– and thank you for being here.
What could be a hexagram for the day? How about 42 – Blessing, Increase?
Here’s the vessel overflowing with good things (or maybe with good things pouring in) –
“My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”
Hexagram 42 has to do with increase and the acceptance of blessing. Accepting, though, is not a passive thing – it means going out and showing willing:
‘Blessing, harvest in having a direction to go.
Harvest in crossing the great river.’
This is a time when it’s good to know your purpose, good to prove your commitment. The right response to blessing is to get more involved, take on more, be in the midst of the action. More blessing returns to you in response – not, in my experience, necessarily wealth, or what you were anticipating, but blessing nonetheless.
When the Wings describe this hexagram, a dominant theme is being without limit – without rule or restriction. The Tuanzhuan, commentary on the Judgement, says something like:
‘Increase stirs things to action and is their gentle support.
Going forward through the day without limit.
Heaven expands, earth gives birth; its increase has no bounds.
The dao of universal Increase,
In harmony with the sacred season, moves with it.’
And there’s a similar sense of openness in the Daxiang, the Image:
‘Wind and thunder. Blessing.
The noble one sees improvement, and so she changes.
When there is excess, she corrects it.’
This might seem unremarkable advice, until you realise that nothing is said here about adhering to the rules or abiding by tradition. (Compare the Image of the complementary hexagram, 32.) It’s in the spirit of Increase to change, according to one’s own perception in each moment – the inner quickening of thunder, the subtle responsiveness of wind.
Then there’s the Dazhuan, the Great Treatise – which says that Increase is ‘enduring wealth without setting anything up.’ This blessing comes without setting anything in stone, without coercion. In fact, it’s more likely to call for the removal of what’s established and settled: at the heart of Blessing is the nuclear hexagram 23, Stripping Away. Preconceptions of how things ought to look, how one’s supposed to be – these can all go. You prepare the ground for the best harvest by clearing the old growth from the fields. (The Dazhuan also says that the invention of ploughing and tilling was probably inspired by Hexagram 42.)
Searching through the Book of Songs for a better sense of the spirit of Increase, I found it in Song 166. Here are its first three stanzas for you (in a hybrid of Waley’s translation and Legge’s):
“May Heaven guard and keep you
In great security,
Make you staunch and hale;
What blessing not granted?
Give you much increase,
Send nothing but abundance.
May Heaven guard and keep you,
Cause your grain to prosper,
Send you nothing that is not good.
May you receive from Heaven a hundred boons,
May Heaven send down to you blessings so many
That the day is not long enough for them all.
May Heaven guard and keep you,
So that in all things you prosper,
Like the mountains, like the hills,
Like the high ridges, like the great ranges,
Like a stream at the flood,
In nothing not increased.”