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Category Archives: Interpreting hexagrams

Comments on whole hexagrams, individual lines and so on

What’s wrong with carting corpses, anyway?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Two-line relationships

Simple Two lines in Hexagram 7, the Army, talk about carting corpses: line 3: ‘Perhaps the army carts corpses. Pitfall.’ and line 5: ‘The fields have game Fruitful to speak of capture: No mistake. When the elder son leads the army, And younger son carts corpses: Constancy, pitfall.’ The core meaning is surely intuitively obvious:… Continue Reading

The noises of Hexagram 37, line 3

The noises of Hexagram 37, line 3

Line 3 of Hexagram 37, People in the Home, is full of noise and emotion: ‘People in the home scold and scold, Regrets, danger: good fortune. Wife and child giggle and giggle. In the end, shame.’ What’s the story behind this? Traditional interpretation… Read any traditional translation – Wilhelm/Baynes, Lynn, or Tuck Chang – and… Continue Reading

Making the most of it

Making the most of it

I’ve been thinking about Hexagram 35 – and especially how it shows up as a relating hexagram. Introducing Hexagram 35 The name of this hexagram is ‘Advancing’, or ‘Progress’ or ‘Flourishing’. The oldest form of the character seems to show arrows in their sheath: Those arrows – along the text of the oracle – suggest… Continue Reading

Hexagram 33, Retreat

Hexagram 33, Retreat

Looking simply at the shape of hexagram 33 with a naïve, imaginative eye… …we might see the entrance to a cave. And if you look at the picture painted by the trigrams, heaven above the mountain, then it conjures up the idea of a hermit who Retreats to the mountain-top. Retreat from… All this is… Continue Reading

Contemplating 20 line 4

Contemplating 20 line 4

I’ve been mulling over this line – part of a recent open reading of mine – for a while. ‘Seeing the realm shining out. Fruitful and useful to be a guest of the king.’ Changing this line takes you to Hexagram 12, Blocked – a situation where no messages get through and basically nothing’s working.… Continue Reading

Drums in the lake

Drums in the lake

Integrating trigram imagery into a full reading is sometimes tricky: we don’t, after all, know what the trigrams represented to the people who first wrote the book. So attempting to justify text in terms of trigrams can get one tied up in all sorts of over-elaborate knots. However… those original writers were surely aware of trigrams,… Continue Reading

A spring of doubt

A spring of doubt

A thought on Hexagram 4. We think of Not Knowing as a default state, a starting position: children don’t know at first, so they learn; we start off not knowing, so then we consult the oracle. (Though preferably not for a second and third time…) In today’s news, the BBC announces the results of a poll about… Continue Reading

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