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Blog post: Hexagrams and their scale

hilary

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I started work recently to research a post on Hexagram 23, Stripping Away – a hexagram of loss, whether that means painlessly shedding what’s outlived its usefulness, or having something you’re very much attached to torn away. Looking through a dozen reading experiences with this one, I was struck again by how much hexagrams*don’t describe scale.
Just on this blog, I found three readings I’d shared with Hexagram 23. They were, in order:

  • auspices for using a certain technology during a webinar. (I persuaded myself I could use it anyway, and it failed impressively.)
  • foreshadowing my mother’s death after a debilitating illness
  • describing*turning out my wardrobe
This kind of list is one reason why it’s not sensible to worry about receiving Hexagram 23 – or 29, or 47. They tell you the*shape of things, not their size.
(Of course the same is true of ‘nice’ hexagrams – but it isn’t really in human nature to look at Hexagram 14, say, and confidently expect a lottery win, whereas people do greet*Hexagram 23 with dread.)
23?*Stripping Away is happening*– something is being taken away. 47? Something is Confined, shut away. 29? A deep dive, a recurring ‘learning opportunity’ (heh), calling for absolute commitment.
A hexagram is like a living diagram of energy flows and structures… or like a detailed relief map, but without the little ‘1:10000’ scale marking in the corner. If your reading for the week ahead shows Repeating Chasms, you know you’re entering a space with this shape –

– but you don’t know whether it’ll be a vast windswept landscape of ravines and torrents, or something more like*our back lawn. (It has*moles.)
Looking at this logically, from the outside, it might make you wonder what the point is. Why consult an oracle that might not differentiate between major surgery and a bruised ego?
But knowing it from the inside, this reveals something about how a relationship with Yi works. Pragmatically, we usually know the scale from our question. Hexagram 23 for a new computer? You might lose your data. Hexagram 23 for a new business venture? You might lose your house – or*your belief in your own competence – or both, of course.
And at a deeper – and still more pragmatic – level: Yi helps now,*in the present; readings*show you*where you are. I don’t need a reading to tell me*‘this is life-changing’ or ‘this is ordinary’; I need it for the ‘energy diagram’ that shows me the nature and shape of the time, and how to navigate my way around it.
 

charly

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... Hexagram 23, Stripping Away – a hexagram of loss, whether that means painlessly shedding what’s outlived its usefulness, or having something you’re very much attached to torn away. ... 23?*Stripping Away is happening*– something is being taken away... Hexagram 23 for a new business venture? You might lose your house...
Hi, Hilary:

I believe that H.23 has so BAD PRESS because of the general belief that in the next step necessarily the LAST YANG line at the top will jump into the abyss and a NEW YIN line will push the others from the base.

Traditional ideology is YANGIST and don't like it.

I wonder if ancient chinese didn't know the DE BRUIJN SEQUENCES but they didn't like to recognize it. Proper combinatory has many alternative solutions but all with the same fated short sequence after H.1 the FULL YANG hexagram taken as a begining.

And even worse, at last can be seen that H.1 comes AFTER H.2, the FULL YIN hexagram.

I must refresh my mathemathics and maybe compare with Legge's version of the Tuan Zhuang.

I don't promise if soon.

Meanwhile an alternative translation of 23.1


剝床以足。蔑貞凶。
bo1 chuang2 yi3 zu2 mie4 zhen1 xiong1
STRIPPING BED WITH FOOT. NOTHING OMEN HORRIBLE!
Stripping the bed with the feet: nothing horrible will happen!

It's uncertain that in Zhou times existed BEDS WITH LEGS, maybe they used only a mat in the ground.

Of course, those who heard about BEDS think about SEX, but they didn't like to admit those things. They didn't accept that nothing horrible might happen. So the Changes adviced.

Don't you believe so?


All the best,

Charly
 

hilary

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An interesting alternative translation, but I'm not wholly convinced… ;)

mie zhen is surely either 'discarding constancy/the divination' or 'a mie kind of constancy/divination', like the other phrases with 'x zhen' are 'x kind of constancy' or in the modernist view 'divination about/by x'. Mie means scorning, ignoring, dismissing, or possibly exorcism (which has the same basic idea of 'tell the bad thing to go away'.) So it could be 'a divination about throwing away' or 'an attitude of throwing away divination.'

I suppose you could make it an imperative: 'Discard/scorn/exorcise the divination of misfortune' - but that wouldn’t really fit my experience of 23 in general, and I always work from an odd mix of translation and experience. And I don't really believe zhen is something one can exorcise.
 

charly

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Hi, Hilary:

Only another alternative for opening the sight.

Once in the Odes Legge translated 蔑 as NOTHING, in the Changes he gives DESTRUCTION. As a verb also can be TO BELITTLE or TO DISCARD. Among many other meanings, of course.

One sense could be NONE OMEN HORRIBLE, also TO DISCARD A DIVINATION: UNFORTUNATE.

Experience depends upon the context of the consult.

Strange things happen in H.23, not only so many BEDS, but also «FAVORED» ROYAL CONCUBINES, and the UNEATEN FRUIT which somebody said UNEDIBLE.

About the BED, the traditional character looks like a HANGED TREE (say, stand by, like the hanged man of the tarot) but the ancient seal character depicted a TABLE or BENCH and the TREE radical at the right (isn't it a little unusual?) meaning maybe a WOODEN TABLE.

Perhaps a bed strong like a tree (Odysseus' bed) or something else strong like a tree?

I will study the SEQUENCES.


All the best,

Charly
 
H

hmesker

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I would like to point out that in bronze inscriptions mie 蔑 is used with the meaning of 'praise'. Several inscriptions mention that a person is being praised and received gold or other things as reward. Line 1 and 2 might refer to a divination about praise (and the rewards that accompanied it), just as 安貞吉 in H2 might refer to a divination about peace and 居貞吉 in H27-5 might refer to a divination about residences: 蔑貞凶 has the same pattern 'topic (安/居/蔑) - divination (貞) - prognostication (吉/凶)' and could mean 'divination (貞) about praise (蔑): inauspicious (凶)'.

See Li Feng, Literacy and the Social Contexts of Writing in the Western Zhou, in Writing & Literacy
in Early China
, p. 277-279 and Constance A. Cook, Wealth and the Western Zhou, in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 60, No. 2. (1997), pp. 278-
 
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hilary

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Praise?? That would make a completely different meaning. Weird. Just as you think you're getting a feel for something (discard... ignore... reject... exorcise...) along comes a meaning that sends it all flying.

Field says, 'Omen of destruction. Misfortune.'
Rutt says, 'Exorcism augury, disastrous.'

Charly, you really should save up for Field's book; you'd appreciate it. Hexagram 23 for him is all about the story of Wang Hai, which is the Yi's big sex scandal. From lines 1-4, Hai, betrayed by his brother to the king's guard, is being butchered in the queen's bed. (At line 3 Field suggests the queen has made herself scarce.) Then in lines 5 and 6 we have fish and plump fruit, and you don't need any help from me with those.

I can't see how the 'exorcism' translation would fit with this at all, but the others are all still possible. It would depend on your idea of the moral of the story. My experience of the line is that discarding a divination or failing to hold to what I know to be true (a more general application of zhen) is unfortunate.
 
H

hmesker

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Just as you think you're getting a feel for something (discard... ignore... reject... exorcise...) along comes a meaning that sends it all flying.

Sorry. I'm sure it will happen again. :freak:
 

hilary

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No doubt. Maybe you should post a preemptive apology at the top of your site?
 

charly

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Charly, you really should save up for Field's book; you'd appreciate it. Hexagram 23 for him is all about the story of Wang Hai, which is the Yi's big sex scandal. From lines 1-4, Hai, betrayed by his brother to the king's guard, is being butchered in the queen's bed. (At line 3 Field suggests the queen has made herself scarce.) Then in lines 5 and 6 we have fish and plump fruit, and you don't need any help from me with those.
Hi, Hilary:

I appreciate much what you say. And I like Stephen Field.

About the advice of saving, it's no bad itself. But with a pension of less than u$s 400.- / month, I cannot save even for paying the bills.

I will post my version of H.23 assap. I will read something about Wang Hai. But the Changes tells multiple stories at the same time, as an hologram projects multiple images in different directions. It doesn't report cronicles neither records history.

All the best,


Charly
 

charly

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I would like to point out that in bronze inscriptions mie 蔑 is used with the meaning of 'praise'. Several inscriptions mention that a person is being praised and received gold or other things as reward. Line 1 and 2 might refer to a divination about praise (and the rewards that accompanied it)...
Hi, Harmen:

Thanks for the dat. PRAISE could make much sense.

Trying again:


剝床以足
bo1 chuang2 yi3 zu2
STRIPPING (THE) BED WITH (THE) FEET.
A troubled sleep or a night of passion,
can throw away the blankets of the bed.

蔑貞凶
mie4 zhen1 xiong1
PRAISE DIVINATION: UNFORTUNATE.
Divining about praise, there will not be, reward even less.
Nobody goes to praise us for what we have made with the bed.

The moral:

We cann't expect too much from third parts.
Although our behavior, if virtuous, shall bear its oun reward.

At last the prognostication is no bad at all.

At least I think so.


All the best,

Charly
 

charly

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After all, maybe the BED is not what it seems, say, is NOT A BED.

Te traditional character chuáng = BED has a variant chuáng = BED that looks like the old character, it depicts HALF-A-TREE and a complete TREE.

Some characters with the same left component [爿]:

qiáng = half a tree / piece of wood. Is only used as RADICAL, not as stand alone character.
zhuàng = to strengthen / strong / robust. A MAN with a BIG STICK in the HAND. NO COMMENTS.
zhuāng = (of a woman) to adorn oneself / makeup. A stick for makeup? a SEDUCTRESS indeed.
qiāng = to desire / to invite / to request. A REDEZVOUS story. All we know how it will continue.
mèi = to sleep soundly. Fated end.

But no matters how temporary, LOVE BEARS ITS OUN REWARD.
Lovers don't need PRAISE from third parties. Although sometimes can behave with a little EXHIBITIONISM.

ace-wands.jpg


(to be continued)

Charly
 

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