A thought about Hexagram 58, line 5… not yet completely confirmed by experience, just a thought…
Hexagram 58 is Opening, Joy and Communicating: the human figure with the great mouth who seems to dance and sing. This post is about its fifth line – the peak and culmination of the hexagram, as a rule, and its place of greatest choice – which reads, ‘Trusting in stripping away, there is danger.’
A little background should help to show where I’m coming from…
The Shuogua says of the trigram dui that is doubled to make this hexagram:
“Dui is the lake, is the youngest daughter, is the shamaness, is the mouth and tongue, is the deterioration [of plant life] and the breaking-off of what had been attached.”
(RJ Lynn, The Classic of Changes, p124)
There might perhaps be an old association with the Queen Mother of the West (the direction for dui in the Later Heaven bagua), a goddess who lives far, far to the west of human habitation:
“In appearance the Queen Mother of the West is like a human, with a panther’s tail and a tiger’s fangs, and she is a fine whistler. In her tangled hair she wears the sheng crown. She is the official in charge of vile plagues sent from heaven, and of the five dread evils.”
(The Shan Hai Ching, as quoted in Anne Birrell’s Chinese Mythology)
So she and dui have womanhood, and the West, and ‘deterioration’ of one kind or another in common, and maybe also tigers and leopards (thinking of hexagrams 10 and 49).
All of this is thoroughly vague and inconclusive, and I’m only starting with it to create a context for looking at 58, line 5 – the place of the ruler within the hexagram of Opening. If there is a place for a shamaness or a queen anywhere in the hexagram, this must surely be it: the dancing mediator in authority, ruler in her own domain.
And then precisely in this place of authority, she is connected (by the changing of 58.5) to Hexagram 54, the Marrying Maiden: the young girl, not yet a woman, who becomes only a junior wife and takes second place, where she has no authority at all.
Might Dui, the shamaness, be entering into marriage with the spirits as a junior bride?
To marry is also to ‘come home’ – and Opening to the spirits must needs involve letting go of ‘bringing order’ and relinquishing her personal ‘direction to go’, as the Oracle of Hexagram 54 says.
Then the moving line itself, 58.5, would show what it takes to make such a marriage:
‘Trusting in stripping away,
There is danger.’
This is the same ‘stripping away’ as the name of Hexagram 23: the knife that cuts away the surfaces, leaving one feeling flayed, raw and exposed. The normal defences of the personality are stripped away – which is the work done by a shaman’s drugs, drums and dances. Then there is danger – a word that also means there are ghosts and spirits – and no protection to separate the shaman from the spirits.
It’s worth noticing that the line doesn’t actually say that this means misfortune. Sometimes, in the Yijing, it can still be worth going ahead even in the face of danger. Having said that… I can’t remember ever seeing a real-life reading with this line where the trust was well-placed. (I can remember twice seeing it refer to joining pyramid schemes, which is interesting!)
To discover whether this danger is to be braved rather than avoided, you’d need to ask what you are trusting, so that you allow your defences to be stripped from you; what ‘marriage’ you are entering into that warrants accepting the second place and surrendering control; what kind of ‘home’ you are joining. Perhaps a supremely wise and skilled shamaness could trust in stripping away and emerge unscathed?