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Additive hexagrams?

OK, here’s the off-the-wall idea for the day.

What if you could add two hexagrams together? Not changing lines to move from one hexagram to another, but ‘adding’ them, on the basis that yin + yin = yin, but yang + yin = yang, because you imagine the yang line ‘filling’ the empty yin space.

This idea first hit me years ago, reading what LiSe had discovered about hexagram 15 and the ‘uniting bird’. A quick summary, since I want to share the whole odd idea with you in one post: the name of hexagram 15 is made up of two components, ‘words’ and ‘uniting’. The idea is that ‘words’ is a more recent addition, and the original might just have been ‘uniting’. That could then have various implied meanings, which were only subsequently differentiated and made explicit by adding different radicals: ‘words’ for ‘Modesty’, ‘rodent’ for Rutt’s Rat… and then LiSe says that

Substituting ‘words’ (part 1 of the character) for ‘bird’ gives Jian1, a mythical bird with one wing and one eye. Two of them could fly: the perfect cooperation.

Well… I look at this, and at 15 combined with 16, its paired hexagram and the one that joins imagination to 15’s realism, and get this…

::|::: + :::|::
= ::||::

– hexagram 62, whose Oracle reads,
‘Small exceeding, creating success,
Constancy bears fruit.
Allows small works, does not allow great works.
A bird in flight leaves its call,
Going higher is not fitting, coming down is fitting.
Great good fortune.’

And that is a rather lovely coincidence.

Then just now I was reading this article:
Why you must learn to love the goo.
To begin with, this makes me think of Hexagram 27, Nourishment. I often compare what goes on in the inner lines of 27, where the regular channels of nourishment are rejected, to what happens to a caterpillar inside a pupa. Something like a full internal replumbing or rewiring  is happening… our way of perceiving and receiving nourishment changes completely.

So here is this brilliant article talking about the ‘goo’ phase between being caterpillar and butterfly (and also sounding quite a bit like hexagram 29, incidentally, which has 27 as its nuclear hexagram), and suddenly it says,

You know you’re in deeply into the goo when the old form has completely dissolved – but the new form has not yet emerged.

Well… spot the hexagrams…

:::::| + |:::::
= |::::|

…do you suppose?

Let’s look at the other two hexagrams we can build symmetrically in this way: 28 and 61.

:::||: + :||:::
= :||||:

…maybe? There’s a gathering of people, forces, waters, resources, investment, intensity… and there is purpose and direction and the need to move and make progress.

‘Great Exceeding, the ridgepole warps.
Fruitful to have a direction to go.
Creating success.’
Not completely implausible, is it?

And

||:::: + ::::||
= ||::||

Nearing and Seeing are about presence and awareness, and together are also about mutual help. Also, they describe the approach of a spirit and how it is seen in the space opened up by not acting. All of this seems to me to fit very beautifully with Inner Truth.

So anyway, here are some ideas to play with. (Do you know if anyone else has already described this?) I wonder if it’d feel right applied beyond these few symmetrical hexagrams. (Does 24 + 16 = 51? or 24 + 8 = 3?)

2 responses to Additive hexagrams?

  1. Hilary
    Thank you for you kind mention of my goo article. I revere the I Ching and will certainly explore your site for nourishment!! Oxfordshire . . . mmm . . . on my wish list.

  2. Hi, Eric! Thank you for dropping by. The whole ‘goo’ idea is proving a really useful way of thinking about big transitional-type hexagrams – 63/64, too. Now I know you and Yi have met, I’m curious as to whether you ‘think in hexagrams’ at all as you write…?

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