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Trusting your reading

Trusting your reading
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Part of the furniture

It’s one thing to consult the Yijing; finding the confidence to act on what it says is something else. (What if I’ve got this wrong?) Yet readings without this, without change, are theoretical at best, and at worst… maybe something more serious than a mere waste of time. We need to recognise the reading’s authority – but where does that come from?

On to the final line of my 37 – 46 reading:

‘With truth and confidence like authority. In the end, good fortune.’

Hexagram 37, line 6

‘Truth and confidence’?

The Chinese word here is 孚, fu – as in the name of Hexagram 61, Inner Truth. Here’s an excerpt from its entry in the Language of Change glossary:

“Fu can sometimes (11.3, 44.1) mean simply ‘what is true’ or ‘the true nature of this’. But more often, it means the quality of trust and being true which opens channels and creates an interface – a way or place of connection. Relationships of all kinds happen through fu; it’s the prerequisite for both inner and outer communication. In the Songs, it unites the king with heaven’s mandate, and unites the people with the king.”

Language of Change

In this line, I think fu is the quality of trust and truth that creates confidence in family relationships – like the confidence you might have in a wise grandparent.


This is wei, 威 – also translated nowadays as might, power and force. In the Book of Songs, it seems to be especially about the manifestation of power. A wei appearance or bearing is a dignified one, suited to a solemn ceremony; affiliction-wei is the terrible might of Heaven when it demonstrates its power through famine and disaster. So we can imagine that when truth is ‘like wei‘, it’s a manifest power in itself.

We can also get more of a feel for this line by comparison with Hexagram 14, line 5, which is quite similar:

‘Your truth interacts, strikes awe
Good fortune.’

Hexagram 14 line 5

Literally, your truth is like interaction, like authority (威如).

And here’s 37.6:

‘With truth and confidence like authority.
In the end, good fortune.’


Ru, 如, is tricky, but I believe both lines are describing how truth can act as authority. Bradford Hatcher translate ru in 37.5 as ‘as good as’: ‘Being true is as good as impressive.’

And in readings…

So… this is where a reading’s authority comes from: from fu, the trust and truth that creates your relationship with the oracle.

That means it isn’t something you reason out, or something you talk yourself into, and above all it is not anything anyone else tells you. It’s what arises when you hear the reading speaking directly to you: you know it when you feel it.

(Or when interpreting for other people, I know it when I hear it: people gasp, they get goosebumps, burst out laughing or go very quiet – and I have learned to go quiet then, too, because this is the reading happening and I don’t want to get in its way.)

The commentary on the line (xiaoxiang) points in the same direction:

‘Majestic-like, this is good fortune and means a turning-back to the self.’

37.6, xiaoxiangWu Jing Nuan‘s translation

Truth that works as authority – it has to come from the self.

This is why there is no such thing as being ‘too subjective’ or too personally involved to understand a reading. It’s also why, when you have an immediate intuitive response to a reading, this is not something you need to check with an expert in case you’ve got it wrong: it’s the answer.

‘In the end’?

‘With truth and confidence like authority. In the end, good fortune.’

Why is there good fortune ‘in the end’; why not right away?

I think it’s because this line, though it’s the end of the hexagram, is only the beginning of the world beyond the home. ‘Wind comes forth originally from fire,’ says the Image; the influence of the Home starts here, and spreads onward and outward. Truth is known, then it acts.

37.6 changes to 63, Already Across – where everything is settled and in place, and so the journey starts here. Trusting the reading is just the beginning of change.

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