...life can be translucent

Lines in conversation

Lines in conversation
This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

The Yijing’s changing line texts are in conversation with the hexagrams created by each change. But they can also have quiet exchanges with their fan yao, the ‘reverse line’ that travels in the opposite direction.

For instance, 11.2 changes to 36, and in reverse, 36.2 changes to 11: 11.2 and 36.2 are one another’s fan yao.

changes to


changes to

Here’s the text for each line:

‘Embracing emptiness.
Use this to cross the river.
Not distancing or leaving behind,
Friends disappear.
Gaining honour, moving to the centre.’


‘Brightness hidden, wounded in the left thigh.
For rescue, use the power of a horse.
Good fortune.’


There’s no obvious connection – until you dig into the Chinese a little.

River crossing here is not like all the other river crossings in the Yi: the words for both ‘cross’ and ‘river’ are different. And the verb, ‘cross’, is ping, 馮. Its components: ice and horse. (Isn’t it said that horses are particularly strong, buoyant swimmers because of their huge lung capacity?)

A very small ‘hidden gem’, this one. The kind of thing that makes me wonder, ‘What else am I missing?’

1867 illustration of horses fording the Volga
Horses fording the Volga, 1867

I Ching Community discussion

3 responses to Lines in conversation

  1. Woah o__o this really makes me want to consider all the rest of the fan Yaos. What other beautiful fun stuff can we gleam here!

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