...life can be translucent

Monthly Archives: December 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…

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