At the heart of every hexagram is its ‘nuclear hexagram’. It’s made up of its inner lines: 234 for its lower trigram, 345 for the upper. So for instance if your original hexagram is 18, Corruption –
– then by taking its lines 234,345 you uncover the nuclear hexagram 54, the Marrying Maiden:
Looking at nuclear hexagrams reveals neat structural patterns. Every hexagram resolves to one of sixteen nuclears; each of these 16 resolves in turn to one of four, which are the first and last two of the King Wen Sequence. But this doesn’t entirely answer the question of why you should bother with them.
In a way, you don’t have to. You can read and learn from the Yijing very happily for a lifetime without ever concerning yourself with the inner structure of your readings; many people do. However, if you do pay it some attention, you’ll find there is more to be learned from your readings. So I would suggest that if your question’s important to you, and you want to explore it in depth, then you include the nuclear hexagram in your contemplation of the answer.
Because there are just the sixteen nuclear hexagrams, they allow you to look at the issues involved on a simpler, larger scale. Each hexagram is a way of expressing or working out the potential of its nuclear hexagram. So when you deal with the hidden influences of Corruption, at a deeper level you are working on the core issue of how you ‘marry into’ your world – how you are dropped in at the deep end, and required to understand and work with things you’re not prepared for, and can’t control. Hexagram 18 especially brings out the way the Marrying Maiden finds herself in a situation whose rules and relationships are not of her choosing.
Another hexagram with the Marrying Maiden at its core is 11, Flow. This may not look as if it’s connected with 18, but below the surface it has the same core. The Marrying Maiden has bigger possibilities in her new environment than she could have conceived of in the old, familiar home.
So by looking beneath the surface at the nuclear hexagrams, you have the opportunity to see larger patterns emerging – especially when you study a series of readings. For instance, I recently had 50 and 14 for successive readings around a similar topic. This showed that at the heart of the matter I was taking a key decision about what does and doesn’t belong in my life – even though I wasn’t consciously aware of doing so.