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The basic human need Yi answers, part 5: changing line 2

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series The need Yi answers: 49.1.2.4 to 48

(This post is part of an absurdly long series:

Moving on to line 2:

‘Your own day, so make radical change
And set out to bring order: good fortune, no mistake.’

Line 2 is the inner centre – I think of it as a ‘heart line’. It’s a personal emotional core, and also the place where connections are felt inwardly. This line joins that core with Hexagram 43, Deciding, a highly dramatic hexagram of identity and decision – of having a message and bringing it in the face of danger.

All this – line position, zhi gua, text – comes together to create a sense that this moment is yours, so you can identify with the change. Literally, the line says something like, ‘Your-own day, and-so-therefore radical-change’s setting-out-to-bring-order, good-fortune, no mistake.’ The ‘and-so-therefore’ and the possessive particle (the ’s in ‘radical change’s’) create a sense of direction and momentum. It’s because the time is yours that there is change, and the ‘setting out to bring order’, the action, belongs to the change. When these things are bound up together so closely and lead to action, then there is good fortune, no mistake.

I can recognise this as something Yi does. It’s one thing to have the idea that there is change going on, or change called for, or even to be quite sure, on a rational level, of how things stand. It’s another thing to experience that inwardly as part of who you are. That comes, I think, with the moment of recognition in a reading – the unmistakable experience of,

‘Oh! Yes, this is me. That’s what time it is for me.’

So you have a sure inner knowing, a ‘here I am’ moment: not just seeing the picture, but finding yourself inside it. Also, I’ve found this can lead to more fully identifying with your own actions in the world. What you do becomes not just more items on an endless ‘to do’ list, but part of your own unfolding self.

(This might be a good moment to mention that when I say ‘action’ I don’t just mean ‘doing stuff’. Sometimes action and ‘setting out to bring order’ may mean stopping yourself rushing about being ‘productive’, in order to create a deeper change. The ‘action’ required might be to wait and see, or to sit motionless in the woods for an hour or two. Those can also be radical changes!

Inertia, which I mentioned in the first post, is what makes things carry on moving in the same way as before unless something intervenes. This whole reading is about that intervention.)

Now to walk round the line pathway (49.2, 43.2, 44.5, 50.5) and take in the scenery…

49.2 ‘reversed’ shows 43.2. This moment in change comes with a feeling or awareness of…

‘Alarmed, calling out.
Evening and night, bearing arms.
Do not fear.’

…which, it seems to me, is exactly how the inner commitment to radical change feels. Yi is for the things that keep you awake at night, and the ones where you feel your very existence is threatened. But if this is ‘your own day’, if you really are a part of it, then you are not merely the victim of changes. ‘Do not fear.’

And that – somehow! – might emerge into this:

‘Using willow to wrap melons.
Containing a thing of beauty,
It comes falling from its source in heaven.’

I’ll admit, it’s a lot more difficult to follow the internal ‘logic’ of this pathway than the previous one. (I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything from hexagram 44 to fit in tidily to any schema I can come up with.) Let’s see… radical change (49) inspires a new way of being (50). At the same time, self-declaration (43) triggers the arrival of the unknown and uncontrollable (44).

Oh… isn’t that the exact paradox of divination? It takes place right at the heart of personal identity and intent: as you cast a reading, you screw up your courage to bring your whole self into the king’s chambers, the centre and source of the flow of things – an odd, mysterious place, where the moment of divination is most certainly not just a matter of ‘input question, receive answer’ but participates actively in the flow. Only when you get here, what you encounter is the unknowable, irrational 44. (I’ve often thought that the ‘powerful woman’ is not unrelated to the Fates and Lady Luck.)

44.5 is the most remote line of the pathway from the original line cast – but doesn’t it remind you most of receiving a reading? And the ‘thing of beauty’ it contains can actually translate as a form of government: it’s that new way of being the Vessel establishes.

Let’s come full circle, back to the original line and its pair:

‘Your own day, so make radical change
And set out to bring order: good fortune, no mistake.’
‘The vessel with gold ears and bronze handle.
Constancy bears fruit.’

The ‘ears’ on the rim of the vessel, along with its handle, embody its most precious qualities: responsiveness and mobility. And of course these are also literal ears, for listening with. When you start by making radical change on your own day, you’re moving towards having better ears. That’s certainly something readings can lend you, in the end: relationship ears, for instance, for hearing the other person better; synchronicity-ears, for receiving signs and hints.

So… more about that need Yi answers… it’s for radical change, that leads to a new way of being, infused with courageous self-declaration that also implies awareness of the unknowable. There’s ‘this change is mine!’ along with ‘this change is beyond me altogether’. It’s when you identify the thing-to-do as really yours that you can inhabit the core of it, fears and all, and be receptive to all the ways in which it’s not what you expected.

Lines 1 and 2 moving together – grounded realism along with resolute action – are 49’s 28, radical change’s will to step out alone and make a great transition. The movement of the two together, solid and open appearing to swap places, is like a first step into change. And the inner trigram they form is li with xun – lucidity drawing on a willing responsiveness. That takes us two-thirds of the way to Radical Change’s Well…

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