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Clarity from Chasms

Hexagram 30 follows from Hexagram 29; Clarity emerges from the Repeating Chasms. They form one of those landmark pairs in the Yijing: an opposite, ‘dragon gate’ pair, with every line changing to transform from one hexagram to the next.

They’re very obvious ‘opposites’, these two. Chasms and Clarity; darkness and light; water and fire; cold and warmth; the dangerous unknown and clarity of insight. Opposite poles – mutually exclusive.

All of which is very clear… except that, in the Yijing, these two are also paired together and come in sequence. The Zagua itself draws a suggestive contrast between the pair:

‘Clarity is above, Chasms below.’

That shows them as opposites, true, but also as parts of a single landscape. And the Sequence adds that,

‘Falling naturally has occasion to hold together,
and so Clarity follows. Clarity means holding together.’

Falling is one of the core emotional experiences of Hexagram 29: the terrible sensation of plunging down endlessly into the unknown. The Sequence is saying that this is what triggers ‘holding together’ – and the oracle for Hexagram 29 itself does speak of ‘holding fast your heart’. What do you hold to when there’s nothing to hold onto? Knowing that is clarity; there’s certainly nothing like falling into the bottomless pit to concentrate the mind.

So we know Chasms and Clarity together as parts of a single emotional landscape – and this is reflected in turn in the Chinese mythological landscape. The Leaning Mulberry stands at the end of the world, and the suns, or the birds that carry them, rest in its branches and bathe in the water at its foot. The light is renewed in the water. (The old forms of the character for ‘Repeating’ in the name of hexagram 29 may actually show a winged sun.)

But while I was looking at Bert Dalmolen’s breathtaking whitefrost photos, it dawned on me that there’s no need to look so far afield: clarity and exquisite pattern are in water’s nature.

12 responses to Clarity from Chasms

  1. The light that’s visible on water is a reflection of fire.
    The moon is visible only because the sun sheds light over it.
    29 is longing; 30 is fulfilling.
    30 traps while 29 is the giving medium that goes through it.
    29 needs the heat of 30 to keep its state and thus it clings to it.
    Still, they must, as in a dance, balance each other lest they change each other’s nature.
    Water is a kind of sublimated fire while a kind of fire is imploding water.
    29 and 30 are symmetrical together.

    Luis Andrade’s last blog post..48.1 > 5, A matter of working with what’s available…

  2. Repeated Fire wishes to flare up in synergy, even if only for a few minutes. Repeated Fire is not as concerned as it might be about burning itself out. Repeated Falling, or sinking into the pits, is a terrible sensation, fearful in itself. It was truly a voyage of discovery to determine from which direction the danger was coming. Our friends were said to also be in danger. Warned well in advance, I thought I might be marked for death and felt afraid. I thought we were dying. When the situation arrived, I saw how interconnected we all were, and how I was being affected by many other people, their temperaments, their fates. Repeated Fire and Repeated Falling are both intense, extreme states of being.

  3. I think there’s something especially watery or chasm-like about the cattle of hexagram 30 as ‘giving medium’. Something with dark space at the centre. Rear female cattle: care for the sustaining space.

    When the situation arrived, I saw how interconnected we all were…

    Yes, I’ve experienced something similar – the Sunday after my father died, when Mum went as usual to their local church, and I went along to keep her company. There was a huge sense of being sympathetically upheld by the web of connections and relationships through the community. She was falling, so there it was.

  4. THis must also be the “respons-ability” aspect from hex 30, together we make a network and mainttain it, together we are responsable for the other when loosing ability and holding the other in the network. Taking care of the weak.

  5. On January 16, 2008, I asked the I Ching: “Am I at the end of my life?” and I received #29, Dire Danger.

    I had asked this pointed question because at that time I was often getting #53.6 and some translations read: “At the end of your life . . . ” I was not feeling well at the time; something wrong with my stomach. But my state of mind became much worse after receiving #29, Dire Danger, because I did not know from which direction the danger was coming. I went into a panic.

    Thinking that I was soon to die, I received news that something I had written for publication had been accepted, if I was willing to make some changes to it. I agreed, because I wanted to see this piece published before I died. I “killed myself” re-writing that piece, but then I thought that the changes they wanted made it too heavy, dark and negative. I decided I did not want to put that negativity out into the world, so I notified the editor and withdrew the piece of writing.

    Then came a period of physical sickness. I visited doctors and dentists every week. The illness seemed to be all over my body at the same time. I would have been at a loss if someone had asked me: “What’s really wrong with you?”

    Then we heard, on April 16, that my husband’s sister had just been diagnosed with two forms of cancer.

    My husband took the news very badly. He was filled with anger. Was the dire danger that had been predicted his sister’s cancer? Here all along I thought the dire danger referred to me personally. For the first time I realized that perhaps the dire danger did not refer to me personally the way I thought it did.

    My husband threw himself 100% into a work project that was very taxing physically. This project was to last two months. He was not able to tell me when the project would end. He would later say that his accident happened because I had not made plans for him to go away on vacation in the spring. But I had never heard from him when he would be free to go away.

    In any case, on June 11, my husband stepped backward off a chair in the office on which he had been standing to adjust an air conditioning vent in the ceiling. Falling from that height backwards, he hit his head, his neck, and his upper back on the floor with a thud. He made it home in pain, and the next morning he went to see his doctor.

    Nothing was broken, but nothing has been the same since that day. My husband is now a man who has suffered an eclipse of his physical powers — or he is struggling with a new view of himself as not so young anymore. He has become more remote, but he refuses to admit that he’s depressed. When asked how he feels, he invariably says: “Fine.”

    So I wondered: Was my husband’s being injured on June 11 and the aftermath of that the dire danger that was predicted on January 16?

    Then I realized that #29 with no moving lines can be a series of events that are all fearful, one following the other. One of our most profound fears must be fear of personal death. Another profound fear is of illness in the family. Another profound fear is that the breadwinner in the family will be disabled or injured and there will not be enough money coming in. It seems that 2008 for me was a guided tour through fearful things in life!

    Well, I have been doing A Course in Miracles for the last two years, or is it 3 years; I don’t remember right now. I have been consulting the I Ching on a daily basis since approximately 1994. I’d have to go back into my notebooks to verify that date, but that was about when I became seriously devoted to the I Ching.

    Maybe due to too much spiritual work, I am quite alone here, where I live. My closest family members live 2,000 miles away. I don’t have much contact with friends. I have understood from my readings of the I Ching that I am also in dire danger because I am stranded where I live. My husband goes to his office job every day, but he is tired and remote by the time he gets home. Our marriage is problematic.

    Nevertheless, when asked, the I Ching has frequently used Hexagram 30 to characterize our relationship.

    The I Ching has advised me to reach out and seek to find a new group. The one I used to identify with has dispersed. I have been doing a lot of writing for a number of years now, but writers like myself are so isolated that you could hardly call us “a group.” The year 2008 saw me published quite frequently, actually. It was a breakthrough, a long-term ambition of mine that was finally realized. I see what it is, to write and to be published.

    After all these years of meeting daily with my friend, the I Ching, I asked in mid-August: “Shall I see myself as a diviner?” As I understood the answer, it was “yes.”

    Many years ago I had asked the same question and was told #8.6: “No, because there is no leadership of your group.” But these days, I see, there are more of us, thank goodness.

    Maybe I don’t have to be so alone, after all. Despite these days of dire dangers, repeated shocks, and so forth, things are actually looking up, when viewed a little differently . . .

  6. Ain’t it just so though……………………………..the old ‘Ah,So’ found forever now.so rare to share with another and only by magic, bravery and mostly true selfless love could you, clarity,make the impossible happen by naming the nameless without any harm.”The moment between two waves in the sea”,or something like that.I am inspired to read the last two stanzas of ‘the four quartetes’ by t.s(from the show me state)Elliot.

  7. I really enjoyed your photos, Bert. They remind me a lot of Dr. Masaru Emoto’s published photographs of water crystals captured in the act of responding to human words like “love” and “happiness” and “unhappiness.” (It does not matter what language the words are spoken or written in.)

    By the way, Dr. Emoto has discovered that water crystals are hexagonal. A fully formed water crystal is six-sided. That’s interesting, no?

  8. Hexagram 29 and 30 are the final pair of the first section of the Book of Changes. Whereas the first pair give us information on the nature and interaction of yin and yang, so too, the 29th and 30th give us information on the interaction of fire and water. These forces in their primordial state complement each other, and work together in harmony, in their present state they contradict, challenge, and fight one another. The key is to reestablish harmonization. As for fire and water, the key to harmonization is found in hexagram 63 and 64, which is water over fire, and fire over water respectively. Note too, that they too come at the end of the section. Hexagrams 31 and 32 inform us on how to properly relate opposites. And that is the beginning of the second section.
    I find it interesting that hexagram 29 depicts the trigram water, while hexagram 30 depicts fire. In terms of five element theory, water overcomes fire, but in the relationship of light to darkness, the light overcomes the dark. But in order to be a true champion, (these line comes from a book called “The Ninja by Eric Lustbader) one must explore the darkness also. It is only when we delve into the deepest corners of the mind, (hexagram 57) that we really begin to see the “darkness” that is within us.” When we remove something from darkness, then the light shines on it automatically.
    It is incumbent upon all of us that we examine ourselves, and find those dark areas of our own nature. For only when we plunge into the darkness can we ultimately find the light. Indeed, the W/B version of Hexagram 29, speaks of the trigram K’un meaning, plunging in. No task can be accomplished unless we “Plunge in” and start the task. In this way hexagram 29 has a relationship with hexagram 3, the first hexagram where yin and yang are separated, and/or out of place. When we first start we do not end the end, we only know the beginning, and it is by taking the plunge and beginning the task that we make any progress and bring order out of chaos. Both hexagrams speak of needing a teacher. Sometimes, we are our own teacher. Ultimately, we are always our own teacher for everything is one, there is no separation. To plunge into the darkness means to recognize separation, to enter the light means to recognize oneness, for this is the whole ball of wax when it comes to the I Ching, it is the story of how we can unite and harmonize our energies.


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