...life can be translucent

I Ching with Clarity

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,

From the blog

A Resonance Journal retrospective

Over four years ago now, we first brought out the Resonance Journal: software to keep a journal both of your Yijing readings and also of dreams, synchronicities and simple daily experience, and to reveal and explore how all these things connect and resonate together.

We’ve come quite a long way since then. The Resonance Journal now has three built-in translations (LiSe’s, Bradford Hatcher’s and my own) as well as a Yijing glossary (Language of Change); all the text (interface included) is resizable; you can review a random entry (possibly my favourite feature); you can protect your journal with a password; you can print your entries… and so on.

The first seven reasons

Now we’re up to version 2.1 (with easier updates and the ability to export your entries to Excel), I thought it was time I wrote again about the benefits of keeping a Yijing journal. And then I found I’d done so back in 2014, when I came up with ‘the first seven reasons’ why a Yijing journal is a good idea:

  1. You learn more about Yi.
  2. You can draw on your experience to help other people.
  3. You learn from experience.
  4. You learn from dreams.
  5. It’s an opportunity to grow your relationship with Yi.
  6. It allows everything to speak.
  7. Writing your story does you good.

(Here’s the original post.)

Reason number 8: you avoid a cartload of frustration.

(Probably this should have been reason #1.)

When discussing readings with clients, I often hear things like:

‘You know, my last reading had the same hexagram… that feels as if it’s trying to tell me something. I can’t remember what the reading was about, though…’

‘Yes, I’ve asked about this before a few times. I think the answers were positive…’

‘Well, I asked about the alternative and it said… hm, can’t quite remember, just a minute…’

– and then there’s the rustling of paper, or possibly the faint keyboard-rattling of someone searching their browser history, as they rummage about in the dwindling hope of finding what Yi had to say.

I know how this feels because it used to be me, too. It’s not that I didn’t care about the readings or didn’t keep them, it’s just that I couldn’t find them. Being an economically-minded sort of diviner, at first I wrote my readings on scrap paper and stuffed it all into an envelope…

Envelope of readings

…until I graduated to nice, substantial hardback notebooks…

Journal notebooks

…in which I still couldn’t find anything much, especially since I kept forgetting to index them properly.

As you can imagine, I’ve gone through the whole, ‘I know I had a reading about that somewhere…’ and ‘I’m sure I’ve seen this hexagram somewhere recently…’ thing more often than I can count. You know your present reading’s referring back to that one, you know it has something to tell you, you know you need to hear it, you know you’re missing out, and most of all you know this is completely ridiculous because you definitely wrote it down somewhere

So… do not be like me in the last millennium. Keep a journal where you can find the readings you needand see all their interconnections. And if you prefer to write your readings, dreams and reflections on paper, do that and use software to index them.

In short – if you don’t already use the Resonance Journal, download the free trial and get started. In addition to the features I mentioned above, it still has the most comprehensive facilities for searching for readings – by hexagram, trigram, lines changing, tag or full text – you can imagine. Your tooth enamel will thank you 😉 .


Looking away

Ancient Chinese character 'gen', showing a person with a great eyeHexagram 52 is called gen, 艮, and so too is the trigram that’s doubled to make the hexagram. It translates as ‘looking away’: in the ancient character, you can see a reversed human figure with a great eye. Nowadays, it apparently also translates as ‘tough, hard to chew’ – something that resists.

::|The trigram gen is known as ‘mountain’ – you can see why from its shape – and primarily means stopping. The hexagram’s formed of two mountains, and looks to me as if it’s divided into two separate boxes.

Name and structure merge into the hexagram’s spectrum of meaning: its core stance is not to respond, relate or react – not to be moved. Sometimes this looks like obstinacy, sometimes like the stillness of meditation.

Stilling – not a mistake

The Oracle says,

‘Stilling your back,
Not grasping your self.
Moving in your rooms,
Not seeing your people.
Not a mistake.’

As so often when Yi says something is ‘not a mistake’, it’s describing something we tend automatically to think must be a mistake. Surely as good, sensitive social beings we should always be self-aware, and always attuned to other people – especially those in our own homes? No, says Yi, not always: now, it’s OK not to grasp your self or see your people.

The old character for ‘grasp’ has to do with hunting dogs, so this means not trying to hunt down and capture yourself. I think of this mostly as not being self-conscious – not chasing down and second-guessing every thought. (Who else has had the experience of trying to meditate and ending up thinking about how they’re thinking about how they’re thinking?) Not every reaction has to be monitored. Make your back still – of course, your back will hold still quite naturally, especially if you stop trying to turn round and look at it.

Move in your rooms without seeing or meeting with your people. Early Chinese commentators, starting with Wang Bi, saw this as people with their backs turned, unaware of one another and hence blamelessly free from the desire to meet. You don’t desire what you can’t see – and hence you don’t have to impose forcible restraint, which would give rise to evil. This reminds me irresistibly of the wisdom, for me, of not having cake in the house: when it’s there, it calls my name all the time. Out of sight, out of mind.

In RJ Lynn’s wonderful I Ching, I learn that Wang Bi thinks the hexagram begins with ‘not grasping the other person’; Cheng Yi thinks it’s not grasping your self. Either way, the idea is to keep your back turned so as to ‘arrest the emotional response to things, prevent the workings of desire’ (Kong Yingda).

To this I’d add that this is not only about arresting desire, but all emotional reaction, also preventing the workings of anger, shock, fear, and – not least – social anxiety: that need constantly to rethink everything in the light of how other people might react. The ‘rooms’ in question, where we can safely not see people, can be inner as well as outer.

This brings us back to the shape of the hexagram: inner and outer mountains, defining their separate spaces. The authors of the Tuanzhuan, Commentary on the Judgement, also seem to have had the sense that the hexagram was divided in two: ‘Those above and those below are in opposition,’ they wrote of the lines, ‘and have nothing in common.’ (Wilhelm/Baynes)

Ostensibly, this refers to the lack of correspondence between the equivalent lines in the two trigrams (1 with 4, 2 with 5, 3 with 6): yang lines correspond with yin ones; two yang or two yin lines do not correspond, so that with two identical mountain trigrams, no two lines correspond. Only, of course, this is equally true for all eight hexagrams made of a doubled trigram, but only mentioned for this one.

The power of Stilling

Hexagram 52 follows from, and is paired with, Hexagram 51, Shock. This is an inverse pair, meaning there is really only one pattern of lines here – it’s just that we change our perspective, and look at it first from one end, then the other:

|::|::        ::|::|

In fact, you can see Hexagram 52 present already in the Oracle of 51:

‘Shock, creating success.
Shock comes, fear and terror.
Laughing words, shrieking and yelling.
Shock spreads fear for a hundred miles.
Someone does not lose the sacred ladle and libation.’

The officiant who doesn’t lose the sacred ladle or libation amidst all the panic is already Keeping Still. (There are other hexagram pairs where one contains or implies the other, but this might be the clearest example.)

The Sequence says,

‘Things cannot end with stirring up; stop them.’

Hexagram 51 stirs  everything up and sends out ripples and aftershocks. It sets things in motion, but it’s the beginning, not the completion. To recover from a great shock, you also need to stop. I once read that counselling urging people to confront a trauma explicitly, immediately after the experience, actually hindered their recovery. It’s no mistake for 52 to follow 51; blocking things out is fine.

A constant state of excitation doesn’t go anywhere or complete anything, like a heart in fibrillation can’t pump efficiently. Motion has to be balanced with stillness. Also, you can’t change direction without stopping first to recover your balance.

More wisdom from the Tuanzhuan in Wilhelm/Baynes:

‘When it is time to stop, then stop.
When it is time to advance, then advance.
Thus movement and rest do not miss the right time,
And their course becomes bright and clear.’

So it seems the purpose of stopping is to find a course that’s bright and clear. Often in the Yijing Sequence, upheaval and chaotic change is a prelude to greater balance – something that will endure. (Think of 49/50, or 59/60.)

In this particular part of the Sequence, processing change and finding stability is especially important. Hexagram 49 reminds us of the overthrow of the centuries-old Shang dynasty; Hexagram 50, the Vessel, founds the new. 51 and 52 are processing this change; in the same way, the doubled trigrams of 57/58 are processing the drama at Feng and Yi in hexagrams 55 and 56.

In the dramatic change from Shang to Zhou rule, there was also continuity: intermarriage between the two families meant that the Zhou could continue the Shang ancestral offerings – not losing the sacred ladle or libation. Maybe after an intense period of following their mandate – celestial guidance and fated victories – they had an especially strong need to hold fast to what was sacred and keep still.

The inner potential of Stilling

I’ve mentioned how the two trigrams of Hexagram 52 don’t relate to one another. But the Image paints a different picture:

‘Joined mountains. Stilling.
A noble one reflects, and does not come forth from his situation.’

Not just two mountains, but joined mountains. Inner stillness joins with outer stillness: quietly reflecting, and staying put. ‘Coming forth’ is the action of the trigram zhen, Shock – Hexagram 51’s doubled trigram. 52 reflects, and doesn’t seize the initiative and try to create change.

Here’s an intriguing connection: the character ‘joined’ is jian, 兼 , the phonetic component of the name of Hexagram 15, 謙 : Integrity. (This is the ancient part of the name: now, Hexagram 15 is called ‘words’ + ‘joined’, ‘integrity’, but originally it would have been simply ‘joined’, and people would have understood which of the meanings of the character applied.)

You can see the thematic link: to have Integrity is to hold together with truth;  that’s the action of a meditator, resting in awareness, holding together with the present moment and not ‘coming forth from his situation’.

And there’s also a structural link: Hexagram 15 differs from 52 only in its sixth line, which means they share a nuclear hexagram: 40, Release. The nuclear can be seen as the ‘seed’ contained inside the original hexagram, like hexagram DNA. So Integrity is one way of bringing Release to expression, and Stilling is another. To be able to move freely, choosing your own direction, you first need to become wholly still.

Mountains through the mist


Not just for decisions

It’s no secret that Yi is tremendously helpful when it comes to decision-making. You look at your options, single out the most likely one, and ask Yi, ‘What about this?’ And the oracle tells you what to expect if you take that road – be that sunshine and butterflies, or potholes and lunatic drivers.

This post is not quite about that; it’s about what comes before the moment of decision – not the individual decision, but the ground where it takes root. What I’m calling ‘planning readings’ are the ones where you ask for a guiding principle, or for the best approach to take. You have an intention in mind, and you’re asking how to start moving towards it.

An example from last year: course tech

I ask these readings for all kinds of things – but looking back through my journal, I seem to do so every time I’m facing some awkward technical task. Maybe that’s because this kind of work can rapidly become very hollow and arid – compare feature lists, trawl through reviews, check technical requirements – and leave me completely ungrounded. I’m drawn back to Yi because I need a dose of real-world, full-colour, multi-dimensional significance.

So for instance… last year, I realised I needed to revamp the Foundations Course, and do a better job of presenting future courses, and started looking through WordPress plugins that might help with that. There are hordes of them.

The simplest, least time-consuming option was one that would just allow me to add a ‘complete this lesson’ checkbox on each page so students could track their progress. But then there were much more full-featured, true ‘learning management systems’ that would really make a difference to people’s experience. But then again, was I falling into the Shiny Object trap again?

And so on.

You can see how this could give rise to a multitude of ‘What about option x?’ questions – and there were a few of those. But first, I asked,

‘What’s the right approach to take to course tech?’

And Yi gave me Hexagram 16, Enthusiasm, unchanging:

Fruitful to set up feudal lords and mobilise the armies.’

Big picture, big imaginings, something inspiring, something to galvanise feudal lords and armies… this did not sound like settling for a simple script to add a checkbox. Instead, I looked for a full-featured, creatively-imagined learning management system that would enable me to transform the whole experience of the course – and in the end, settled on ‘Grow Learn Teach‘.

With hindsight, it’s interesting that the developers’ communications are very 16-ish: along the lines of ‘Look what amazing new features we’ve added for you now! Imagine all the great things you can create with this!!’ The hype is all justified; it’s just noticeable because a lot of developers aren’t like that: they add amazing features, but keep them well-hidden. GLT make big claims, have big ambitions, and are building – with Enthusiasm – in pursuit of a big vision.

Over at Clarity, I needed to do a lot of work to set this up at first (the nuclear hexagram of 16 is 39…), but the effect has been both to encourage more people to complete the much-improved course, and also that I’m inspired to create more courses, because now it’s simple to take what people want to learn and make it digestible, attractive and easy to follow through. The extra features are sparking my imagination for future possibilities. And also, GLT has generated a whole new Library page for Change Circle, so that for the first time in years, members can actually find everything.

An example in progress: forum migration

Another year, another technical question. As you may know, the I Ching Community here at Clarity is getting a bit creaky, technically speaking. Members are working round the bugs in a very good-natured way, but…

Time to move. Again, there are a bundle of individual decisions to be made. Which software? How soon to move? How much to outsource, and how much to learn to do myself? Everything seems to depend on everything else, and of course there is tremendous scope for it all to go horribly wrong…

What’s the right approach to forum migration, Yi?

changing to

Yi says it’s Hexagram 63, Already Across, changing to Hexagram 24, Returning.

‘Already across, creating small success.
Constancy bears fruit.
Beginnings, good fortune.
Endings, chaos.’

What was that I was saying about everything going horribly wrong? But – as I would always tell a client who had Hexagram 63 – this doesn’t mean it inevitably falls apart; it means things fall apart when you finish. The trick is to keep moving, with constancy, keep beginning, and never imagine you’ve arrived.

‘Keep on beginning’ is an odd guiding principle for what looks to me like a project with a beginning (take the decisions), middle (migrate everything) and end. Does it mean ‘keep on upgrading’? (We’ll be moving to software that actually is regularly updated, for a change.) Keep on reviewing, keep on thinking of ways to develop the community? Could be…

‘Returning’ as relating hexagram resonates with and amplifies ‘beginnings, good fortune’: going back to the start, finding renewal. 24 reminds me of the core reasons for Clarity to have forums at all – back to the essentials. Amidst the to-ing and fro-ing of 24, and the ‘project management’ details, it’s good to have a direction to go – to stay in touch with the original purpose.

(Also, I do wonder about the relaxed quality of 24, and ‘the seventh day comes, you return’, and how long we might have the forums offline. My natural inclination is to try to juggle things to minimise downtime, to do all the changes at once and rush through as fast as possible. This might suggest something different – though I can’t imagine what would require a full week of downtime!)

Moving lines…

‘The high ancestor attacks the Demon Country.
Three years go round, and he overcomes it.
Don’t use small people.’

‘The neighbour in the East slaughters oxen.
Not like the Western neighbour’s summer offering,
Truly accepting their blessing.’

Line 5 actually tells me which forum software to use: the one that’s markedly less expensive, not quite so shiny, and more streamlined. Line 3 has me spending a lot of time and energy to sort everything out – and taking extra care when hiring. (That will mean some more decision-readings: find someone responsive with good reviews, and then ask Yi, ‘What about working with X?’ I’ve actually been in touch with someone who promises to stay available to fix things for years after the migration, and that – in the light of ‘three years go round’ – seems good!)

I wonder about Demon Country. The bugs? Those should be zapped by moving. The issue with Chinese characters? Could be. And the general technical tangle of forums-and-WikiWing-and-hexagram-search-and-template, of course. And maybe the Facebook-isation of online conversation.

(Note: the zhi gua for these lines are included as a worked example in module 7 of the Foundations Course.)

How to mess this up

(from experience, naturally)

1. Only ask little questions

It’s easy to ask what-about questions – there are always more of them. But while they’re tremendously useful for fine steering, they’re not so useful for planning the whole route. It’s easy to go from one to the next without ever understanding why the answers say what they do, or where all this is taking you. See, for example, this cautionary tale from 2015.

It should be just as easy to ask the larger-scale, longer-term questions – after all, they’re often a great deal simpler. The thing is, even to think of them, we need (I need…) to lift our noses from the grindstone for a moment and take a few steps back.

So I, for one, tend to stay in the minutiae, more ‘how to do it’ and less ‘what’ or ‘why’, and this really limits the difference Yi can make.

(I asked last year about getting business guidance from Yi, and it gave me 39.2 to 48: a beautiful, rich answer. It made me notice that most of my questions are from the servant’s point of view, not the king’s – when the servant isn’t the cause of her own experience.)

2. Forget your readings

And second, once we’ve asked for guidance, we (I…) need to remember it. This is going to take more effort than with a reading for a pressing decision, because you don’t get to apply the whole reading immediately and then move on; instead, you have to hold it in mind, carry it with you, and let it change your awareness.

An embarrassing example from my journal: I asked ‘How to recover my health?’ and received Hexagram 11 with line 1 changing. I’m using the reading now: sleeping more sensible hours, and hence finding time to exercise, and hence having more mental energy. Cycling each Friday morning to an organic garden for fresh vegetables and an extra 90 minutes on the bike – pulling up two thatch grass roots by one stem, as it were. Start anywhere; it’s all connected under the surface.

The reason why this example is embarrassing is that the reading dates back to 2016, and I’d completely forgotten what it said until I looked it up in my journal a few days ago. If I’d kept it in mind, I might be a stone lighter by now…

(This is an embarrassingly easy mistake to avoid, too. After you’ve cast the reading, just put a recurring reminder in your calendar to review it.)

Some advice

(to myself as much as anyone – guided by a reading I cast for this post, ‘How to plan with Yi?’ – 59.5.6 to 7)

Make your planning question as open and simple as possible. Try to ask the question far enough outside the box that Yi can dissolve the box altogether, and show you possibilities you’d never imagined.

Ask about the choices that can make a real difference to your experience – the king’s questions, not just the servant’s. These readings are not about what works best: they’re about what matters most. (In my two examples, not what will get it done fastest, but what will motivate and inspire, and what will stay alive and changing – though you might want to take your questions to a higher level than my examples.) What matters? What is meaningful? Even – what is sacred?

Bring a powerful intent to the reading, with unreserved commitment, ready to receive whatever it says and change anything and everything in response. This is not for topics of mild interest or theoretical speculation. Come prepared to disperse the granaries.

Hold to that intent and use it to contain and channel the reading’s energy. This is not about cultish obedience to whatever Yi ‘tells you to do’, forfeiting self-determination (not to mention common sense). Yi is its own world of imagery and affect and connections – it can suck you into a whirlpool of readings about readings about readings. For a real, fruitful conversation, you need your own inner momentum and purpose, separate from the flow of the reading. (‘Leave, go out and far away!’)

aerial view of road winding through forest



Since this post was published, I’ve filled all the available places for readings now and ‘closed’ again. If you’re interested in a reading in future, please be sure to get yourself on the list for ‘Ways of Opening’: that way I’ll be sure to email you when I next open. (Normally, I only notify the people on this list.) Thanks!

If you already know you want a reading…

I’m just opening the doors for my full I Ching reading service, for the first time in ages. (If you’ve already signed up on the readings page, you should have had an email about this last week.) If this is something you’re definitely interested in now, please visit the page, read the details and sign up for the ‘Ways of Opening’ booklet to help find your question. You’ll get an email right away with both the booklet and a link to an ‘Introductions’ form – please follow it!

If you’re not sure…

How is this different from an ‘I Ching chat’?

In a nutshell – it’s more complete, and it costs more.

I Ching chats are more or less always available for booking, and cost £30 (unless you are a Change Circle member, in which case it’s free). You book a chat, send me the basic information about your reading, and we talk for 30 minutes – long enough to give you insight into the reading’s core message, but nowhere near long enough to explore it fully.

Full readings are only available occasionally, and only for five people at a time, to ensure I can give my full attention to each person. This service costs £200 (unless you are a Change Circle member, in which case you get a £50 discount), and is more of a shared journey.

We start out with a call to find your question – my chance to concentrate on listening to you intently to understand your situation. Then there’s a long, spacious call to explore the reading (normally this takes about an hour), and I send you a recording and a written summary of this. And then we have a further three follow-up calls as you’re integrating your understanding of the reading. We might explore more facets of the original reading, see how it interacts with your dreams, or discuss a follow-up reading if something needs asking.

As you can imagine, this kind of deep-dive exploration is better suited to a big question that you want to spend some time on.

What’s changing this time

Like I said, I only open for full readings intermittently, and only for five people at a time. This normally means there are more people who want readings than I can accommodate. In the past, I’ve just emailed everyone who signed up for ‘Ways of Opening’ to say, ‘I’m open, here’s the booking link for the question-finding call,’ and the first five people to sign up would be the ones I read for.

This was nice and simple, but not especially well-thought-out! I might discuss questions with someone, only to realise I wasn’t the right person to help them after all. Meanwhile, there might be someone else who would have greatly benefitted from a reading, but who hadn’t even seen the email until after all the calls were booked (which often happened within an hour of pressing ‘send’). And it was all unnecessarily frenetic.

So this time, I’m trying something different. When you sign up for Ways of Opening, you’ll be sent a link to an ‘introductions form’ where you can introduce me to yourself and your question. That way, if there are more than five people who’d like a reading, I can choose those I feel I can help best. (And if someone does drop out after the opening call – which also sometimes happens because once you’re clear on the question you find you already know the answer! – then I’ll already know whom to ask next.)

This also means I can tell you when I’m closing the doors this time: January 14th is the absolute last day to send in an ‘introductions’ form.

If you’d like a reading this time, please sign up on the readings page and ‘introduce yourself’ via the form today.

hand turning shop sign to 'open'


(And if you might like a reading in future, please sign up on the readings page so I can notify you when I next open.)



What’s an annual reading for?

Every year on my birthday, I cast a reading for the coming year. Not as a prediction – imagine the gloom and suspense if you spent a year under the shadow of 24.6! – but for guidance. Perhaps it’s a little like the people who choose a ‘word for the year’ as a theme, except that I let Yi do the choosing.

In practice, the reading provides me with an underlying guiding principle that will feed into my planning for the year, and decisions along the way. Also, it tends to help me make sense of my experiences with hindsight – ‘Oh, is that what that was? Ah…’. That combination means that at this time of year, I’m partly absorbing the reading into plans for 2019, and partly just accepting that full understanding will come with time.

Here’s how I start to work with an annual reading – and how you can too, if you want.

My reading: Clarity and Advancing

Guidance for 2019?

changing to

– Hexagram 30, Clarity, changing at lines 1 and 3 to 35, Advancing.

To start with, this reflects a theme I had in mind already: visibility. Being visible goes against all my instincts, and Yi’s made considerable use of Hexagram 36, Brightness Hiding, in talking to me about this. Between the ages of about 6 and 16, getting a lot of people’s attention probably meant getting bullied, and blending into the scenery meant being accepted and safe. At the age of 46, it’s starting to dawn on me that following my 6-year-old self’s best advice while trying to sell stuff on the internet is pretty spectacularly ridiculous.

Startling moving lines…

So… Yi gives me 30, and 35: fire and fire, and fire above the earth. All the lights are on. It’s picking up on this idea of being visible, showing me how it actually works and how it feels. And what it says comes as a bit of a surprise: that changing inner trigram, looking for all the world like a glowing log in the fire, says,

‘Treading in confusion.
Honour it,
Not a mistake.’

‘In the clear light of the setting sun,
If not beating a pot and singing,
Then you will be making the lament of great old age.

That’s less clear – and more emotional – than I’d somehow expected. What can I make of these lines at this stage?

Line 1 –

‘Treading in confusion.
Honour it,
Not a mistake.’

– is about moving first, and finding out where I’m going later, or following the signs, and finding out where they lead later. The important thing is to be in motion, honouring the journey and whatever guidance there is.

I can apply this to work, finding ways to reach more people with Clarity, and to the other thing I really need to concentrate on this year: getting healthier. There’s no need for me to know exactly what I’m doing before I start doing it. (This post is a pretty good example of 30.1!) That goes against my natural habit of researching all the options, making a comprehensive list of requirements and tasks, sorting the list into the most ergonomic order… etc… first. Also it awakens an underlying fear of the fan yao, 56.1:

‘The traveller – fragmented and bitty,
Chops up his place and courts disaster.’

If I honour each glimmer of light, start moving before I know what I’m doing, won’t I sabotage myself by fragmenting my efforts? Answer: not necessarily, no – not if I honour each sign and step, and don’t go running off after the next shiny object.

Line 1’s quite comforting. Line 3 is not:

‘In the clear light of the setting sun,
If not beating a pot and singing,
Then you will be making the lament of great old age.

I find my mind going at once to, ‘What setting sun? What day is ending? What lament?’

This looks like the kind of thing I might recognise during the course of the year, but I have a few ideas already. I’m 46, which turns out not to feel exactly like 26, either physically or mentally. (I’m very lucky with my health overall, but there are enough niggles now that I can see I’d better stop taking it for granted.)

Also, Clarity is still not what you’d call a successful business – a fantastic community of wonderful I Ching people, but not a business – and so I can start thinking about how much time I must have wasted, not getting a grip (and not being visible!). My husband says kindly that I’ve built a ‘good foundation’ here, and he’s not wrong – but it’s been 18 years, so why don’t I have a few bricks on the foundation by now? Enough to support us, or even think about buying our own home?

So as my thoughts run along those lines, accompanied by the wailing of the world’s smallest violin, I can hear the ‘lament of great old age’: ‘If only I’d taken my chances! It’s all downhill from here! It’ll never work!’

What Yi has to say about this is interesting: the lament’s a consequence of not beating a pot and singing. This song would be celebrating the past day’s achievements, and the new day’s possibilities. It’s a way of 21 – Biting Through, fully coming to grips with everything, not just making up tales of woe. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen with a wooden spoon and some good, loud saucepans…

The hexagram relationship

If I really want to ‘get’ those lines, I need to understand how they emerge from the relationship between hexagrams 30 and 35. Or to put it another way, how do they express an ‘Advancing’ aspect, or perspective, or direction, for Clarity?

The odd thing is that these two hexagrams are one another’s Shadow – hexagrams especially easily mistaken for one another in a way that creates all-round confusion and stuckness. (See the Shadows mini-course inside Change Circle – if you’re not yet a member, you can join here!) Maybe this year is a good time for me to peel these two apart and get unstuck.

‘Clarity. Constancy bears fruit.
Creating success.
Raising female cattle is good fortune.’

‘Advancing, Prince Kang used a gift of horses to breed a multitude.
In the course of a day, he mated them three times.’

Hexagram 30 rears cattle; Hexagram 35 breeds horses. Very, very similar – but one has the sense of developing the capacity to sustain action and insight, while the other is about taking action, making the most of gifts, seizing the day.

Health-wise, this would be the distinction between nurturing energy and using it. (Sometimes 35 seems to burn the candle at both ends.) On the work side of things, too, I can recognise the distinction: it’s the familiar question of whether to concentrate on building up resources, or on promoting and selling what I’ve already made.

Over the past year, for instance, I concentrated almost entirely on developing the Change Circle membership: the new Sequence book, revised and expanded Yijing Foundations, Shadow mini-course, all in a new ‘home’ for easier access. All that comes under the heading of ‘cattle-rearing’: building up resources, creating supportive structures, developing the capacity to support insight. But I didn’t – for instance – make time to run a live Foundations class, or even open for readings. Those would be Hexagram 35 activities: ways of making the most of what I already have to offer.

(So I’ve always chosen between 35 and 30. Wait a minute, Yi, are you saying I’m supposed to do both at once?)

The two Images are also similar-but-different:

‘Doubled light gives rise to Clarity.
Great People with continuous light illuminate the four regions.’

‘Light comes forth over the earth. Advancing
The noble one’s own light shines in her character.’

Hexagram 30 has light doubled. It sits, with 29, at the centre of its own landscape of 5 hexagram pairs, shining light in all directions. Hexagram 35 goes out over the earth, shining its own light on the path. This looks to me like the difference between using a really strong headlamp (something I’ve learned to value when cycling along unlit roads!) and installing street lighting.

Perhaps the idea is to do both: rear cattle and install street lights using the energy and commitment of Hexagram 35. And yes… I think this does come through in those two moving lines. Honouring each footprint, responding to each sign, making the most of each opportunity; deliberately seeking and stoking joyful, forward-looking energy.

So far, this is telling me more about mindset than actions – but then it’s mindset that determines which actions are possible, or even thinkable.

As for what comes next – there’s some cattle-rearing to be done, in the form of technical upgrades necessary to keep the lights on. And I will also be opening for readings soon, so if you’d be interested in that – maybe for an annual reading? – please ensure you sign up here for the ‘Ways of Opening’ list. (Normally when I open, all the slots are taken by people on this list before I ever get round to making the offer public.)

Happy New Year to you – may your 2019 glow brightly 🙂 .

Log fire


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