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Talismanic qualities of hexagrams

This is a subject that deserves much more than these few lines, but I’m so interested to hear what you think about it that I don’t want to wait until I have something more eloquent to say.

The ‘default’ idea of divination is that we cast hexagrams, and they describe something for us: what’s happening, what would happen, a good course of action… but in all cases, the hexagram’s just describing things.

Then maybe after keeping a journal for a while, we notice that the same hexagram seems to be ‘describing’ a great many different areas of life at once. We could still say that the hexagram is an image for all these things, but it might make just as much sense to say that all these things are images of one hexagram…

And then there are those truly strange times, where you’re focussing on a hexagram, maybe discussing it in a group, and somehow the hexagram seems to shape the experience. I think people who’ve participated in the hexagram-by-hexagram discussion threads at the I Ching Community will have noticed this effect. (For some reason, it seems especially strong with hexagram 44.) No-one has received the hexagram in a reading to describe anything at all, yet somehow it makes its presence felt.

And as for discussing hexagram 12 (the perfect image of blocked communication) over a teleconference line… really not recommended. After struggling through, I found that even the two channels of the stereo recording had gone out of synch – the upper and lower losing connection and parting company. Many happy hours of editing ensued.

Today I was talking with a beautifully kind and patient client about Hexagram 26, line 2:

‘The cart’s axle brackets come apart.’

We were disconnected, naturally. So I called her back, we chatted for a minute, and then I thought I’d sum up where we’d got to before moving on to line 3. Here’s the call recording – all 25 seconds of it – from the moment when I did this until the call cut off again:

26.2 – coming apart

OK, so I really walked into that one…

But apart from creating a great opportunity for the cosmos to demonstrate its sense of humour at my expense, what is happening here? Do you have experiences of this yourself?

15 responses to Talismanic qualities of hexagrams

  1. LOL! Those pulsing sounds reminded me of “kan-kan” of 29.3… 😀

    Perhaps Brad can pitch in here with some of his experiences. He once posted here about using hexagram drawings as talismans in the same way Daoist practitioners do with other kinds of talismans. But, there’s a closer thread in time. Perhaps a revisit to the “Haphazardness and Consequences” may be in order… For a very long time, my opinion has been that it works both ways; that it isn’t static and free of immediate consequences as watching the tele or searching Google; that we step into a threshold where ‘change’ can be effected while we are also affected by it.

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

  2. No, it’s just you – I’m more of a sorceree – the one it happens to.

    I think I’ll compile a list for personal use of hexagrams and lines not to mention near dodgy technology. And no, I am not going to type it on the keyboard of this (Vista) computer.

  3. Hi Hilary-
    Luis has a good memory. I have used Gua, with and without specific changing lines, as talismans in casting a spell or two (way back in my youth of course).
    52 was always a good one for securing a steady place to live.
    On one of the more literally interesting ones I was using 46.3, advancing upon an empty town, as a metaphor for walking into a great opportunity, and burned that talisman up in a spell to get gainful employ. Within two weeks I had a new job helping to design a new town from scratch, out on an empty mesa. And I did not know about the job when I did the spell.

  4. Very thought-provoking thread. I had never thought of using the hexagrams as a talisman but it makes so much sense. Hex 2 springs to mind, particularly when in need of some support with accepting difficult situations. Imagine carrying the archetypal energy and wisdom of the iChing. I think also, for serious diviners, the energy of your own relationship with the hexagrams, built up through meaningful engagement with the hexagram, could, in itself, ‘charge’ a talisman.

    So the iChing hexagram talismans are potentially very powerful because they’re self-primed over a long period of meaning. I think this is something to contemplate some more, but I could definitely see myself working with the iChing in this way.

    Applegirl

    Applegirl’s last blog post..Can You?

  5. Interesting you should mention hexagram 2… that’s my reading for the year ahead.

    You know, when I wrote the post I was thinking about how hexagrams seem to ‘do things’ by themselves, without being asked. The idea of deliberately using them in some magical way is new to me, and a great big mental stretch.

    Simply repeatedly writing down the hexagrams from a reading feels like a good place to start.

  6. No, not unamenable, just stretched and not at all clear what to do next. Also, I suppose I’m leery of magic in general – it so often seems to be regarded as a way to control other people. I won’t throw out baby with bathwater, though.

  7. If the Yi oracle is more than “what we see in it” then it makes sense our part in that Tao “stream” will grow as we do — it’s a two way interaction. Maybe wisdom (as in understanding) is not the only thing we learn as we allow Yi to teach us, and we yield aspects of our lives as “living experiments”. It would not surprise me at all if the combination of Yi-plus-diviner were able to change the world as well as read the changes in it.

    However, I share Hilary’s reticence about exploring such power. There seems to be a general principle that in any two-way relationship, responsibility exists in proportion to the power of the parties involved. When all the power lies with Yi, things are relatively straight-forward.

    Like Applegirl, I don’t see anything intrinsically wrong with exploring whatever power the oracle grants us. However, I don’t have enough skill and wisdom for living an ordinary (non-magic) life. (One reason for consulting Yi in the first place!) I doubt I’d be able to shoulder responsibility for the Karmic complications my “magic” interventions would bring, as well.

    But maybe, when the virtues of 13, 14, 15 and 16 are second nature… 🙂

  8. However, I share Hilary’s reticence about exploring such power. There seems to be a general principle that in any two-way relationship, responsibility exists in proportion to the power of the parties involved. When all the power lies with Yi, things are relatively straight-forward.

    Perhaps I didn’t express myself clearly enough or perhaps I sounded ambiguous. Not sure. What I’m sure of is that I’m not advocating any practices that go against anyone’s beliefs, morals or preparedness. I was pointing that, if one observes things that are seemingly acausal and labels them “talismanic” (or “magical,” by any other name), then it may follow (at least in my mind) that acausality may not really exists and that those observations obey laws that are unknown to the observer. It further follows that if something obeys a given “set of laws” then, if said laws are learned, causality can be consciously effected.

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

  9. I think that’s the crux of the issue Luis – the old issue of being able to affect events. Just because consciousness affects quantum processes doesn’t mean the big leap that so many people are looking for is actually real. I’m not sure external events can be changed all that easily because we all have free will. I guess the idea of a talisman is for enlivening ones own relationship with the hexagrams, for example when there has been a particularly profound reading that needs to be sat with for a while.

    However, Bradford’s experiences with choosing hexagrams for situations is pretty amazing.

    Hilary – lovely reading for the year, hex 2 is a hexagram that gave me much insight this year.

    Applegirl 😉

    Applegirl’s last blog post..Can You?

  10. Ha! Good thinking.

    I know (I think I know, anyway…) the “Applegirl” name comes from your affinity with Macs; for some reason though, I just thought that a literal translation of the moniker to Spanish is very nice and perhaps appropriate, given the challenging thoughts presented: “La niña de la manzana,” as in “the girl with the apple.” 😀

    Just because consciousness affects quantum processes doesn’t mean the big leap that so many people are looking for is actually real. I’m not sure external events can be changed all that easily because we all have free will.

    I’m thinking that if I bite the apple of the “nature of reality” in a blog’s comment section, the page will become an endless spaghetti of opinions that will go down Incoherency Road very fast. I certainly agree with the second sentence in the quote. Indeed, free will, as stated, is closely related to entropy for it to be effective beyond the individual. However, free will, as “opposition or agreement in a potential stage,” only comes into play as an aware reaction to overt external stimuli; with “awareness” being the operating word. For this I mean that we (our collective selves; whole sub-sets thereof; and even specially targeted individuals) are constantly affected and changed–in subtle and not so subtle ways–by covert external stimuli that runs outside of our awareness.

    Coherency be damned, of course… 😀

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

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