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Getting started with my annual reading (from the blog)


Apr 8, 1970
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What’s an annual reading for?

Every year on my birthday, I cast a reading for the coming year. Not as a prediction – imagine the gloom and suspense if you spent a year under the shadow of 24.6! – but for guidance. Perhaps it’s a little like the people who choose a ‘word for the year’ as a theme, except that I let Yi do the choosing.
In practice, the reading provides me with an underlying guiding principle that will feed into my planning for the year, and decisions along the way. Also, it tends to help me make sense of my experiences with hindsight – ‘Oh, is that what that was? Ah…’. That combination means that at this time of year, I’m partly absorbing the reading into plans for 2019, and partly just accepting that full understanding will come with time.
Here’s how I start to work with an annual reading – and how you can too, if you want.

My reading: Clarity and Advancing

Guidance for 2019?

changing to

– Hexagram 30, Clarity, changing at lines 1 and 3 to 35, Advancing.
To start with, this reflects a theme I had in mind already: visibility. Being visible goes against all my instincts, and Yi’s made considerable use of Hexagram 36, Brightness Hiding, in talking to me about this. Between the ages of about 6 and 16, getting a lot of people’s attention probably meant getting bullied, and blending into the scenery meant being accepted and safe. At the age of 46, it’s starting to dawn on me that following my 6-year-old self’s best advice while trying to sell stuff on the internet is pretty spectacularly ridiculous.

Startling moving lines…

So… Yi gives me 30, and 35: fire and fire, and fire above the earth. All the lights are on. It’s picking up on this idea of being visible, showing me how it actually works and how it feels. And what it says comes as a bit of a surprise: that changing inner trigram, looking for all the world like a glowing log in the fire, says,
‘Treading in confusion.
Honour it,
Not a mistake.’
‘In the clear light of the setting sun,
If not beating a pot and singing,
Then you will be making the lament of great old age.
That’s less clear – and more emotional – than I’d somehow expected. What can I make of these lines at this stage?
Line 1 –
‘Treading in confusion.
Honour it,
Not a mistake.’
– is about moving first, and finding out where I’m going later, or following the signs, and finding out where they lead later. The important thing is to be in motion, honouring the journey and whatever guidance there is.
I can apply this to work, finding ways to reach more people with Clarity, and to the other thing I really need to concentrate on this year: getting healthier. There’s no need for me to know exactly what I’m doing before I start doing it. (This post is a pretty good example of 30.1!) That goes against my natural habit of researching all the options, making a comprehensive list of requirements and tasks, sorting the list into the most ergonomic order… etc… first. Also it awakens an underlying fear of the fan yao, 56.1:
‘The traveller – fragmented and bitty,
Chops up his place and courts disaster.’
If I honour each glimmer of light, start moving before I know what I’m doing, won’t I sabotage myself by fragmenting my efforts? Answer: not necessarily, no – not if I honour each sign and step, and don’t go running off after the next shiny object.
Line 1’s quite comforting. Line 3 is not:
‘In the clear light of the setting sun,
If not beating a pot and singing,
Then you will be making the lament of great old age.
I find my mind going at once to, ‘What setting sun? What day is ending? What lament?’
This looks like the kind of thing I might recognise during the course of the year, but I have a few ideas already. I’m 46, which turns out not to feel exactly like 26, either physically or mentally. (I’m very lucky with my health overall, but there are enough niggles now that I can see I’d better stop taking it for granted.)
Also, Clarity is still not what you’d call a successful business – a fantastic community of wonderful I Ching people, but not a business – and so I can start thinking about how much time I must have wasted, not getting a grip (and not being visible!). My husband says kindly that I’ve built a ‘good foundation’ here, and he’s not wrong – but it’s been 18 years, so why don’t I have a few bricks on the foundation by now? Enough to support us, or even think about buying our own home?
So as my thoughts run along those lines, accompanied by the wailing of the world’s smallest violin, I can hear the ‘lament of great old age’: ‘If only I’d taken my chances! It’s all downhill from here! It’ll never work!’
What Yi has to say about this is interesting: the lament’s a consequence of not beating a pot and singing. This song would be celebrating the past day’s achievements, and the new day’s possibilities. It’s a way of 21 – Biting Through, fully coming to grips with everything, not just making up tales of woe. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen with a wooden spoon and some good, loud saucepans…

The hexagram relationship

If I really want to ‘get’ those lines, I need to understand how they emerge from the relationship between hexagrams 30 and 35. Or to put it another way, how do they express an ‘Advancing’ aspect, or perspective, or direction, for Clarity?
The odd thing is that these two hexagrams are one another’s Shadow – hexagrams especially easily mistaken for one another in a way that creates all-round confusion and stuckness. (See the Shadows mini-course inside Change Circle – if you’re not yet a member, you can join here!) Maybe this year is a good time for me to peel these two apart and get unstuck.
‘Clarity. Constancy bears fruit.
Creating success.
Raising female cattle is good fortune.’
‘Advancing, Prince Kang used a gift of horses to breed a multitude.
In the course of a day, he mated them three times.’
Hexagram 30 rears cattle; Hexagram 35 breeds horses. Very, very similar – but one has the sense of developing the capacity to sustain action and insight, while the other is about taking action, making the most of gifts, seizing the day.
Health-wise, this would be the distinction between nurturing energy and using it. (Sometimes 35 seems to burn the candle at both ends.) On the work side of things, too, I can recognise the distinction: it’s the familiar question of whether to concentrate on building up resources, or on promoting and selling what I’ve already made.
Over the past year, for instance, I concentrated almost entirely on developing the Change Circle membership: the new Sequence book, revised and expanded Yijing Foundations, Shadow mini-course, all in a new ‘home’ for easier access. All that comes under the heading of ‘cattle-rearing’: building up resources, creating supportive structures, developing the capacity to support insight. But I didn’t – for instance – make time to run a live Foundations class, or even open for readings. Those would be Hexagram 35 activities: ways of making the most of what I already have to offer.
(So I’ve always chosen between 35 and 30. Wait a minute, Yi, are you saying I’m supposed to do both at once?)
The two Images are also similar-but-different:
‘Doubled light gives rise to Clarity.
Great People with continuous light illuminate the four regions.’
‘Light comes forth over the earth. Advancing
The noble one’s own light shines in her character.’
Hexagram 30 has light doubled. It sits, with 29, at the centre of its own landscape of 5 hexagram pairs, shining light in all directions. Hexagram 35 goes out over the earth, shining its own light on the path. This looks to me like the difference between using a really strong headlamp (something I’ve learned to value when cycling along unlit roads!) and installing street lighting.
Perhaps the idea is to do both: rear cattle and install street lights using the energy and commitment of Hexagram 35. And yes… I think this does come through in those two moving lines. Honouring each footprint, responding to each sign, making the most of each opportunity; deliberately seeking and stoking joyful, forward-looking energy.
So far, this is telling me more about mindset than actions – but then it’s mindset that determines which actions are possible, or even thinkable.
As for what comes next – there’s some cattle-rearing to be done, in the form of technical upgrades necessary to keep the lights on. And I will also be opening for readings soon, so if you’d be interested in that – maybe for an annual reading? – please ensure you sign up here for the ‘Ways of Opening’ list. (Normally when I open, all the slots are taken by people on this list before I ever get round to making the offer public.)
Happy New Year to you – may your 2019 glow brightly




Oct 21, 2011
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2019 Guidance

This is about 35. "The Gift," all that has been gifted to you - which is a lot.
30 is Clarity! Now that's synchronicity.
30.1 Even should you misstep, or the path be confusing, maintain respect for others.
30.3 Don't complain about your losses. Better to join in a drum circle and sing and dance.
Yes, I played a lot of open mics when I had anxiety about financial downturns...

- LL

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