The I Ching is, for some, an elegantly clear oracle. For others, it is maddeningly enigmatic. I Ching: Dead Moon is a stunning deck that combines the pure symbols of the I Ching with evocative and inspiring imagery.
This deck really is amazing. So beautiful and clever that it is worth struggling through the horridly translated instruction cards. Just be patient with them; it’s worth it.
The I Ching is a traditional Chinese oracle. The meanings of the oracle are created using combinations of lines and dashes (in the instructions called continued and discontinued lines). Each hexagram is made up of six lines; the oracle has 64 possible hexagrams. Each hexagram has a meaning, much like a Tarot card or a rune. One reason people are drawn to Tarot is the images on the cards. They speak directly to our subconscious and help create a bridge from our inner wisdom to our conscious minds. Runes and the I Ching are purely symbolic systems and as such appeal mainly to our intellect. For this reason, many Tarot readers haven’t been drawn to the I Ching.
This deck changes all of that. By combining an image with each hexagram, the meanings become easier to remember and interpret. The images really are quite beautiful. And for the most part, they partner really well with their assigned hexagram.
For example, number 7 is Earth over Water and shows a close up shot of determined soldiers clad head to toe in black armor. The meaning reads:
The army. One does not know the path that subterranean water follows. If it gushes out to the exterior we will be blessed with refreshing springs. One fights a battle for a just end. The firmness in which one grips a sword to achieve a goal under an impartial balance. Strength and willingness to reach a goal.
59 is Wind over Water and shows a picture of a woman, her face clearly drawn but her image becoming more and more “unfinished” as if she were dissolving. The interpretation is:
Dispersion. The wind moves the surface of the waters; the sea allows itself to be swayed. The waters rise with the wind and sprinkle everything but later it ebbs. Confusion dominates the moment; one should centre oneself on what one really desires. Reflection, and return to situate the value of each thing and its place, will help one avoid obstacles.
20 shows an old woman, face painted white, a black dot on her chin and forehead, a strange black line from her forehead, over her eye, down her cheek. She is in ceremonial dress, her clasped hands held aloft. The meaning:
Wind over Earth. Contemplation. The wind extends and reaches every corner, visits and caresses all manifestations of life. Those who comlete these perfect nature cycles will be able to teach them and will be full of wisdom. To construct a future with wisdom, analyze the past. Meditation, interior knowledge, and observation prepare us for the future.
Some, I admit, baffle me. I do not understand how a sexy woman with back to us and her backside thrust out, showing very clearly through a sheer wisp of a covering is meant to illustrate:
Enthusiasm. The boom of thunder strikes fear into the hearts of mortals but on waking, one is full of optimism and eagerness. Self-assurance and certainty of future events. Moment of satisfaction and paying attention and the search for solutions. Reflection before deciding whether something is finished.
This is the meaning for 16, Thunder over Earth.
This is for anyone interested in the I Ching in particular or any well-crafted oracle deck. Beautiful, clear, and wise. What more could you ask?
Name of deck: I Ching: Dead Moon
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator’s name: Luis Royo
Brief biography of creator: Born in Olalla, Spain, in 1954, Royo is known for painting fantasy worlds and mechanical life forms, as well as dark, apocalyptic imagery that is often quite sensual. He became fasincated with comics in the late 1970s and has gone on to work for Heavy Metal magazine. In 1998 he released The Black Tarot. In 2004 he published The Labyrinth: Tarot. In 2009 he published the book Dead Moon.
Artist’s name: Luis Royo
Number of pages of included information: 8 instruction cards in English
Author of instructions: Luis Royo
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Reading Uses: General
Ethnic Focus: Asian
Artistic Style: Surreal
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Divination
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: No
If Divination Deck, what is the structure?: 64 cards that represent the hexagrams of the I Ching.
Book suggestions for Tarot beginners and this deck: I Ching for Beginners by Mark McElroy.