In a little post on hexagrams and scale I wrote,
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.
So… what is the shape of things, in a time of Stripping Away?
This is one hexagram shape that’s simple enough for us to see in the pattern of lines:
If you look at this shape, and remember that energy always rises through a hexagram, then you can see that the solid line is on its way out. The hexagram does look like a process of ‘stripping’ or ‘peeling’.
Someone looking down on this hexagram – from the ‘outside’, as it were – would see only the top line, and might think it was solid all through. But because we see it in cross-section, we can see that it’s hollow. That outermost layer might seem to be almost detached from the rest of the hexagram – ungrounded, disconnected, coming unmoored. Or you might see a rising tide of open lines pushing out that last bit of solidity, and hence pushing on the wheel of change and turning it towards regrowth from the roots. (I touched on this in my post about 2.6 – which changes to 23 – and its fighting dragons.)
Another way to see the shape is as trigrams – especially in the light of the Sequence. In the preceding hexagram, 22, an inner fire cast light on the outer mountain and brought it to life. In 23, the light’s gone out; there’s only earth, or perhaps ash, under the mountain.
(Just as I was writing the above, the phone rang and I heard that an elderly friend had died.)
Stripping Away is a specific kind of change, with this specific shape – a shape that can describe death, or clearing out old clothes. Seeing those two readings reminded me of an account I read as a teenager in a book by a close family friend, Faith Bowers, Who’s this sitting in my pew?
A woman attending her funeral with her handicapped sister, looking for a way to explain, said that what was in the coffin wasn’t the person they’d known, but something like an old, worn-out coat:
‘What do you do with a coat when it’s worn out?’
‘Throw it away,’ replied her sister, ‘put it in the dustbin.’
‘That’s right. The coffin is a kind of dustbin.’