Author: Richard Herne
Trade Paperback, 360 pages
Publication date: March 2001
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The I Ching has always been one of my favorite oracles because it only gives advice on what to do instead of attempting to predict future events. While the advice given is in terms of an ancient Chinese culture, I've always found the advice useful, often uncannily so.
In Magick, Shamanism & Taoism, Richard Herne presents a method of using the I Ching in (fairly ceremonial) magickal work. For example, Herne presents a method of using the I Ching as a map of correspondences similar to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This makes it easy to use the I Ching in talisman magick. To be honest, I have no idea if the ancient Chinese ever thought of it like this or used other magickal material in this book in the manner it is presented. While I'm certainly no expert on China or the orient, much of this material really seems to have a western flavor. However, the material hangs together well regardless of its origins.
The first part of this book discusses the history of Taoism, the I Ching, and magickal thought in China. These two chapters are well-footnoted with sources. The second part deals with various magickal tools used in China. Some are similar to western tools in form, if not always in function. The ritual sword, for example, is a symbol of the magicians's Will. Others are somewhat foreign to western thought. The fan and hand gestures are examples of such tools. Unfortunately, footnotes on sources are fairly scarce. The third part covers practical magick work such as making talismans, meditation, and pathworking. The fourth and longest portion is devoted to listing correspondences for each of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. These are the author's personal interpretations, based on his research into Chinese magick.
This is a very hard book to evaluate. The author covers a great deal of complex material in a relatively small space. It is very interesting material, although I don't have enough knowledge to judge its accuracy. Overall, Magick, Shamanism & Taoism strikes me as an average book. It doesn't scream "buy me," but it doesn't scream "run away" either. If you are interested in the I Ching and use talisman magick frequently, the I Ching correspondences in the fourth part of the book will give you an entire new symbol set to work with.
Reviewed by Randall