I started work recently to research a post on Hexagram 23, Stripping Away – a hexagram of loss, whether that means painlessly shedding what’s outlived its usefulness, or having something you’re very much attached to torn away. Looking through a dozen reading experiences with this one, I was struck again by how much hexagrams don’t describe scale.
Just on this blog, I found three readings I’d shared with Hexagram 23. They were, in order:
- auspices for using a certain technology during a webinar. (I persuaded myself I could use it anyway, and it failed impressively.)
- foreshadowing my mother’s death after a debilitating illness
- describing turning out my wardrobe
This kind of list is one reason why it’s not sensible to worry about receiving Hexagram 23 – or 29, or 47. They tell you the shape of things, not their size.
(Of course the same is true of ‘nice’ hexagrams – but it isn’t really in human nature to look at Hexagram 14, say, and confidently expect a lottery win, whereas people do greet Hexagram 23 with dread.)
23? Stripping Away is happening – something is being taken away. 47? Something is Confined, shut away. 29? A deep dive, a recurring ‘learning opportunity’ (heh), calling for absolute commitment.
A hexagram is like a living diagram of energy flows and structures… or like a detailed relief map, but without the little ‘1:10000’ scale marking in the corner. If your reading for the week ahead shows Repeating Chasms, you know you’re entering a space with this shape –
– but you don’t know whether it’ll be a vast windswept landscape of ravines and torrents, or something more like our back lawn. (It has moles.)
Looking at this logically, from the outside, it might make you wonder what the point is. Why consult an oracle that might not differentiate between major surgery and a bruised ego?
But knowing it from the inside, this reveals something about how a relationship with Yi works. Pragmatically, we usually know the scale from our question. Hexagram 23 for a new computer? You might lose your data. Hexagram 23 for a new business venture? You might lose your house – or your belief in your own competence – or both, of course.
And at a deeper – and still more pragmatic – level: Yi helps now, in the present; readings show you where you are. I don’t need a reading to tell me ‘this is life-changing’ or ‘this is ordinary’; I need it for the ‘energy diagram’ that shows me the nature and shape of the time, and how to navigate my way around it.