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Yearly Archives: 2019

Layer cake imagery (and Hexagram 53)

Layer cake imagery (and Hexagram 53)

The Yijing’s full of imagery. Even though the first impression when you open it is one of wall-to-wall text, it’s also a picture book.

In last month’s ‘Connecting with Imagery’ workshop I put a reading on the screen and asked people to mark all the images they could see. They saw quite a few…

screen capture of a slide from the presentation, showing where people have marked up the different images in multiple colours

There’s the imagery of the text – and that often comes in layers, with different pictures in the Oracle text and the moving lines – and the imagery concealed within the text, at the roots of the ancient Chinese characters. And then there’s the imagery of the trigrams, and maybe the hexagram itself is a picture, too. Layer upon layer, all part of the whole.

So Hexagram 3, for instance, lets you imagine your situation in terms of a king setting up feudal lords, and a sprouting seed, and torrential rain in a thunderstorm.

And Hexagram 53, Gradual Progress, gives you pictures of a river, and the soaking and penetrating action of water, and a woman marrying, and geese flying home, and a tree growing on a mountain.

During the workshop, someone asked me the very good question,

‘How do you know which image to concentrate on?’

I still can’t think of a very good answer, and I think that’s because all the layers work together. You can dive into any one of them, whichever fascinates or perplexes you most, and hear/see something the reading has to tell you – but I like to do my best to absorb all the imagery Yi offers.

You can simply enjoy it all, without attempting to analyse anything, and experience how the layers of imagery are ‘baked’ together to create the atmosphere of the hexagram. Or looking more closely, you can see how delicately they interact and map onto one another, outlining a shared pattern and ‘quality of the time’.

In Hexagram 53, for instance…

Forum Remodelling Coming Soon

Refurbishing? Remodelling? The I Ching Community will be migrating, fairly soon, to some new forum software. I don’t want to say, ‘We’re moving,’ because at the end of the process the forums will still be accessible at the same address as before. But they’ll look somewhat different and work somewhat differently, so there’ll be a… Continue Reading

Hexagram 5, and rain-making (a rethink)

Hexagram 5, and rain-making (a rethink)

What are we Waiting for? Wilhelm says Hexagram 5 is about waiting for it to rain. SJ Marshall says it meant waiting for rain to stop. So too does Stephen Field: the hexagram name means ‘to stop for the rain’, but originally would probably have had the ‘water’ radical added and meant simply ‘drenched’. In… Continue Reading

‘Connecting with Imagery’: a free workshop

‘Connecting with Imagery’: a free workshop

For a really good understanding of your own Yijing readings, I think there are basically two things you need to know: How the parts of a reading work together. How to connect with its imagery. (Click here to skip this blog post and just register for the workshop.) The first of those can get a… Continue Reading

Yi’s kindness

Yi’s kindness

It’s easy to become preoccupied with how beautiful, subtle and complex the Yijing is – there are endless layers and dimensions to discover – but more than anything, I keep coming back to its kindness. For example, the readings I cast when a close friend had just been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I looked… Continue Reading

Hexagram 51, Shock

Hexagram 51, Shock

Thunderbolt and earthquake The name of Hexagram 51, zhen 震, means Shock, Quake, and encompasses both thunder and earthquake. (Nowadays there is a specific word for earthquake made of the components ‘earth’ and ‘zhen’.) The old character has two components: rain, and chen, the name of the fifth Earthly Branch in the Chinese calendar – which… Continue Reading

A free sample of the Paired Hexagrams course

I’ve had some questions about the Paired Hexagrams Course. Rather than just talking about it, I thought it would be better to show you some of it – so here’s the introductory lesson. It simply runs through the three kinds of pair, so you can see clearly what they are and how they differ. Then… Continue Reading

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