A single I Ching reading brings insight, answers questions, and reconnects you with your inner sense of direction. A series of readings does all this, and it can also multiply the effects exponentially. The connections between readings show you how the different aspects of your life relate together, and give you a steady stream of feedback to steer by. As the readings start to come together, they combine into a robust map of your life’s territory: where you are, what your experiences mean, where your choices fit in.
(This is why I’ve brought in the I Ching mentoring service: to make it easier – and cheaper – to work with me on a series of readings.)
Here’s an example. I cast my reading for the year ahead on my birthday, in early December.
“Yi, what guidance would you give me for the year ahead?”
Answer: Hexagram 31, Influence, changing at line 4 to Hexagram 39, Difficulties.
To summarise a lot – I understood that this was about being open to guidance, and especially about being aware that where I was struggling, that was a cue to change direction. The moving line told me:
‘Constancy brings good fortune, regrets vanish.
Wavering, wavering, going and coming,
Friends simply follow your desires.’
I’d already learned, from several previous readings, to associate Hexagram 39 with my new Mastermind group: with not trying to do it all by myself, in heroic isolation, any more, and with a willingness to accept help and completely change the way I saw things. But this line came as a reminder that my friends and partners weren’t going to tell me what to aim for. I was certainly aware of the need for change, I was ‘going and coming’ with one foot in my old way of doing things and one in the future – or at least, one toe dipped in the waters. My friends would support me as I found my own way; they’d follow the desires of my heart. It was up to me to clarify those desires.
After a while, this reminded me of a chapter in an ebook I’d bought and mostly read some months earlier: Unveiling the Heart of your Business, by Mark Silver. It has a chapter on ‘heart-centred goal planning’. So I looked at this again, and wondered about going into it more deeply.
“Yi, if I study and implement ‘Heart of Business’ now, what does it have to offer me?”
Yi answered with Hexagram 39, Difficulties, changing at line 4 to Hexagram 31, Influence.
In other words, this was the mirror image of my annual reading: the same path, travelled in the opposite direction. The moving line reads:
‘Going limping, coming connection.’
So this is the path away from struggle and towards connection – which has been a core desire of mine for a long time, both to feel connected to deeper levels of meaning, and to help others feel the same way. This book has a lot to offer me, and it is absolutely, completely relevant to the journey I’m making this year. (I went back and bought the printed version to make it easier to read.)
Now, one of the things I want to do this year is to lay the groundwork to reach people who need what Yi has to offer, but who’ve never heard of the oracle. Just having a website you can find by searching for ‘I Ching’ is obviously not going to do the job. So I got myself thoroughly confused wondering if I should change this site to include a separate â€˜spiritual growth’ section, whether I needed to start a whole new website to keep Google happy… and so on.
“How should I plan and design my website to reach out to people searching for spiritual growth?”
Yi answered this one with Hexagram 32, Enduring, changing at line 3 to Hexagram 40, Release.
These two hexagrams are not a good combination. Hexagram 32 calls for steadiness in turning your heart’s inspiration into a constant way of life; Hexagram 40 talks of complete freedom to change course, according to your chosen destination. But whatever could be wrong with designing a website to attract a certain kind of person? It’s what any source of conventional marketing wisdom would tell me to do. Oddly enough, though, it’s more or less the opposite of what Mark Silver would advise me to do: he gives a much higher priority to making the connection in your own heart.
Hexagram 32, line 3:
‘Not persevering in your de,
Maybe someone receives a gift of shame.
This line is the ‘pair’ of 31.4: if you draw hexagram 31, mark line 4, and then turn the paper through 180 degrees, you’ll see what I mean. It shows the consequence of failing to rise to the challenge of my reading for the year. My own notes on it say,
‘Making a pattern of untying obligations and changing direction to pursue the next best(-looking) path â€“ whatever looks as if itâ€™s most likely to reach the goal. Goal-orientation would be better balanced out with some loyalty to self, some pride in personal standards about what you do.’
If you’re not persevering in your own true nature, whatever you gain is a ‘gift of shame’ – not truly yours. No matter what your traffic stats look like, you won’t be happy. So this is a cue for me to worry a little less about search engine optimisation and the like, and to go back to the concerns of 31.4, finding my own natural direction.
One last reading to mention. Over the past month or so, I’ve realised that one of my desires is to be fully at home in the structures of my business, and to have all the basics in place to make growth possible by the end of the year. A better website, a more reliable way of keeping in touch with people, and so on. But – in the spirit of that New Year’s resolution of mine, to stay in closer touch with Yi and be more open to guidance – I consulted about this just the same.
“Please comment on my plan to get the structures in place to make new growth possible.”
The response: Hexagram 31, changing at lines 1 and 4 to Hexagram 63.
This added just one moving line to my reading for the year, and shifts the relating hexagram to 63, being ‘Already Across’. Perhaps this is about the Influence of having things in good order, ready and committed for the next stage. There’s a reminder of line 4, the need for all the planning to be permeated by that heart’s desire, that help and support will follow. And there’s a new line, that speaks of ‘influence in your big toes’: the beginnings of creative influence, a new idea with a long way to go.
What this means for Clarity is a lot of work, both personal and practical, behind the scenes: I probably won’t be flooding you with new products and offers for at least the next six months or so. But what I wanted to show you with this post was the power of readings working together: how very straightforwardly Yi can guide, nudge (or just kick) you back into awareness of your own path.