I-Ching Divination from The Man in the High Castle

Date Published: 03.10.2023

Wadham alumnus and Visiting Fellow, Prof John Lai demonstrates!

In 'The Man in the High Castle', characters use an ancient Chinese book, the I-Ching, to perform divination and seek answers to their questions. In fact, the author of The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick, used I-Ching divination himself when writing the novel! But how does this ancient form of I-Ching divination, using Yarrow Stalks, actually work?

Prof John Lai explains the practical how-to of I-Ching divination and the symbolic significance of the numbers it generates.

John Lai is based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is a Wadham alumnus (DPhil Oriental Studies, 2001). He was also a Wadham Visiting Fellow during the academic year 2022-23, when this video was recorded. Prof Lai's research includes the reception of the I-Ching in western and Christian traditions.

More like this

View all

Dance, pain thresholds and social bonding

Dancing in time with others raises your pain threshold and increases social closeness, says research carried out by Wadham’s Emma Cohen and a team from Oxford University's Experimental Psychology and Anthropology Departments.

Find out more

Reading Chaucer's poems

Read Chaucer’s poems, guided line by line by Wadham Emeritus Fellow, leading poet and medievalist Bernard O’Donoghue.

Find out more