...life can be translucent

Menu

Blog post: Hexagrams in conversation

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
15,681
Reaction score
1,153
Hexagrams in conversation

too many diamonds to count
In my last post, I mentioned all the meaning packed into a tiny space in Hexagram 56, line 6. The nest is burned, line 6 changes, and you can see the bird flying away, into Hexagram 62.

Because the Yijing’s lines move, it creates this kind of magic all the time. The different hexagrams are in constant conversation, and their meeting place, the line texts, embody their relationships.

(And yet there are people who prefer to leave the relating hexagram out of readings altogether. To me, this is something like having a rare diamond and refusing to hold it up to the light; I don’t get it at all.)

There are at least 384 examples of this. Here are some of my favourites:

The ancestor with good teeth

‘Regrets vanish.
Your ancestor bites through the skin.
Why would going on be wrong?’

Hexagram 38 line 5, changing to 10

This is one Bradford Hatcher was fond of pointing out. What ancestor could bite through the skin? See Hexagram 10.

A hermit’s constancy

‘Treading the path, smooth and easy.
A hermit’s constancy brings good fortune.’

Hexagram 10 line 2, changing to 25

Why is the hermit’s path smooth and easy? Could it be that he’s Without Entanglement?

The only winning argument

‘Arguing: good fortune from the source.’

Hexagram 6 line 5, changing to 64

No other lines of Hexagram 6 suggest good fortune from arguing; why is this one different? I think it’s because it’s Not Yet Across, not wholly committed to a position – and as we know, in a time of Arguing, it’s ‘fruitless to cross the great river.’

Long-awaited fulfilment

‘King Yi marries off his daughters.
This brings fulfilment, good fortune from the source.’

Hexagram 11 line 5, changing to 5

King Yi was the penultimate Shang ruler, and his daughters were married into the Zhou family, probably to the future King Wen. In a future King Yi couldn’t have imagined, the son of this alliance, Wu, would finally overthrow the Shang and inaugurate Zhou rule – while still honouring his matrilineal ancestors.

But all this was generations away for King Yi, and it’s equally remote in the Sequence of Hexagrams, where the Marrying Maiden won’t reappear until Hexagram 54 (or ‘hexagram minus 11’, counting back from 64). We have a long Wait for fulfilment.

Small-scale domesticity

‘No direction to pursue,
Stay in the centre and cook.
Constancy, good fortune.’

Hexagram 37 line 2, changing to 9

Some of these conversations between hexagrams are about grand historical events; some are altogether smaller. At the inner centre of the home, stay by the hearth and cook. Tend to the small things.

Too much fire

‘Traveller burns down his resting place
Loses his young helper.
Constancy: danger.’

Hexagram 56 line 3, changing to 35

The traveller has been careless, stoking the fire in his lodgings too fast. What inspired his over-enthusiasm? It looks to be the eagerness of Hexagram 35, seizing the day: a gift of horses is good, and a whole herd will be better; a small fire is good, and a big one will be… oops.

But wait, there’s more…​


There are 384 of these single line changes to enjoy. But what if more than one line is changing? Naturally you can look at each line’s destination individually to see how this constant flow of conversation elucidates the text.

But the Yi goes further. I’ve come across enough beautifully-woven two line changes, clearly expressing the qualities of their changed hexagram, to realise that the authors didn’t stop at single lines.

384? 4032?

My capacity for seeing these relationships between lines and their resulting hexagrams hits a ceiling round about two changing lines – very occasionally three. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous, though, to assume the relationships stop there?

too many diamonds to count

Too many to count…
Join Clarity to get
this article as a pdf​
 

moss elk

visitor
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
2,819
Reaction score
475
Wouldn’t it be ridiculous, though, to assume the relationships stop there?

I think exactly so,
that's why I occasionally mention that we could write 3646 new super lines.
(4096-64 Unchanging-384 lines-2 super lines (1.7 & 2.7) = 3646)

Any volunteers?
*a pin drops*
 
Last edited:

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
7,249
Reaction score
758
We'd probably drop 3,646 pins on the floor and step in them.

(Why 3,646 and not 62? If your super lines are like 1.7 and 2.7, there's only one per hexagram, isn't there?)

Also noticed after reading the part about 11.5 zhi 5, and then Hilary mentioned 54, that 11 and 54 are shadows, and 11's Ideal hexagram is 53, being very, very patient and moving very, very slowly.And not dissimilarly, 54's Image is about a long-term view (see Bradford, and Hilary literally uses the word "generations" in her commentary), and 53.6 also seems generational. And 53 and 54 are complements. Am trying to explain all that to myself pithily. Have gotten as far as, "11 is an important hexagram, isn't it..."
 

moss elk

visitor
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
2,819
Reaction score
475
(Why 3,646 and not 62? If your super lines are like 1.7 and 2.7, there's only one per hexagram, isn't there?)
As I am using it, the term 'super line'
would be a text that replaced the text of any reading that had multi-lines.
So every 2,3,4,5, & 6 line reading could have a super line written.
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
15,681
Reaction score
1,153
It's been done, or is being done, by one of our periodic 'let's write my own unrelated book and call it the I Ching' visitors. We encouraged him to use his own website instead, and he does.

(I don't think we need to replace the text - or not until we've fully understood the first one.)

Am trying to explain all that to myself pithily. Have gotten as far as, "11 is an important hexagram, isn't it..."
Welcome to my life. You could try jumping up and down, waving your arms round and shouting, 'Ooh, look at the shiny thing!' That always makes me feel more erudite.
 

Clarity,
Office 17622,
PO Box 6945,
London.
W1A 6US
United Kingdom

Phone/ Voicemail:
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).

Top