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Category Archives: Interpreting hexagrams

Comments on whole hexagrams, individual lines and so on

Not knowing about dodder

Not knowing about dodder

Hexagram 4 has an exceptionally clear, direct Oracle: ‘Not knowing, creating success. I do not seek the young ignoramus, the young ignoramus seeks me. The first consultation speaks clearly. The second and third pollute the waters, Polluted, and hence not speaking. Constancy bears fruit.’ It’s often the one that gives people their first sense that… Continue Reading

Lost property

Lost property

A short story In typical Yi style, this is a very short story: ‘Traveller in a place to stay, Gains property and an axe. My heart is not glad.’ ‘Subtly penetrating under the bed, Losing your property and axe. Constancy, pitfall.’ These are lines 56.4 and 57.6, and they have a direct textual parallel: gaining… Continue Reading

The well in the valley

The well in the valley

Hexagram 48 line 6 says, ‘The well gathers, Don’t cover it. There is truth and confidence, Good fortune from the source.’ Bradford Hatcher, who has dug more wells than your average Yijing scholar, suggests that this is an artesian well, one where the water rises spontaneously. That certainly fits with my experience of the line,… Continue Reading

When Yi says ‘me’

When Yi says ‘me’

By and large, we know what sort of thing we expect Yi to say (though not, heaven knows, what it will say): ‘Here’s what you’re doing’ or ‘here’s what would happen’ or ‘here’s how to cope with that’ – something along those lines, describing or advising. Only every now and then – just eleven times, in… Continue Reading

Hexagram 27, Nourishment

Name and Nature The name of Hexagram 27 translates literally not as ‘Nourishment’ but as ‘Jaws’ – not something we call it, because shark. But it does help to remember that it’s not specifically about nourishment (of whatever kind), but rather about the framework that makes nourishment possible. Just looking at the shape of the… Continue Reading

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

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