Olympic Tarot (4) - Chinese Perspective


Olympia takes place this year - 2004 - in Greece, in 4 years it will be in China.

Considering specifical contents of Greek mythology, this is a historical joke.

What does the mythical Greek origin theory tell:

22 Elements:

* Uranus = heaven - of course, that's Yang
* Gaia = earth - that's Yin

Yin and Yang are the base mathematical body of I-Ching

* 3 Cyclopes = that are 3 Yang-lines of an I-Ching-Trigram
* 3 "100-arms" = that are 3 Yin-lines of an I-I-Ching-Trigram

3-Yang and 3-Yin-lines form the 8 Trigrams of I-Ching, that's a natural perspective.

* 6 female Titans = that are the 6 Yin-lines of an I-Ching-Hexagram
* 6 male Titans = that are the 6 Yang-lines of an I-Ching-Hexagram

The 6 Yin- and Yang-lines form the mathematical body of the I-Ching.

* Who is "Aphrodite": She is the aspect of "Love" - She is the Tao and she is all - she unites all, by "Love".

* Who are the "3 Erinyen": They present the counter-aspect to "Love" (Aphrodite), and that's "Justice". They are 3, cause the I-Ching (and comparable systems) are based on 3 basic ideas (begin-middle-end for instance as "motion", or earth-man-heaven in the Chinese system or above-middle-below and Heaven - earth - ocean in the Greek system).


This means: Hesiod - who lives far enough from China to have never heard in his life from this country and its people and the I-Ching theogony - uses just the same mathematical program as the I-Ching in a similar context. Beside the divinatory context as an oracle-book the I-Ching also wanted to explain, how "the world was made or originated" and that's also the interest of Hesiod.

In the greater order it seems, that Hesiod (or probably better: "the community of the Greek poets of the time") showed an interest to reach the number 64 - although, as far it is known to me, they never tell in open form from the number 64.

The Greek loved instead to show the number 50, mostly in a 49+1-structure - that's a "hidden" way to announce the number 64 (7 trigrams x 7 trigrams + 1 "holy" trigram, which contains 15 other possibilities of the system of the 64).

The reason for the Greek "hiding the 64" might have been a trivial poets-trick to disguise the mathematical scheme, that they used (talking of Uranos and Gaia and Kentaurs etc. was also just a "hiding trick" to expose a theory without showing the mathematical content).

In China the 49+1-scheme was also known and used (in the oracle-technique 50 elements are used, one of the 50 is taken aside; the "50" is known in China as "number of heaven"), but they didn't take care to hide the 64.

Divinatory books (like the I-Ching) were also known in Greek, but here they were regarded as "cheap oracle", complicated "mysterious cults like Delphi, Dodona etc.. were more accepted.


Huck (based on earlier considerations of autorbis)


Hermes stole 50 cows. In later exchange Apollo became the god of divination. Why? :)


Fulgour said:
Hermes stole 50 cows. In later exchange Apollo became the god of divination. Why? :)

:) Actually a myth, which might tell, that old Greek mythtellers knew something of their Chinese colleagues.

China had a political change from Shang to Chou around 1100 - 1150 BC and with that a change from tortoise-oracle to I-Ching. The I-Ching used 50 yarrow-stalks, one taken aside. That's a mythical 49+1-structure applied to the oracle.

In the Greek homeric Hymn, in which Hermes steals 50 cows a tortoise is slaughtered together with one (or 2 ?) cow (50 - 1 ?)and then the Lyra is produced by Hermes.
In the later exchange Apollo got the Lyra. Hermes got beside other things the "oracle of the 3 Thrien", something, which is said to have something to do with bees. 3-coins-oracle? Like the I-Ching?

The story isn't very precise, if one assumes a relation, but might have been altered according to the interests of somebody, who didn't understoof the real context.

Stories might have wandered from China to Greek or vice versa, transported by 100 different mouths. It's a story-teller-time. Writing existed, but only in rudimentary forms, the oral tradition had importance.


Isn't there also an etymological or at least similarity or possible word connection between the yarrow sticks used with the I-Ching, the usage of the same plant in healing in Greece (and of course later), and the Scythian word for cow (y'r)...

And of course one of the appelations of Yarrow in Greek by a word intimately connected to honey ('mileta' or a word very similar - I cannot recall precisely).

I am not suggesting that I go along with all these wonderful further reflections Huck is here bringing, but they are certainly suggestive of the numerous criss-crossings and currents of thought which would have inevitably made their way as stories meandered various lands.


The mathematical scheme, that Hesiod - or the generations of Greek poet-colleagues in various times - used, definitely is easy and logical enough, to be invented at various places. So it doesn't prove any connection between Greece and China.

However, I've heard, that an Egyptian delegation reached the court of China around 1200 BC. Also were Jews in China around 700 BC. Probably there is much more known about some sorts of "traffic" - which not necessarily implies greater cultural ecxhange.

But oral tradition demands memory-systems. The whole scheme is just a memory-system, a way to sort things.
Memory-systems have a natural working field in Gods genealogies in polytheistic constructions.

And these polytheistic constructions naturally needed the poet and mythteller, the orator, to interpret it to the common people. There were "jobs" at the temples. Naturally these persons wandered and learnt at various places and occasions. We can still observe the "wandering humanist" in 15th century. Naturally they had discussions "how to do it", how to do the job. "How the gods are".

From this condition it's logically, that mathematical systems with some "elegance" developed.

And it's logical, that these ideas could cross great distances.

Mythteller A went 500 miles from his home, meeting another mythteller B, also 500 miles from home, but from the other direction. On his journeys mythteller B comes to 500 miles distance from home in the other direction and talks to mythteller C. Already are 1500 miles crossed. Etc. And mythteller A is not only only one person from his home, there are also mythtellers A1, A2, A3 etc. and also common people who tell the same thing a little less qualified, a1,a2,a3, a4 etc.

An interesting kybernetic idea, how quick "ideas" could wander from Greece to China without telephone, without automobi and without anybody, who really wandered the distance. l