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Yearly Archives: 2020

More birds

More birds
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

As I was saying in my last post, Hexagram 61, Inner Truth has a hatchling in its name, and a crane with her young in it second line. Its paired hexagram is Hexagram 62, Small Exceeding –

is the pair and complement of

– and this has its own calling bird:

‘Small exceeding, creating success,
Constancy bears fruit.
Allows small works, does not allow great works.
A bird in flight leaves its call,
Going higher is not fitting, coming down is fitting.
Great good fortune.’

Hexagram 62, the Oracle

This bird flies through lines 1 and 6, too, where it doesn’t fare so well. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, ‘Clarity and the flying bird‘, because those two lines change 62 to 30, Clarity, whose name also means the oriole. (I neglected to mention there that the name Hexagram 30, li 離, actually shows the bird and the net that catches it. Good for the bird-catcher; not good from the perspective of the bird, over in Hexagram 62.)

As I mentioned there, the lines of Hexagram 62 itself draw a picture of a bird in flight, as we see it from below:

Yi doesn’t just tell us about the bird, it shows us with its lines.

And then, of course, those lines can move. Scott Davis points out how 56.6 also features the ill-fated bird…

‘The bird burns its nest.
Travelling people first laugh, afterwards cry out and weep.
Lose cattle in Yi.

Hexagram 56, line 6

…and this line changes to Hexagram 62:

changes to

The upper trigram of Hexagram 56, li,


represents all kinds of things with hard outsides protecting soft insides – tortoises, armour, gourds – so it makes sense that it should also describe a nest. And here the uppermost line is changing, the nest is burning away, revealing the image of the flying bird. Moving lines make moving pictures…

I Ching Community discussion

The crane, her young and the wine vessel.

The crane, her young and the wine vessel.
This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

In my last post, I mentioned how ten pairs of tortoises hexagrams lead us from Hexagram 41 to 61, where the crane calls back across the space between hexagrams. This line is a not-so-hidden gem, beautiful in its own right: ‘Calling crane in the shadows,Her young respond in harmony.I have a good wine vessel,I will… Continue Reading

Ten pairs of tortoises

Ten pairs of tortoises
This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

I’ve written all about this before, so now I’m simply going to repeat myself. In my defence, I will point out I’m in good company: ‘Maybe increased by ten paired tortoise shells,Nothing is capable of going against this.From the source, good fortune.’ Hexagram 41, line 5 ‘Maybe increased by ten paired tortoise shells.Nothing is capable… Continue Reading

Trigram pictures

Trigram pictures
This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

There’s more than one way to engage with the trigrams that make up the Yi’s hexagrams. The one that I find most engrossing – that most often shows me hidden beauties of the book, and most often makes for powerful, transformative readings (not unconnected!) – is to look at them in relationship. When two trigrams… Continue Reading

An interruption

An interruption
This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

(This post’s one of a series about the hidden gems of the Yijing. They may quite often describe things I’ve mentioned before, but I think they bear repeating. The idea is to point to especially lovely or ingenious or playful ways that the Yi creates meaning and speaks to us – ways that we can… Continue Reading

Skip or symphony

Skip or symphony
This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

Lately, I’ve been noticing differences between approaches to the Yi. We might describe what we do in the same words – we all ‘consult the oracle’ – but what actually happens next is not at all the same thing. And I think these differences come down to how we conceive of the oracle we’re consulting.… Continue Reading

Lost and found

Lost and found

A set of three lines Something I learned from Scott Davis*: it’s worth taking a second look at anything that shows up in the Yijing in a set of three. *Though come to think of it, there are about eight reasons why I might’ve got a clue a little earlier… And it turns out that… Continue Reading

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