What is the Oracle of Love?
Oracle of Love


The Oracle of Love is a spiritual guide.

It requires no payment, commitment or reverence.

You don't have to believe in it. You can accept or dismiss its counsel as you please.

The Oracle is easy to use and easy to understand: You toss three coins to cast a pattern of heads and tails called a hexagram and then read the hexagram's interpretation. It takes a minute or two to cast a hexagram and another to read its interpretation. The only condition on the use of the Oracle is that the fall of the coins be completely unpredictable.

Origins in the I Ching

The Oracle of Love is a child of the I Ching. The I Ching (also called the “Book of Changes”) is a collection of ancient Chinese texts whose origins date back to the 24th century BC. It has been used for thousands of years both as an Oracle and a book of wisdom. C.G. Jung's foreword to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation offers an excellent introduction to the I Ching. The Oracle of Love has inherited the same hexagram structure as the I Ching and is largely consistent with it.

The Oracle of Love has developed out of a contemporary encounter with the I Ching. I have used the I Ching (and latterly the Oracle of Love) for some forty years and have come to know it as a close friend. This began in the nineteen-seventies when I was looking for a guide to help me through the psychedelic mindscape of which science and religion had no knowledge.

The I Ching's uncanny ability to make relevant comment on my most subjective experience led to an intense encounter and within a short period I had memorised all the hexagram interpretations. Then, after many years comparing the hexagrams I cast with events as they unfolded, I began modifying the memorised interpretations to better describe the reality I was experiencing. Now in mature age, I stand with an accumulation of adjusted interpretations and an approach to the I Ching that does not conform with any tradition. I have attempted to integrate my insights into the I Ching by re-formulating it as this Oracle of Love. The Oracle of Love is therefore the reflection of a contemporary experience of the I Ching rather than a scholarly re-work of classical texts. I have not called it the I Ching so as not to offend classicists - but the essence of the I Ching remains, albeit expressed in a modern idiom rather than the traditional symbols of ancient China.

What's Love Got to Do with It ?

My insights into the hexagrams clarified my understanding of the I Ching as a whole. After screening out the distractions of all the cultural references from ancient China I came to realize what a pivotal role Love plays in the I Ching and that its primary function is spiritual. Love and spirituality are the central themes of this understanding of the I Ching and are intimately intertwined.

While love takes many forms and we probably each have a different conception of it, the word ‘love’ is used by the Oracle in a very particular sense. When meant in this special sense it is written with a capital ‘L’, as Love. Understand Love as a bodily feeling rather than a concept or emotional state. Get a palpable sensation of vibration that gives you a warm, pleasurable glow. The feeling may arouse movement in response, like a dance inspired by music. Feelings and responses can be repeated and played with, stronger or weaker, faster or slower, in time or syncopated, vibrations upon vibrations arousing feelings of their own. Love is a sensitivity, both creative and passive, to waves and vibrations, which we enjoy for their harmony and variety, as we do music - and which we feel in the same way that music can make us feel. Love is a moving, vibrant feeling.

Feelings of Love can be enhanced by specifically paying attention to them. With increased attention we can perceive them more clearly, feel them more deeply, express them more lucidly and appreciate more consciously their detail and their breadth.

The Oracle aspires to developing relations between separate feeling beings (such as ourselves) so that we share and exchange feelings of Love with each other. To this end the Oracle's counsel is invariably directed towards fostering feelings of Love in our relationships and maximising the benefit from them. More so, the Oracle aspires to an intensity of relation in which the feelings of Love are lavished with conscious attention, both in perception and expression. In human terms it aspires to overtly sexual and orgasmic exchanges of feeling between Lovers.

An important element of a Loving relation is the exchange of feelings. It is just as easy for different feelings to harmonize as it is for shared feelings to harmonize. Consider a couple dancing face to face. When one partner steps forward the other will step backward in order to maintain the dance. Lovers do not have to be experiencing exactly the same feelings. It is important that they be understood to retain their individuality, for it is their differences that power the Love-dance. Love honours the personal nature of our feelings and is, in turn, honoured by our engaging with others who may be feeling differently. The harmonious exchange of possibly different feelings between different beings is the ambition of the Oracle of Love.

Love is the domain of the Oracle. Love is the context in which its auguries make sense. To construe its pronouncements in terms of power, fame or fortune is to misunderstand it. The Oracle has only one thing on its mind - all other ambitions are a subtext for Love.

Love and Spirituality

For the Oracle, spirituality is a connection of everything in the universe joining it into a whole, but a whole that does not obscure or restrict the diversity of its parts. The spiritual presence in the world is an omnipresent but background connection of everything. This "universal spirit" is sentient in that it feels its connections and influences them - but it does not control them. It feels pleasure when its connections are harmonious and expresses itself in a soft song of Love that can be felt throughout the cosmos. The spiritual song is a beacon to harmony in the world but is overshadowed by foreground tumult. By limiting our own noise we can avoid obscuring the spiritual influence, feel the spiritual song and align our behaviour to its harmony.

The Oracle teaches that at their deepest and most sincere our feelings of Love coincide with the spiritual feeling, and that by delving the depths of our feelings of Love we can become aware of our spiritual connections. Spiritual awareness is an engrossing feeling of universal connectedness - an immediately present sensation. The Oracle also teaches that when our expressions of Love harmonize with the spiritual song they intensify the spiritual feeling. Our feelings of Love are a means to both our own spiritual awareness and to giving spiritual pleasure.

The demands of our world usually deter us from delving into our feelings to any great depth, preventing us from finding our spirituality and from engaging Lovingly with each other. One way to avoid the distractions is to turn our attention inward and search for feelings of Love within our own minds and bodies. Here there are only our own subjective feelings to negotiate, and in this freedom from external consideration we can be more imaginative in the search for our deeper feelings. The process is exemplified by the practice of meditation, whereby one withdraws attention from the outside world to explore one's inner world instead. The sages of many religions teach that there is a coherent reality to be found in such self-contained exploration. The Oracle teaches that the greater benefits of meditation come from exploring our feelings of Love (including our bodily sensations), rather than from attempting to dismiss our feelings or from attending to our ideas or emotions. Increased familiarity with our own feelings of Love helps us to recognize them in our dealings with others.

Spirituality and the Oracle

In the random fall of a hexagram personal and environmental control are minimized, allowing the spiritual background to have a more significant influence on the outcome. Even in the midst of the greatest foreground clamour, randomly falling hexagrams can reflect the spiritual influence, while the interpretations offered by this Oracle try to represent them in words.

Representations of spirituality, such as this Oracle and all other religious books, symbols and ideas, are only indirect and limited descriptions of spirituality. They may guide us to spirituality but by themselves are not it and none have exclusive access to it. Our feelings of Love are our gateway to spirituality which we can all reach without the aid of any representation.

It is important to understand that the Oracle does not speak as an all-powerful, all-seeing ruler of the universe. It is a player in the unfolding of reality, and a deeply sensitive one, rather than a controller of it. Being universal and immortal, its stakes in the game are very different to ours. It shares our feelings and disappointments but has feelings and disappointments of its own. It has a personality in its own right which I have attempted to describe in the section Personality of the Oracle. While one may regard using the Oracle as taking an interest in one's own spiritual health, one may also regard it as being considerate of the spiritual presence in the same way that one is considerate of other people, by finding out how they feel about things before committing oneself to a course of action. How far we alter our intentions to accommodate another is a choice we make with each act.

While we may ardently strive for spiritual awareness, as far as I can tell from my use of the Oracle our primary spiritual purpose is to facilitate the spiritual harmony whether or not we are consciously aware of our spirituality. Being consciously aware of our spirituality of course affirms the spiritual harmony but we can contribute to the harmony even without awareness of our spiritual connection. The Oracle promotes specific skills for facilitating the spiritual harmony: restraint, fluidity, delicacy of touch and subtlety of feeling. When brought to bear in sexuality they can facilitate an especially easy harmony with the spiritual influence, regardless of one's spiritual awareness. And practicing these skills enhances one's personal spiritual awareness in the long run.

We may address the Oracle with a particular question in mind but its response will direct us to the most pressing issue for spiritual harmony, regardless of our question. Questions are almost superfluous to a consultation. Of course, it is helpful to receive guidance to problems vexing us but that only happens when such problems and the spiritual issues are related. Some problems must be managed as best we can without Oracular help. In my own experience it has often happened that by addressing the spiritual issues, other questions have been put into a clearer perspective.

It can take some time to discover which issues the Oracle is indicating as needing attention. This is because spiritual issues are often seen as trivial from our everyday point of view, especially when there are more pressing foreground matters at hand. This is the value of the Oracle, for it makes known to us the issues of spiritual importance that we would otherwise overlook in favour of foreground matters that more forcefully demand our attention. These spiritual issues may be so subtle that it is only after a number of consultations that we are able to piece the clues together and arrive at the issue of interest. Discerning the significance of the Oracular messages becomes easier with practice and some helpful advice is offered in the section Interpreting a Hexagram.

Exact instructions for consulting the Oracle are provided in the section How to Cast a Hexagram. The method of consultation for the Oracle also permits hexagrams to be strung together like sentences in a paragraph. While the meanings of the individual hexagrams are sufficiently elaborate to convey a message in their own right, they can also be regarded as the elements of a language from which more complex messages can be built. Guidelines for combining hexagrams are provided in the section Conversations. This replaces the concept of “changing lines” that plays such a large role in the I Ching, whereby one hexagram transforms into another. Such transformation of hexagrams is absent from the Oracle of Love.

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