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Ancient Chinese Divining

Divining was engaged in in two forms. In 筮 the stalks 莢 were used, and in 卜 the tortoise-shell 龜. The stalks were struck in order to cause them to fall out of their case (韇), in which they were held by the diviner (筮人). The lines 爻, complete ——, and divided — —, which they indicated, were collected in two trines, which together made up a diagram (卦). This was first drawn on the ground and then transferred to a board by the recorder (卦者) of the divination, and after having been taken to the Master of Ceremonies by the diviner and looked at by him, was then examined carefully (占) by the diviner's three assistants in turn, and the augury declared by them as propitious (吉) or otherwise.

In divining by the other method the shell was heated over a flame, and the diagram recorded and the result declared as above.

The subject to be divined upon was decided by the Master of Ceremonies, and communicated to the diviner, who again communicated it to the divining instrument, as the vehicle of a spirit, asking whether the action proposed, or the day selected, was propitious or not.

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