imaginal i ching

‘Like a part of nature, the I Ching waits until it is discovered. It offers neither facts nor power, but for lovers of self-knowledge, of wisdom – if there be such – it seems to be the right book.’

– Carl Gustav Jung, from his introduction to The I Ching by Richard Wilhelm

What is the I Ching?

The I Ching is a Chinese tradition of ancient wisdom. It is closely connected to the very roots of Chinese culture. It is regarded as a primary source of both Taoism and Confucianism, the most prominent philosophies or worldviews of the Chinese people. Originally it was a source of teachings and culture, cherished and handed down through the generations by designated elders of communities. These elders were responsible for protecting the tradition and insuring its transmission to following generations. This tradition existed long before writing was developed around 2000 BCE in China. So, originally it was an oral tradition, handed down personally from generation to generation. Its roots are at least five thousand years old. Yet today still, we are struck by its ability to penetrate the most complex of situations we face.

What is our approach?

The Shaman of old has always been someone who occupies ‘the place in-between.’ Her awareness was not only involved with worldly concerns. Her way of ‘seeing’ the world meant her appropriate ‘place’ was at the periphery of her community. Yet, her different way of perceiving the world was essential to bring through the messages from the underworld and the overworld, to assist us in this world. Or to mediate on behalf of her community or others with spirits, demons and other forces from the realms beyond.

What we today call ‘problems’, ‘illnesses’, ‘accidents’, ‘depression’, ‘physical pain’, ‘emotional distress’ and so forth, are from an imaginal perspective, rooted in the realms beyond our conscious awareness. Working with the I Ching, we open to the shamanic perspective, to sense ‘the images’ that want attention from the person asking the question. The I Ching is a most powerful tool to break through our stuck perspectives, to open into receiving images or messages from the unconscious. Or to advise us on how to navigate our discomfort in such a way that allows the unconscious ailment to unfold and resolve, rather than staying stuck.

Doing I Ching readings is a form of divination. To see more on the principles underlying divination, see the article Divination and prediction.

All I Ching work can be done in person or online.

Individual readings. When we’ve reached ‘an edge’ in ourselves, doing an I Ching reading can be most helpful. ‘Edge’ here means the experience of being heavily burdened by something while our usual ability to see a way through is of no avail. At an edge, we are always unaware of the real source of our discomfort. In other words, it derives from the unconscious. The I Ching is particularly geared to help us navigate this realm of the unknown. Individual I Ching readings are useful for any kind of difficulty, whether rooted in external situations, in our inner world, in wounds rooted in our past, or concerns about the future. (What a reading looks like?)

I Ching Therapy. When we are faced with a particularly difficult time, or when the urgency from the depths of our being becomes pressing, I Ching Therapy may be very helpful. In such situations, the source of what is troubling us is not rooted in what we know, but in what we do not know. That is, in the unknown, in the unconscious, in the imaginal. I Ching Therapy is perhaps the most appropriate tool when urgent exploration of the unknown is called for. We decide beforehand how many sessions we will dedicate to our exploration.

My journey with the I Ching, by Fritz Loest

I have been working with and studying the I Ching for more than twenty-five years. The I Ching was perhaps ‘my first love’ in that it was the first field of study I discovered that truly ‘blew me away’ and opened me to start seeing the world fundamentally in a different way. It is even appropriate to call the I Ching my first teacher. I discovered it at a critical time on my own journey, and was guided, quite magically, into studying this rich tradition. This encounter, this meeting, changed my life and changed the course my life was taking at the time. I spent many years studying the I Ching intensively before meeting my first human teacher. And still, after twenty-five years of intense study, it has the power to utterly astound and surprise me with the depth and accuracy of its images.

For any inquiries, please contact Fritz via the form in the sidebar.