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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


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

What to expect in a relationship

A new listener's reading for this podcast episode:

'What to expect in this relationship?'

And Yi's answer -

changing to

Hexagram 41, Decreasing, changing to 26, Great Tending (or Taming or Nurturing...), with changing line 3:

'Three people walking,
Hence decreased by one person.
One person walking,
Hence gains a friend.'

Hexagram 41, line 3

Who are the people walking, and what could this be about?

(If you'd like some more listening/reading, here's an earlier episode that also started with Hexagram 41, and here's a post about how mountain works as outer trigram.)


When I was preparing for our latest Well Gathering on the subject of Hexagram 6, I posted the above image to Facebook and invited people to guess the hexagram.

The first guess posted was Hexagram 38 - which is completely understandable, but it got me thinking...

The muddle

Both hexagrams are about not agreeing, one way or another. If you browse through Bradford Hatcher's list of hexagram translations, the distinction doesn't become quite as clear as you might like:

Hexagram 6 is called conflict, divisive conflict, lawsuit, contention, dispute, arguing...
Hexagram 38 is called opposition/ opposing, division, estrangement, alienation, and - yes - conflict.

In practice, experience says that both hexagrams can describe both outer and inner conditions: disagreeing with others, or finding yourself 'in two minds'.

Turning to the Zagua, the contrasts between hexagrams - always a good Wing for pithy definitions - we learn that

‘Waiting means not progressing, Arguing means not connecting.’

Zagua, Hexagrams 5 and 6


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

Zagua, Hexagrams 37 and 38.

And again, there seems to be some overlap. The people inside the home are surely more connected than the one outside. In practice, the same situation might well be described by both hexagrams at once. (The two hexagrams are only two lines apart, after all, so plenty of readings do involve both - if you're a Clarity member, you can use the I Ching Community's hexagram search to find some!)


The words

Digging a bit deeper into the names of the hexagrams, their differences start to become clearer:

Song 訟 means to dispute, argue, bring a case before a judge, lodge a complaint, contest in court to recover one's goods - and to reproach oneself with one's own faults. The ancient form of the character shows it is about speaking.

Kui 睽 means opposing, rebellion, foreign, contrary, discordant, divergent, and also glaring, staring and squinting. It's apparent from the ancient character that this is about seeing.

The oracle text of Arguing has more to say, arranged like legal arguments in opposing pairs: good fortune vs pitfall, fruitful vs fruitless:

There is truth and confidence, blocked.
Vigilant and centred, good fortune. Ending, pitfall.
Fruitful to see great people,
Fruitless to cross the great river.'

Hexagram 6, the Oracle

Opposing is simpler:

Small works, good fortune.'

Hexagram 38, the Oracle

Perhaps there's some similarity in the advice: by sticking to small works, or by staying at the centre, you avoid going to extremes and escalating disagreement. But you can start to see the difference, too: Opposing can get started on the small stuff and find good fortune directly, and the warning ('don't make this bigger!') is only implicit. When Arguing, you need to be wide awake, very careful, and seek out a higher perspective before you start anything.

The pictures

compared to

Both hexagrams' trigram pictures show water below, sinking down and away from a more celestial, upward-oriented outer trigram. In Arguing, the moving waters are in turmoil below heaven (something I can't help associating with the chaos of the Flood, caused - according to one Chinese myth - by the rage of Gong Gong when he lost the struggle to become ruler). In Opposing, a distant sun is reflected in the surface of the lake (more on that here).

Neither shows an easy, spontaneous relationship -

'Heaven joins with stream: contradictory movements. Arguing.
A noble one, starting work, plans how to begin.'

Hexagram 6, the Image

‘Fire above, lake below. Opposing.
A noble one is in harmony and yet different.’

Hexagram 38, the Image

The noble one in both of these hexagrams needs to think independently, and pay some attention to where she stands in relation to the status quo. But the two situations are also quite different: one calls for you to take the initiative, the other for some fine balancing of relationships.

Imaginary readings

"What to expect if I commit to this relationship?"

Arguing, or Opposing. Neither of those would be exactly encouraging as an unchanging reading would it?

Arguing's relationship is not going to get anywhere without seeing a relationship counsellor, though they might have a reasonable chance if they do. I'd advise this imaginary querent not to take any decisions without doing that first. (No, moving in with him is not going to create the rapport you crave!)

Hexagram 38? You are chalk and cheese, Mars and Venus; you are never going to see eye to eye. This doesn't necessarily mean you will fight all the time, though, or hate one another's company. If you want to be seen, understood and comfortable together, you'll be disappointed. Still, at least you won't be bored.

What if your reading asked for advice? Probably neither hexagram encourages you to argue your corner. If I ask what to do and receive Hexagram 6, I don't normally assume I'm being advised to Argue. It works more like 18, or 12, as scene-setting: the issue here is a state of corruption, or stasis, or conflict, and now, here's what you can do about it...

"What best to do about this conflict at work?"

6 - find a mediator, be flexible...
38 - hm, are you sure you belong in this job, with these people?

The main difference...

The main difference between Hexagrams 6 and 38 is that Arguing is something we do. State your case, fight your corner, plan how to begin when starting work. Heaven and stream are moving in contradictory directions; fire and lake simply are above and below. Hexagram 38 is more like what - or where - we are, and how the world looks to us from there. Like the Zagua said -

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

‘Waiting means not progressing, Arguing means not connecting.’

So if the two fighting cats are Arguing, what image could I have chosen for Hexagram 38? Maybe this one?

Cat meets dog: the dog play-bows, the cat arches its back.

This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, or then again it also might not.

Arguing is something we can do - and we can also stop doing it. There may be times when you feel you are absolutely obliged to argue, and if you happened to cast Hexagram 6 with the 5th line moving then you might even be right. But generally, you have the option of surrendering: of giving up arguing, and perhaps focussing on something more important. Reading through the moving lines of Hexagram 6, almost all of them indicate the argument is unwinnable, or not permanently winnable, and there may well be something much more important you could be concentrating on instead.

Opposing is more like who we are, or where we come from - the 'On what planet does that make any sense?' kind of disagreement. You can be kinder to your favourite Martian or Venusian, even do your utmost to understand their point of view, but you can't change your planet of origin. In the moving lines of Hexagram 38, there's often value in bridging the gulf, rather than avoiding it.

Each hexagram has a different kind of creative potential: Hexagram 38 might invent the iPod; Hexagram 6 might start a revolution.

'Drinking and eating naturally mean Arguing,' says the Sequence from 5 into 6. If we're Arguing, I want the last burger, and so do you. We can't have much of a conversation about that, so we'd better hope the host will take the decision for us, split it in half, or remind us that there is plenty of dessert to come so neither of us will starve, or something. If we're Opposed, one of us is probably a vegan, so the burger doesn't even look like food. We might get into a bitter argument, each trying to justify our way of living, neither budging an inch - or we might even each find our world enriched by containing such different points of view.

I Ching Community discussion

I Ching Community


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