...life can be translucent

Camped on the left

…or ‘Where did Hilary go?’

Well… I sit myself down in front of a task and my brain goes on strike. It’s got quite radical about it: ‘Sit and stare at the screen all you like,’ it says, ‘but if you think anything useful is getting done here, you’ve got another think coming. Or you would have, if I weren’t on strike. See – nothing happening, is there?’

And there isn’t. It’s not as if there were a shortage of things to get done, either – but somewhere between my ears, the hamster has got off the emailreadingemailsitemaintenanceemailemailforumemailblogemailtranscriptsproductsemailwebsitesemailemailemail wheel, curled up and fallen asleep. I’m enjoying doing readings, and meeting deadlines by the skin of my teeth, but all the other things have been falling by the wayside.

Hm. I rather hoped this might be a cue that I should have a holiday, but of course it might just be a cue to give myself a good kick. Well, I’d find out if I asked Yi and it gave me hexagram 7, wouldn’t I?

So I asked Yi: ‘How to respond to this aversion to work?’

And Yi responded with hexagram 7 (heh…) changing at lines 4 and 6 to 64. So there is an army, yes, but it’s not yet across – and specifically, it’s camping on the left, no mistake. That’s a literal translation of what Wilhelm simply has as ‘retreat’, and Brad calls a ‘fallback encampment’. Exactly. So… despite the very amusing experience of getting hexagram 7, this is not time to try to kick myself into action. It’s OK not to fight this. I can relax from the campaign for a bit… and of course this line points, beautifully, towards 40, Release.

Another meaning of this line would be to stay in a defensible, supply-able position, not to overextend the army. (One of those intriguing notes in Lynn’s book connects this with the ideal position according to the Art of War.) Hence not, for instance, to commit myself to things I can’t carry through. This makes me feel better about not squeezing in a Yijing Class this year.

The other line in my reading is a bit more of a challenge:

‘The great leader has a mandate
To found a state and receive the households.
Don’t use small people.’


Clearly the sleeping-hamster-scenario doesn’t mean it’s time to wind the business down and become a librarian or something. It seems to be about expansion, community, and creating something self-sustaining.

The small people are raising an inner ruckus, and the connection between this line and Hexagram 4 – aka Being Clueless – has never been so apparent…

39 responses to Camped on the left

  1. It is called “postpartum depression,” or, in your case, “post-publishing depression” 😀

    Hey, you’ve got the foot on the door, kick the darn door open and keep writing and publishing!

    Not a good advice for actual flesh-n-bone progeny. Not responsible for misinterpretations. 🙂

  2. As suggested by the moon card in tarot there seems to be times when the rational side of the brain operates on go slow or plain shuts down and we have to revert to a more primitive level of functioning to get us through the day.

  3. @Luis – 🙂 Only I’m not depressed – praise be – just dormant. I’m sure I’ll write something when the hamster wakes up.

    @pg – well, something certainly shut down! I’ll have a look at the moon card, see what it brings to mind.

  4. Don’t you love it when the oracle whacks you upside the head? 😉

    Hilary, I wonder if Hexagram 7 — and especially that 6th changing line — might be suggesting that the discipline for this time is exactly what you’ve done: step away from the hamster wheel 🙂 … and perhaps the “state” that you need to found (as Line 6 implies) is in your own mind. A state … of quietude?

    … and it’s November … definitely a time to be going into dormancy for a while …

    You’ve given birth, recently, too — Your book! 😀
    .-= Jaliya´s last blog ..Letting it all go Hexagram 41- DECREASE =-.

  5. Could 7.6 be saying that you’ve already established a self-sustaining state (the forum), especially since you now have the moderators to help? And so it’s not challenging you at all, but confirming that it’s fine to take a rest?

    (You are of course missed! But a guilt-free rest will be a [i]good[/i] thing 🙂 ).

  6. Oh %^&*!!!!!

    I consistently forget that these blog posts are duplicated as forum threads!!!

    Until it’s too late and I’ve embarrassed myself! I just remembered about it, and looked in the forum, and saw that PEOPLE LONG AGO SAID WHAT I JUST POSTED ABOVE.

    I am SO sorry. I was not copying, really I wasn’t. But I am still disgusted with myself.


  7. Still camped upon the left? You requested hex7–you got hex7 though the Yi Oracle added lines 4 and 6 moving. Neither of which approves of sitting about. Try Gia-Fu’s translation:
    Soul Of The Army THE ARMY IN ORDERLY RETREAT. NO BLAME. The situation is not yet in disarray.

    The soul of the army, developing Yang focus toward hex40 means to press on, if you can’t advance then retreat to better location, but certainly not stay camped upon the left bank in the cafe.

    Also line6 about transition to the Next again taking hex40 tendency to the next level–establish new stuff, not just avoid moving on.

    If nothing else you could work upon correcting errors and editing text for your second edition of your book. I am finding your challenge to Tweet the hexagrams very energizing, you are still invited and challenged to join in too.

  8. Hi Hilary,
    I need to share with you an anecdote from the distant prehistory of Yi studies, in my first year of consulting the Oracle and before you were born.
    I had a household of friends in Pasadena, CA one of whom consulted the Wilhelm. He cast an oracle one evening, but before taking out the book, he felt like going to the corner store for some snacks to enjoy with its counsel. He never managed that. He was mugged on the street, went to the hospital where they wired his jaw shut for 6 months. When next I saw him in that condition, back home. I told me he finally looked up his Yi Oracle: Hex 60.1 >>Hex 29. The lesson he drew from that was that when you cast an oracle you MUST attend to it or suffer the righteous wrath of the Cosmos.
    Hilary, you set the context that hex 7 in an oracle would mean it was not OK to stay in your current state.The Yi Oracle answered with hex 7, including moving lines (as I have noted) describing how for you to get moving right. You chose to only look at your mistranslation of line 4 as saying it was OK not to do anything.
    In Cosmic messages, that is two warnings, and a person only can count upon 3 before disaster befalls them. Please, please take the hint from the Yi Oracle Spirit!!!

  9. @Jaliya – hello! And hooray, new blog post from you – I do enjoy your blog very much.

    The ‘state’ as an inner one? I actually hadn’t thought of that. Thank you for the thought.

    @Lisa – please, don’t hide! Doesn’t matter where you comment on the post, I’m just honoured that you do (even if in my present state it takes forever for me to respond). And it’s not your fault the same old post springs up all over the shop, is it?

    @Frank – well, we may be agreeing to differ on the meaning of my reading. Or we may actually agree and you may be reading something I didn’t quite write. The idea is not to try to fight a losing battle, but to take a couple of steps back, untie some knots, find a better position – and consider what I’m founding.

    I’m following your twitterching with interest, but probably not going to join in just now. As for corrections… yes, I already have a file of them. I started it as soon as the final manuscript was approved 😉 .

  10. Frank Interesting cast esp nuclear jaws.If he had read it & had been on alert that might have made the difference.

    Hilary About the moon card I was thinking of an extreme eg but didnt want to depress you with it. I was reminded of the Rider Waite imagery when I heard the American Ambassador say after the Nairobi bomb that she ‘ had to howl in the shower in the morning to get thro the day because a leader cant show that kind of emotion ‘
    And its a reminder that the intellect has its limitations.

    In your case it sounds like the army in tatters due to battle fatigue ?
    Professional readers say that readings can be quite draining.As can writing.Esp when combined with busy schedule.

  11. Hilary,
    The Twitter enforces 140 character discipline which I find very powerful, a form frame that focuses the mind wonderfully. It would do a world of good for you.
    I do appreciate your questions with your translation. They give a modern Oracle overview to the results.

    No notion of fighting a losing battle, since Hex 7.4 is not that kind of retreat or encampment. It is all about expanding from where you stand, line 2 Yang to develop focus upon what is your goal or heart’s image line 4 moving Yin and developing focus upon what comes NEXT line 6 moving Yin.

    It is your situation now. Whatever.

  12. Hmm, you’ve got me thinking, lol 🙂 I always just thought that this meant I need a break from my job.

    I can’t wait to read your next post to see if your hamster has jumped back on, lol 😉

  13. Hi Hilary
    I’m late to post to this.

    Just wanted to add that sometimes our expectations meet with disappointment and things can prove very disillusioning in the long run. That can be angry-making!

    Life does not have to be a battlefield, however. Better to retreat and find a nice, warm, shady grove somewhere with plenty of mangoes, pineapples, donkeys, monkeys, and a few people with a lively sense of humor.

    A sense of humor is our best friend. Personally I love physical humor. It makes me laugh every time.

    The Bach Flower Remedies are good, and can also restore the ability to focus the mind on something constructive.

    Right now my own brain seems to have gone on strike. A series of circumstances arising from the external world have gotten to me. I’m taking time off. That’s really the best thing to do sometimes, lay down the tools (or the sword) and walk off the field. Everybody knows the world is crazy anyway. That doesn’t mean we have to get crazy, too.

  14. Hi Pg,
    Each person can only interpret their oracles in their own terms. The only thing that would have a difference for him would have been to have opened his Wilhelm, read the Oracle instead of postponing that until he ran out for a snack, and seeing the “bad omen” in his terms, not have gone out the door at all and stayed home.


    The Buddhists insist that all expectations lead to suffering; though not because the world is crazy. Rather there is fundamental ignorance as the basis of all and each of us, and we react to that with fear which causes us to create various defense mechanisms such as limiting expectations or retreats into more comforting fantasies than our risky experience of reality as it changes upon us.

    Hex 24 suggests that this time of year (the Winter Solstice, especially with a Total Lunar eclipse too) is a good occasion to turn inward and take time off to contemplate many things as the most terrible storms of the winter are already upon us and will continue to rage until at least the Spring.

    However, as my father commented to my Cousin Larry when he complained of the hardship of being quadriplegic, “Life is beautiful and meaningful every day under whatever terms you have to live with.” My father was in the middle stages of his terminal multiple myeloma at the time.

  15. Your father sounds like a sage, Frank.

    And reminds me of Jane, who at 99 was the oldest member at the Willows club/ day centre, and endlessly interested in life. I remember her reminding someone who was despondent after having a second stroke that ‘the birds are still flying.’

    The hexagram that brings that Buddhist tenet about expectations most strongly to mind is 41 – especially the Dazhuan comment about ‘hardship before, light afterwards’ and ‘keeping harm at a distance’.

    Ginnie – maybe your hamster and my hamster can relax together on a beach somewhere sometime 😉 .

  16. ‘Hardship before, light afterwards,’ yes indeed.

    For some odd reason, the average human being does not know how to turn his or her back — and walk away from misery.

    Brrrr…. winter cold here right now … Hilary, let our hamsters stretch right out on a nice beach together, colorful beach blanket underneath, huge umbrella above us … the soft sounds of the waves … seagulls calling

  17. Hi Hilary,


    I asked the Yi through your I Ching Reading page:
    What Oracle expresses the Buddhist view that Expectations cause Suffering?

    Answer: Hex 43.4,5 >> Hex 11

    I do appreciate the Key Questions you pose for each hexagram:
    Key Questions
    What do you stand for?
    How do you define yourself?
    What belongs in your realm, and where do you need to make a clean break?

    As to this Yi Oracle:
    Hex 43 Overwhelming >> Hex 11 Dream Land or Utopia
    With the focus upon the content of the Heart and Soul Expressing and Exhausting itself. The focus upon the overall organization and the fixed positions (expectations of the Mind) expressing and exhausting themselves; thus moving toward the situation of Dream Land-Utopia which is delightful to contemplate but leads to great suffering if taken not symbolically but as if real.

  18. 43.4.5 > 11. Mmmm.

    With great effort, he did indeed accomplish part of what he had set out to do. But the job could not be done as well as he had hoped. He found painful obstacles built right into the situation.

    I personally wouldn’t call hexagram 11 “Dream Land or Utopia.” Isn’t it a state of mind in which we genuinely hope for the best and are willing to extend our trust to others? This state is not in the least Utopian, in my opinion. It is as real as any other state of mind.

    This supremely productive state can reverse rather easily, however, and become its opposite, hexagram 12, in which we see a disjunction. Heaven and Earth are no longer in communication, for whatever reason.

    By the same token, the situation can reverse again. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” and trust can be re-built and extended once more.

    I am fascinated by that 43.3, which seems to be saying that someone tried to tell the person he was taking a road that would cause him suffering, but the person wouldn’t listen. The advice giver in 43.3 is usually someone we know, a human being, not the I Ching, in my personal experience. Maybe it’s someone we have a tendency not to listen to.

  19. Hi Ginnie,
    Important to realize that the Yi Oracle speaks to each of us in our own idiom and at our level of understanding. The meaning of the hexagrams a different question than one’s personal experience with the Oracle.

    Hex 11 is the Monad of the 2nd set of Yi hexagrams. It is Sunshine within the Earth or the point and purpose of Chinese society, successful tilling of the ground to produce the harvest required to support the population.

    It is Dream Land or Utopia in that it represents the symbolic ideal of having the trigram Sunshine under or within the trigram Earth and thus the ground of being is energized and actualized. Not a state of mind at all but the ultimate physical reality of fertility and successful social action. The heart, will and environment line pairs are all Yang under Yin again the ultimate and Utopian dream of total forward motion.

    The Nuclear hexagram of hex 11 is Hex 54 Chasing Rainbows or the younger sister married off to serve the fantasies of an older man who can afford a second wife or concubine. Hex 11 is the evolution or further development of that nuclear hexagram.

    Hex 12 is the structural pair to Hex 11, but that has nothing to do with its meaning. Hex 12 and Hex 13 are polar opposite Dyad of this decad or set of 10. Hex 12 Stagnation or No Exit is the structural situation in contrast to Hex 13 which is the Human Energy. The reason for hex 12 is clear, the Sunshine beats down upon the Earth, the natural process is allowed to take its own course without human energy and involvement to turn raw land into fertile fields. Cf.Wilhelm line commentary for 6th line that stagnation does not just change of its own, concerted human action is required to make that change, unlike Hex 11 where a state of peace deteriorates if left on its own.

    Not clear to me if you are referring to 43.3 or 43.4 in your remarks. Line 4 is about being Overwhelmingly stubborn in your heart and therefore not listening to good advice. 43.3 is about Overwhelming passion that must be focused within although such inner strength would not be seen objectively by others.

  20. I see a poetry in your expressions, Dr Kegan, but have different ways of thinking about Yi.

    For me, Hex 12 could simply signify that nobody can reach me on my cell phone because I’ve turned it off. The instant I switch it back on or decide to call someone, the hex 12 reverses. So I wouldn’t call Hexagram 12 No Exit.

    I see what you mean about Earth being energized and actualized with hexagram 11, how you wouldn’t call it a state of mind, but my understanding is that willingness and thought precede the doing of anything.

    As for Hexagram 54 being Chasing Rainbows: Hexagram 54 really does describe very well how our plans can be so easily eclipsed by social considerations. It also describes most work in office settings. What? No pot of gold at the end of that rainbow? But I always prefer to stress what’s constructive about a hexagram. With Hexagram 54, we get a chance to clarify our long-term goals and work on our attitude. No sense blaming anybody for situations that are really nobody’s fault in particular.

  21. Hi Ginnie,
    If I were claiming my Yi interpretations were my personal opinion, I would certainly entertain your personal views as well However, mine is a technical perspective based in my work integrating the various ancient insights through Pythagoras, Sabian Astrology, and Gia-Fu’s mystical Taoism about what the King Wen Sequence and the innovation of the Chou Yi is in its own sublime essence.
    I do have personal reactions to the various hexagrams from my individual Oracle experience, but those are private.
    My comments on the Yi hexagrams from their structure and numbering are public they are the simple, elegant and once you twig to their symbolism relatively self-evident meaning essential to the text.
    Now I am off to accept my fair share of abuse in this difficult American timing as a kidney cancer patient.
    Peace and Power (justice!! to us all)

  22. Blasted words that separate us needlessly … please forgive me.

    Sending you all best wishes for your health and recovery.

    Peace over power

  23. Thank you all. Good fortune seems to be coming my way, good health not so much right now. My surgery rescheduled to next Monday. They only remove cancerous kidneys on Mondays here–fish sticks on Friday, kidneys on Monday, pie on Sunday as it were. I have both homeopathic and Western specialists and so far I feel great, but after Monday it will be awhile before I will be up for much of anything.

    Cast a Yi Oracle on my upcoming surgery: Hex 27.1,4,6 >> Hex 16 Nursing >> Cheering. The Sabian Symbol equivalent for Hex 27.1 is:
    Scorpio 25 An X-ray machine is in operation; by means of it a bit of fine diagnosis is made possible and a life is preserved.
    Roots Of Nursing # 27 line# 1 which explains why in the traditional text the poor fellow has let go of his Magic Tortoise–he is quite sick and needs medical diagnosis and treatment.

    All the best to everyone.

  24. Seems obvious, but just occurred to me: When we get 7.4, this must be after a fight.

    Is it possible that we can stay out of these fights?

    Does the sage or the noble person allow himself or herself to get drawn into battle? This has to do with the use of force. That is, with heated conflicts, making accusations, holding onto judgments, quarreling, getting embroiled in angry arguments about what is right and what is wrong, and taking offense.

    I think Yi endorses going into battle if this is against our own bad habits, negative mindsets, inertia, or to heal ourselves after the outbreak of a physical disease.

    The force used in these battles is what we would rather call self-discipline in the area of thoughts and practices. That is, there is nothing wrong with making every attempt to bring the thought that we have been wronged (or have done wrong) more into line with reality. There is nothing harmful in taking care of our physical bodies in a self-disciplined way.

    The I Ching seems to say that the wise kings in ancient times rectified their kingdoms by working on themselves.

  25. Yes, I also find hexagram 7 has a whole lot to do with self-discipline. Being your own leader (another translation for the gua’s name) – after all, no-one else is going to do that for you. Then it also reveals the limits of the idea: 4.6 changing to 7 comes to mind as an example. If you’re fighting yourself, one way or another, you’ll lose.

  26. Diet’s are probably the best example of fighting oneself. Experts say going on a diet is the best way to gain weight, not lose it.

    Hex 7 speaks of the need for clarifying one’s goals.

    Goals need to be stated in their positive form, not in their negative form. We need to know what we stand for — and forget, overlook, or move away from what we are against.

    I don’t see any point at all (anymore) in attacking or struggling with what I’m against.

  27. I think the move from hexagram 6 to hexagram 7 is a move from ‘against’ to ‘towards’.

    However, it’s all too easy to get embroiled if I think it’s my ‘job’ to do so.

    Oh, do I ever know what you mean. Shall we form a club?

  28. Yes I do

    ”Against’ to ‘towards’ — what a great way to put it.

    In English, don’t we have an expression, “at 6’s and 7’s,” or am I getting that expression wrong?

  29. “At sixes and sevens” : the creation of, existence of, or failure to remove confusion, disorder, or disagreement. — from the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

    Usually it is something specific that puts me into a temper reaction. Maybe it is something that wouldn’t bother everybody, but it really bothers me. It could very well have to do with my field of mastery [h7].

    Yes, let’s form a club. What shall we call it, Hilary?

    By the way, with line one moving in h50, with me that has meant to upend the cauldron in order to remove the conflicts in there.

  30. I also received 7.4 for my own life situation recently.

    I asked: ‘I Ching, what banner was I rallied around that got me into trouble?’

    You see, I knew I had made an error …

    Yi’s response was extremely illuminating.

    They say only your best friend will tell you.

  31. About Franks cast 43.4.5 – 11
    The first time I picked up Karcher Ritsema I flipped open the image of H.43.It described in great detail a medical procedure I had recently undergone (gastroscopy) in consultants chambers.I was worried about the gag reflex. It was more like a primal scream (cry out .adversity).It felt like torture but it diagnosed the problem, gastritis (shining).
    43.4 suggests something not quite right about the situation.
    H.11 Depending on the context it can mean ‘ old man under the earth’

  32. Karcher on 43.4
    ‘ Sacrum without flesh. Like Yu, you move haltingly. Like an animal led to sacrifice on a leash. Cause for sorrow disappears. Don’t trust what you hear.’ ( words are no good here )
    ‘ Hurt and isolated you move to a new (resting) place.’

    H.11 Rests in peace.

  33. My cast back then was – 19
    I did say great detail.
    Arms. I got into conflict with one of the junior docs.They don’t seem to think much of public patients.
    43.3 Soaking.Cheek-bones(hard-faced).Indignation.
    Exposure During the procedure one feels exposed in an extreme position.Clothes off, so literal too.
    Notify.Imposing speech. The aloof consultant wrote a lot , spoke very little : gastritis , you are discharged. with doctors letter.

  34. 43.5
    ‘ is a double Guai line and entangled with 6. So it’s wrestling with a tenacious problem difficult to eradicate ‘ (Tuck) and which could quickly run out of control.

  35. The lines of 43 are hard to get to grips with, aren’t they? Except in individual readings like your gastroscopy where the application is painfully apparent.

    I certainly find 43.4.5 as a picture of ‘expectations causing suffering’ to be pretty tricky. Maybe there is some sense of ‘decide your expectations with care’, since they will determine how you relate to the greater flow and what you experience of it, where you contest or change things and where you surrender. Or maybe it was simply Frank’s reading and I’m not particularly meant to understand it.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Office 17622,
PO Box 6945,
United Kingdom

Phone/ Voicemail:
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).