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Category Archives: Interpreting hexagrams

Comments on whole hexagrams, individual lines and so on

Who is the ‘superior man’?

Who is the ‘superior man’?

The person who emailed me this question found the expression ‘superior man’ quite off-putting. I can see why: arranging half of humanity into superiors and inferiors, inviting the reader to identify not just as a good person but as someone better than the rest… none of this feels sympathetic to me, either. And, I would argue,… Continue Reading

Hexagram 3 and the very beginning

Hexagram 3 and the very beginning

Hexagram 3 is the first hexagram where the two kinds of line mingle, and so it’s associated with the very beginnings of life. The Sequence says, ‘There is heaven and earth, and so the ten thousand things are born. Overflowing the space between heaven and earth, the ten thousand things. And so Sprouting follows: Sprouting… Continue Reading

Layer cake imagery (and Hexagram 53)

Layer cake imagery (and Hexagram 53)

The Yijing’s full of imagery. Even though the first impression when you open it is one of wall-to-wall text, it’s also a picture book. In last month’s ‘Connecting with Imagery’ workshop I put a reading on the screen and asked people to mark all the images they could see. They saw quite a few… There’s… Continue Reading

Hexagram 5, and rain-making (a rethink)

Hexagram 5, and rain-making (a rethink)

What are we Waiting for? Wilhelm says Hexagram 5 is about waiting for it to rain. SJ Marshall says it meant waiting for rain to stop. So too does Stephen Field: the hexagram name means ‘to stop for the rain’, but originally would probably have had the ‘water’ radical added and meant simply ‘drenched’. In… Continue Reading

Hexagram 51, Shock

Hexagram 51, Shock

Thunderbolt and earthquake The name of Hexagram 51, zhen 震, means Shock, Quake, and encompasses both thunder and earthquake. (Nowadays there is a specific word for earthquake made of the components ‘earth’ and ‘zhen’.) The old character has two components: rain, and chen, the name of the fifth Earthly Branch in the Chinese calendar – which… Continue Reading

Understanding marriage imagery

Understanding marriage imagery

Marriage is one of the Yijing’s most-used recurring images – and in relationship readings, it’s one of the easiest to relate to. Hexagram 54, the Marrying Maiden, has told a lot of women, quite straightforwardly, that she’s not the most important thing to him. (Maybe another woman is, or maybe it’s his career, or any… Continue Reading

Hexagram 44, Coupling

Hexagram 44, Coupling

The ‘powerful woman’ problem In Hexagram 44, we are encountering, meeting or ‘coupling’ with a powerful woman. ‘Coupling, the woman is powerful.Do not take this woman.’ To ‘take’ her means to seize, as one might seize a criminal, but in this usage it’s something like the old-fashioned English, ‘taking a woman in marriage’ – maybe… Continue Reading

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