text and photo © Jonathan Zap
The image accompanying this card documents the first time I ever photographed someone tossing I Ching coins and it caught a coin landing perfectly on its edge. Years later I took another photograph of someone tossing the I Ching coins and it also caught a coin landing on the edge. This card also relates to the Tao of photography — by the time you see a picture, it is too late to take it. The general meaning is to be guided by anticipatory intuition to catch things before they exit the gate of change.
Only you can decide if the results you get from an oracle are random or oracular synchronicities (parallelisms between your psyche/life situation and the signifiers — cards, hexagrams, etc — of the oracle). What many people find is that there are certain times, especially when they are sincere in approaching the oracle (and truly in need) when every response is dead on accurate. At other times the responses seem random, irrelevant, even misleading, and this seems to especially happen when one is redundantly or indulgently consulting the oracle. In ancient times, and continuing into the present, people often approach oracles looking to have their ego preferences confirmed, to be flattered, or to get answers to questions when their own intuition or a previous oracle has already supplied an answer. Mechanically, (we all do this, certainly I have) we approach the oracle as if we were pulling the handle of a slot machine until we get a prize. The I Ching recognizes this tendency and has many relevant lines in Hexagram # 4, Youthful Folly. For example, “It is not I who seeks the young fool; the young fool seeks me. At the first oracle I inform him, if he asks two or three times, it is importunity. If he importunes, I give him no information. It does not further to persevere.” If you do persevere you may get random or irrelevant results, or, far more dangerously, the oracle may mirror your own trickster energy and give you the results your ego craves, allowing you to play the fool.
Essentially, a moment of consulting an oracle is a networked constellation of elements. The oracle, your psyche, the particular moment in time, the method of choosing one of the oracle’s signifiers, and the principle of synchronicity seem to be the chief elements. All of these elements need to align for an ideal moment of oracle consultation.
Consider this card an opportunity to examine your relationship to the oracle.