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A line pathway

I’m sure I must have mentioned these before, so let me start with a quick recap before I get to something I just noticed about 57.5…

A ‘line pathway’ is my name for what LiSe calls ‘line squares’ and Stephen Karcher calls ‘crossline omens’. (LiSe and Stephen are the ones who actually (re-)discovered them; I just go along for the ride and enjoy the view.) It involves two kinds of transformation: the change of a line to create a new hexagram, and the inversion of a hexagram to find its pair (or sometimes, of course, just to see the same hexagram again).

Thus if we begin with 57.5, changing that line takes us to hexagram 18 – where line 5 would take us back again to 57.

Then if you invert hexagram 18 you see hexagram 17 – and if you mark line 5 in 18 and then invert the hexagram, you see 17 line 2. Same line, same place in the ‘landscape’ of the hexagram, just viewed from the opposite perspective. (If this is unclear, just draw the hexagram on a piece of paper, mark the changing line, and then rotate your piece of paper through 180 degrees.)

Then if you change 17.2 from yin to yang, you reach 58. Mark the line that’s on the same path, 58.2; invert the hexagram, and you’re back looking at 57.5 again.

Wandering round this pathway would be quite useless, of course, if the journey didn’t show us something about the lines and reveal deeper, underlying themes.

Hexagram 58, line 2:

‘True and confident opening, good fortune.
Regrets vanish.’

This comes into the present moment, fu, the place of trust. Regrets belong to the past; they can’t co-exist with fu. This kind of opening is true connection into the flow of things – into 17, Following, which is said to have ‘no causes’.

17.2:

‘Bound to the small child,
Letting the mature man go.’

Commentaries tend to regard this line with deep suspicion, even though the original line has no ill omen at all. It only says that you have a choice, and cannot have both. If you hold onto the child’s way of being, you have to let the responsible adult go – which seems to me to reflect the present-moment existence without regrets of 58.2.

Then 18.5:

‘Ancestral father’s corruption.
Use praise.’

This line uses the power of 57, Subtle Penetration, to tackle corruption. With praise rather than blame, it reaches through directly to the core potential for growth and good, without exciting resistance.

And 57.5:

‘Constancy, good fortune, regrets vanish.
Nothing that does not bear fruit.
With no beginning, there is completion.
Before threshing, three days.
After threshing, three days.
Good fortune.’

So even with an unpromising beginning, even in the presence of corruption, you can go below the old, hardened, defunct surface to find the seed. Yet another image for getting through to the present potential for growth. Reaching the seed in the husk is like reaching the child – the site of pure, present vitality.

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