Yi Jing As Operating System

With Guest: Lorraine Wilcox

Episode Qi067

The Yi Jing speaks in the language of image, resonance and metaphor. Its not a good place to go for direct answers, but can be helpful in finding some guidence.

Our converation today touches not just on the ways it is used for divination, but more importantly how it is a mirror and once you have a knack for it, you don’t need it for divination. We discuss how the commentaries are as important as the original text itself. And touch on how it is a kind of operating system that can help you to understand Chinese medicine, as well the curious unfolding of your own wondrously mysterious life.

Listen in to this conversation on the power and importance of image and transformation.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • How to ask a helpful question of the Yi Jing
  • Resisting pain makes it worse
  • When you’re good at the Yi Jing, you don’t need the Yi Jing for divination
  • The power and importance of image
  • The Yi Jing commentaries are an important part of learning the Yi Jing
  • Connections to Chinese medicine
  • Resonance
  • The characteristics of a sage
Lorraine Wilcox
I studied Chinese medicine in the 1980's and immediately became bored with it. But after self-studying Chinese language for a short while, I felt like the blacks, whites, and grays of TCM transformed into brilliant color. I began trying to decode some ancient texts, especially those of the Ming dynasty. I also tried to absorb the philosophical and cultural background that a Ming dynasty doctor would possess. Eventually I understood that the goal was to try to build myself a virtual Ming mind (impossible to perfect, but beneficial to try). If one ancient statement could summarize what I have learned, it is:

人身小天地。張介賓《類經附翼‧醫易義》
The human body is a small heaven and earth. Zhāng Jièbīn, from Lèi Jīng Fù Yì ( Míng)

One of my favorite things to do is to search the old books for a procedure or type of recipe, something that is not commonly used today, and try to work out how to do or make it. Many of them are no longer practical or usable, but some are quite marvelous and I wonder why they fell into disuse. I have replicated various ancient methods of moxibustion, and made recipes for syrups, ointments, plasters, medicinal incense, medicinal snuff, and so forth. Some of these are quite useful today. I like to teach them, write about them, and document them.

I am much more of a researcher than practitioner, but many of the techniques that I have rediscovered get revived through my students. I want this knowledge to help patients and increase the scope of our medicine. My more successful experiments are documented in the Medicine-Making page and the Moxibustion: The Power of Mugwort Fire page on Facebook.
Links and Resources


Visit Lorraine on Facebook. She has a page on Medicine Making, another one on the Power of Mugwort Fire, and another on Medicine and the Yi Jing.  

If books are more your thing, Lorraine has more than a few of them:

  • Moxibustion: A Modern Clinical Handbook
  • The Classic of Supporting Life with Acupuncture and Moxibustion
  • Outline of Female Medicine
  • Categorized Essentials of Repairing the Body
  • Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor
  • Raising the Dead and Returning Life: Emergency Medicine of the Qing Dynasty
  • Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Vol IX






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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.

Michael Max

Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
About me
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.

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