The Chinese fortune cookie, is symbolic of the iinterest the people of China have always had in the subject of Fortune Telling. Since prehistoric times this Chinese Art of fortune telling was formally established as a way to gain knowledge pertaining to your future.
Ancient representation of a God of Fortunes.
Ming Dynasty [Hsuan -te period] : 1426 AD - 1435 AD
Great Chinese philosophers have written about the influence of Destiny in our lives.
Based on the religious philosophy of Tao, the I-Ching was used since the most Ancient times as a method of divination. The I-Ching (Yi King) (dating back nearly 4000 years).
This unique system of symbols called the "I", representing "permutations" or "changes" of the 64 possible combinations of the two elementary forms, yin and yang . The "I" is capable of representing all combinations of existence. The elements of the "I", yang the positive principle and yin the negative principle, stand for the elements of being.
The I-Ching is utilized as an oracle, a divination tool that helps the user make important decisions by showing how the natural path of the world is changing from one state to another. It shows the user how to act in accord with these changes. To utilize I-Ching as divination, you cast a hexagram by generating six lines in succession according to a certain method. (see I-Ching).
During the second century B.C. most Chinese fortune-tellers relied on writings of a T'ang Dynasty court official named Li Hsu-chung. He devised horoscopes using combinations of the Five Elements, and the Ten Heavenly Stems, and the Twelve Terrestrial Branches. To obtain a person's fortune his system needed to use the Six Characters which denoted the year, month and day of a particular person's birth.
The official government's manual was published by the Board of Rites in 1683 with an updated version in 1741 containing thirty-six books entitled Hsieh Chi Pien Fang Shu. Ib recent history; the most recognized fortune-telling manual of China is the two-volume work Hsuan tse.
Many of these types of fortune-tellers were apparently blind old men led around by a young boy. Some of them had a harp upon which they would occasionally play as they walked slowly along the street. Others carried a rattle made of two small pieces of wood. When they were struck together they indicated the approach or presence of a fortune-teller.
The most popular fortune-telling system in China seems to be that of the Eight Cyclic Characters. Parents of a new-born or young child present the child's characters for interpretation to a fortune-teller who prepares a horoscope.
The preparation of these horoscopes involves the cross-referencing of the Eight Cyclic Characters with animal signs of the Zodiac. (see Chinese Zodiac).
Another way of telling somebody's fortune that dates back into antiquity with the Chinese is the technique used by physiognomists. The can tell fortunes by studying their client's facial features. The ears and eyes and mouth, as well as the nose and eyebrows and forehead and cheeks along with the chin match up with the Five Sacred Mountains, the Four Great Rivers, the Five Planets, and the Six Stars.
Our senses; and hand and fingers; our stature and frame, also relate to various fixed value in the numerological Order of Heaven and Earth. A physiognomist computes the relations and oppositions of all these factors and can foresee good or bad luck. He can also determine your probable length of life, your fortune in marriage and whether or not you will have children. (see Physiognomy).
"If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the I-Ching, and might then escape falling into great errors" -Confucius
The I-Ching (Yi Jing) is one of the most ancient (dating back nearly 4000 years), most curious, and most mysterious documents in the world.
Among the ancient traditions of China there is a unique system of symbols called the "I", representing "permutations" or "changes" of the 64 possible combinations of the two elementary forms, yin and yang . The book in which the permutations of yang and yin are recorded is known under the title of "I-Ching".
The "I" is capable of representing all combinations of existence. The elements of the "I", yang the positive principle and yin the negative principle, stand for the elements of being. Yang means "bright," and yin, "dark." Yang is the principle of heaven, yin, the principle of earth. Yang is the sun, yin is the moon. Yang is masculine and active, yin is feminine and passive. The former is motion; the latter is rest. Yang is strong, rigid, lord like; yin is mild, pliable, submissive, wifelike.
The struggle between, and the different mixture of, these two elementary contrasts, condition all the differences that prevail, the state of the elements, the nature of things, and also the character of the various personalities as well as the destinies of human beings.
The two elements are often represented graphically in the form of the ancient symbol: The whole, represented by the disc, is made of the white yang and black yin. The dots remind us that each element can change into the other.
The I-Ching is utilized as an oracle, a divination tool that helps the user make important decisions by showing how the natural path of the world is changing from one state to another. It shows the user how to act in accord with these changes. To utilize I-Ching as divination, you cast a hexagram by generating six lines in succession according to a certain method.
Each generated line can be one of the four possibilities, corresponding to either changing or unchanging yin and either changing or unchanging yang. You can then consult the judgement of the hexagram and the statements of the changing lines if any, to make your decision.
The judgements presented by the I-Ching are not a fixed prediction of the future which cannot be changed, but rather a description of the natural path of changes in the world which the user can consider when making an important decision.
The traditional and most widely used method for the I-Ching divination is the yarrow oracle. Its outfit consists of fifty yarrow stalks. First the diviner takes out one stalk and sets it aside. This single stalk is called "the grand limit" (t'ai chi), the ultimate cause of existence. The stalks are then divided until the hexagram is completed.