‘Dispersing blood.Hexagram 59, line 6
Leave, go out and far away.
Not a mistake.’
‘Dispersing blood‘? What does that mean?
Wilhelm says it means avoiding an existing danger, ‘dispersion of that which might lead to bloodshed’ for both oneself and others. Lynn, following Wang Bi, has the same idea: ‘This one disperses the threat of bloodletting.’
So the traditional interpretation is quite clear. However, reviewing readings with this line, I found something else was happening. There was – often – over-sharing that harmed relationships; on one memorable occasion there was even an overheated motherboard with some crucial circuitry melted.
In other words, something had overflowed its limits; some truly useful boundaries had been ‘dispersed’, with unfortunate results. There were no enormous disasters, but in each case, dispersing had clearly gone too far.
The red stuff, we know, is supposed to stay on the inside. When there’s a threat of ‘dispersing blood’, run away. ‘Leave, go out and far away!’
However… the line doesn’t end there. It concludes, ‘No mistake’. Why wouldn’t this be a mistake?
I wonder if this might be a similar ‘no mistake’ to that in the 6th line of Hexagram 28, Great Exceeding:
‘Exceeding in wading the river, head underwater.Hexagram 28, line 6
Here, I think there’s a sharp division between two perspectives. 28.6 is a disaster for the one who drowns, but overall it’s not a mistake. We can imagine an all-seeing narrator, looking down on the scene from a great height, saying, ‘This was meant to be’ – or at least, that it wasn’t not meant to be.
Perhaps 59.6 is similar, and nothing in this line is a mistake? It might help to remember that ancient China was a lot less squeamish than we are. Blood sacrifice was a normal part of life, and essential to the ongoing flow of energy between humans and spirits.
So… perhaps this is not Dispersing gone too far; perhaps it did need to go this far.
However, once the blood is flowing, you need to get clear. After the emotional outpouring, people seek distance – stop talking to each other, block phone numbers, or at least pretend it never happened. If the wires have melted and now the whole device is live, stand well back and cut the power. Certainly, none of this is a mistake.
59.6 changes to Hexagram 29, the Repeating Chasms –
In other words, behind ‘dispersing blood’ are chasms. Now everything is crumbling, now the walls are dissolving between the living and the dead, don’t fall in. Leave, go far away, get out!
Combining a hexagram’s upper nuclear trigram with its outer trigram shows you its higher nuclear hexagram, the one I think of as the telos: a higher learning, an ultimate end. 59’s telos is 53, Gradual Progress: ultimately, Dispersing might free us to integrate more deeply and naturally, ‘marrying into’ our own lives.
Mapping 59.6 into 53 shows you 53.6:
‘Wild geese gradually progress to the high plateau.Hexagram 53, line 6
Their feathers can be used to perform the sacred dances.
You can imagine this as the higher learning of 59.6 – and it gives you another view of what it can mean to leave and go far away. Go on out, over the mountains; maybe even go beyond your own objectives, your idea of what it’s all for. (Geese don’t understand sacred dances.) Get out of the immediate gore so you can see the dance, and dedicate the sacrifice to something higher.