Wonderful to return to Flatön and host two groups of international students for sessions 1 and 2 of our Lifelong Training Program!
We traveled to Athens, Greece to teach the eight movements of China’s esoteric Zhaobao He-style Taiji form, the roots of which trace back to the Hidden Immortal Lineage. Not only are the eight movements of the Taiji Mother Form are are precisely choreographed to create a relaxed mind-body dance that stretches and strengthens the entire body, but they are also a ancient tool for understanding the wisdom of the eight trigrams (the BaGua 八卦) of Daoist cosmology through our own bodily experience. The BaGua form is the foundation of the science and art of Yijing prediction.
Here is an excerpt explaining “Gua” from Master Wu’s award winning book, Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change, which discusses the relationship between Chinese shamanism, the Yijing prediction system and the Hidden Immortal Lineage Taiji Mother Form:
“The Chinese character Gua 卦 is made of the left radical Gui 圭 and the right radical Bu卜. Most Chinese dictionaries will give the meaning of the Chinese character Gui as “a jade tablet with a square base and a triangle top used in official ceremonies in ancient China,” but dictionaries will not tell you why a Gui was needed in ancient ceremonies and why it was made of jade with a square base and a triangle on top. The original meaning of Gui may give us some indications. Gui is related to territory. It has the meanings of measurement, sundial, and platform. This character is made with two of the same radical Tu (earth or clay) on the top and on the bottom. It is the pattern of an earth platform, and it is the place where the Wu (ancient Chinese shamans) observed the universe or performed their spiritual rituals to connect with the universal energy.
The function of Gui is to connect or communicate with the ancestral spirits or nature spirits during an official ceremony. The ancient Chinese shamans understood that good quality jade could hold high-quality Qi or spiritual energy and they used many different types of jade ritual objects during their ceremonies. The square base of a Gui represents Earth and stability. The triangle top of a Gui represents the trinity or three powers of Heaven or the universe. Therefore, it stands for the harmony within Heaven, Earth, and the human being.
We should understand that a Gua (trigram or hexagram) holds the spiritual connection with Heaven, Earth, and the human being through the above information about Gui.
The Chinese character Bu means divination or to divine. Bu 卜 looks like a pattern of cracks and is also related to two pieces of animal horn. Before the Zhou 周 dynasty (1027–256 BCE), ancient Chinese shamans used two forms of Bu to do the divi- nation. These two forms are Rebu 熱卜(hot-style divination) and Lengbu 冷卜 (cold-style divination). Numerous unearthed oracle bones indicate that Rebu played the main role in Shang 商 dynasty (1600–1027 BCE) divination. No one knows the details of the Rebu divination skills now. But some Lengbu divination techniques are still alive in certain rural areas of southern China.
During a Rebu divination process, the Wu would burn a scapula bone or tortoise shell. The bone or shell would break during burning, and a pattern of cracks would appear. The shaman could get an answer to the question through the pattern of cracks. The pronunciation of Bu is related to divination as well. The moment the bone or shell cracked in the fire, it made the noise Bu. Therefore, the moment the shaman heard the sound of Bu, he got the pattern that was the answer for the divination. This relationship between the divination and the pronunciation of Bu also appears in the Lengbu divination process.
During a Lengbu divination process, the Wu (shaman) placed two pieces of horn halves in front of him, then burned incense and prayed for answers to his questions. Next, the shaman picked up the horn halves and threw them on the ground. The moment the horns hit the ground, they made the Bu noise and revealed a pattern. The shaman could get an answer to his questions from this pattern.
Actually, almost none of the methods for Yijing divination described in the Yijing books on the market are about Bu. Those other methods are related to another Chinese character: Shi 筮. This Shi divination was developed in the Zhou dynasty and this method has been passed down to us over 3000 years. The Chinese character Shi 筮 is made of the top radical Zhu 竹 and the bottom radical Wu 巫. Zhu means bamboo and it represents things made from bamboo or grass. Wu means shaman and it also represents a predictor. Therefore, literally, Shi means a shaman who uses bamboo sticks or yarrow sticks as tools to do a prediction. In general, we call Yijing divination Bushi 卜筮.
The original meaning of Gua (trigram) is to decode the answer through divination. Some ancient Yijing scholars interpret Gua 卦 as another Chinese character: Gua 挂, which means to hang. In other words, it means each Gua in the Yijing is like a picture hanging on the wall so that we can see it very clearly. And it hints that a clear answer appears in a Gua in response to the question posed in the Yijing divination.
Through studying the meanings of the Chinese character Gua, we can tell that Yijing is a divination book from the Wu (ancient Chinese shamans).”