...life can be translucent
Menu

Confidence in Change

For some 3,000 years, people have turned to the I Ching, the Book of Changes, to help them uncover the meaning of their experience, to bring their actions into harmony with their underlying purpose, and above all to build a foundation of confident awareness for their choices.

Down the millennia, as the I Ching tradition has grown richer and deeper, the things we consult about may have changed a little, but the moment of consultation is much the same. These are the times when you’re turning in circles, hemmed in and frustrated by all the things you can’t see or don’t understand. You can think it over (and over, and over); you can ‘journal’ it; you can gather opinions.

But how can you have confidence in choosing a way to go, if you can’t quite be sure of seeing where you are?

Only understand where you are now, and you rediscover your power to make changes. This is the heart of I Ching divination. Once you can truly see into the present moment, all its possibilities open out before you – and you are free to create your future.

What is the I Ching?

The I Ching (or Yijing) is an oracle book: it speaks to you. You can call on its help with any question you have: issues with relationships of all kinds, ways to attain your personal goals, the outcomes of different choices for a key decision. It grounds you in present reality, encourages you to grow, and nurtures your self-knowledge. When things aren’t working, it opens up a space for you to get ‘off the ride’, out of the rut, and choose your own direction. And above all, it’s a wide-open, free-flowing channel for truth.

For I Ching Beginners -

How do you want to get started?

There are two different ways most people first meet the I Ching. There’s,

‘I’m fascinated by this ancient book and I want to learn all about it,’

and there’s,

‘I need help now with this thing (so I’ll learn whatever I need to know to get help with The Thing).’

Learning about the I Ching, or learning from the I Ching?

In the end, these two ways aren’t actually different. It isn’t possible to do one without the other, and people end up wanting both: the ‘learn about Yi’ people draw on its help more as their knowledge grows; the ‘learn from Yi’ people find they want to know more, once they’ve got the help they need.

But... they are different at the beginning:

Not a beginner?

Welcome - I’m glad you’ve come. Clarity’s here to help you deepen, explore and enjoy your relationship with Yi. You might like...

And so you can get to know some like-minded Yi-enthusiasts and we can keep in touch, do join Clarity

Hello, and thank you for visiting!

I’m Hilary - I work as an I Ching diviner and teacher, and I’m the author of I Ching: Walking your path, creating your future.

I hope you enjoy the site and find what you’re looking for here - do contact me with any comments or questions.

Clarity is my one-woman business providing I Ching courses, readings and community. (You can read more about me, and what I do, here.) It lets me spend my time doing the work I love, using my gifts to help you.

(Thank you.)

Warm wishes,
Hilary”

From the blog

A ‘nuclear story’ (my term for something many people have described before me) is found within a single hexagram, by ‘unpacking’ its trigrams and nuclear trigrams. It unfolds a kind of ‘hidden adventure’ for the hexagram.

I realise I’ve written this up for Change Circle members in some detail (see this Wiki article and the linked pdf and call recording), but not really mentioned it on the blog, so here – as one more of the many ways that Yi is a ‘Book of Stories‘ – is a whirlwind tour.

A hexagram’s formed of two trigrams – lines 1,2,3 and 4,5,6. But folded up inside it, in overlapping lines, are another two trigrams: lines 2,3,4 and 3,4,5. Those are the nuclear trigrams. Put them together, and you have the nuclear hexagram, the heart or seed of the original.

But you can also combine main component trigrams with nuclear trigrams to form yet more ‘hidden hexagrams’. I’ve found it most satisfying to look at just three nuclear hexagrams:

  • lines 123,234, making an ‘encounter’ or ‘Call’ hexagram
  • lines 234,345, the true nuclear, the core work
  • lines 345,456, expressing a higher potential, learning or gift

These three hexagrams between them tell the cast hexagram’s underlying story. You could think of it as a way to imagine the hexagram as a novel, or an epic poem… or a blockbuster film…


The Great Taming”

Our impulsive hero is called to take a stand, to speak up, to decide what she’s really about. Maybe her neighbourhood’s turning into a ghost town because everyone’s going to the soulless restaurant chain down the road, so she decides the place needs its own café, makes her case to the local authorities and gets permission to open her own…

…and then she finds that running a café is vastly bigger and more complicated than she ever imagined. All her plans amount to nothing, and she’s compelled to learn on her feet, divine what the locals really want, and adapt as she goes.

…so that ultimately she learns to nourish both her own life and her community in a sustainable way, and finds new equilibrium.

(Hexagram 26: ‘call’ nuclear hexagram 43, Deciding; true ‘work’ nuclear 54, Marrying Maiden; final, ‘higher’ nuclear 27, Nourishment.)


OK, perhaps that one isn’t blockbuster material. Maybe sci-fi…

Traveller”

Aboard the multi-species interstellar ship seeking a new planet to call home…

…there’s a catastrophic cascading systems failure that demands an unprecedented response…

…and they can only be saved from destruction by creative use of the different species’ unique characteristics. (The hive mind that can survive in vacuum and the individualist that can see in ultraviolet, or some such.)

(That one’s Hexagram 56: ‘call’ nuclear hexagram 53, true nuclear 28, ‘learning’ 38.)


Well, possibly I shouldn’t give up the day job – but hopefully you see what I mean, how the the three nuclear hexagrams can tell a story of their own.

If you receive Hexagram 56, the Traveller, you might encounter it at first as the flight of the geese, searching for a place to belong. You might find that the real work and adventure of being the traveller involves ‘standing alone without fear’, finding your environment won’t bear the weight of your true identity and purpose so you must carry it all yourself, feeling the stress of that and the risk of overstepping the mark. And ultimately you might have an opportunity to learn to live with difference at a higher and more creative level.

Nuclear stories reflected in changing lines

And… you can look not only at the hexagrams, but also the moving lines within the hexagrams. (I have Luis Andrade, Sparhawk in our I Ching Community, to thank for suggesting I look into this fully.)

So line 3 in Hexagram 56 is reflected at the very beginning of that hidden, inner story as 53.3.5:

unfolding lines 1,2,3 – 2,3,4 would reveal…

If the protagonist of ‘Traveller’ were an anti-hero who triggered the system failure and lost friends… well, perhaps his back-story might involve losing his father to the failed settlement of an inhospitable planet, and a driving frustration at how long the journey is taking. Perhaps that’s why he burned out life support in an impatient attempt to boost the engines.

(Who knew this oracle would make it so easy to write clichéd sci-fi? We can probably get a romantic sub-plot out of 28.2.4, and the moral of the story from 38.1, in which our hero can only save the day by overcoming his reflexive aversion to the slug aliens. Or something.)

Outside Hexagram Cinema, though, how could you use this in real-life readings? Well… with discretion. Do I want to explore the full-length epic of a temperamental webserver, or a holey tooth? Probably not, no. But for a big question, something larger-scale and longer-term, nuclear stories come into their own.

When you’re not sure where to start or how to ‘get into’ a reading, the ‘Calling’ nuclear may give you a foothold. It answers questions like, ‘Yes, but why would that happen?’ or ‘Yes, but where’s that coming from?’

A big reading often works itself out in both waking and dreaming life – and the core nuclear can show those workings. Dream imagery especially can show up in the lines of nuclear hexagrams; it’s very exciting when that happens in a client’s reading. (When doing an in-depth reading for a client I always read through the full nuclear story, but I wouldn’t share it all in our first call – not when a single changing line can be reflected in as many as five nuclear story lines. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing.)

It also works itself out in other readings. I just found a smallish reading I cast showing up as the true nuclear hexagram (and moving line) of a bigger one; it’s surprising how often this happens. Yi’s redirecting my attention by showing me where smallish thing fits in the bigger scheme of things.

In conclusion? No conclusion, really… just explore, let your readings tell you stories, see where they take you. Also, the slug aliens really aren’t so bad.

 

 

I wrote about a core message of Hexagram 23 when it’s your cast hexagram: how it demands a true tabula rasa, not just a ‘rethink’. What about 23 as relating hexagram – what can that mean?

Of course, there are 64 different ways a reading can change to Hexagram 23, but here are the six ways that involve just one line changing:

‘Giving up your own spirit tortoise,
Gazing at me with jaws hanging down.
Pitfall.’ (27.1)

‘Embracing the ignoramus, good fortune.
Receiving a wife, good fortune.
The son governs the home.’ (4.2)

‘Stilling your waist,
Dividing your back,
Danger smothers the heart.’ (52.3)

‘Advancing like a long-tailed rodent,
Constancy: danger.’ (35.4)

‘Seeing my own life.
The noble one is without mistake.’ (20.5)

‘Dragons battling in the open country.
Their blood dark and yellow.’ (2.6)

If we can see what these lines have in common, that might (perhaps) offer a guide to the more complex, multi-line readings.

The first thing I notice is that they all seem to involve separation and divergence: explicitly or implicitly, there are two directions present, and the distance between them is important.

Gazing at the hanging jaws means giving up your sacred tortoise. Accepting the child’s new authority means moving away from the certainty of the father’s rule. You keep your waist still, but natural movement continues and pulls you apart. The humans want a grain store, but the rodent’s idea of ‘advance’ takes things in another direction. The noble one’s detached vision pulls up and away from involvement. The dragons of winter and spring fight to pull the year in opposite directions. It all shows the influence of 23 as Splitting Apart.

In a lot of these – all except 20.5, perhaps – there’s rivalry between two authorities, or two agendas, pulling in opposite directions. (And perhaps you could even construe 20.5’s overview as an alternative ‘authority’.) The line is tending to split apart from an original structure, vision or flow – pulling away from the situation’s dominant direction.

That divergence can show up as an inner division that becomes self-sabotage: pushing out that solid sixth line can amount to separating from your own motive force, your natural insight, desire, greater purpose or creative direction.

In relationships between people, the growing distance stretches communication to breaking point. People pull too far apart to connect with one another, or with an idea.

Separating from the yang sixth line can also feel like ‘getting off the train’ – separating yourself and your perspective from the onward march of things. Is that ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or feasible? It depends what you think of the onward march. Wondering whether to accept the upgrade to Windows 10, I asked Yi about declining, and had 2.6 – resisting the change, separating from the trajectory of ongoing upgrades and updates Microsoft has laid out for us.

Every now and then, Stripping Away as relating hexagram has a paradoxically creative effect, opening space for more responsive action. You can recognise this in the moving line texts – 4.2 or 20.5, for instance. And the same’s true of multi-line readings.

Decreasing and Stripping Away, 41.1.2 to 23 –

‘Bringing your own business to an end, going swiftly,
Not a mistake.
Considering decreasing it.’

‘Constancy bears fruit,
Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
Not decreasing, increasing it.’

Your own agenda is stripped out, cleared out of the way of increase.

Gradual Development’s Stripping Away, 53.3.5 to 23 –

‘The wild geese gradually progress to the high plateau.
The husband marches out and does not return,
The wife is pregnant, but does not raise the child.
Pitfall.
Fruitful to resist outlaws.’

‘The wild geese gradually progress to the ancestral grave-mounds.
The wife is not pregnant for three years.
In the end, nothing can prevent it.
Good fortune.’

– and Already Across, Stripping Away, 63.2.4 to 23 –

‘Your wheels dragged back.
Constancy, good fortune.’

‘Constancy, good fortune, regrets vanish.
The Thunderer uses this to attack the Demon Country.
Three years go round, and there are rewards in the great city.’

In both of those readings, what’s stripped away seems to be your own timetable: you might expect to have arrived by now, but no. That can eb experienced as a great loss.

Or 12.4.5 to 23, a reading I had once for what to do with a decaying wisdom tooth. I think those lines –

‘There is a mandate, no mistake.
Work with clarity, fulfilment.’

‘Resting when blocked.
Great person, good fortune.
It is lost, it is lost!
Tie it to the bushy mulberry tree.’

– are a way of separating one’s own efforts from the outcome. I used raw garlic to cure the infection (not for the faint-hearted); then I had the thing extracted, and was finally able to concentrate on something else. Stripping Away can even be a relief…

falling leaf

 

 

 

 

The essential message of Stripping Away is devastatingly simple:

‘Stripping away.
Fruitless to have a direction to go.’

Your ‘direction to go’ can be whatever plan you have in mind, your purpose or vision or intent, or something as slight as a curiosity to explore in a certain direction. The root of the idea is to travel from the centre to the borders, to explore and sound out the unknown. Stephen Field associates Hexagram 23 with King Hai at Yi – exploring and testing his boundaries in a new culture, something that didn’t work out so well for him.

Hexagram 23 responds to whatever part of you is saying ‘Onward and outward!’ with ‘Nope. No use.’

So in practice, in readings, this is pretty simple: you see Hexagram 23, and give up whatever you had in mind.

Naturally, simple is not the same as easy. We like our ideas; we do not want to let them go. And a particular frustration of Hexagram 23, at least for me, is that I tend to receive it just when I’m convinced I’ve had a grand and entirely new idea – only to realise, in the course of the reading, that I was only perpetuating the old.

When Hexagram 23 is the primary hexagram, especially, it tends to point to some purpose or self-concept or pet idea that needs to be shed completely. The shape of the hexagram shows how what the idea rests on is not solid and offers no support. There’s no point trying to travel to the borders when the centre is crumbling; you can’t build towers on air.

But the advice isn’t just to recognise your idea is doomed and drop it; it’s to strip it away actively and create mental space. It’s particularly important not to respond to 23 with, ‘Oh, this idea must need some tweaking to make it work…’ The shadow hexagram for 23 – Hexagram ‘Minus 23’ in the Sequence – is 42, Increase, with its Image of a noble one who ‘sees improvement, and so changes; where there is excess, she corrects it.’ Increase’s way of thinking is ‘this can be changed, this can be improved’ – and in a time of Stripping Away, that would be a trap.

As long as old ways of thinking linger, we tend to repeat ourselves. Hexagram 23 is a call to create such emptiness that the next move can only be completely new. Perfect tabula rasa; no precedent. In this space you might find a true seed of change.

The Image helps us find this mindset –

‘Mountain rests on the earth. Stripping Away.
The heights are generous, and there are tranquil homes below.’

– because it depersonalises. The mountain rests on the earth, the soil erodes into the valley, the heights are generous, and the process of change is ongoing. There’s no person here called on to give things up, willingly or not; there’s just change happening. It isn’t about you.
Tabula rasa

 

Background

Well… in the first weeks of September I was bubbling over with ideas for blog posts. I’d write two, and ‘schedule’ one to be published later so as not to overdo it. And then I published that last one on Hexagram 23, and waited for inspiration to strike again…

…and I’m still waiting.

Oh.

I’ve still been thinking and writing – the ‘Reading for Others’ materials are coming along, there have been some great readings shared in Reading Circle, and I’ve spent some intriguing hours researching and writing for a Yi Academy thread where we’re looking at the qualities of lines in trigrams. So it’s not that my brain’s ground to a complete halt – but it does seem to have slowed down a lot, and it’s not in a co-operative mood.

Me: ‘Brain, how about a new blog idea?’
Brain: ‘No.’
Me: ‘Maybe we could work up that idea about…?’
Brain: ‘No.’
Me: ‘OK, look at all the unchecked items on this to-do list of website jobs. Let’s…’
Brain: ‘No. Browse internet, eat chocolate.’
Me: ‘Dark or milk?’

This is a bit alarming… Things I told myself I’d do, don’t get done. The email inbox fills up again; distractions have somehow become ten times more distracting. And although I’m not depressed, I remember past winters with SAD when the only thing that could hold my interest was the underside of the duvet. I don’t want this to be the beginning of that.

Question for Yi: ‘How best to navigate this winter?’

(I thought of asking ‘how to get work done’ but decided that was too narrow a question. Better to keep it open.)

…and what Yi said: 50.3.6 to 40

The Vessel and its Release.

I won’t try to write up everything I’ve thought about the reading – it would fill pages, and Recalcitrant Brain isn’t interested – but I would like to share what I’ve been learning about Hexagram 50, line 3. A quick overview and context first…

The Vessel, I think, is just me and how I live – how I cook up a way of life with the ingredients of daily routine, ideas, patterns of thought, what I take in. Vessel as way of life, Vessel as awareness and state of mind.

And Release is a reminder, at once, that it’s possible to overdo the ‘should’s. I should be fixing up website things, troubleshooting technical problems, writing blog posts and participating more on the forums; I should be developing a social media presence, making videos, turning the audio course into a podcast and getting some ebooks onto Amazon, and I should absolutely get to Inbox Zero… should shouldity should, a giant tangle of assorted guilt trips. Release unties a few of those knots.

The Vessel’s Release… since Release has that deceptively-simple oracle about turning and coming back with no place to go, and setting out at daybreak when there’s a direction to go, I think the Vessel’s Release is its power to be in the right place at the right time. In 50’s imagery, it’s about the vessel’s portability.

Sure enough, the two lines are about the ‘ears’ – the carrying loops – and the handle that slots through them.

‘The vessel’s ears are radically changed,
Its action blocked.
Rich pheasant fat goes uneaten.
Rain on all sides lessens regrets,
In the end, good fortune.’

‘The vessel has a jade handle
Great good fortune,
Nothing that does not bear fruit.’

Now, line 6 is reassuring and lovely, because it reminds me of what endures – a jade handle, a vessel that’s almost eternally portable, brain glitches notwithstanding.

And line 3?

It’s easy to recognise this as Brain On Strike. ‘Its action blocked’ or ‘movement blocked’ – and ‘blocked’ is a word that can be used for blocked drains, of all things. Flow is stopped. The brain says ‘no’. Lots of things that could potentially be helpful or nourishing to people can’t be made available and stay uneaten. But later, there will be rain, the release of tension, antithesis of blockage, and good fortune in the end. Line 6 is about what endures, what’s always true; line 3 says there’s also weather, things that change. It’s not reasonable to expect myself to be the same all year round, and what’s stuck now will be unstuck later.

Only for now, the vessel’s ears are to be radically changed. I understand this is a metaphor about listening – the word ‘ears’ means literally ‘ears’ as well as those carrying loops – but what does it actually mean to ‘change my ears’?

I think it means listening to guidance in a different way, maybe listening to a different kind of guidance. What is there to guide me, besides Shouldy McShouldface?

I half-listened to a New-Age-y audio while I was doing the washing up. Only half-listened, because it was mostly mightily annoying ‘law of attraction’ twaddle, but then I suddenly heard a woman say, ‘I call it listening to my inner ding.’ She was talking about listening to intuitive guidance in the moment, doing what presented itself to be done, as opposed to making firm plans. And naturally, she wasn’t actually referring to an ancient Chinese sacred vessel – but still. Synchronicity isn’t fussy.

The paired line for this one – the ‘same line’ if I just stand on my head to look at the reading – is 49.4:

‘Regrets vanish, there is truth and confidence.
Changing mandate, good fortune.’

‘The vessel’s ears are radically changed,
Its action blocked.
Rich pheasant fat goes uneaten.
Rain on all sides lessens regrets,
In the end, good fortune.’

A change of mandate, reflected in the change to the vessel’s ears. Different calling, different orders, maybe a different kind of orders. The Sequence says that for radically changing things, nothing equals the vessel, so I imagine that the whole story of 50.3 is how the mandate gets changed in practice.

The inner experience for this line pathway is in hexagrams 64 and 63, Not Yet Across and Already Across –

‘The leaks are plugged with clothes of silk
For the whole day, on guard.’

‘Not yet across. Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
Fruitful to cross the great river.’

And that to me suggests the importance of ongoing, on-flowing commitment. You might have to get wet before you can bring order – if you can bring any order at all – and the task might feel more like just keeping afloat than organising anything. (Yes, it might.)


Since casting that reading, I’ve had some very watery experiences. There were the three occasions in rapid succession when I thoroughly annoyed people by explaining without listening. And then I had a terrific plan in mind – presented it proudly to Yi for endorsement/encouragement – and had Yi pour gallons of cold water over my bright shiny idea. Twice.

Then again… getting wet is no bad thing, is it? It might just unblock that drain, I mean brain. The most recent advice I received from Yi was 43.3 –

‘Vigour in the cheekbones means a pitfall.
Noble one decides, decides.
Goes alone, meets the rain,
And is indignant as if he were soaked through.
Not a mistake.’

So I shall squelch along gently, keeping my ears open…

 

Version 1.5 of the Resonance Journal is ready! This version includes Volume 1 of Bradford Hatcher’s Yijing – the full translation with commentary – as a built-in translation to explore via the hexagram browser and select there for use with your reading entries.

 If you already have the Resonance Journal installed, you must use the updater program to update your journal. Do not install the new version from the software download page over the top of your existing installation as that would delete all your entries!

How to update your journal

  1. Just to be safe, back up your journal. (Main menu, File > Back up journal entries – run the backup, then close your journal.)
  2. Download the Journal Updater program – JournalUpdaterTo1-5forWin.exe
  3. Double-click the downloaded file to run the installer and follow the steps given…
  4. …and when you get to ‘Select Additional Tasks’, do check the box for ‘create a desktop icon’
  5. When installation is complete, find and click the icon on your desktop – it’ll look like this: Journal updater desktop icon(If you’ve run updates previously, you might still have old copies of this icon on your desktop – ignore/delete those.)
  6. Reassure your computer again that you do want to allow this program or app to make changes, then navigate to your ‘Resonance Journal’ folder. (If you accepted the defaults when you first installed the journal, it’ll be under C:\.) Highlight the folder name and click ‘Open’.
  7. The updater will run, and you’ll get an ‘Update Complete’ message when it finishes.
  8. (And then you can uninstall the Journal Updater if you so wish.)

Good news for Mac users!

Resonance Journal 1.5 comes with a Mac-compatible version too. You can download this from here.

From the I Ching Community

A ‘nuclear story’ (my term for something many people have described before me) is found within a single hexagram, by ‘unpacking’ its trigrams and nuclear trigrams. It unfolds a kind of ‘hidden adventure’ for the hexagram.

I realise I’ve written this up for Change Circle members in some detail (see this Wiki article and the linked pdf and call recording), but not really mentioned it on the blog, so here – as one more of the many ways that Yi is a ‘Book of Stories‘ – is a whirlwind tour.

A hexagram’s formed of two trigrams – lines 1,2,3 and 4,5,6. But folded up inside it, in overlapping lines, are another two trigrams: lines 2,3,4 and 3,4,5. Those are the nuclear trigrams. Put them together, and you have the nuclear hexagram, the heart or seed of the original.

But you can also combine main component trigrams with nuclear trigrams to form yet more ‘hidden hexagrams’. I’ve found it most satisfying to look at just three nuclear hexagrams:

  • lines 123,234, making an ‘encounter’ or ‘Call’ hexagram
  • lines 234,345, the true nuclear, the core work
  • lines 345,456, expressing a higher potential, learning or gift

These three hexagrams between them tell the cast hexagram’s underlying story. You could think of it as a way to imagine the hexagram as a novel, or an epic poem… or a blockbuster film…


The Great Taming”

Our impulsive hero is called to take a stand, to speak up, to decide what she’s really about. Maybe her neighbourhood’s turning into a ghost town because everyone’s going to the soulless restaurant chain down the road, so she decides the place needs its own café, makes her case to the local authorities and gets permission to open her own…

…and then she finds that running a café is vastly bigger and more complicated than she ever imagined. All her plans amount to nothing, and she’s compelled to learn on her feet, divine what the locals really want, and adapt as she goes.

…so that ultimately she learns to nourish both her own life and her community in a sustainable way, and finds new equilibrium.

(Hexagram 26: ‘call’ nuclear hexagram 43, Deciding; true ‘work’ nuclear 54, Marrying Maiden; final, ‘higher’ nuclear 27, Nourishment.)


OK, perhaps that one isn’t blockbuster material. Maybe sci-fi…

Traveller”

Aboard the multi-species interstellar ship seeking a new planet to call home…

…there’s a catastrophic cascading systems failure that demands an unprecedented response…

…and they can only be saved from destruction by creative use of the different species’ unique characteristics. (The hive mind that can survive in vacuum and the individualist that can see in ultraviolet, or some such.)

(That one’s Hexagram 56: ‘call’ nuclear hexagram 53, true nuclear 28, ‘learning’ 38.)


Well, possibly I shouldn’t give up the day job – but hopefully you see what I mean, how the the three nuclear hexagrams can tell a story of their own.

If you receive Hexagram 56, the Traveller, you might encounter it at first as the flight of the geese, searching for a place to belong. You might find that the real work and adventure of being the traveller involves ‘standing alone without fear’, finding your environment won’t bear the weight of your true identity and purpose so you must carry it all yourself, feeling the stress of that and the risk of overstepping the mark. And ultimately you might have an opportunity to learn to live with difference at a higher and more creative level.

Nuclear stories reflected in changing lines

And… you can look not only at the hexagrams, but also the moving lines within the hexagrams. (I have Luis Andrade, Sparhawk in our I Ching Community, to thank for suggesting I look into this fully.)

So line 3 in Hexagram 56 is reflected at the very beginning of that hidden, inner story as 53.3.5:

unfolding lines 1,2,3 – 2,3,4 would reveal…

If the protagonist of ‘Traveller’ were an anti-hero who triggered the system failure and lost friends… well, perhaps his back-story might involve losing his father to the failed settlement of an inhospitable planet, and a driving frustration at how long the journey is taking. Perhaps that’s why he burned out life support in an impatient attempt to boost the engines.

(Who knew this oracle would make it so easy to write clichéd sci-fi? We can probably get a romantic sub-plot out of 28.2.4, and the moral of the story from 38.1, in which our hero can only save the day by overcoming his reflexive aversion to the slug aliens. Or something.)

Outside Hexagram Cinema, though, how could you use this in real-life readings? Well… with discretion. Do I want to explore the full-length epic of a temperamental webserver, or a holey tooth? Probably not, no. But for a big question, something larger-scale and longer-term, nuclear stories come into their own.

When you’re not sure where to start or how to ‘get into’ a reading, the ‘Calling’ nuclear may give you a foothold. It answers questions like, ‘Yes, but why would that happen?’ or ‘Yes, but where’s that coming from?’

A big reading often works itself out in both waking and dreaming life – and the core nuclear can show those workings. Dream imagery especially can show up in the lines of nuclear hexagrams; it’s very exciting when that happens in a client’s reading. (When doing an in-depth reading for a client I always read through the full nuclear story, but I wouldn’t share it all in our first call – not when a single changing line can be reflected in as many as five nuclear story lines. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing.)

It also works itself out in other readings. I just found a smallish reading I cast showing up as the true nuclear hexagram (and moving line) of a bigger one; it’s surprising how often this happens. Yi’s redirecting my attention by showing me where smallish thing fits in the bigger scheme of things.

In conclusion? No conclusion, really… just explore, let your readings tell you stories, see where they take you. Also, the slug aliens really aren’t so bad.

 

 

I wrote about a core message of Hexagram 23 when it’s your cast hexagram: how it demands a true tabula rasa, not just a ‘rethink’. What about 23 as relating hexagram – what can that mean?

Of course, there are 64 different ways a reading can change to Hexagram 23, but here are the six ways that involve just one line changing:

‘Giving up your own spirit tortoise,
Gazing at me with jaws hanging down.
Pitfall.’ (27.1)

‘Embracing the ignoramus, good fortune.
Receiving a wife, good fortune.
The son governs the home.’ (4.2)

‘Stilling your waist,
Dividing your back,
Danger smothers the heart.’ (52.3)

‘Advancing like a long-tailed rodent,
Constancy: danger.’ (35.4)

‘Seeing my own life.
The noble one is without mistake.’ (20.5)

‘Dragons battling in the open country.
Their blood dark and yellow.’ (2.6)

If we can see what these lines have in common, that might (perhaps) offer a guide to the more complex, multi-line readings.

The first thing I notice is that they all seem to involve separation and divergence: explicitly or implicitly, there are two directions present, and the distance between them is important.

Gazing at the hanging jaws means giving up your sacred tortoise. Accepting the child’s new authority means moving away from the certainty of the father’s rule. You keep your waist still, but natural movement continues and pulls you apart. The humans want a grain store, but the rodent’s idea of ‘advance’ takes things in another direction. The noble one’s detached vision pulls up and away from involvement. The dragons of winter and spring fight to pull the year in opposite directions. It all shows the influence of 23 as Splitting Apart.

In a lot of these – all except 20.5, perhaps – there’s rivalry between two authorities, or two agendas, pulling in opposite directions. (And perhaps you could even construe 20.5’s overview as an alternative ‘authority’.) The line is tending to split apart from an original structure, vision or flow – pulling away from the situation’s dominant direction.

That divergence can show up as an inner division that becomes self-sabotage: pushing out that solid sixth line can amount to separating from your own motive force, your natural insight, desire, greater purpose or creative direction.

In relationships between people, the growing distance stretches communication to breaking point. People pull too far apart to connect with one another, or with an idea.

Separating from the yang sixth line can also feel like ‘getting off the train’ – separating yourself and your perspective from the onward march of things. Is that ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or feasible? It depends what you think of the onward march. Wondering whether to accept the upgrade to Windows 10, I asked Yi about declining, and had 2.6 – resisting the change, separating from the trajectory of ongoing upgrades and updates Microsoft has laid out for us.

Every now and then, Stripping Away as relating hexagram has a paradoxically creative effect, opening space for more responsive action. You can recognise this in the moving line texts – 4.2 or 20.5, for instance. And the same’s true of multi-line readings.

Decreasing and Stripping Away, 41.1.2 to 23 –

‘Bringing your own business to an end, going swiftly,
Not a mistake.
Considering decreasing it.’

‘Constancy bears fruit,
Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
Not decreasing, increasing it.’

Your own agenda is stripped out, cleared out of the way of increase.

Gradual Development’s Stripping Away, 53.3.5 to 23 –

‘The wild geese gradually progress to the high plateau.
The husband marches out and does not return,
The wife is pregnant, but does not raise the child.
Pitfall.
Fruitful to resist outlaws.’

‘The wild geese gradually progress to the ancestral grave-mounds.
The wife is not pregnant for three years.
In the end, nothing can prevent it.
Good fortune.’

– and Already Across, Stripping Away, 63.2.4 to 23 –

‘Your wheels dragged back.
Constancy, good fortune.’

‘Constancy, good fortune, regrets vanish.
The Thunderer uses this to attack the Demon Country.
Three years go round, and there are rewards in the great city.’

In both of those readings, what’s stripped away seems to be your own timetable: you might expect to have arrived by now, but no. That can eb experienced as a great loss.

Or 12.4.5 to 23, a reading I had once for what to do with a decaying wisdom tooth. I think those lines –

‘There is a mandate, no mistake.
Work with clarity, fulfilment.’

‘Resting when blocked.
Great person, good fortune.
It is lost, it is lost!
Tie it to the bushy mulberry tree.’

– are a way of separating one’s own efforts from the outcome. I used raw garlic to cure the infection (not for the faint-hearted); then I had the thing extracted, and was finally able to concentrate on something else. Stripping Away can even be a relief…

falling leaf

 

 

 

 

The essential message of Stripping Away is devastatingly simple:

‘Stripping away.
Fruitless to have a direction to go.’

Your ‘direction to go’ can be whatever plan you have in mind, your purpose or vision or intent, or something as slight as a curiosity to explore in a certain direction. The root of the idea is to travel from the centre to the borders, to explore and sound out the unknown. Stephen Field associates Hexagram 23 with King Hai at Yi – exploring and testing his boundaries in a new culture, something that didn’t work out so well for him.

Hexagram 23 responds to whatever part of you is saying ‘Onward and outward!’ with ‘Nope. No use.’

So in practice, in readings, this is pretty simple: you see Hexagram 23, and give up whatever you had in mind.

Naturally, simple is not the same as easy. We like our ideas; we do not want to let them go. And a particular frustration of Hexagram 23, at least for me, is that I tend to receive it just when I’m convinced I’ve had a grand and entirely new idea – only to realise, in the course of the reading, that I was only perpetuating the old.

When Hexagram 23 is the primary hexagram, especially, it tends to point to some purpose or self-concept or pet idea that needs to be shed completely. The shape of the hexagram shows how what the idea rests on is not solid and offers no support. There’s no point trying to travel to the borders when the centre is crumbling; you can’t build towers on air.

But the advice isn’t just to recognise your idea is doomed and drop it; it’s to strip it away actively and create mental space. It’s particularly important not to respond to 23 with, ‘Oh, this idea must need some tweaking to make it work…’ The shadow hexagram for 23 – Hexagram ‘Minus 23’ in the Sequence – is 42, Increase, with its Image of a noble one who ‘sees improvement, and so changes; where there is excess, she corrects it.’ Increase’s way of thinking is ‘this can be changed, this can be improved’ – and in a time of Stripping Away, that would be a trap.

As long as old ways of thinking linger, we tend to repeat ourselves. Hexagram 23 is a call to create such emptiness that the next move can only be completely new. Perfect tabula rasa; no precedent. In this space you might find a true seed of change.

The Image helps us find this mindset –

‘Mountain rests on the earth. Stripping Away.
The heights are generous, and there are tranquil homes below.’

– because it depersonalises. The mountain rests on the earth, the soil erodes into the valley, the heights are generous, and the process of change is ongoing. There’s no person here called on to give things up, willingly or not; there’s just change happening. It isn’t about you.
Tabula rasa

 

Background

Well… in the first weeks of September I was bubbling over with ideas for blog posts. I’d write two, and ‘schedule’ one to be published later so as not to overdo it. And then I published that last one on Hexagram 23, and waited for inspiration to strike again…

…and I’m still waiting.

Oh.

I’ve still been thinking and writing – the ‘Reading for Others’ materials are coming along, there have been some great readings shared in Reading Circle, and I’ve spent some intriguing hours researching and writing for a Yi Academy thread where we’re looking at the qualities of lines in trigrams. So it’s not that my brain’s ground to a complete halt – but it does seem to have slowed down a lot, and it’s not in a co-operative mood.

Me: ‘Brain, how about a new blog idea?’
Brain: ‘No.’
Me: ‘Maybe we could work up that idea about…?’
Brain: ‘No.’
Me: ‘OK, look at all the unchecked items on this to-do list of website jobs. Let’s…’
Brain: ‘No. Browse internet, eat chocolate.’
Me: ‘Dark or milk?’

This is a bit alarming… Things I told myself I’d do, don’t get done. The email inbox fills up again; distractions have somehow become ten times more distracting. And although I’m not depressed, I remember past winters with SAD when the only thing that could hold my interest was the underside of the duvet. I don’t want this to be the beginning of that.

Question for Yi: ‘How best to navigate this winter?’

(I thought of asking ‘how to get work done’ but decided that was too narrow a question. Better to keep it open.)

…and what Yi said: 50.3.6 to 40

The Vessel and its Release.

I won’t try to write up everything I’ve thought about the reading – it would fill pages, and Recalcitrant Brain isn’t interested – but I would like to share what I’ve been learning about Hexagram 50, line 3. A quick overview and context first…

The Vessel, I think, is just me and how I live – how I cook up a way of life with the ingredients of daily routine, ideas, patterns of thought, what I take in. Vessel as way of life, Vessel as awareness and state of mind.

And Release is a reminder, at once, that it’s possible to overdo the ‘should’s. I should be fixing up website things, troubleshooting technical problems, writing blog posts and participating more on the forums; I should be developing a social media presence, making videos, turning the audio course into a podcast and getting some ebooks onto Amazon, and I should absolutely get to Inbox Zero… should shouldity should, a giant tangle of assorted guilt trips. Release unties a few of those knots.

The Vessel’s Release… since Release has that deceptively-simple oracle about turning and coming back with no place to go, and setting out at daybreak when there’s a direction to go, I think the Vessel’s Release is its power to be in the right place at the right time. In 50’s imagery, it’s about the vessel’s portability.

Sure enough, the two lines are about the ‘ears’ – the carrying loops – and the handle that slots through them.

‘The vessel’s ears are radically changed,
Its action blocked.
Rich pheasant fat goes uneaten.
Rain on all sides lessens regrets,
In the end, good fortune.’

‘The vessel has a jade handle
Great good fortune,
Nothing that does not bear fruit.’

Now, line 6 is reassuring and lovely, because it reminds me of what endures – a jade handle, a vessel that’s almost eternally portable, brain glitches notwithstanding.

And line 3?

It’s easy to recognise this as Brain On Strike. ‘Its action blocked’ or ‘movement blocked’ – and ‘blocked’ is a word that can be used for blocked drains, of all things. Flow is stopped. The brain says ‘no’. Lots of things that could potentially be helpful or nourishing to people can’t be made available and stay uneaten. But later, there will be rain, the release of tension, antithesis of blockage, and good fortune in the end. Line 6 is about what endures, what’s always true; line 3 says there’s also weather, things that change. It’s not reasonable to expect myself to be the same all year round, and what’s stuck now will be unstuck later.

Only for now, the vessel’s ears are to be radically changed. I understand this is a metaphor about listening – the word ‘ears’ means literally ‘ears’ as well as those carrying loops – but what does it actually mean to ‘change my ears’?

I think it means listening to guidance in a different way, maybe listening to a different kind of guidance. What is there to guide me, besides Shouldy McShouldface?

I half-listened to a New-Age-y audio while I was doing the washing up. Only half-listened, because it was mostly mightily annoying ‘law of attraction’ twaddle, but then I suddenly heard a woman say, ‘I call it listening to my inner ding.’ She was talking about listening to intuitive guidance in the moment, doing what presented itself to be done, as opposed to making firm plans. And naturally, she wasn’t actually referring to an ancient Chinese sacred vessel – but still. Synchronicity isn’t fussy.

The paired line for this one – the ‘same line’ if I just stand on my head to look at the reading – is 49.4:

‘Regrets vanish, there is truth and confidence.
Changing mandate, good fortune.’

‘The vessel’s ears are radically changed,
Its action blocked.
Rich pheasant fat goes uneaten.
Rain on all sides lessens regrets,
In the end, good fortune.’

A change of mandate, reflected in the change to the vessel’s ears. Different calling, different orders, maybe a different kind of orders. The Sequence says that for radically changing things, nothing equals the vessel, so I imagine that the whole story of 50.3 is how the mandate gets changed in practice.

The inner experience for this line pathway is in hexagrams 64 and 63, Not Yet Across and Already Across –

‘The leaks are plugged with clothes of silk
For the whole day, on guard.’

‘Not yet across. Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
Fruitful to cross the great river.’

And that to me suggests the importance of ongoing, on-flowing commitment. You might have to get wet before you can bring order – if you can bring any order at all – and the task might feel more like just keeping afloat than organising anything. (Yes, it might.)


Since casting that reading, I’ve had some very watery experiences. There were the three occasions in rapid succession when I thoroughly annoyed people by explaining without listening. And then I had a terrific plan in mind – presented it proudly to Yi for endorsement/encouragement – and had Yi pour gallons of cold water over my bright shiny idea. Twice.

Then again… getting wet is no bad thing, is it? It might just unblock that drain, I mean brain. The most recent advice I received from Yi was 43.3 –

‘Vigour in the cheekbones means a pitfall.
Noble one decides, decides.
Goes alone, meets the rain,
And is indignant as if he were soaked through.
Not a mistake.’

So I shall squelch along gently, keeping my ears open…

 

Version 1.5 of the Resonance Journal is ready! This version includes Volume 1 of Bradford Hatcher’s Yijing – the full translation with commentary – as a built-in translation to explore via the hexagram browser and select there for use with your reading entries.

 If you already have the Resonance Journal installed, you must use the updater program to update your journal. Do not install the new version from the software download page over the top of your existing installation as that would delete all your entries!

How to update your journal

  1. Just to be safe, back up your journal. (Main menu, File > Back up journal entries – run the backup, then close your journal.)
  2. Download the Journal Updater program – JournalUpdaterTo1-5forWin.exe
  3. Double-click the downloaded file to run the installer and follow the steps given…
  4. …and when you get to ‘Select Additional Tasks’, do check the box for ‘create a desktop icon’
  5. When installation is complete, find and click the icon on your desktop – it’ll look like this: Journal updater desktop icon(If you’ve run updates previously, you might still have old copies of this icon on your desktop – ignore/delete those.)
  6. Reassure your computer again that you do want to allow this program or app to make changes, then navigate to your ‘Resonance Journal’ folder. (If you accepted the defaults when you first installed the journal, it’ll be under C:\.) Highlight the folder name and click ‘Open’.
  7. The updater will run, and you’ll get an ‘Update Complete’ message when it finishes.
  8. (And then you can uninstall the Journal Updater if you so wish.)

Good news for Mac users!

Resonance Journal 1.5 comes with a Mac-compatible version too. You can download this from here.

Join Clarity

You are warmly invited to join Clarity and -

  • access the audio version of the Beginners’ Course
  • participate in the I Ching Community
  • subscribe to ‘Clarity Notes’ for I Ching news

Join here!

Clarity,
PO BOX 255,
Witney,
Oxfordshire,
OX29 6WH,
United Kingdom

Phone/ Voicemail:
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).