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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: after your first reading, your curiosity will probably be aroused – and you’ll draw on Yi’s help more as your knowledge of it grows.

But… they are different at the beginning:

Get the I Ching’s help:

(There’s help at hand to explain how it works.)

If you’d like my help, have a look at the I Ching reading services.

Learn the I Ching:

It has all you need to get started from scratch. Then when you’re familiar with the basics and want to develop your confidence in interpretation, have a look at the Foundations Course.

Not a beginner?

Welcome – I’m glad you’ve come. Let’s explore this extraordinary oracle together!

Clarity’s here to help you deepen, explore and enjoy your relationship with Yi. You might like…

Reflections on readings, hexagrams, trigrams, imagery, myth, hidden structures…

Diving into real I Ching readings, relishing the way the oracle dissolves barriers between spiritual connection and ordinary life – listen and subscribe here.

where you can get to know some like-minded Yi-enthusiasts. To participate in the conversation and 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 Barrett


With hindsight

A reading where we already knew the outcome - which really gives us a chance to learn from it! The reading's about a family argument, and pausing to find a new way to respond, and the advice was Hexagram 5, Waiting, changing at lines 2 and 3 to 3, Sprouting:

changing to

I hope you enjoy this one - and to benefit from the I Ching Community's shared hindsight, do join WikiWing!

Why we cherish Yi

Clarity's recent member survey (still open here if you missed it) is teaching me a lot about who I'm writing for, how to help, what to improve, and so on - thank you for taking it!

Still, I think my favourite part, the question I'm most glad to have asked, is about why people cherish their relationship with Yi. I've been reading and re-reading the responses to that one, enjoying individual stories and the things we have in common. So here's a post about what we have in common...

"It is like a close friend"

That's the prevailing theme throughout the responses. I don't think anyone described Yi as a 'tool', or a device, or a means to an end. Instead...

"Yi has been a steady friend to me, and guided me safely. patiently and lovingly through many a challenging situation."

"I love the feeling of having a wise and honest companion spirit."

"Having a most qualified sparring partner to discuss the dynamics of a given situation."

"I have always regarded the Yi as my friend in all the 60-odd years I've consulted it.">

(Yes, '60-odd years' - and this response wasn't unique. One of my questions was about how long you've been consulting, from 'less than a year' to 'more than ten years' - I should have asked about longer timespans!)

It's direct and personal

This is something I often notice when I'm reading for other people, too: yes, there's wise guidance and rare insight and 'aha' moments, but often what moves people most deeply is the sense of being recognised. The Yi answers our question, and speaks directly to the person behind the question. It's good to be seen by a fellow-human, and something else altogether to be seen by an oracle.

"Sometimes just the sense that the universe is actually listening to my questions, when the answers seem particularly relevant even if not what I was hoping for."

"I'm amazed by how the answers always feel like direct responses to my query, as if I'm having a conversation with a wise friend."

"It feels so personal; my reading is meant for just me."

Exactly. We probably all have examples of responses that jumped off the page at us, sparking a wry grin or outright laughter or tears or just that familiar sense of being slapped with a wet haddock. And it's not always possible to communicate to someone else quite why it felt that way: the oracle's talking to you, and how it does it isn't always translatable.

So how does it do it? With imagery. Anyone can advise you not to be too patient, but only Yi can tell you you're waiting in a bog; any number of books talk about stress and pressure, but you can feel the ridgepole flexing. And, of course, there's imagery - poetry - that doesn't map neatly onto rational advice at all, can't be reduced to it, and speaks straight to the soul in ways we will never understand.

"The way the imagery can surprise and ambush my rational brain and get into the cellar door of my subconscious."

"Yi is always there"

"I find that it offers a non-judgemental space and words of advice regarding the issue that is bothering me. It is there, at any time of the day or night, like a very wise and permanently available being, always willing to offer guidance or at least salve some of my concern and offers a small respite in which I can relax and gain some perspective."

"Knowing that there is always "someone" listening. Knowing that I can ask any question, even (or most of all) the ones I'm not too proud of."

There's no time we can't consult and no question we can't ask. Still obsessing about the thing at three in the morning? Not a problem. You can't break the oracle. (No-one has in the past 3,000 years; you probably won't be the first.)

This is not, of course, a promise that we will like the answer...

Its personality

"Yi's kindness, wisdom, wit and humour. "

Again - exactly! How many tomes of spiritual advice regularly make you laugh out loud?

"He's an old and warmhearted sage, who doesn't judge me but also doesn't care about my primary feelings."

I thought that put it particularly well: being met with kindness, without judgement, but also absolute honesty. Quite a lot of people mentioned getting the answer they needed, not the one they wanted; absolutely nobody used the words 'polite' or 'tactful'.

"I appreciate the sincere and honest feedback"

"I can always depend on an honest answer."

"Honesty, trust, and insight."

"No emotional mush-mash"

"Yi's answers require me to stop fantasizing and get realistic to understand them. "

"Getting encouraged when I need it and slapped back to my senses when I need it."

That's a leitmotif woven throughout the responses: honesty.

The difference it makes

Obviously, we value the oracle because its advice and insights make our lives better: I get to understand people better and do slightly fewer stupid things, and I appreciate it. This respondent's experience seems very close to mine:

"It has helped me broaden my repertoire of actions, gotten me out of defaulting to usual habitual patterns, and thus enriched my life experience."

Yet oddly, this is one area where people's experiences differ a great deal. Compare this...

"Rarely is it suggested what to do or not do in relation to my question. Usually I find out why I asked the question, realizing another question within it. The conversation is a quiet time worth spending, not so much to receive as to participate in an exchange. A wonderful experience always."

... with the first two points this person made...

"Well, first, it invariably issues accurate predictions. Second, I have often used it to cut through tangential issues and get straight to the crux of the matter (in a very 30.6 way) when I need help or support making a decision."

No two people meet quite the same oracle, I think. Every now and then, I'll encounter someone who is quite sure that the Yi has a distinct guiding philosophy, because the tenor of all their readings bears this out. The Yi always encourages Daoist inaction... or teaches patience... or instills decisiveness and the will to act. As many, many people said, we receive the answers we need (and not particularly the ones we want), and our needs are not the same!

'It helps me be more confident'

Here's a theme I hadn't expected. A common objection to divination is that it takes away our agency, makes us dependent on an oracle to tell us what to do. That is a potential problem - the 'is it OK to go out and buy milk?' reading, or - much worse - not following a heartfelt desire 'because the oracle said not to.' (You don’t need Yi's permission!)

But the theme that emerged told exactly the opposite story: the oracle doesn't tell you what to do (which can be quite annoying of it). Instead -

"It helps me to be more confident in my life."

"It tends to validate my own intuition about a situation, which gives me more confidence to make decisions."

And the person who mentioned predictions first, and decision help second, continued:

"Third, I often use Yi to reality check my intuitions, to help discern when they really ARE intuition versus anxious or hopeful visions."

I think over time this has an incremental effect: we can learn the difference between real intuitions and hopes/anxieties. And in the same way, Yi's teaching me to be more discriminating about my own motivations. A perennial puzzle for me: if I don't take the risk, am I being a) a rational adult or b) cowardly? So I ask, 'What am I really doing, if I take this path?' - and get to know myself better. The Yi isn't replacing intuition or self-knowledge: it's teaching them.

And beyond all that...

As I was saying, it's not just the advice or the insight, or the mentoring or even the friendship: it's the realisation of what is really happening when we divine, and what this means.

If you drop a coin, it falls: we live in a universe with a law of gravity. If you drop three coins, six times, an oracle speaks to you. What kind of universe is this where that happens?

"It makes me feel like 'the universe' or something out there cares and is willing to help me make wiser choices, or just understand my life better."

"It gives me an i­ntimate feeling of being deeply understood and guided by a wise and loving friend. It makes me feel I am swimming in a sea of meaning and that I am not alone."

I Ching Community discussion

Step by step

Episode 44 of the I Ching with Clarity podcast is about an artist getting started with showing her art, one step at a time - Hexagram 46, Pushing Upward, changing to the Repeating Chasms of Hexagram 29, which made their presence felt as an emotional background.

changing to

I hope you enjoy this one! (There's a last-minute update right at the end.) If you'd like to discuss a reading of your own on the podcast, you can book a slot here.

Pairs and perspectives

Hexagrams - you probably know this - come in pairs: 1 with 2, 3 with 4, and so on, through to 63 with 64. Sometimes it's obvious why a pair of hexagrams belong together, sometimes less so. It only really sank in for me recently why Hexagram 43, Deciding, would be paired with 44, Coupling:

'Breaking through must mean meeting, and so Coupling follows: Coupling means meeting.'

Hexagram 44, the Sequence

What you must necessarily meet in the drama of Deciding is the messenger.

'Deciding, tell it in the king's chambers.
With truth, call out, there is danger.
Notify your own town.
Fruitless to take up arms;
Fruitful to have somewhere to go.'

Hexagram 43, the Oracle

The Oracle of Hexagram 43 speaks to a messenger: someone who stands up in the king's court and brings his message. He calls out (the outer trigram is dui, the lake, opening and communicating) with truth (it's deepened and powered by the inner trigram qian, the irreducible truth of heaven). The ripples of change spread outward with the message, from the chambers to the town and beyond. Receiving Hexagram 43, we imagine this as the yang energy of decision rising through the five solid lines, pushing out the last trace of openness/ indecision in line 6.

Only... what would the experience of Deciding have been like for those who received the message? I can imagine that they were quite happy and secure before the messenger arrived. The message irrupts into the peaceful, ordered heart of the king's court, creating openings, breaking through barriers. (43 is also 'breaking through' and the breaching of a dam.)

And this starts to sound a lot like the experience of Hexagram 44. The message tears through things like a whirlwind (Hexagram 44's trigram picture) and life will never be the same again. You need to pass the message along, let it travel out from the royal chambers without making a fight of it...

'Below heaven is the wind. Coupling.
The prince sends out mandates and commands to the four corners of the earth.'

Hexagram 44, the Image

What you will not want to do is set up house with the messenger.

'Coupling, the woman is powerful.
Do not take this woman.'

Hexagram 44, the Oracle

Someone who brings messages like this is not going to fit in as a regular integrated part of your court. This is strictly a one-off.

In other words... broken and solid lines, yin and yang, are always relative. What feels like rising yang in 43 when it corresponds to your own decision, is going to feel like the arrival of yin when it's undermining your status quo. There's a single energetic situation here, the arrival/arising of a force bringing change, but it's seen from two perspectives and hence described in two different metaphors.

How many other pairs work like this - a single energetic 'shape', seen from two different perspectives?

It would be very satisfying to be able to answer confidently, 'All of them!' and introduce a single, grand concept that would help to explain the whole book. And it surely ought to work like that for every inverse pair of hexagrams, since they are all quite literally a single shape seen from two different perspectives. (You can say that Hexagram 44 is Hexagram 43 upside-down - but I prefer to say that it's what you see if you walk round 43 and look at it from the other direction.)

could look like

So we can look at each pair and ask,

'Could both of these be true at once? Is there a place to stand where I'd see this one as that one?'

And disappointingly, I can't always find one - or at all events, not without seriously torturing some hexagram meanings. Sometimes other concepts - like call-and-response - are just more useful to understand a pair. It's a good way to think about them, though.

Think of Hexagrams 37 and 38, for instance.

'Opposing means outside. People in the Home means inside.'

Hexagrams 37/38, the Zagua

Homes have an inside and also an outside. One home, two perspectives.

Or Hexagrams 19 and 20 -

'The meaning of Nearing and Seeing: someone reaches out, someone seeks.'

Hexagrams 19/20, the Zagua

R.J. Lynn translates,

'The concepts underlying Lin (Overseeing) and Guan (Viewing, Hexagram 20) in some cases mean "provide" and in others "seek".'

and adds a footnote:

'Han Kangbo comments: "If one stirs oneself to oversee others, this is referred to as 'provide,' but if others come to view oneself, this is referred to as 'seek'.'

So this could be a single encounter.

Or how about 41/42, or 47/48, or even 35/36, which of course are as different as night and day...?

I Ching Community discussion

Sharing the I Ching

Have you ever tried to explain your relationship with the I Ching to someone? Maybe explaining how you took a decision, solved a problem, reached an insight?

Or do you find it simpler just to avoid the subject altogether?

Naturally, I find myself mentioning the oracle more often than most: more or less every time someone asks the 'What do you do?' question. And then there's usually perfect befuddlement, and then I need to try to explain - at least a little - which I always used to find quite awkward and embarrassing. I'm sure you know the feeling. But... why is that?

Of course, there's always the chance that the person you're talking to will hold a religious conviction that divination is the work of the devil, you are inviting in evil spirits, and so on. (More of a chance if you're in the US, I imagine.) Then, I think, you have to respect that this person is genuinely, altruistically afraid for you - and hope to change the subject soon.

This isn't the source of the awkwardness, though, or not for me. I think that stems from another religion, one that seems to permeate our culture more completely: scientism. Divination, it says, is obviously not real. Why not? Because it can't be: there is no scientific explanation for how it could work, therefore it can't. This is obvious; everyone knows.

It follows that anyone who believes otherwise is obviously nutty, totally fruitcake, several sandwiches short of a picnic. Divination is present in popular culture as a bit of a joke (headscarf, crystal ball and so on) - 'for entertainment purposes only' - but to admit to doing readings and taking what an oracle says seriously is tantamount to admitting that you have a whole colony of bats in the belfry.

(A few weeks ago I had the 'what do you do?' conversation with a new friend, and watched his face as I told him. The 'Oh, just as I was starting to think you were intelligent' reaction was written there clearly enough, though he hid it very politely as he changed the subject. Ah well - never mind.)

The thing is... you don't have to be a dogmatic believer in scientism to feel its influence. Twenty-four years ago, if someone asked what I did, I was liable to respond with an embarrassed mumble - something along the lines of


I suppose that's because I grew up in a world - and a family - where everyone knew divination wasn't real. It's taken me a while to be able simply to tell people what I do and how it helps people.

And - who knew? - it turns out some people are actually interested. I've found myself sitting down drawing hexagrams on the back of an envelope in a coffee shop, or asking, 'Imagine you were asking about taking on another voluntary role and someone told you that the house's main roof beam was bending under the strain - what would that mean?' Maybe scientism is only a slightly brittle layer over the surface of an older knowing?

Incidentally... one of the most open, interested people I've talked to about this, a woman who asked excellent questions about what kinds of things people ask, and what the answers are like, and how they help, and why I value the oracle and what I believe it reveals about the nature of reality... turned out to be a vicar. (I didn't find this out until later, when there was an opening for me to ask what she did.)

I've also had a couple of lovely encounters with people who know the I Ching themselves, and remember a reading that might have changed the course of their lives. The oracle, it turns out, is a big part of the reason why my local greengrocer moved to this (southwest!) part of the country. And there was this encounter I wrote about in the 'Aha!' answers thread back in 2008:

I'd gone into Oxford to buy something specific, and after a lot of hunting round I found what I was looking for. But for some reason I decided to walk on and look at the next shop I'd been going to visit anyway, where I happened on a pot of minute beads that I thought would make the ultimate portable set of 16.

When I took my beads to the till and explained what they were for, the shopkeeper was fascinated. She didn't know you could consult with beads, but she had a history with the I Ching. She remembered there was a time when she 'wouldn't get out of bed in the morning without casting,' and she remembered vividly how the oracle could give her a firm kick when needed.
But most of all, she remembered the time in the 70s when the oracle talked her out of carrying cocaine through customs. She'd already agreed to carry it, but still asked the I Ching for its comment. It said something about the small fox that soaks iits tail in the water and can't complete the crossing; she changed her mind.

(You see what I mean about a reading that might have changed the course of a life!)

This hardly ever happens: most people have never heard of the I Ching. (Someone should make a website about it or something.) But you never know...

Anyway, I'd encourage you to be unafraid to share. Yes, some people might think you're deranged, and you certainly can't make anyone change their mind (about anything, ever, but particularly not about their religion). And if you've learned from a reading what to say to someone else to help them, it might help them more if you can conceal your sources. I've seen Hexagram 36 in this connection a few times -

'Brightness enters the earth's centre. Brightness Hiding.
A noble one, overseeing the crowds, uses darkness and light.'

Hexagram 36, Brightness Hiding, the Image

But by speaking up, you might have a delightful encounter with a fellow-fruitcake - and you might even spark someone's interest and the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I Ching Community discussion

55, Abundance, as relating hexagram

Abundance, the citadel

Hexagram 55 is Feng, Abundance - which is also the name of the Zhou interim, military capital city where they prepared, gathered allies and resources and watched the heavens for signs of their mandate to overthrow the Shang dynasty. So its themes include having an abundance of resources and also an abundance of demands made on you - being at the centre of it all.

'Abundance [Feng], creating success.
The king is present to it.
Do not mourn. A fitting sacrifice at noon.'

The king (or the querent) is called on to be present, take command, and translate the signs of heaven's mandate into action on the ground. The 'fitting sacrifice' is most likely one made to the earth before marching out.

So this is crunch time - where the rubber meets the road. You can see the same message in the hexagram's trigram dynamics: fire and light, clear vision, on the inside, translating outward into thunder, swift action, on the outside, setting it all in motion.

As a relating hexagram

How does this feel as a relating hexagram in readings? I ran a 'cast history search' for 55 relating (this post, amongst others, is brought to you by the Resonance Journal) and found a pattern of asking myself, 'Who's in charge here, anyway?' In charge of my inner realm, that is - my choices, my responsibility - whether or not I had any power to influence the outcome.

55 came up as relating hexagram again and again when I was asking about a big, long-term goal where I had an overwhelming, fierce sense of purpose. A representative quote: "I am at the centre, I have my resources here, and no-one else is going to do this. Do not mourn, get the **!@! on with it."

It also showed up three times where I was asking about reading for someone else (usually a 'what could I give x if I read for them?' question, one I sometimes ask when I can't read for everyone who applied and need to choose whom I can best help). I think that's partly because I would be gathering in all my resources and concentrating, and also because part of a diviner's work is 'joining heaven and earth' by helping the querent see where the reading applies and what change it creates.

Themes and patterns

I've been looking through all the single line changes to 55, and also all the two-line changes, in search of patterns. Here are some patterns I found...

Insight in motion

The trigrams of 55 show inner light becoming outer action. As the Tuanzhuan puts it,

'Clarity in movement, hence abundance.'


This often means that when 55 is relating hexagram, the moving lines carry the insight of the primary hexagram through into action. Shock, infused with Abundance, can wake you up and set you straight:

'Shock revives, revives.
Shock moves without blunder.'

Hexagram 51, line 3

Brightness Hiding at Feng will set out on a campaign to grasp and draw out the inner light:

'Entering into the left belly,
Catching the heart of brightness hidden
And going out through the gate from the courtyard.'

Hexagram 36, line 4

This movement tends to come with incisive presence of mind, independence and autonomy -

'Great person transforms like a tiger.
Even before the augury, there is truth and confidence.'

Hexagram 49, line 5

‘The king uses this to march out,
There are honours.
He executes the chief - the captives are not so ugly.
Not a mistake.’

Hexagram 30, line 6

Actually, in my experience 34.2 zhi (changing to) 55 has that same quality, even though the line doesn't mention it.

Practicalities and ideals

When there are two changing lines to make the connection with Abundance, you can see more clearly how insight combines with action. There will often be one line about practical, 'boots on the ground' implementation, and one invoking the higher perspective, confidence - and perhaps the relationship with heaven, too.

For instance...

'A great chariot to carry loads.
With a direction to go, no mistake.'
'From heaven comes help and protection.
Good fortune.
Nothing that does not bear fruit.'

Hexagram 14, lines 2 and 6

...14.2.6, where the cart wheels meet the road with the help and protection of heaven. 63.4.5 is similar:

'The leaks are plugged with clothes of silk
For the whole day, on guard.'
'The neighbour in the East slaughters oxen.
Not like the Western neighbour's summer offering,
Truly accepting their blessing.'

Hexagram 63, lines 4 and 5

There's one line about the practicalities of making progress, one about a true and confident relationship with heaven. Or look at...

'Embracing emptiness.
Use this to cross the river.
Not distancing or leaving behind,
Friends disappear.
Gaining honour, moving to the centre.'
'Fluttering, fluttering.
Not rich in your neighbours.
Not on guard against truth and confidence.'

Hexagram 11, lines 2 and 4


'Repeated returning.
No mistake.'
‘Walking in the centre, returning alone.’

Hexagram 24, lines 3 and 4

One line is very much 'on the road' (or in the river); the other needs to find its confidence and commit to independent action.

Translating vision into action doesn't, of course, always work out so well - more on that in a moment...

Do not mourn

Especially if the primary hexagram might be reluctant to act, lines changing to 55 can be full of encouragement to get past the obstacles. Hexagrams 36 and 51 are good examples: the situation inspires fear, but the response (36.4, 51.3) is clear, focussed action.

More generally, I think 55 relating can have a hint of 'Stop faffing about.' Stop worrying. Stop mourning - which includes the way we can mourn our failures in advance, to explain why we'd better not try.

'Embracing emptiness.
Use this to cross the river.
Not distancing or leaving behind,
Friends disappear.
Gaining honour, moving to the centre.'
'Fluttering, fluttering.
Not rich in your neighbours.
Not on guard against truth and confidence.'

Hexagram 11, lines 2 and 4

Cross the river, accept the loss, make the leap of faith, join the Flow.


‘People in harmony first cry out and weep, and then they laugh.
Great leaders can bring them together.’
‘People in harmony at the outskirts altar.
No regrets.’

Hexagram 13, lines 5 and 6

Travel on through the shared emotions and out beyond the walls to the outskirts altar - a story in two lines very reminiscent of...

'Entering into the left belly,
Catching the heart of brightness hidden
And going out through the gate from the courtyard.'

Hexagram 36, line 4

When abundance is too much

Abundance means there is a lot going on, a lot to handle. Its nuclear hexagram is 28, Great Exceeding, where the ridgepole is starting to buckle under the weight. And sometimes, 55 relating is just too much.

'Bird in flight means a pitfall.'

Hexagram 62, line 1

We know from the Oracle of 62 that the bird would do better to stay low. If you've ever wondered why, this (which Stephen King described as the first horror movie he ever saw) explains a lot:

So translating your awareness into immediate action may not be such a good idea.

(We don't always do this for the same reasons as the pheasant: there can be too much pressure, or too strong a sense of duty, or just a tendency to take on too much.)

In the two-line changes, there's 32.1.2 to 55 - infusing the patterns of your daily round with a deep sense of mission and responsibility:

'Deep into lasting.
Constancy, pitfall.
No direction bears fruit.'
'Regrets vanish.'

Hexagram 32, lines 1 and 2

Line 1 is altogether too committed ('I'm the kind of person who always...'), but perhaps line 2 could leave that behind, and we could move on from bull-headedness (line 1 zhi 34) to a more nimble practicality (line 2 zhi 62).

56.1.6, on the other hand, is an unmitigated disaster:

'The traveller - fragmented and bitty,
Chops up his place and courts disaster.'
'The bird burns its nest.
Travelling people first laugh, afterwards cry out and weep.
Lose cattle in Yi.

Hexagram 56, lines 1 and 6

That reads almost as a parody of 55's directed action and independent thought.

There is another possible reaction to Abundant overload: avoidance. Insight doesn't always become motion. 21.3.6 tells a story:

'Biting into dried meat,
Coming on poison.
Small shame,
No mistake.'
'Shouldering a cangue so your ears disappear.

Hexagram 21, lines 3 and 6

I bit in with purpose, I did not like what I found, and now I can't take quite so much reality.

And 16.1.3 seems to be the perfect exception to the 'insight and motion' pattern:

'Enthusiasm calling out,
'Enthusiasm gazing upward, regret.
Procrastination brings regret.'

Hexagram 16, lines 1 and 3

Honestly, this was the most perplexing of the line combinations I looked at. Whatever happened to not mourning, becoming present, marching out, taking responsibility and getting on with it? All exactly what doesn't happen in these lines.

Maybe... it’s the very specific quality of Hexagram 16 that is activated and set in motion: anticipating, imagining and preparing. So all the energy is directed into calling out and gazing upward, and none of it into doing anything. 'This is big! Am I ready? Have I got the feudal lords I need? How can I tell? Hello? Anyone?' - and off I go to look up some more things, consult some more experts, just to make sure, because this is important. In other words, this could be another reaction to the overwhelming nature of Abundance.

I Ching Community discussion

I Ching Community


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