...life can be translucent

Changing lines in groups

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Two-line relationships

You can learn a lot about moving lines in the Yijing by looking at where they’re headed – that is, the hexagram that would be generated if this line alone were changing. Arguing doesn’t lead to good fortune – unless it’s done in an awareness of being ‘Not Yet Across’. Returning that’s moved by a desire for Nourishment is disastrous. Very often, when we’re inclined to ask why a particular line works out the way it does, the answer is already waiting for us in the zhi gua.

So I’ve found it very useful, over the years, to work out some ideas on what connects each line to its zhi gua. With just 384 lines to consider, that’s a manageable task. But increasingly I’m realising that there are also patterns to be seen on a larger, more complex scale – that lines changing together can also have a distinctive relationship to their zhi gua, one that stands out clearly and makes immediate sense even outside the context of a reading.

One of the first I noticed was changing the first two lines of Hexagram 60:

‘Not going out of the door to the family rooms.
Not a mistake.’

‘Not going out of the gate from the courtyard.

Here we are, working out when to stay in our family group and when to move beyond them: Articulating the Quest for Union. (60.1.2 changes to 8 )

Another example  – Hexagram 41, ‘Decrease’ or ‘Offering’, makes the strange assertion that ‘this will not decrease, but increase’ in lines 2 and 6. (This won’t be visible in all translations, but the two lines are using the same text.) ‘Increase’ is the name of the hexagram that follows, the inverted pair of Decrease. So changing these two lines marks Decrease’s Turning Point. (41.2.6 changes to 24.)

How many more of these patterns are just waiting to be seen? How about lines 2 and 4 in Hexagram 27, Nourishment, that speak of ‘a jolt to the jaws’ or ‘reversing the Nourishment process’  – shaking things up, overthrowing, unbalancing the hexagram’s equilibrium? One goes to the hilltop, one sees like a tiger, and the two together reach the strange visions of Hexagram 38 – maybe they deliberately nourished themselves in ‘unbalancing’ ways to overthrow their normal vision?

Why would the two lines of Hexagram 53, Gradual Development, that mention the geese reaching the highlands, together point towards Seeking Union? Or the noble one’s two lines in 15 take us back to 24, ‘turning around and returning on your Dao‘?

Has anyone else gone out looking for these connections – if so, what have you found?

4 responses to Changing lines in groups

  1. 53.3.6 > 8. That’s an interesting question.

    53.3 is a most dangerous line. If the wife abandons her marriage partner, who is “away,” either physically or emotionally, she may become subject to those “flocking demons” mentioned by Karcher in “Total I Ching.” Line 3 moving in this hexagram also speaks about acting with too much haste. The wife needs to think about protecting their mutual interests, even though her husband has abandoned her, either temporarily or permanently. Line 6 moving at the same time warns that no disorder is allowed. What she needs to do is find a supportive group for purposes of mutual assistance, since her husband is either away or incapable of helping her.

    Finding a new group is something that is usually a gradual process anyway, so it makes sense that it be related in some way to hexagram 53 — whether the querant is a “wife” or just the partner of someone who has become incapable of holding up the other end of the partnership.

    Thanks so much for this thread, Hilary. It adds a fertile new dimension.

  2. Hmmm..my mind went a different direction for 53.3.6->8

    I thought of the geese flying to the heights and getting the bigger “metaview” of the situation. In general, I think, it’s easier to find the commonalities and “union” possibilities from a wider, broader viewpoint – getting “above” the situation, less mired in details that keep us Knitting.

  3. Isn’t it interesting that we find such different connections?

    Another thing with the highlands of lines 3 and 6 – the geese won’t be at home there. In line 3 no-one is at home or in their right place; in line 6 we’ve transcended the whole idea of ‘right place’ and changed perspective altogether. So if we’re not in our right place, then our relationship to the whole journey becomes a quest for union, for a place to belong.


  4. Love it!

    Which also shows how a “limited” number of hexagrams can respond to an unlimited number of questions 😉

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