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Pye, F. (1976). WILHELM, HELMUT Change: eight lectures on the I Ching. Trans. from the German by Cary F. Baynes. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. First pub. 1961. Pp. vii-x + pp. 3-104. Price £1.25. Paperback.. J. Anal. Psychol., 21(2):230.

(1976). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 21(2):230

WILHELM, HELMUT Change: eight lectures on the I Ching. Trans. from the German by Cary F. Baynes. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. First pub. 1961. Pp. vii-x + pp. 3-104. Price £1.25. Paperback.

Review by:
Faye Pye

The author of this remarkable book is the son of the late Richard Wilhelm, distinguished sinologue and friend of Jung, who translated the I Ching from Chinese to German (1924). Dr Helmut Wilhelm is now himself Professor in the University of Washington. The lectures are based on his father's work, and quotations of the I Ching are taken from it. Professor Wilhelm's studies amplify and extend this work.

The lectures were given originally in 1943 in Peking. At that time war and anxiety were rife in China, and the Japanese occupied Peking. The author was invited to speak to a small group of German-speaking Europeans who were entirely uninformed about the I Ching. He was particularly concerned to avoid encouraging the current tendency to find refuge in illusory-occultism. These circumstances moulded the form and content of the lectures. On the one hand they are a personal communication given with charm and clarity. On the other hand they pay an almost austere attention to fundamentals, and to the nature of Chinese concepts and assumptions. The substance of the lectures is compact, factual, rational, historical and explanatory, but also profound.

The book provides a detailed study of the imagery and structure of the trigrams and hexagrams, and instructions for consulting the I Ching with either the yarrow stalk or the coin method. There is a striking example of a consultation made in the seventh century B.C., together with the priestly divination, and an account of the historical events which later justified the oracle.

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