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Exploring Pairings at the Top Line

joypog

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Over the past couple weeks I've noticed that my readings seem to often work well whether the top line ends up yin or yang. It definitely makes "more" sense with the final choice of the yarrows, but I suspect there may be a resonance between such "sixth line" pairs.

That said, I only started reading the Yi Jing this year (without any previous practice in divination), so this is all quite new to me.

So I thought I'd ask if anyone else has noticed the phenomena (or even written about it!)....or maybe its just coincidence.

Cheers!
 

Liselle

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Hi, Joypog.

I suspect this is quite interesting, but I'm not sure what you're asking. For instance,
  • Do "sixth line pairings" mean readings where only the 6th line changes, two hexagrams connected by a moving sixth line? Like the casting 15.6 to 52?
  • You say, "my readings seem to often work well whether the top line ends up yin or yang." I'm confused - all lines are always either yin or yang, there is no other option. Do you mean it doesn't seem to matter, that your readings work well regardless?
  • I also don't know what you mean by 'It definitely makes "more" sense with the final choice of the yarrows'. What makes more sense? What are you comparing it to that makes less sense? What do you mean by "final choice"?
Sorry for being dim!

Could you give us some examples? That might help.
 

Liselle

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Here is a good thread about sixth line positions that is often referred to:
 

moss elk

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Over the past couple weeks I've noticed that my readings seem to often work well

Pardon, but what does,
"readings seem to work well", mean?
(you've lost me entirely: I live in the world where there is comprehension and miscomprehension regarding readings.)
 

dfreed

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Yes, if you can explain a bit more that would be helpful. Do you mean when the top line stays the same in the new resulting hexagram, or where the top line changes? Or do you mean something else entirely?
 

joypog

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Hi, Joypog.

I suspect this is quite interesting, but I'm not sure what you're asking. For instance,
  • Do "sixth line pairings" mean readings where only the 6th line changes, two hexagrams connected by a moving sixth line? Like the casting 15.6 to 52?
  • You say, "my readings seem to often work well whether the top line ends up yin or yang." I'm confused - all lines are always either yin or yang, there is no other option. Do you mean it doesn't seem to matter, that your readings work well regardless?
  • I also don't know what you mean by 'It definitely makes "more" sense with the final choice of the yarrows'. What makes more sense? What are you comparing it to that makes less sense? What do you mean by "final choice"?
Sorry for being dim!

Could you give us some examples? That might help.
In recent readings, after having seen the first five lines, I've been able to envision how either a yin or yang line at the top could make sense. So in your example, I might cast a reading that is could either be 15 or 52 and either of those judgements could make sense " the reading work well regardless" (whether the sixth line came out as yin and yang)".

That said, I do find that the final hexagram typically feels to make more sense to the question than if it went the other way.

For example, I decided to ask the Yi, "Should I focus on this nascent concept of the '6th line pairings' in depth". The final hexagram was a unchanging 4 (yang line on top) and the judgement felt dead on ("go for it, but keep in mind that I'm a noob"). However, I could see how casting a 7 (with a yin line on top) could also be made to make sense...though not as easily as reading from 4.

My apologies for being unclear myself, hopefully this clarifies. Happy to follow up. Thanks!
 

joypog

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Pardon, but what does,
"readings seem to work well", mean?
(you've lost me entirely: I live in the world where there is comprehension and miscomprehension regarding readings.)
Well I'm new to this practice, so I'm still feeling around for an appropriate vocabulary. When I say "work well" I mean "a judgment that brings up thoughts applicable to the question at hand".

I really enjoy Yi readings because I've found it an amazing tool to get me out of internal ruminations that may be stuck in a circular logic patter and moving my thinking towards a more productive direction.

Hopefully that helps?
 

joypog

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Yes, if you can explain a bit more that would be helpful. Do you mean when the top line stays the same in the new resulting hexagram, or where the top line changes? Or do you mean something else entirely?
I'm trying to describe the condition when two hexagrams have the same first five lines and the only difference is the top line.

So the first five hexagram lines of 1 and 43 are the same, with only the top line being yang and yin (also the 15/52 or 4/7 pairings mentioned up thread).

More concretely in actual practice, I've noticed that after having cast the 5th line, I now know that the final hexagram will be one of two options. During the time it takes to find out the last line (since I enjoy using the yarrow stalk method) I often think "hmmm I could make sense of the reading, whether the top line is yin or yang."

Maybe my mind is drawing connections where there aren't any, but I was wondering if anyone had written an article about these hexagrams "pairs" where the bottom five lines all match.

*edit: maybe to add a little more clarity, I'm more focused on the resonance between the overall hexagram judgements of the two hexagrams. I don't mean to focus on the specific pronouncements at line 6.
 

moss elk

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Well I'm new to this practice, so I'm still feeling around for an appropriate vocabulary. When I say "work well" I mean "a judgment that brings up thoughts applicable to the question at hand".

Oh, you simply mean you get it.
thanks.

May I offer a suggestion?
I see many people who,
for some reason, like to look at patterns.
It's a bit like studying the gears of a machine, though, it doesn't really help with text comprehension or meaning, in fact it can become an obstacle to 'getting it".

my point: I encourage to focus on comprehending the text as opposed to looking at structure, especially for a newbie.
Good luck.
 

Liselle

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In recent readings, after having seen the first five lines, I've been able to envision how either a yin or yang line at the top could make sense. So in your example, I might cast a reading that is could either be 15 or 52 and either of those judgements could make sense " the reading work well regardless" (whether the sixth line came out as yin and yang)".
I think I see what you mean.

Yes, by the time you get to the top line, there are only two hexagrams it could be. In the 15 / 52 example, you know your reading will either be 15.6 changing to 52, or 52.6 changing to 15. (Edited: catching mistake way too late, after Joypog has already read this: this is true if the sixth line is a changing line. If it doesn't move, see below.)

In that exact scenario, there's a simple explanation for why either one makes some sense: because whichever way it ends up, both hexagrams will be involved. One will be the primary hexagram - the one you directly cast. The other will be the relating hexagram - the one changed to. Both of them are important in your reading - together they are the whole reading.

But it's important to keep things the right way around. The relating hexagram isn't the part that's the direct answer. Yi's advice is in the primary hexagram, and in the moving lines. The relating hexagram is subjective. It's called the relating hexagram because it often describes where you stand in relation to the situation - how you feel, the background or context, things like that.

So if the top line is yin and you end up with 15.6 to 52, Yi's advice is Integrity/Authenticity (15), but Stilling (52) will reflect how you feel, where you stand, the background - any sort of subjective perspective.

If the top line is yang and you end up with 52.6 to 15, it's the other way around. Stilling is what Yi's given you to work with, and 15 is the subjective part.

It can be tricky to keep that straight, because the relating hexagram might well be easier to grasp than the primary. You already know how you feel, so it'll look familiar and jump out at you. But the advice part, what Yi gives you to work with in the primary hexagram and moving lines, might not be recognizable right away, because it's the new information and not familiar. Does that make sense? You don't want to confuse how you already feel or the subjective background with the advice, or your readings won't be much help.

Have you taken Hilary's Beginner's Course? If not, I highly recommend you do. Hilary is very (very) good at explaining things. Parts of the course talk exactly about the primary and relating hexagram.



What's not so clear is if your final reading is anything other than only the sixth line changing.

For example, say your first five lines are this, and none of them are moving:

5: ========= (yang)
4: ========= (yang)
3: ========= (yang)
2: ==== ==== (yin)
1: ========= (yang)


At this point, you know you'll end up with either hexagram 13 or hexagram 49. Say the 6th line isn't moving, either - what's called an unchanging reading. If the sixth line is yang and your hexagram is 13, there is no reason why 49 should make any sense to you, and you shouldn't think it does. 49 is definitely not part of a 13-unchanging reading.


It's probably best not to try to anticipate what your casting will end up as before you're finished. I think it just adds confusion.
 
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Liselle

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By the way - what I said about the primary hexagram and moving lines being the advice, and the relating hexagram describing how you subjectively feel - that's probably the single best way to think about readings, but it won't be exactly that 100% of the time. Yi can speak in many ways - flexibility is important. You've probably already noticed that.

I'm not saying this to try to confuse you more. I just don't want you to memorize, "the relating hexagram will describe my feelings," like a rule, and then the relating hexagram in the next reading you cast does something slightly different, and then you're completely lost.

I think it's safe to say it won't ever, ever be the complete opposite, though. You should never look to the relating hexagram for your direct answer, your advice.
 
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Liselle

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Tip learned from Hilary: while you're learning, try asking some questions that aren't terribly important, to get a feel for the language and how Yi speaks to you. Ask about things you know you'll get an answer to before too long. If you're going to watch a sporting event, ask Yi to describe how one of the players or teams will do - you'll see it happen and you can compare it to the reading. If you have a meeting at work, ask about it beforehand. Or ask what will happen to character X in the next episode of a TV series you watch. Anything like that. It's fun and educational!

And keep good notes if you're not already. Write down background, outcome, and how you think the reading worked. I was bad at that for a long time and as a result spent years not learning very much. Boo to that.
 
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joypog

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Lisselle, thank you very much for your generous responses! There is much to consider. I have been following Hilary's course as it is emailed to me, but I think I had overlooked the concept of advice / relating aspects of the two hexagrams. I had been reading the two hexagrams as present / future states, a concept that I must have picked up from another book or website. I quite like Hilary's proposed way to read the two hexagrams, and will ponder it more.

And yes, I have been keeping notes, but mainly for the practice of writing things down in the moment to crystalize my thoughts. That said, it makes a lot of sense to revisit old notes to see how things played out.

Thanks again for the enocouragement!
 

Liselle

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Maybe you haven't gotten those parts of the course in email yet.

Yes, it's a common notion that the second hexagram is the future. Sometimes it is - once in a while. But it's not a good way to think about it overall.

Re: notes - going back and dissecting old readings is definitely helpful. Hilary repeatedly introduces us to her best I Ching buddy, Professor Hindsight. ;)

Also, if you have a Windows PC or laptop, Clarity has developed specialized Yijing software called The Resonance Journal, that provides many ways to work with your readings - search features, tagging, three built-in translations, and so forth. If you don't already have a good place to keep yours, you might enjoy taking a look at it. It comes with a nice, generous free trial period, a month, I think.
 
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dfreed

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I was wondering if anyone had written an article about these hexagrams "pairs" where the bottom five lines all match.

... the first five hexagram lines of 1 and 43 are the same, with only the top line being yang and yin ....
Joypog, I think I now get what you are doing here.

I don't think anyone has written specifically about the changing top line. However – as at least one person has mentioned - this could be considered a 'subset' of the idea of looking at the Zhi Gua (change to hexagram) and the Fan Yao (change to line) when you have the top changing line (either a 6 or 9) - or any other change line or lines.

For example, if you have Hex. 1 with a 6th line changing, the resulting Hexagram is 43. So, making use of the Zhi Gua and Fan Yao would mean looking at Hex. 43 and line 43.6 to see what additional information these give you about your reading.

Bradford Hatcher said, 'these pairs will often share vocabulary elements, cross-references, subjects, or grammatical tone, voice and mood.' However, in his view (and many other people's, including mine) these 'changed to' hexagrams and lines are not meant to replace or be better than the hexagram and lines you got as the Yi's response - but they just might possibly provide added information.

As an example: if you got 1.3.6 > 58 in a reading, most often (or traditionally) you would look Hex. 1 and Lines 1.3 and 1.6 and Hex. 58; AND you might also look at 1.3 > 10 (and 10.3) and 1.6 > 43 (and 43.6) to perhaps give you more information about the reading - but again, these are not meant to replace the reading.

I like to think that we get the hexagrams, trigram, lines, etc. we get (for a reading), so that's what I like to work with.

*****

I'm reminded of what a well-known Yijing author and teacher once said: when she first started working with the Yi, she would build her hexagrams from the top down; so the first coin toss (or yarrow stalk) would give her the top, sixth line; the next coin toss would give her the fifth line ... until she did the sixth and final coin toss which would give her the bottom line (what we think of as the '1st' line).

And even though she was doing this 'incorrectly' - at least according to the tradition most of us follow - she said she got revealing, helpful, and seemingly accurate readings. And at some point, weeks or months later, she learned the 'correct' way of building hexagrams and went from there.

My point (I guess?) is that while I don't want to discourage you from exploring the Yi in your own - perhaps unique - ways, do try to be aware of when you may be going down a few too many rabbit holes (as I am sometimes want to do!).

Best, D
 
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joypog

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Thanks! I suspect that I will be hopping down rabbit holes for a little bit...I have a bad habit with picking up hobbies and going deep into them and then moving on a few months or a couple years later. I hope don't repeat the same pattern with this book....pacing myself for the long haul and all that. But then again, if it happens, then so be it.

Your anecdote about the teacher starting "wrong" is very much my story. I started by throwing coins and it was about 6 weeks in (well after I was getting useful readings) when I realized that two heads should equal unchanging yin (and visa versa for yang). One day, maybe I'll go through my readings from that notebook and see if the "correct" readings would have been "better".

I feel moments like these are boons from the trickster gods, reminding us humans not to take ourselves (and our practices) too seriously.
 

joypog

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Cool! Nowadays, it seems that things on the internet can get explosive so fast...that's why I'm always careful to the point of being paranoid about accidentally offending folks when I join a new group.

And yeah, I'm totally gonna steal that nickname.
 

dfreed

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An exclusive minority here likes to call it,
Mr. Booky.
I have a friend who used to travel with a plate she called Platy. And Platy would end up in all kinds of selfies: Platy at Mont-Saint-Michel; Platy sitting in a US Army jeep at Omaha Beach (Normandy); Platy at the Eiffel Tower ...

And like the Yi, Platy served a useful function; he would often be seen containing a roll of good, crusty French bread and cheese!

But Platy was - and still is - good ol' born in the USA, and I don't think that he has ever read the Yi in his life. E.g. I'm sure that Platy and Booky have never met.

Best, D
 
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