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‘DIY’ tips for I Ching divination

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.

‘Authority’?

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:

厥孚交如。威如吉。
‘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:

有孚威如。終吉
‘With truth and confidence like authority.
In the end, good fortune.’

37.6

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.

The king’s presence

The king’s presence
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Part of the furniture

(The story so far: I asked what to write about, and Yi’s response – 37.1.2.5.6 to 46 – gave me the idea of writing about what makes for a friendly, domestic, quotidien, integrated relationship with the Oracle. I’ve written about lines 1 and 2; here’s line 5.) What makes for an integrated relationship with Yi?… Continue Reading

Bread and butter readings

Bread and butter readings
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Part of the furniture

The second line of Hexagram 37 (and the second thing Yi suggested I write about) says, ‘No direction to pursue,Stay in the centre and cook.Constancy, good fortune.’ Hexagram 37, line 2 This line places us, and our readings, firmly at the foundations of Maslow’s pyramid: There’s no call to charge off and explore the world;… Continue Reading

Readings within walls

Readings within walls
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Part of the furniture

A while ago – as participants in our weekly Well Gatherings will know – I asked Yi what to write about on this blog, and received Hexagram 37, People in the Home, changing at lines 1, 2, 5 and 6 to 46, Pushing Upward. It’s a rich reading that works on a lot of layers,… Continue Reading

Readings for ‘uncertain times’

Readings for ‘uncertain times’

Every article and every commercial email nowadays says something about ‘these challenging times’ or ‘these uncertain times’. And of course, we know an oracle for that: Yi is made for challenging, uncertain, bewildering times when none of our normal responses or resources is helping. Talking with Yi lately, and seeing other people’s readings in the… 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

New in the Resonance Journal: reading insights

New in the Resonance Journal: reading insights

The Yijing doesn’t just talk to you one reading at a time: it communicates a lot through the patterns and themes that recur through many readings. The Resonance Journal has always been brilliant for finding these patterns in your readings: they’re a click or two away, via the Cast History feature (the easy option, my… Continue Reading

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