Here are interpretations of the Bam tiles you would use if looking at the tiles from the position of Oracle (see post from January 29, 2014). Tiles in the Bamboo – or BAM – suit are numbered from 1- 9. The Bamboo suit is considered the first of the three suits (the others being Circles/Dots – and Wan/Craks – TBD as Oracles in later posts).
Bamboo is a very versatile plant used for a vast range of purposes. Its leaves and shoots are used for food, and its stems can be utilized for sewing needles, writing implements, cooking utensils, furniture, house and boat building, etc. The many uses of the Bamboo plant are signified by the virtues of strength, uprightness, integrity, and service.
1 Bamboo (One Bam)
Chinese Character: “K’ung”
The first tile of the first suit primarily signifies success. However success can lead to pride which, in turn, can lead to vanity. Here the One Bam is symbolized by a peacock – an emblem of beauty that represents a lady in the prime of her life, gazing into a mirror. The mirror is the symbol of the cosmos and, depending on interpretation, the lady can be admiring her own reflection or contemplating her own mortality. The mirror frequently indicates a change of direction in life.
2 Bamboo (Two Bam)
Chinese Character: “Ya”
Represented by the duck. The Chinese believe that a pair of ducks remains together for life therefore the symbolism of the duck is an enduring partnership and/or fidelity.
3 Bamboo (Three Bam)
Chinese Character: “Min”
Represented by the toad. To Western people the flecks on the moon’s surface are regarded to be the face of the “man in the moon”; however, the Chinese regard these markings to be two creatures, the hare and the toad. The hare is attributed with knowledge of the elixir of life whereas the three-legged toad is symbolic of a long life and the unattainable. It is also associated with medicine, where it represents both sickness and cure. Therefore, the major qualities represented by this tile are healing and over-ambition.
4 Bamboo (Four Bam)
Chinese Character: “Li”
Represented by the carp, a symbol of peace, inner calm, and tranquility – qualities which, if practiced, lead to a long life. The carp signifies contemplation, freed from the cares and pressures of modern life, and the rich colours of the carp signify wealth and refinement. This tile therefore signifies peace and contentment.
5 Bamboo (Five Bam)
Chinese Character: “Lien”
Symbolized by the lotus flower and representing new birth or possibly a spiritual awakening or, on a more material level, the birth of a child. It can also suggest regeneration following an experience of extreme or endured hardship indicating that there is a need to come to terms with the present and begin life anew.
6 Bamboo (Six Bam)
Chinese Character: “Shui”
Represented by the element water and signifying communication (correspondence) or travel – particularly short frequent journeys.
7 Bamboo (Seven Bam)
Chinese Character: “Kuei”
Symbolised by the tortoise, and often indicates a dissatisfaction with the length of time that is being taken to resolve an issue. The tile therefore signifies that thought is required and that progress will be achieved gradually. It is also a symbol of longevity, given the great age that a tortoise can achieve. The tortoise is one of the four great Chinese astrological constellations covering the Northern part of the sky and is therefore associated with the North Wind, Winter and Water.
8 Bamboo (Eight Bam)
Chinese Character: “Chün”
Represented by a mushroom, it is a symbol of immortality and eccentricity. This is because the mushroom is a plant lacking leaves or flowers yet resembles both – this has led to it becoming interpreted as a symbol of the bizarre. The general significance that this tile portrays is the occurrence of an unexpected event, the nature of which will be remarkable, curious, and of lasting impression.
9 Bamboo (Nine Bam)
Chinese Character: “Liu”
Symbolized by the willow tree, its meaning is strength through flexibility or, in a word, diplomacy. This is because the willow bends to the wind during winter, survives, and once more flourishes again upright and strong in the spring.
Thanks to The World of Webring for these interpretations.