The other day, I responded to a client’s I Ching Course assignment about a reading with five moving lines. Since I’m not a fan of systems that reduce the number of moving lines (I reckon that if your answer were contained in a single moving line, you’d have received just that one), I always have a lot of suggestions for ways to relate to these complex, multiple-line readings. Reading the lines together, as a story, as voices from different ‘layers’, and so on… but what intrigued me this time was how much the client learned from looking at the one line that wasn’t changing.
The one unchanging line is the one ‘layer’ of the hexagram that isn’t involved, the one thing that isn’t a consideration. In amongst the mass of information about from all the lines that are active, this can give a particularly clear message.
We were working on Hexagram 8, Seeking Union, changing at lines 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 to 38, Opposition or Divergence. Naturally, there’s a great big gulf between these two hexagrams: seeking union, looking for natural harmony between kindred spirits, when there’s an underlying sense of seeing and inhabiting two utterly different worlds… this is going to take a lot of change, a lot of activity.
The one thing that isn’t involved, though, is
‘Seeking union with non-people.’
– or with bad people, wrong people, bandits and villains, people who are not quite human, so that in trying to ally yourself with them you’re almost negating your own self. This is what doesn’t follow: just because someone (or some aspect of yourself) seems to be from another planet, it doesn’t mean that they’re any less real or human.
It’s fascinating to look at these lines that don’t change and see what can be learned from them. 8.4, for instance, doesn’t change when moving towards hexagram 26, Great Taming. That’s another big change: from the first moment of choosing your relationships and finding how things fit together on the newly-cleared floodplain, all the way through to agriculture on a grand scale that can sustain high culture.
What isn’t involved in that change:
‘Seeking union outside.
Constancy, good fortune.’
That one puzzled me at first, as Great Taming actually does mean looking outside – crossing the river, not eating at home. I think the point is that the growth of strength and storing-up of potential energy comes from a powerful, purposeful inner cultivation, not from stretching yourself outward.
There must be plenty to be learned from the unchanging line in all 384 5-line readings. Any thoughts on the others for hexagram 8?
- 8 zhi 50, changing all except line 1 – a vessel, but no overflowing jar
- 8 zhi 30, changing all except 2 – seeing what’s out there rather than flowing from what’s in here?
- 8 zhi 38, changing all except 3
- 8 zhi 26, changing all except 4
- 8 zhi 1, changing all except 5 – with all that creative drive, maybe you’re not inclined to let anything go?
- 8 zhi 34, changing all except 6 – too powerful and confident to be ‘without a head’?