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Category Archives: Connecting hexagrams

Speculations on relations between hexagrams: the Sequence, patterns of trigrams, nuclear hexagrams, etc

The noble one’s constancy, and inner light

The noble one’s constancy, and inner light
This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

Hexagram 12 is no fun at all…

‘Blocking it, non-people.
Noble one’s constancy bears no fruit.
Great goes, small comes.’

Hexagram 12, Oracle

The noble one is typically imaginative and willing to learn; constancy means persistence, loyalty, holding firmly to the truth… and none of this is going to make any difference.

The trigram picture…

…conveys the same message: heaven, idea and inspiration and spirit, is pulling away from earth, the field where things grow. Of course new ideas can’t take root.

But then in Hexagram 13,

‘People in harmony in the wilds: creating success.
Fruitful to cross the great river.
A noble one’s constancy bears fruit.’

Hexagram 13, Oracle

There’s a direct, deliberate contrast: now, a noble one’s constancy does bear fruit.

It’s not unusual to see this kind of contrast between adjacent hexagrams in the Sequence: ‘small goes, great comes’ in 11 versus ‘great goes, small comes’ in 12; ‘fruitful to cross the great river’ in 5 versus ‘fruitless to cross the great river in 6.

But those are paired hexagrams that belong together structurally. (It’s quite common for people to allow that the hexagrams of the Sequence are arranged in pairs, but then maintain there’s no bigger structuring principle at work.) 12 and 13 aren’t a pair, they just happen to sit next to one another in the Sequence. Could there be something more going on…?

Here are hexagrams 12 and 13:

The outer trigram is unchanged: heaven. The inner trigram has changed from earth, that sinks and settles downward, away from heaven, to li, fire, that rises up towards it. We can imagine a new hexagram picture: the stars ‘hung from’ the night sky, perhaps, or the flames of a camp fire leaping up towards it. Reading the Image,

‘Heaven joins with fire. People in harmony.
In the same way, the noble one sorts the clans and differentiates between beings.’

we might imagine sparks rising from the fire towards the gathered clans’ ancestral constellations.

(Or you might imagine something else altogether – but do imagine the whole hexagram as a trigram picture.)

So… it’s fire that makes the difference, because it relates to heaven in a new way. And interestingly, this is the first time the trigram li makes an appearance in the Yijing, though all the others were introduced within the first ten hexagrams. It’s as if it were held back for this impressive entrance: look, now the lights have come on!

And this also reflects Hexagram 13’s moment of the Zhou story, when they finally saw heaven’s support for their venture written across the sky in the movements of the planets. Harmony with heaven supported harmony among people, and they could gather with their allies in the wilds.

(There’s more detail on this and many more hidden gems of the Sequence in my Exploring the Sequence book, available inside Change Circle.)

Camp fire under starry sky

I Ching Community discussion

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… Continue Reading

Hexagrams in conversation

Hexagrams in conversation
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Hidden gems

In my last post, I mentioned all the meaning packed into a tiny space in Hexagram 56, line 6. The nest is burned, line 6 changes, and you can see the bird flying away, into Hexagram 62. Because the Yijing’s lines move, it creates this kind of magic all the time. The different hexagrams are… Continue Reading

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… 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

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

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

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