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Series: Part of the furniture

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, and one of those is the idea of writing about how we create a ‘family’ relationship with Yi – bringing it inside the home, letting it become ‘part of the furniture’ of everyday life.

So here are some thoughts prompted by line 1:

Setting boundaries to create a home

‘With barriers, there is a home. Regrets vanish.’

Hexagram 37, line 1

Barriers create a home. The Chinese word for ‘barriers’, xian, shows wood between two doors, suggesting that you’re barring the entry. It’s a very simple concept: a home has an inside and an outside, created by the barrier between them.

This reminds me of the importance of setting boundaries for your readings – drawing a line around them, knowing what belongs inside and what doesn’t. Within that boundary, you can be at home. As LiSe puts it, ‘Whatever happens, you will never be lost in a big hostile world.’

Any regrets, I think, would be about all the things you left outside. There can be lots of second-guessing around this, ‘fear of missing out’, or just a faintly guilty worry that perhaps you should be asking about something else – maybe something bigger. But within the home space you’ve created, this will pass.

Bradford Hatcher’s comments on this line are worth reading:

‘This might seem to ignore several sources of warmth, to lack in affection, or to curb spontaneous feeling. There are mistakes and regrets. But this gives each household member a firm patch of ground to stand on, and much can be done on a patch of firm ground. Even an unlimited branch must pick a direction to grow in. Rules are only a place to begin.’

Bradford Hatcher, Book of Changes

I especially appreciate that last point – rules are only a place to begin. For that reason, I reckon it’s a good idea to revisit one’s reading rules – at least those that are more like habits – from time to time. After all, the nuclear hexagram of 37 is 64, Not Yet Across. The Home, at its heart, is always being rebuilt.

What kind of barriers, or boundaries, or rules?

In other words… when do you consult, and why and how, and what will or won’t you ask about? This is a personal question, so all I can do is tell you about the barriers that safeguard my own relationship with Yi.

  • I try only to cast readings that will make a difference for me. (Unless, that is, I’m just playing .)
  • I don’t ask ‘mind-reading’ questions unless they’re in support of an existing relationship, and I’m as sure as I can be that the other person would want me to know.

(And then I have rules about what I will and won’t get involved in when reading for others – but that’s a different issue, outside the Home.)

Really, these barriers draw a circle around what’s my business, making a home for readings. Some readings, like questions about politics or global issues, naturally fall on the outside. Not that there’s anything wrong (in my book) with those readings on the outside – done out of sheer curiosity, hoping to learn something about Yi in the process. It’s just that, for the most part, I live on the inside.

Here are the last half-dozen readings in my journal –

  • What needs doing?
  • What about trying oils?
  • What if I buy x?
  • How to deal with exhaustion and demotivation?
  • Prognosis? [asking about a family member in hospital]
  • How can I be supportive now?

The ‘prognosis’ reading was outside my usual walls. After all, even if I knew beyond any doubt exactly what was going to happen (which is not how this works…), what difference would it make now? None that I can see.

And as it turns out, this reading was the least helpful of the lot: it simply showed me the risks, factors and possibilities I already knew about. So I had second thoughts, went back inside my four walls with Yi, and asked how to be supportive. That helped.

Row of thatched cottages with doors painted in different colours.

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

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

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… Continue Reading

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