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The basic human need Yi answers, part 3: the change

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series The need Yi answers: to 48

This is a follow-up post from these two, about a reading. (And there will be more to come: a single post covering three lines, change patterns and speculations about trigram changes would have been ridiculously long.)

Thought in passing…

Talking to people in the comments on those posts about personal and transpersonal qualities of readings… well, it gets me thinking to quite how Yi can be said to meet our need for Radical Change or Revolution. One way: by subtly, subversively connecting our most ordinary everyday decisions to the whole reality. Yi doesn’t make it impossible to deceive yourself, to be alienated, to keep on blocking out empathy and wonder and the awareness of the meaning of your actions – but over time, it does make it quite difficult.

Back to the reading…

What’s the basic need the Yi answers? to 48: Radical Change’s Well.

Trigram changes

I try as best I can to understand a reading’s two hexagrams as a single thing. That’s how we receive them, after all: we cast a single pattern of six lines, and some of those lines may be changing, lit up to reveal another hexagram shining through.

I’ve been experimenting recently with seeing the trigrams this way, too. It’s natural to contemplate the relationship of trigrams within the hexagram. Radical Change, for instance, shows fire within the lake, inner awareness lighting up interaction and community, making it lucid and clear:

‘In the centre of the lake there is fire. Radical Change.
A noble one calculates the heavenly signs and clarifies the seasons.’

And the Well shows an inner gentle, all-pervasive responsiveness in service to the flow of water, which suggests deep commitment:

‘Above the wood is the stream. The Well.
A noble one toils with the people, encouraging them to help one another.’

Only this reading is not just Radical Change and then the Well, but Radical Change with the Well. Its outer trigram is lake-with-depths; its inner trigram is fire-with-wood. Each of those suggests a particular relationship. I’m beginning to think that a simple description of these shifting, relating trigrams might be a good way to enter into the dynamics of a reading. For instance – the basic need Yi answers is for an outer world where interactions flow with emotional/imaginative depth, and an inner world of lucid awareness sustained by a deeply receptive listening.

(The next step would be to describe, or at least sense, the vertical axis as a whole: how lake-with-depths on the outside interacts with fire-with-wood within. What do you think? This trigram-mixing is new to me, at least as a systematic approach, and I’m curious to see how it works out.)

Patterns of Change

(Note: these are the same things that Stephen Karcher now describes as Change Operators, and you can read his most recent take on them in the first article on this page of his new site.)

With lines 1, 2 and 4 changing, you can represent the reading’s yang pattern of change as 54 – the hexagram where the first, second and fourth lines are yang. And in the same way, you can represent its yin pattern of change with hexagram 53, which has yin lines at 1, 2 and 4. Marrying Maiden and Gradual Advance, a complementary pair of hexagrams of marriage.

Think of the hexagram as a blank six-line template or map: in drawing a pattern of change, you’re marking the locations of change on the map. The yang change pattern maps change as an active, inspiring force; the yin one maps it as an opening, the availability of space for change.

I find it helps to keep a clear distinction between the hexagrams and lines that are part of the direct response to my question (primary hexagram, moving lines, relating hexagram) and all the rest. Each of ‘the rest’ (complements, pairs, nuclears, line pathways, the whole toolkit) has their own role and place, to be discovered partly by theoretical speculation, partly empirically, by piecing together what I recognise in individual readings.

Theoretically, the change patterns embody how the primary and relating hexagrams are connected. You could say:
‘The active change at work in a 49-48 situation is that of 54. The opening for change is that of 53.’
So fleshing that out a bit… the active change at work in a situation where radical change connects with and draws on the well, on deep connection, is like a young girl marrying: it’s like going into a change that takes you beyond your own agenda or anything you can control. And the opening, the scope, for change in such a situation is like gradually coming home into a new life.

Empirically, I’ve found that the change patterns often contain the drives (yang) and possibilities (yin) of the question, the moment of the reading. The ‘way in’ to the reading is 54, the ‘way through’ and out is 53. In particular, I’ve found that when I ask questions that are not explicitly about me and what I can do, the change patterns tend to be personal anyway.

Given how long ago I cast this reading, that might feel a bit remote. But… in this delayed ‘moment of the reading’ here and now, it turns out that 54 has a big personal relevance for me. Thanks in large measure to some excellent people writing comments, I’ve been shown that asking this question amounts to jumping, as a very small fish, into a very big ocean. But then that’s what I’m doing with Yi anyway, all the time: dealing with big human fundamentals; feeling my way around, trying to find my place in a realm where my individual agenda or purpose has no relevance, no immediate application. (And mightn’t this be true for anyone asking this question?)

Then there’s the yin pattern, 53, hexagram of marriage and geese flying home, and (experience says) of things evolving extremely gradually. In both 54 and 53, marriage is an image for an integrated life, where one is deeply at home and part of the whole. 53 offers the chance to evolve into an integrated state. Which, in the light of the reading, makes sense. Being fully involved with Yi as it responds to a ‘basic human need’ is a process with layers; I don’t automatically ‘get’ all of it the first (or the 10,000th) time I sort a few beads.

One response to The basic human need Yi answers, part 3: the change

  1. A very interesting topic. I think it is Ritsema, who says in his book that the white crane or swan in hexagram fifty three can be a metaphor for the soul and its aspirations. If so, and I tend to concur with this, then hexagram fifty four, being the even numbered hexagram in this continuation, could refer to the soul being locked up in the body. As the soul is locked up within the physical form, its aspirations and its abilities are limited, so the material body, as well as all things material, are limited in their aspirations by their physical form. The soul locked within the body becomes the “one eyed man who is still able to see but not very far,” It also limps as the physical body restricts its aspirations, and then becomes like the concubine who has certain rights and obligations, but is still subject to a higher power.

    So too in our life, we are often subject to limitations in terms of how much we can perceive of the spiritual world and its realities. We are subject to the higher powers, and take a secondary role, like a concubine, being limited in perception and power. The key is to break free of the chains that restrict us, and that is done through setting the “wild goose free” to find its own branch to rest upon, and allow it to fly until it can reach the cloud heights. But we are underlings and must continually receive instruction that only so much of can be understood, and that limits us to the likes of a “one eyed man.” It is only with continuous practice that the way becomes clear. Life is like a school except that the instruction is personal and not geared toward an entire group, for each one of us is different in our needs.


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