I-Ching Holitzka Deck

I-Ching Holitzka Deck
by Marlies and Klaus Holitzka
United States Games Systems

 

My copy of Wilhelm’s I-Ching, Book of Changes is stored securely wrapped in red silk; the cloth is said to inhibit any impact from external influences. I haven’t touched the book in years. But, one of the last times I did, my husband and I followed the instruction: “The Superior Man will seek his fortune in the south and west.” At the time, we were in the midst deciding whether or not to accept a job offer that would move our family from Boston to a land-locked city in Ohio. We took the advice. In retrospect, it was a good decision.

This evening, we consulted the Oracle again. This time, we did so in a radically different form.

I-Ching by Marlies Holitzka is comprised of an instruction book and sixty-four cards tucked into a box not much bigger than a standard deck of playing cards. Therein lies the first major stumbling block. For, while the artwork is stunning and the overall appearance aesthetically pleasing, the type is so small, the reader had better have a magnifying glass. We also missed the references to “The Superior Man” throughout this updated version. It seems that the author considers the phrase outdated and inappropriate for the 21st century. I disagree.

The bottom line is that while the author has simplified consulting the Oracle, the end result may be viewed as more of a game than the serious pursuit of enlightenment. We were never quite comfortable with using coins as opposed to the traditional yarrow stalks; it seemed like we were cheating. We’re even more uncomfortable shuffling a deck of cards.

While this is a lovely set for a conversation piece on the coffee table, it’s my feeling that it further distances us from the ancient teachings and philosophy of the original text.

As with anything of beauty — and this most certainly qualifies — we welcome its presence at our table, but also recommend that anyone who is serious about I-Ching keep a silk-wrapped copy of Wilhelm’s book nearby for reference.

BRIDGET HAGGERTY

RATING: 3 Broomsticks


» Originally appeared in newWitch #02

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