Every time I mentioned some new aspect of the Festival of Change to a certain friend and mentoring client, she’d tell me I really needed to talk to James about that. Looking at his various websites, I could see what she meant – lots of breadth there, signs of a wholesome, down-to-earth attitude and a willingness to call things ‘utter twaddle’ – and went to talk with Yi.
(I did this for all the people I considered asking as speakers, probably more asking about other people than I’ve ever done before. But in the context it made sense: there wasn’t any other practical way to get the understanding I needed, and I couldn’t imagine initiating a partnership like this without asking Yi’s take on it first. I just leant on readings rather more for this than I usually would. The resultant readings were, without exception, very revealing and helpful. They also relate to one another in some fascinating ways…)
What gift would James bring people?
Hexagram 26, Great Taming, changing at line 3 to 41, Decrease/Offering. (That is, changing to the primary hexagram in the reading about Tori Janaya.)
Greatly accumulating with and through Decrease, purposefully cultivating mastery by making simple offerings… and with that idea, from 26, of accumulating skills and energy with a view to going further, ‘not eating at home’, being of greater service –
Constancy bears fruit.
Not eating at home, good fortune.
Fruitful to cross the great river.’
Whatever mastery is to be had on this scale, it always contains the hidden possibility (nuclear hexagram, 54) of being like the Marrying Maiden, who comes home into a new situation far beyond her scope/scale, and must grow into it. This isn’t going to be about ‘becoming intuitive’ as if that were an end in itself.
‘Taming’ stands in for one of those Chinese characters that isn’t remotely adequately translated by any English word I can think of. Great Taming, Nurturing, Accumulating, Restraining… the idea is of containment and control as a kind of caring, one that allows for growth. Given the word’s roots in fields and farming, it makes sense to think of this as Great Self-Cultivation. This post at Living I Ching talks of 26 as restraint, study and practice. After talking with James about magical ritual as a spiritual practice, this strikes chords for me.
Specifically, James brings a fine horse, and the means of training it:
‘A fine horse for pursuit.
Constancy in hardship bears fruit.
Daily training, chariot driving, protecting.
Fruitful to have a direction to go.’
My first sense is that this is something we need: the training, the developed skills, to make full use of our intuition, our energy – whatever name you give to that inner capacity for moving fluently with Change. (It also dovetails intriguingly with the reading about Jen Louden and the ‘great chariot to carry loads’ – the chariot, and how to drive it!)
Left untrained, the horse is very beautiful, strong and swift, and it runs with the herd. Here’s what I have in my book for this line:
“Before you think about what you are pursuing, you need to concentrate on how you pursue it. The energy and spirit you have for this are of great potential value, like a fine horse. And you cannot have a horse without a duty of care – nor yet a fine, well-trained horse unless you accept the daily work (and discomfort, struggle and sacrifice) of training it. Through constancy, the work becomes the gift.The horse will follow its instincts and run with the herd. For your power to pursue to become a strength rather than a liability, these impulses must be restrained, boundaries safeguarded and energies redirected – so that you control the direction of travel.Having your chosen direction in mind gives you the motivation to train a fine horse. But what you are really mastering here is freedom of movement, so that it becomes meaningful to choose a direction to go.”