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.