Them Sticks


I have a confession to make.

For all the years that I have been a living, breathing bona-fide card carrying Taoist, I have never owned a set of yarrow sticks.

embarrassed1I’m so embarrassed.

Yes, I know how to use yarrow sticks for I Ching divinations.  It’s not rocket science.

But even if it was, I would have figured out how to do it.  Why then do I not own a set of yarrow sticks?  I’ll tell you why.

When I first started learning how to do I Ching divinations, I was a poor college girl who didn’t have excess cash to be buying $20 worth of yarrow sticks that had been properly grown from holy dirt, and calibrated to the divine degree, and blessed by the wizened wise men.  I started out with chopsticks.  You know.  Those things you get for free from takee outee Chinese restaurants.

But I really hated them.  They were ugly and unwieldy, and sometimes, I got splintered shards embedded into my hands.  So I did what any self-respecting Taobabe would do.  I switched over to American quarters, and my issues went away.

blonde98Fast forward a couple of decades.  I am now much less poor (read financially comfortable) and I can now afford the holiest of holy sticks from the holiest of holy sites, blessed by the holiest of holy ancient men.

But I just couldn’t do it.  You know why?

After all these years, I just couldn’t see myself as a Taobabe if I couldn’t make my own holy relics, you know.

What the hell have I been able to absorb, from all those years under the tutelage of Old Dude, if I hadn’t figured out by now, that I am the Universe—I am divine.  I can make stuff that rivals those of the holiest sages.  😀

It all came down to how lazy I was.  So in the spirit of (trying to) not be lazy, I looked around and found a brand new unopened bag of skewer sticks (they were .99 cents at the grocery store) that I use to make kebabs and fruit sticks, and I counted out 50.  Then, I cut them down to manageable size (8 inches).


Then I took a steel file and wore down both ends until they were smooth.  This took awhile since I had 50 sticks to file, but as I filed, I chanted the daimoku to make things go faster.  LOL  It’s not that I’m a Nichiren Shoshu adherent.  Heck, I’m not even a Buddhist, but since I remember the gongyo, it was a good way to focus on what I was doing rather than the sound of my phone going off alerting me that there’s some inane response to one of my LOLCATS comments.

After that, I did some magical things to the sticks so they won’t splinter off and give me splinters (ie I shaved them down a bit and got rid of slivers).


Then I stole a ribbon from my hair and tied them to the sticks to keep them together.


And voila!  I now own an honest to goodness set of divination sticks.  My Tao path has grown all the more enriched with yet another divination tool to contemplate the universe with.

Next, I will paint them a pretty color so they will be even more divine!

(to be continued)

3 thoughts on “Them Sticks

  1. I haven’t owned any either and I think I made a very poor attempt at making them once many years ago, nothing like yours. It will be cool to see further modifications.

    Liked by 1 person

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