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Hexagram Order and Pairs----WHY?

tacrab

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I'm starting a new thread on the hexagram sequence (aka King Wen order or received order).

I'd like to hear people's ideas about why the hexagram order exists, in the first place. And why do the pairs exist? Does anyone make use of the paired hexagrams in divination/interpretation?

Ideas?
 

svenrus

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Just like Richard Rutt points out that the earliest texts were remembered in rhymes maybe a need for a system, no matter what, just a system of a kind easier to navigate amongst the 64 hexagrams ?
 

svenrus

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Yes, like imagining one should find a book in a library but where the books wasn't placed in alphabetic order.... But off course that wouldn't rule out the possibility that king Wen in this systematization could have a way in which the hexagrams followes each other, still, not known today... compared to how it is ie the books are easy and quick found thanks to the alphabetic systematization. (sorry for my english, hope the meaning is clear)
 

tacrab

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Finding a book in the library.... a college librarian once told me that an inventive student worker decided to reorganize the shelves...by color!

One can see why it's tempting to re-organize the hexagrams into an easy-to-describe order, like the Fuxi/Shao Yong order https://www.biroco.com/yijing/sequence.htm#shaoyong.
 

svenrus

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Today when we have found a hexagram, normally by the coin-method, we just go into a coordinatesystem - the lower trigram found to the left and the upper trigram at top - and quicly find the text ie the Judgement and the Image plus the texts for the six lines. That, we couldn't have done unless the 64 hexagrams had been ordered. In a way I think that maybe the specific order is secondary and the ability to find the text quick is primary. Just like on the library with it's alphabetic ordering....
 

tacrab

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Are there interpretative methods, though, that rely on the ordering or on the pairs? It feels like a big gap, otherwise.
 

Leerling

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Are there interpretative methods, though, that rely on the ordering or on the pairs? It feels like a big gap, otherwise.
I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know. But if the order of the hexagrams does not play any role in the oracular interpretation of the hexagrams it's no use to try to understand the order from the oracular use of the I Ching.
 

Trojina

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I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know. But if the order of the hexagrams does not play any role in the oracular interpretation of the hexagrams it's no use to try to understand the order from the oracular use of the I Ching.
You can read how the sequence might play a part in oracular interpretation, in Karcher, in Hilary's book, Wilhelm and lots of other places. Some people might use the sequence in their interpretations and others many not. How the sequence might be used in interpretation is all still very much a process of discovery just as oracular interpretation itself is a process of discovery. It isn't something that all people do in one way and it's all agreed on and sorted out Amen.

As I've said before exploring how the sequence might play a role in interpretation is the topic of a course currently happening in Change Circle. Hilary has ideas about it, her ideas are triggered by other's ideas (like Scott Davis I think), we can look at at her ideas and develop our own and see what works according to our experience and so on.

All I am meaning to convey is that one cannot say the sequence does not play a role in interpretation or that it does play a role, it is up to the interpreter who will be in any case undergoing a journey of discovery in interpreting the oracle anyway. Everyone who uses the oracle to interpret readings, is on an on-going journey of discovery. In 5 years time many many people may be routinely using the sequence in interpretations, just as now more people use the change patterns and so on.

Some people already see the sequence as a story and use it that way in the readings, and some people don't. Nothing is set or stationary....and on we go.
 

Leerling

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@ Trojina

Clearly you think it's all a matter of opinion. But why harden your own relativism into a form of fundamentalism? I'm an old school guy, and I believe in facts, proofs, arguments, truths etc. To me there has to be a fact of the matter and the King Wen sequence either has of has not been deliberately constructed as it is. And that is the perspective that makes this topic interesting to me. If you don't share my way of looking at things it's all right with me, that just means my post won't generally be of any use to you. Just as your posts generally aren't of any use to me. And that's OK.
 
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Trojina

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@ Trojina

Clearly you think it's all a matter of opinion. But why harden your own relativism into a form of fundamentalism? I'm an old school guy, and I believe in facts, proofs, arguments, truths etc. To me there has to be a fact of the matter and the King Wen sequence either has of has not been deliberately constructed as it is. And that is the perspective that makes this topic interesting to me. If you don't share my way of looking at things it's all right with me, that just means my post won't generally be of any use to you. Just as your posts generally aren't of any use to me. And that's OK.
:confused: I wasn't meaning to be aggressive in any way, I just thought you were genuinely asking this

I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know. But if the order of the hexagrams does not play any role in the oracular interpretation of the hexagrams it's no use to try to understand the order from the oracular use of the I Ching.
...so I answered you the best I could since no one else had responded. But now I know you do not value anything I have to say of course I will not respond to you again if that is what you prefer.

To me there has to be a fact of the matter and the King Wen sequence either has of has not been deliberately constructed as it is.
Well someone somewhere in the mists of time could probably tell you just as they could tell you for sure why Stonehenge was built...but now, in modern times we speculate, we have good theories but the FACT remains we don't know. You insisting that it MUST be known is simply you insisting that.

Also what do you want people to say if they don't know :confused:

Anyway good luck in your investigations I will waste your time no further.
 

Trojina

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Also the intial question that started the thread was this


I'm starting a new thread on the hexagram sequence (aka King Wen order or received order).

I'd like to hear people's ideas about why the hexagram order exists, in the first place. And why do the pairs exist? Does anyone make use of the paired hexagrams in divination/interpretation?

Ideas?
...to me it seems quite an open question to all, it asks for people's ideas. I gave mine, why shouldn't I..only to be told me my ideas aren't welcome here. Yes I do use paired hexagrams in interpretation, at least I have the other of the pair in mind when interpreting the hexagram I received.

I can't say any more since 'Leering' has decided what I think/say doesn't belong in this thread. As far as I can see tacrab, who began the thread, wasn't insisting respondents only stick to ascertaining facts.
 

rosada

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Dear Leering,

Thank you for your post - I shall waste no time in reading it!

:rofl:
 

Trojina

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Oh and you aren't being either logical or consistent here. you say

Clearly you think it's all a matter of opinion. But why harden your own relativism into a form of fundamentalism?
I don't think 'it's all a matter of opinion' but I do know for a FACT that people may or may not use the sequence as I said in the initial post. So you asked this question


I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know.
I gave you a fact. I told you how it is in my first post. Some use it, some don't and it's an on-going process of discovery. That is a fact about how people currently incorporate the sequence in interpretations. I know because I witness what people do and have done for a long time. Now for you to call me showing you my observation this

But why harden your own relativism into a form of fundamentalism?
...isn't at all reasonable. You asked quite clearly

I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know.
I told you how I see it being currently used by people....and you say I'm engaging in a form of fundamentalism ??

You aren't being logical. Read you own question. In answer to your question there is no other answer than people use the sequence in different ways in interpretation as it's ongoing process of discovery. Care to explain exactly what is so fundamentalist about that OR do you need to pay attention to what question you ask before shredding the answer up as useless !
 

Freedda

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tacrab:

I certainly don't know why the pairs exist. I do know that a few thousand years after their creation people are still finding meaning in them and in the overall sequence of the I Ching, so I assume whomever created the I Ching thousands of years ago also found meaning in them (which, as some have suggested, might have included memorization, playfulness, humor, randomness, etc).

Besides that -- and short of getting in Mr. Peabody and Sherman's Wayback Machine, and going back to the creation of the Yi -- I don't know if you can really ever know the why of the pairs and sequence.

Also, for me, I don't see how knowing the why is important to actually using the I Ching -- instead, it seems like a purely intellectual exercise.

For me, the proof is in its use, not in its why.

Regards, David.
 
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moss elk

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hi Leerling,

You've come to a community of people quite familiar and skilled in the use of Yi as Oracle. (they could probably tell you what you did yesterday evening, but let's not go there.) These people hold this and the moral guidance as the heart of the Yi and naturally see what you are very interested in as quite peripheral and non essential to Yi study. You seem as strange and alien to them, as they seem strange and alien to you.

That being said, there is no need for arguments or hostilities from anyone.
If Leerling enjoys his study, let him enjoy it.
 

moss elk

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My intellect is a pointy stick!
Where should I point it?
Where should I not?
 

Leerling

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hi Leerling,

You've come to a community of people quite familiar and skilled in the use of Yi as Oracle. (they could probably tell you what you did yesterday evening, but let's not go there.) These people hold this and the moral guidance as the heart of the Yi and naturally see what you are very interested in as quite peripheral and non essential to Yi study. You seem as strange and alien to them, as they seem strange and alien to you.

That being said, there is no need for arguments or hostilities from anyone.
If Leerling enjoys his study, let him enjoy it.
Well - that is exactly how I think about it. I'll be happy to move to another apartment of this forum or to another forum altogether if my questions are more appropriate there. Just let me know where to go.
 

Trojina

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I did aim to answer this question

I don't know how the order of the hexagrams is used in the oracular interpretation, and I very much like to know.
...but you didn't like what I said. Answering your question would imply I thought your question appropriate and indeed I have never implied otherwise and if you think I have implied your question inappropriate on this thread then please quote me since otherwise you are making out someone has said your questions are inappropriate when they haven't.

Maybe other's can answer this question above more to your satisfaction. How do you multifarious interpreters use the sequence in oracular interpretation ?



Let's bear in mind also the initial question posted by tacrab quite manifestly included inviting people's thoughts on the sequence in oracle interpretation.

I'm starting a new thread on the hexagram sequence (aka King Wen order or received order).

I'd like to hear people's ideas about why the hexagram order exists, in the first place. And why do the pairs exist? Does anyone make use of the paired hexagrams in divination/interpretation?

Ideas?
 

Leerling

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@ Trojina

Your reaction on my post was correct if considered as an answer to part of the initial question posted by tacrab. That is right.

I think my questions are often considered (as somewhat) inappropriate because I am reminded time and again that my questions are largely irrelevant to the contemporary oracular use of the I Ching. And indeed my questions often are irrelevant in that sense, and I know it. But I like to ask them nonetheless. Read the post of Moss Elk who understands the problem.
 

Trojina

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I think Moss Elk missed the point in this instance since this kerfuffle had nothing at all to do with you seeming strange or alien to me at all. From my POV you asked a straight question. No one had responded for a few days so I quite innocently responded to that question having absolutely no ill intent whatsoever in writing it. You then answered me as if I had set out to denigrate you in some way. If you re read the post I first wrote, it's just a general response on my view on your question, there is nothing personal there, nothing to do with what Moss Elk said, not in this thread at least.

Anyway let's leave it there shall we :) and leave one another in peace, and perhaps the thread can get back on track with tacrab's initial question.

I am interested to know how people use the sequence, if at all in their own interpretations, as well as the other queries raised.
 

Leerling

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In Hexagrammatics: Rules and Properties in Binary Sequences Larry Schulz mentions the divination system 'Ifa'. What is interesting is that the same kind of ordering in pairs as in the King Wen sequence is used. Of course we can't be sure how the King Wen sequence was found, but we can make educated guises. And the appearance of an ordering in pairs in an unrelated system as Ifa divination points in the direction of the ordering in pairs being somehow the most obvious thing to do.

I will attach some pictures of the relevant pages of Schulz' article in my next two posts.
 

Leerling

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The pictures have become unreadable. :(
Don't know how to solve it....
 

tacrab

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Yes, let's un-kerfuffle this discussion, please. All opinions on the topic are welcome.
I especially like the point Trojina makes, that all of these methods and interpretations are an evolving situation. I'm currently reading Constance Cook's new Stalk Divination book (Oxford University Press 2017), which presents yet one more divination system, this one based on trigrams. Just a reminder of how many divination systems exist. And how it's just chance discoveries that they've been re-found. (I'll post a review of that book later).
 

li chien

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This has been a very useful question thankyou tacrab. I went back again to look at the spherical models especially Joszef Draszny's compelling Yi globe and re-read both his and Andreas Shotter's views on the King Wen sequence.

Also the question as to why the importance of pairing in the KW sequence and then also the further questions as to what meaningful value if any in a sequence beyond it being a simple handy classification to enable filing order.

So why pairs? Great question. I wonder if it is simply because all differentiation leads us initially to relativism and that balance and duality are intrinsic here anyway. The first compulsion once we break something into it's parts is to look at the simplest most obvious correlations. Opposites. To understand anything fully we need to first reflect on a thing's shadow. That the opposites call to each other to nestle together is a most natural attraction.

The idea that the sequence was essentially a memorising tool makes coupling order even more beneficial, to recall any one of a pairing leads directly to the next.

The notion that the sequence was potentially also to be held together as some kind of a narrative also makes sense then that the story starts with the very beginning and then initial pairing of the very first differentiation heaven and earth of action and reception and that the end of the tale is in their ultimate union and merging in an alternating fusion of fire and water in before and after completion. This relationship between 1,2 then 63 and 64 is the easiest to see so it is also important is have imagined that these also reflect the cardinal angles of the early heaven sequence first in differention and then in their union.

But also what value in a sequence beyond basic usability and accessibility. The thoughts that came to mind here is if our focus is simply on divination that it is possible to not use any big picture sequencing though clearly as Trojina points out that if we can potentially utilise this as well if it fits our process then it clearly does add a layer of further potential for divination.

Jozsef Drazney's Yi globe as a method of sequencing beyond the King Wen sequence seems to offer a lot of scope for layers of further understanding and makes clear spatial and temporal frameworks that makes it quite multi dimensional and fascinating in use. I wish I knew enough about the individual hexagrams to fully appreciate this conception when I first saw it but through time as I get slowly more connected to the nature of the hexagrams I certainly now look at it and I find it quite compelling to look at the whole framework. The notion of the layers in the Yi globe representing bigger timeframes within a life cycle is also really interesting as well tho notably the number of the years of the phases while not equal here are also still close enough to the Saturn cycle to make this harder to validate. No matter what their is a lovely and poetic logic evident in Drazney's proposal that if it is valid it demonstrates just how meaningful a sequence for Yi could be.
 

tacrab

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Thanks, Li Chien. Very interesting points.
If there IS more meaning to King Wen order, then it can enhance the "universe" of the Yi and its divination use.
 

svenrus

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Just a thought (don't hope I brought the system with sequences into disrepute at the beginning of this thread, that was also just a thought - as mentioned somewhere above: no one today knows how it all began thousands of years ago...): IF letting hex. one, two, sixtythree and sixtyfour out of wiev You got sixty hexagrams left. Hex. 3/4 - 5/6 and so on is paired in one way or the other. So let theese be thirty days (oddnumbered hexagrams) and nights (evennumbered hexagrams) ie the whole system representing one Lunar month.... Day/Night - Day/Night - Day/Night - together making sixty periods in this month.... A small cyclus ?

(I know that there are and will be no answer to this question reasoned above)
 
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