While playing with the idea of using Morse code for the book, I noticed a resemblance between some letters and lines of I Ching trigrams. (You may remember that I used the I Ching for one of the enclosures for the map book.) It seemed to me that the trigrams, and the hexagrams formed from them, are a code of sorts. Six numbers generated by manipulating yarrow stalks or tossing coins are represented by either solid or broken lines. These are grouped to form trigrams which represent divinatory answers. Like horoscopes, the statements —and their interpretations— are sufficiently vague that they may be understood differently by each individual.
Since 2016 is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, I decided to ask the I Ching questions posed by some of Shakespeare’s characters. I found an on-line version of I Ching, and used it to virtually toss coins and generate hexagrams and their statements and interpretations.
The six questions I chose were:
To be or not to be, that is the question.
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
What light through yonder window breaks?
Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand?
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
Can one desire too much of a good thing?
I typed each question into the form on the website, tossed the virtual coins, and saved screenshots of the answers. Here’s the interpretation I got for Macbeth’s question:
For the layout of the book, I planned a 4-page signature for each question and answer: the question appears on the first page of the signature; the generated hexagram, statement, and analysis form the interior spread. Here’s the layout with Hamlet’s answer.
I wanted each signature to be discrete and independent, so I made a cover (paste paper by Susan Kristoferson) with an accordion spine. Here’s the finished book seen from above.
Not as elegant as my first entry, but definitely funnier.