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Author Archives: Hilary

The need for Hexagram 12

The need for Hexagram 12

Hexagram 12 is called Pi 否 – Blocked, Standstill, Stasis, Negation. It encapsulates the experience of being denied and stymied. The noble one’s constancy bears no fruit: despite your best, most creative efforts, it just isn’t happening.

The Sequence into this one is (as so often) quite enigmatic:

‘Things cannot end with flowing together, and so Blocked follows.’

Hexagram 12, Xugua

Yes, but why can’t things end with flowing together? Hexagram 11, Flow, with everything in sync and working smoothly, seems like a perfectly balanced, sustainable state of affairs. Why should it be superseded by this hampering and frustration?

I’ve always had the feeling the answer to this lay somewhere in the nuclear hexagram of 12: 53, Gradual Development, with its Image of the tree on the mountain, growing immensely slowly. Could being blocked and slowed down this way somehow make for stronger growth?

In his lovely book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben explains how a sapling just a few yards high, one that looks to be ten years old at most, could actually be over eighty.

This is because the parent tree, in whose shade it grows, is absorbing about 97% of the available sunlight with its dense canopy of leaves. The tiny trickle of light remaining isn’t enough for the sapling to grow; it can only survive.

So at once I think of ‘Heaven and earth do not interact’ in the Image, and the young plant that can’t see the sky and liberate its full potential for growth. Here’s a perfect picture of being Blocked and unable to make progress.

But then comes the eye-opening information. This comprehensive shading and ‘blocking’ by the parent tree is actually known as upbringing. It makes for robust, sturdy saplings, because they form tiny woody cells with very little air. The small cell size makes them more flexible, less likely to break in storms; the density makes them more resistant to fungal infection and better able to heal wounds from browsing deer.

Trees – like those in artificial plantations – that grow freely in full light from the start have a much shorter life-expectancy.

And this is why trees, at least, need Hexagram 12.

woodland with sapling in the shade of great trees

Staying connected

Staying connected

Divination means we’re connected. It demonstrates that there’s no such thing as ‘isolation’: the cosmos has 100% uptime. You can toss three coins six times, any time, to experience its absolute connectivity. Yi’s connection works, as it always has, through imagery. It doesn’t just talk (though it certainly does that, too): it shows. Imagery is… Continue Reading

The importance of the question

The importance of the question

I’ve mentioned this before, and no doubt will again… the question you ask the Yi matters. It’s important to understand that this isn’t about choosing the right wording for your question. The words really don’t matter. ‘Argh – help!’ can be a perfectly-formed question for the Oracle, leading to a perfectly helpful conversation, provided you… Continue Reading

March 22nd: ‘Connecting with Imagery’ Workshop

March 22nd: ‘Connecting with Imagery’ Workshop

Consulting the I Ching? You will need… to know what you’re asking a sense of how the parts of a reading fit together, and to be able to get inside the oracle’s imagery. If you’re missing any of these, you’ll tend to get stuck and frustrated at some point – but anyone who’s missing #3,… Continue Reading

Moving lines of Hexagram 58

Moving lines of Hexagram 58
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hexagram 58, Opening

Opening other hexagrams I mentioned in my post on Hexagram 58 how its meanings of joy, communication and exchange are connected with the action of breaking things open, opening them up. When lines change and Opening is joined with other hexagrams, it seems to be opening them up for exchange and communication – putting their ideas… Continue Reading

Release the arrows

Release the arrows
This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Two-line relationships

Archery in Hexagram 40 Hexagram 40 is Release: its core theme, from the simple decision of the Oracle to the clear air after the storm of the Image, is the release of tension. That might remind you of archery, which is a special, intentional kind of tension-release: deliberately drawing the bow, creating tension, and releasing it… Continue Reading

Opening soon for readings

Opening soon for readings

I’ll be opening for readings very shortly. To make sure you’re notified when I open and have a chance to book a slot, please sign up on the readings page for ‘Ways of Opening’, a pdf guide to finding your question. (And have a look through it – I hope you’ll find it helpful!) I’m… Continue Reading

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