Y-Kim (or I Ching), Book of

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Y-Kim (or I Ching), Book of

A Chinese mystical book attributed to the Emperor Fo-Hi and ascribed to the year 3468 B.C.E. It consists of ten chapters and was stated by Éliphas Lévi in his History of Magic to be a complement and an appendix to the Kabalistic Zohar, the record of the utterances of Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai. The Zohar, according to Lévi, explains universal equilibrium, and the Y-Kim is the hieroglyphic and ciphered demonstration thereof.

The key to the Y-Kim is the pentacle known as the Trigrams of Fo-Hi. In the Vay-Ky of Leon-Tao-Yuen, composed in the Som Dynasty (about eleventh century), it was recounted that the Emperor Fo-Hi was one day seated on the banks of a river, deep in meditation, when to him there appeared an animal having the parts of both a horse and a dragon.

Its back was covered with scales, on each of which shone the mystic Trigrammic symbol. The animal initiated the just and righteous Fo-Hi into universal science. Numbering its scales, he combined the Trigrams in such a manner that there arose in his mind a synthesis of sciences compared and united with one another through the harmonies of nature. From this synthesis sprang the tables of the Y-Kim.

According to Éliphas Lévi, the numbers of Fo-Hi are identical with those of the Kabala, and his pentacle is similar to that of Solomon. His tables are in correspondence with the subject matter of the Sephir Yesirah and the Zohar. The whole is a commentary upon the Absolute that is concealed from the profane, concluded Lévi.

Since Lévi's time, much scholarship has been expended on the symbolism and mystical significance of this important work under its more generally expressed title of I Ching.

Sources:

Legge, James, trans. The I Ching. New York: Dover Publications, 1963.

Lévi, Éliphas. The History of Magic. London: W. Rider & Son, 1913. Reprint, New York: Samuel Weiser, 1970.

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Y-Kim (or I Ching), Book of

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