form of human tool or technology (by technology I do not mean a 'machine', I mean some kind of technique, system, or method used in the accomplishment of human objectives; for example, mathematics is a type of technology).

Check it out:

If you're interested in more of this kind of contemplation, please get in touch with me about joining the Yi Fa Society!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Understanding Incipiencies

Sometimes great change, disaster or windfall, appears to happen suddenly.

This is an illusion of perception.

The moment where change seems to be happening with great speed is in fact long after the seeds of that change were planted.

The sage can look back and see many conditions, little developments, without which that great change could never have taken place.

All change actually starts with a series of smaller incipient events; often these will not even resemble or seem to have anything to do with the great change they can lead to.

Thus, the skilled practitioner can learn how to observe these earlier conditions, and make great changes eventually happen (or prevent them) with very little effort.

This is the power that a profound study of the I Ching grants: to be able to see the process of time, and how to change things before they happen.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Ching Commentary - Hexagram #10 "Stepping"

Here is the youtube video for the newest in my commentaries on the I Ching, on the subject of the 10th Hexagram, "Stepping".

Members of the Yi Fa Society get access to additional I Ching video and text commentaries that go into more depth on the symbolism and divination uses of the I Ching's Hexagrams. If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please get in touch.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The I Ching Teaches us That Reality is a "Doing"

The I Ching's cosmology suggests a reality that isn't a structure of 'things'. It is not a universe of things 'being', it is always a universe of things 'doing', of the interaction of elements.

In the West people tend to imagine that Reality is a noun, rather than a verb. That may be because of the self-referencing perspective; if something is a static object, rather than a moving process, it is easier to define, and to control.

Something static can be more easily controlled. You put a solid cube in one corner of the room, it will stay there. It won't move on its own at least. You can turn it on one side, it'll stay on that side.
On the other hand, it takes a lot of work (energy) to break that cube, or burn it, to make it move or to shape it into something other than a cube.

Static things are easy to control, hard to manipulate.

On the other hand, if you understand reality as a "doing", a constant interplay of the 8 elements that make up the world of 10000 things, then it is much EASIER to manipulate.

Creating change is much less difficult than the illusion of solidity makes it look.
But it is much HARDER to control, than our notion of a static reality leads us to think.
You can alter the course of the river, but you can't just force it into a fixed route forever, make it stop flowing forever, or much less make it change the direction of its flow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An Explanation of The Generation of Changing Lines

In the system of the yarrow method of I Ching casting, when you have two small piles of yarrow and one large pile, that is a Yin line (the Yin being the 'small' piles), and when you have two large piles and one small pile, that is a Yang line (the Yang being the 'large' piles).

So some students of the I Ching have expressed confusion as why three small (yin) piles would be a Yang changing into Yin, or conversely three large (yang) piles would be a Yin changing into Yang.


Imagine the image of the Taiji:

It is Yin and Yang, intermingling. Within the yin there is a centerpoint of yang; and within the yang a centerpoint of yin.

So at the very core of Yin is the most yin of anything possible; it is so overflowing with yin, that it takes on the nature of Yang.
Likewise at the very core of Yang is the most yang of anything possible; it is so overflowing with yang that it takes on the nature of Yin.

The former is in fact Yang that is inevitably transforming into Yin, that is the only direction it can go.
Likewise, the latter is Yin that is inevitably transforming into Yang.

So this is why in the casting, when you have three small (yin) piles, it is manifested as a Yang that is becoming a Yin.
And when you have three large (yang) piles, it is manifested as a Yin that is becoming a Yang.

That is the reason.
And the reason is reflected in the probabilities of the casting method, because these forces are not equal in nature; in nature Yin is more stable, so it is less common for Yin (the stable but weak) to become Yang (volatile but strong), than for Yang (strong, but volatile) to weaken into the more stable Yin.

"Weak but stable" are the valleys of space-time, "strong but unstable" are the peaks.