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hilary

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Release the arrows

arrows ready in quiver

Archery in Hexagram 40


Hexagram 40 is Release: its core theme, from the simple decision of the Oracle to the clear air after the storm of the Image, is the release of tension. That might remind you of archery, which is a special, intentional kind of tension-release: deliberately drawing the bow, creating tension, and releasing it into the arrow’s line of flight.

:|:|::I can imagine this in the trigrams of Hexagram 40, too: the inner trigram kan reminds me of the bow under tension, and outer zhen – thunder, associated with sudden, swift movement – looks like the flight of the arrow. (The Shuogua, the Wing that describes trigram attributes, says kan represents ‘bending and straightening; bow and wheel.’)

Its two arrows


But for all these imaginative associations, archery is actually mentioned in just two lines of Release: lines two and four.

‘In the field, taking three foxes.
Gaining a golden arrow.
Constancy, good fortune.’

Hexagram 40, line 2
‘A prince uses this to shoot a hawk, on the top of the high ramparts.
He gets it. Nothing that does not bear fruit.’

Hexagram 40, line 6
In line 2, the hunter finds release from the foxes: he overcomes deception (including self-deception) with directness. We can tell this as a story of using the arrow’s gift of directness to overcome the wiles of the foxes, or as gaining that quality by overcoming them. And the story of how this line changes to Hexagram 16, Enthusiasm

changes to

– can be told in the same two ways. This can be the Release of Enthusiasm, of your powers of motivation and imagination, when they’re no longer foxed; it can also be that the clear, strong, spirited motivation of Hexagram 16 provides the energy to see beyond delusions (for instance, seeing beyond busy-work to what’s really important).

Line 6 shows the right moment to bring down something oppressive that looms over you. Wilhelm identifies the hawk as another person, ‘a powerful inferior in a high position’; I’ve found it can also be one’s own hesitancy, as with that task that grows ever bigger and more forbidding the longer you put it off, or imaginings, as with not daring to approach someone because of the imagined importance of their opinion.


changing to

This line joins Release to Hexagram 64, Not Yet Across, suggesting a release from the suspense and hesitancy of ‘not-quite-yet’, and also a reminder that, with hawks just as with river crossing, you only get one shot at it, and the fruits of the task all lie in the future, on the other side of your venture.

Release Advancing


But what really catches my attention here is the way those two archery lines together change to Hexagram 35, Advancing:

changing to
‘Advancing, Prince Kang used a gift of horses to breed a multitude.
In the course of a day, he mated them three times.’

Hexagram 35, Advancing
Archery is the fully intentional version of Release, and it’s all about seizing your moment: you can’t build up gradually, taking a quarter of a shot today and half of a shot tomorrow; you have to be ready to see your opportunity and act. And this is entirely the spirit of Hexagram 35: now is the moment to breed the horses; the sun (upper trigram li, fire) is shining over all the earth (lower trigram, kun) now, so make hay!

Compare LiSe’s vivid imagining of Hexagram 35…

‘Prosperity does not arrive by itself, it visits the people with the right attitude. The one who always carries along arrows is probably the only one who comes home from a walk with a rabbit for dinner. The lord of Kang grasped the opportunity of a gift to breed a meadow full of horses. The first one who sees a gap in the market builds up the multinational. Grasp the small chances, do not wait for the big one to arrive, stay alert with eyes and ears and hands ready, and a quiver filled with arrows.’

LiSe Heyboer, https://yijing.nl/hex-stories/35.html
…with what the ‘Master’ in the Dazhuan has to say about Hexagram 40, line 6:

‘The hawk is the object of the hunt; bow and arrow are the tools and means. The marksman is man. The superior man contains the means in his own person. He bides his time and then acts. Why then should not everything go well? He acts and its free. Therefore all he has to do is to go forth, and he takes his quarry. This is how a man fares who acts after he has made ready the means.’

The Dazhuan, Wilhelm/Baynes translation
But this connection is altogether easier to see than it is to describe: you need only look at the Chinese name of Hexagram 35:


Jìn, Advancing​

And there, hidden in plain sight, are your two arrows: the golden arrow of the line 2, and your one shot at the hawk at line 6.

arrows ready in quiver

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radiofreewill

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Hi hilary,

In his book 'Classical Chinese Combinatorics', Richard Cook suggests that one of the organizing principles of the hexagram sequence has to do with the running count of lines in each hexagram as compared to the total number of lines in the text, 384?

So, for instance, hexagram 21 (p. 448) covers lines 121-126 of the 384 total?​
Likewise, hexagram 40 (p. 440ff) covers lines 235-240 of the 384 total?​

Why is this important?

Because, golden arrows are found only in hexagrams 21 and 40 ~ which are precisely where the irrational numbers, pi and phi, are found:

21.2 = 384/122 = 3.14​

[the 'arrow' is yang line 4 ~ lying across the diameter of a circle ~ as if it had been shot into an open-mouthed bulls-eye?]

40.3 = 384/237 = 1.620​

[This is the famous Golden Section ratio, phi ~ 1.618... ~ which lies between line 3 and line 4]

Cook suggests that the golden arrow found in 40.2 points at the Golden Section (which lies in the bulls-eye between the lower and upper trigrams of 40)...

...and gets fired back in 40.4 ("bowstring loosened") at 21...

...where it hits the bulls-eye in 21.4!

Thus indicating that the originator of the sequence had mathematical knowledge that he embedded into the text and 'marked' with golden arrows?

I find your article interesting because 21.1 changes to 35 ~ marching forward ("shoes bite the feet") with arrows in my quiver!

Thanks for your article!
 

hilary

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Thanks, RFW!

Does Smith come up with any reasons why the Chinese would have called these numbers 'golden'?

(Apart from that, I'm not super-impressed with his reasoning at first glance. 21.4 has the arrow; 40.3 and .4 don't mention archery at all, so 40.2 must be 'pointing' to them. Hmm. But probably I should read before criticising.)
 

radiofreewill

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I should give Dr. Cook's translation for the text of hexagram 40:

40.0: The Solution [The Section]. Reaping in the South-West; with no place to go [i.e. having found the solution], coming back is best; having a place to go [i.e. not yet having found the solution], it is best to start early.​
40.1: Blameless.​
40.2: Afield hunting a trio of foxes, find a golden arrow. Divination: good luck.​
40.3: Refining the value of the solution, beset by plunderers. Divination: thrift.​
40.4: Loosing your bowstring, friends come to his aid.​
40.5: The lord alone has the solution. It is best if he imparts this knowledge to someone.​
40.6: The falcon atop the high wall is shot by the Duke's arrow. Nothing is not reaped.​

I am, perhaps, guilty of meta-paraphrasing his analysis of the sequence when I say that the main idea underlying the structure of the Yi is that it can predict future population sizes and resource needs [aka, 'the rabbit problem'] by modeling around the Fibonacci sequence?

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55...​

where any number in the series is equal to the sum of the two previous numbers?

The constant factor in the Fibonacci sequence is known as the Golden Section ~ 1.618. This means that population and resources will/must grow by a factor of about 60% from one generation (20 years) to the next under ideal circumstances ~ what are you going to do with all them rabbits?

21 x 1.618 = ~34​
34 x 1.618 = ~55​

Of course, population size and resource stores are things of primary interest to Kings and Princes when it comes to Dynastic rule?

So, in the sequence originator's mind, 'phi' was where the ideal Solution for maximizing population growth (geometric) was to be found in the model?

Pi, otoh, was used to model the seasons in line with food production and storage (cyclic)?

According to Dr. Cook, the sequence originator laid down two fibonacci sequences around the Unmoved Mover [found in between hexagrams 30 and 31] to model/mirror the balance between resources, pi, (21) and population, phi, (40)?

Long story short, that's why the sequence originator considered pi and phi to be worthy of golden arrows?

Of course, this is all just my interpretation of Dr. Cook's book, which I'm still working my way through, but I have found his ideas to be interesting, so far?

I hope this helps?
 

radiofreewill

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Thanks, hilary ~ I agree ~ I treat the whole book like it's a turtle with 600 pages written on its shell ~ and no one around to explain it? :)
 

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