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Positive and Negative Hexagrams

bradford

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The title of this tread is a trap.
I hear this phrase so many times on so many different threads that to set the question right each time would be like playing whack-a-mole. It seems to come up at least once a week.
It's my thesis that as long as someone is locked into thinking of any Gua as inherently positive or negative they will NEVER understand the Yijing. The Yi itself tries to explain this in a number of places - Gua 12 is an opportunity to be rid of inferior influences, Gua 41 is a chance to learn the skills of economy and thrift that will make you truly rich when the times turn around, Gua 39 is a chance to look sideways from linear thinking and goal-seeking behavior, Gua 05 learns to live in the moment and maximize the meantime. And so on.
Crowley put it this way: Imagine listening to a Beethoven concerto with the presupostition that C is a bad note and F is a good one. You would clearly miss the music.
Good hexagrams vs bad hexagrams is just shallow thinking that completely misses the multidimensional richness of understanding that the Yi has to offer. And somebody's going to read this and still ask the same stupid question next week. "Is Hexagram 15 always bad?"
One way to get out of the habit is to start asking the question "What is the upside of this?" when you think you have a "bad" reading, and just as importantly, "What is the downside of this?" when you think you have a good one.
The same goes for the lines. It helps a lot to think of every line as representing a choice of attitudes, not a literal prediction, but a recommended posture that is often implied by the depiction of an inferior posture. So if the character in the line is in trouble and getting his nose cut off, remember that your question is about where you are going and don't go there.
 
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M

meng

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This should probably be a sticky.

I personally have found more to gain from those hex and lines that initially sound difficult or bad. 12, 23, 28, 36, 44 and 47 particularly come to mind.
 
M

maremaria

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Some time ago I asked about a situation what should I expect and got 14.6, one of the most auspicious lines, one could say. But things didn’t go like the line said regarding that matter. If I take that line as a prediction of the outcome , then Yi was way off !!! But then I had to ask a question to myself. “Assuming that Yi never fails to give a right answer, then what 14.6 was about ?” and then I see it. Aha!!!

I’m not saying that I don’t fall in the trap of positive /negative and sometimes I forget to ask the questions you say (I use such questions too), but I think it’s a matter of practice and experience. For me, for example, 23 is not just a “bad” hexagram, I have learn a lot from 23. And 12 in a question about a relationship was not necessary meant seperate.

Sometimes I think that I throw myself in a trap if I stick to the question I ask to Yi. I feel that sometimes it’s not the Yi that “ignores” our question and answers to something else. It’s that we need an answer and have no idea what we want to ask and asking our self what was behind a question help us to unveil the crux or the matter and Yi’s answer. That thought makes a bit easier to go beyond the positive/negative mode of thinking and dig a bit deeper.

One vote for the sticky . :)

Maria
 

heylise

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Third vote for the sticky!
 

sparhawk

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I'll bring the glue! :D
 

my_key

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Question: What's brown and sticky
Answer: ?????
 

hilary

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Stuck!

You know, when I saw Brad's name as first poster on this thread, it did occur to me it might be a trap...
 

bradford

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Stuck!

You know, when I saw Brad's name as first poster on this thread, it did occur to me it might be a trap...

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

And what is a sticky?

And good one, my_key
 

hilary

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A good thing. And a thread that stays at the top of the forum home page instead of disappearing down it as newer threads are posted.
 

zelion

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How to find our role in the dramas represented by the Yi?

Some time ago I asked about a situation what should I expect and got 14.6, one of the most auspicious lines, one could say. But things didn’t go like the line said regarding that matter. If I take that line as a prediction of the outcome , then Yi was way off !!! But then I had to ask a question to myself. “Assuming that Yi never fails to give a right answer, then what 14.6 was about ?” and then I see it. Aha!!!

Maremaria, I find really interesting that your experience with a positive hexagram (14.6) was not as you expected...
When I got this line, I took it as telling me that thinks may improve if I don't "force thinks" if I'm submissive to what's happening even its hurtful... but also its important to note that the blessings maybe are not the ones you think or asking about...

I'm curious... what it meant to you Maremaria?

This thread also brings up again a question...

With some hexagrams, knowing wich action to take seems difficult to me...

Some examples:

Think about a teacher that thinks that some pupil needs discipline, and gets this line:

21.1

His feet are fastened in the stocks,
So that his toes disappear.
No blame

If a sentence is imposed the first time a man attempts to do wrong, the penalty is a mild one. Only the toes are put in the stocks. This prevents him from sinning further and thus he becomes free of blame. It is a warning to halt in time on the path of evil.
So he thinks yeah, sure I need to talk to this boy so he behaves politely from now on...

But later, the poor teacher gets "punished" with a reprimand from the director of the center, because the father of this boy, no matter how nasty.. is the son of one of the people that helps the most in getting funds for the college

I know that maybe the answer is: depends on the question asked.... but that's not a warranty becuase the focus of the mind of the teacher was not focused about the outcome, he just was imagining himself reprimanding the boy, so he though good let's go ahead!!

So heres the problem, with these 2 years I've been already using the Yi, I learnt that the Yis answers what's on my mind, no matter what is the written question, and sometimes is hard to know if my mental focus was sharp enough to be sure that the answer is a straight one...

Another exaample yet:

34.2

Nine in the second place means:

Perseverance brings good fortune.
The premise here is that the gates to success are beginning to open. Resistance gives way and we forge ahead. This is the point at which, only too easily, we become the prey of exuberant self-confidence. This is why the oracle says that perseverance (i.e., perseverance in inner equilibrium, without excessive use of power) brings good fortune.
But how to know if whatever you were thinking is matching the model of reality (as Jesed nicely explains sometimes...) How do you know that your action is balanced, or maybe the line in this case works as a confirmation.. ?

As a matter of fact, it only says:

Perseverance brings good fortune.
So to get around this problem... I decide to ask always again, but with a diferent question, getting more information sometimes helps knowing if you are (as in the teacher example) if you are the punisher or the one about to be punished if you do what was on your mind...


So, in a nutshell, lots of hexagrams can be positive or negative....


Wrapping it all... this brings up a BIG question I don't really know the answer:


There are any way of knowing if you are the line being the punished or the punisher one... A way of really finding out if the use of your own power is balanced or maybe you should make it balanced??

Well, with 21.1 in some situations I don't know which way to go, what is the right interpretation...

With 34.2 I always though that the action pictured in your mind is balanced, is the key for getting something, but here you reach a point where there's always the risk implied in using more forece than the need it, but its only a warning, something to bear on your mind while you go ahead with whatever youwere planning to do.

I love this thread :bows:
 
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bradford

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This is a classic tale from China that scopes the oversimplification part of the problem

The Daoist Farmer
Adapted from the Huainanzi, circa 139 BCE

A farmer named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far
and wide. One day this wonderful horse disappeared. The people of his village
offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply,
"What makes you think this is bad?"
A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a whole herd of wild
horses, led by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his
great good fortune. He said, "What makes you think this is good?"
Some time later, Sei Weng's only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and
broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei
Weng's misfortune. Sei Weng again said, "What makes you think this is bad?"
Soon after, a war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sei
Weng's lame son were drafted and sent into a horrible battle. The village people
were amazed as Sei Weng's good luck. But Sei Weng only replied, "What makes
you think this is good?"


Other parts of the problem are our infinite capacity for denial and our haste to see what we want to see. So we are well-advised to look at everything from at least two sides. This is partly why the Zhouyi text is loaded with so much irony, like chiding for weeding in 43.5 because the greens being weeded are so edible and easily grown.
 
M

meng

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So heres the problem, with these 2 years I've been already using the Yi, I learnt that the Yis answers what's on my mind, no matter what is the written question, and sometimes is hard to know if my mental focus was sharp enough to be sure that the answer is a straight one...
I believe that's a keen observation, especially for being at it just two years. :bows:

Sometimes it feels like a tug-o-war back and forth from my brain to my heart, and my objectivity and focus aren't pure. At such a times I 'clear the channels' with an open question, as though to say "Ok, Yi, tell me what I need to know, before I ask my specific question." Giving due attention, I'll then approach again with my specific question. However, sometimes the channel clearing also swept away my original question. :eek:
 
M

maremaria

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I'm curious... what it meant to you Maremaria?
Hi Zelion,

The question was about a contest I took part. It was organized by the writing school I was attending. Somehow, I was forced to take part, I felt I had to support that event. Anyway, I took part and because I like to win, I wanted to win. I had a good piece of work and I believed in that ( my teacher too). But, because of some strange rules, one could organize to win and this is what I really didn’t like. Winning through this way, was not fun.
Getting that line, at first looked like a good outcome regarding the contest. That didn’t happened. But what Lise says in her 14.6 made much sense to me.

Spiritual talents decide your value - not worldly accomplishments. They cause intangible blessing, spiritual blessing. Man's real rank in life is according to his spirit.


I write mainly for my own pleasure . It makes me happy when other people find some of my work interesting but In the case of the contest, hmm, don’t know, felt like I would jeopardize what writing means for me if I played the game based on their rules. I choose mine. Not very high in the result’s rank but have no regrets about it. In a very personal level I think I won, so Yi was right and 14.6 was about something positive

Maria
 

zelion

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Hi Maremaria,

I think that's true, LiSe's idea that our spiritual talents are the ones that really matter is'ts true...its another "layer" of meaning for this line and thus you will be blessed (in life / afterlive maybe?) according to your real rank...but maybe the question here is: You will eventually reach your real rank according to your good deeds, so in live... or maybe the blessings will be more after this game of life ends?

Well, I may be wrong here, but my take is that if you get this line in some situations maybe literally mean help from heaven, universe... physically/emotionally positive

But in other situations, maybe it could well simply mean that you are doing really good even if thinks don't go easy for you, that you will be rewarded in the end, but not necesarily here in this life... spiritually positive



This is a classic tale from China that scopes the oversimplification part of the problem

The Daoist Farmer
Adapted from the Huainanzi, circa 139 BCE

A farmer named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far
and wide. One day this wonderful horse disappeared. The people of his village
offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply,
"What makes you think this is bad?"
A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a whole herd of wild
horses, led by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his
great good fortune. He said, "What makes you think this is good?"
Some time later, Sei Weng's only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and
broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei
Weng's misfortune. Sei Weng again said, "What makes you think this is bad?"
Soon after, a war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sei
Weng's lame son were drafted and sent into a horrible battle. The village people
were amazed as Sei Weng's good luck. But Sei Weng only replied, "What makes
you think this is good?"

Hi Bradford,

I knew this tale! I think its a smart way to show the people that sometimes bad things come, so really good things can come later... and also the disguise of some apparently happy things but can harm you in the long run...

Think about superman actor... maybe he though that being able to have an ride a horse was good luck, but its was not.. although maybe it was in the very very long run, because if he didn't had the accident, maybe he had would become some superficial person type person, but because of the accident, maybe (its just an example...) he is now a lot more evolutioned spiritually so good spiritual luck ... but really bad luck for his life on earth!


I believe that's a keen observation, especially for being at it just two years. :bows:
Thanks for that, but I think the Yi itself has something to do with that! :rolleyes:

Sometimes it feels like a tug-o-war back and forth from my brain to my heart, and my objectivity and focus aren't pure. At such a times I 'clear the channels' with an open question, as though to say "Ok, Yi, tell me what I need to know, before I ask my specific question." Giving due attention, I'll then approach again with my specific question. However, sometimes the channel clearing also swept away my original question. :eek:
Yes! Sometimes I do that, like tellin the Yi.. ok tell me what you feel you need to tell me, and later I will ask you again, except when I'm doing a "give a picture of the situation" type of question... or except when the question I'm about to ask is really a pressing matter, but at the same I'm feeling calmed, not freaking out or angry or with any strong emotion, because in that situations I get lots of 52... or either the answer is diffusse with lots of changing lines!!

I started to think about that approach when one day, about one year ago, asking about something related to a ongoing proyect I was working on, I got 25.3 :confused: I could not understand because it could literally not be taken away at that point we already where, and it was for a company whose payments never involved any problems... But later in the day I had my intuition trying to tell me that it was not the reply to my question...

Later in the same week I was told that somebody I was starting to date met somebody else by pure chance in a bussiness convention, and indeed was already with him!! but I wasn't at all worried when asking, I was not thinking in that possibility, because I had no clue...

So the "cow" I was tethering :eek: was literally kidnapped by a bypasser!!!!

I hate this negative line... But next time I get it, it will be really positive to be able to plan ahead the weekend without the girlfriend in mind :rofl:


When you experience that intelligence of the Oracle in action btw... You really feel connected to something, to that spiritual net where we are all connected, and that enables us to reach out and really try, and eventually speak to your... call it God, Universe, Infinite intelligence...

knowing that, I think there's no room for thinking about the hexagrams being merely negative / positive. its just that some of them are closer to white(14.6), and some other hexagrams closer to black (29.6). How closer they are to the extreme good omen or bad one?

Well IMHO it depends on the type of question /frame of mind, situation and the querent itself.. and of course it depends on the behaviour afterwards, since you can have a really positive omen, but spoil the situation afterwards, and even end up thinking that the hexagram you got was not positive, but it was! :duh:
 

seethis

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I don't want to read it all again to find out what is meant by "trap" - just want to say that I have a tendency to trap myself by asking over and over again because I so desperately want to get a socalled positive hexagram and all I get is socalled negative ones. This seems to happen to me in particular with relationship questions. I also experience this the other way around, meaning that socalled negative hexagrams become so-to-speak positive and this seems to happen mainly when I am asking about myself. I wonder whether this happens to other people too in a similar way?
 

Trojina

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This is a classic tale from China that scopes the oversimplification part of the problem

The Daoist Farmer
Adapted from the Huainanzi, circa 139 BCE

A farmer named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far
and wide. One day this wonderful horse disappeared. The people of his village
offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply,
"What makes you think this is bad?"
A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a whole herd of wild
horses, led by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his
great good fortune. He said, "What makes you think this is good?"
Some time later, Sei Weng's only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and
broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei
Weng's misfortune. Sei Weng again said, "What makes you think this is bad?"
Soon after, a war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sei
Weng's lame son were drafted and sent into a horrible battle. The village people
were amazed as Sei Weng's good luck. But Sei Weng only replied, "What makes
you think this is good?"


Other parts of the problem are our infinite capacity for denial and our haste to see what we want to see. So we are well-advised to look at everything from at least two sides. This is partly why the Zhouyi text is loaded with so much irony, like chiding for weeding in 43.5 because the greens being weeded are so edible and easily grown.




Hi Bradford,

I knew this tale! I think its a smart way to show the people that sometimes bad things come, so really good things can come later... and also the disguise of some apparently happy things but can harm you in the long run...
Where i differ in your take on the story is I don't think the point is bad things come in order that good things can come later...since the good things can as easily turn to 'bad' in this story. Its just that its the nature of life to always be in flux so what one moment seems fortunate, the next seems unfortunate and vice versa hence theres no use getting to hung up on 'fixing' good or bad fortune. You seem to be taking the story from the angle that some intelligence worked out in advance 'this bad thing must happen so that this good thing can happen'. Whilst that may be true, I don't know, I don't think its the Taoist perspective. I agree though its a great tale isn't it.

Think about superman actor... maybe he though that being able to have an ride a horse was good luck, but its was not.. although maybe it was in the very very long run, because if he didn't had the accident, maybe he had would become some superficial person type person, but because of the accident, maybe (its just an example...) he is now a lot more evolutioned spiritually so good spiritual luck ... but really bad luck for his life on earth!
Maybe, I guess we'll never know why, if there is a why, for the superman actors accident


I started to think about that approach when one day, about one year ago, asking about something related to a ongoing proyect I was working on, I got 25.3 :confused: I could not understand because it could literally not be taken away at that point we already where, and it was for a company whose payments never involved any problems... But later in the day I had my intuition trying to tell me that it was not the reply to my question...

Later in the same week I was told that somebody I was starting to date met somebody else by pure chance in a bussiness convention, and indeed was already with him!! but I wasn't at all worried when asking, I was not thinking in that possibility, because I had no clue...

So the "cow" I was tethering :eek: was literally kidnapped by a bypasser!!!!

I hate this negative line... But next time I get it, it will be really positive to be able to plan ahead the weekend without the girlfriend in mind :rofl:
yes for me 25.3 invariably turns out rather well..it all depends if you are in the postion of the farmer or the passer by. it may be undeserved misfortune and can equally be undeserved good fortune via someone elses misfortune. My 25.3 example is needing a place to live urgently and a friend calling to say his friend, a landlord, due to his house being trashed by robbers (tennants) urgently needed new tennants..his misfortune providing our good fortune at finding a place to live



knowing that, I think there's no room for thinking about the hexagrams being merely negative / positive. its just that some of them are closer to white(14.6), and some other hexagrams closer to black (29.6). How closer they are to the extreme good omen or bad one?

Well IMHO it depends on the type of question /frame of mind, situation and the querent itself.. and of course it depends on the behaviour afterwards, since you can have a really positive omen, but spoil the situation afterwards, and even end up thinking that the hexagram you got was not positive, but it was! :duh:
Even 29.6 isn't giving you bad fortune, just telling you if you get into the mess, whatever it is, you are likley going to have to live with it/put up with it for the duration, the period of the natural consequences of the event/action its referring to. Sometimes accepting that can be helpful i guess if its something unavoidable., but sure 29.6 is something one would prefer to avoid . But then supposing you are asking about a course of action you really don't want to take ..and you get 29.6 ? Could be a welcome 29.6 since its giving you more reason not to take that course of action
 
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pocossin

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Even 29.6 isn't giving you bad fortune, just telling you if you get into the mess, whatever it is, you are likley going to have to live with it/put up with it for the duration, the period of the natural consequences of the event/action its referring to. Sometimes accepting that can be helpful i guess if its something unavoidable., but sure 29.6 is something one would prefer to avoid .
Trials can also be an opportunity for growth.

29.6
Six at the top means:
Bound with cords and ropes,
Shut in between thorn-hedged prison walls:
For three years one does not find the way.
Misfortune.

Prisons do not typically have walls of thorns. Because 29 is pit (burial of the dead) and line 6 correlates to spirit, I think 29.6 refers to the obligatory mourning hut ritual. But even prison may be advantageous. Imprisonment led King Wen to the I Ching, as it did Takashima.
 

Trojina

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Trials can also be an opportunity for growth.

.
They often may be but still be something most would prefer to avoid, growth or no growth. I see 29.6 as an opportunity for growth that probably didn't have to be quite so painful if the querant had been able to take another route to master that particular 'lesson'.
 

pocossin

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Four days ago the power supply for my computer failed. I guessed it was the charger. The replacement painfully cost three times what I expected to pay, but I had no choice. When I installed the new charger, lo and behold my once impaired computer began to work perfectly. I have had two years of trouble that technicians could not diagnose. Interference from the original charger was apparently the sole problem. I think I grew a bit in handling this. If I defined 29.6 in terms of personal experience I'd say it meant overlooking the obvious.
 

Trojina

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Four days ago the power supply for my computer failed. I guessed it was the charger. The replacement painfully cost three times what I expected to pay, but I had no choice. When I installed the new charger, lo and behold my once impaired computer began to work perfectly. I have had two years of trouble that technicians could not diagnose. Interference from the original charger was apparently the sole problem. I think I grew a bit in handling this. If I defined 29.6 in terms of personal experience I'd say it meant overlooking the obvious.
Yup could be...perhaps there could have been a less painful route to figuring what you needed, but you got accustomed to handling the issue a certain way and ended up in the thorns


...but it could have been worse

you got out in the end

:cool:
 

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It scares me half to death to think that I actually agree with Bradford on something, but I do. He's making a good point here.

On behalf of those asking this question though, I will answer for them, albeit without their permission... The reason people ask this question is because they have discovered the I Ching and are looking for simple and basic answers for questions in their lives and are mainly just concerned about their future. And that is perfectly understandable. Many of the junior members who come here are not well based in spiritual understanding and simply see life as a game of chance that they must find some way to control. Therefore they "fear" for the future.

My suggestion for overcoming this fear, is that those who just want a prediction of the future, come to understand that they themselves are that future, and are creating the future they themselves will experience. In this way, one need not fear the future as whatever happens is only a mirror to bring us to ourselves and recognize who we are and the types of things we are likely to create for ourselves. Once a person has experienced and understood this they will come to see that they can create a different future, by changing themselves, and will see in the I Ching not just an automated prognositicor of the future, but a way they can learn about themselves, and grow spiritually, thus enhancing the life they life. Things are not in and of themselves good or bad but only as we make them so. The future isn't so important as our own inner beliefs and responses to life. When we come to understand that, we see things less in terms of good and bad and more in terms of opportunities for growth.

Gene
 

conniejfoster

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I am new to I Ching, but I have studied astrology for more than 40 years. That has led me to the study of a lot of different spiritual ideas. I find that all of the different paths can be read with out a negative/positive out come. There is always a choice and some choices are more difficult or easy, but I don't think they are totally negative or postive.
 

seethis

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There are definately negative and positive hexagrams but only in relationship to the question we ask and not in with regard to the Yi itself. My advise is, if you are worried about negative hexagrams, stop asking about other people but ask about your own attitude to a particular situation and the negative turns into good and valid advise
 

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Nothing bad fortune telling .... only when the news is not good fortune tellers ... it's bad ... and you pay the price for that
 

meerkats64

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regarding good/bad hexagrams

some hexagrams can mean you are not in position of strength eg 33=retreat or 36=darkening of the light 25=getting short changed or ripped off

also eg trigrams if a person in a family was 1st born son=thunder then hexagrams with thunder trigram eg 25 the general text and moving lines of text will have unique special meaning for you

6 strike are generally thought of as "bad hexagrams" & 6 combine as "good" but that is not always the case it depends on question and method used eg mei hua=fixed time data created hexagrams read authentic i ching on that or na jia=superiching=coin tossing authentic i ching and classical methods
 
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madcreates7

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This gives me hope. There are certain hexagrams that make me flinch when I receive them. Numbers 3, 12, 23, 29, and 47 are probably my most feared. This week #7 showed up as the second hexagram. I always know when I receive that particular hexagram that I must somehow stick to the straight and narrow and have focus. Sure enough, a tooth extraction was called for and I must stick to the straight and narrow in terms of medical protocol and getting better. Love the I Ching though. It has saved me in many situations and certainly called out warnings for many others.
Madelyn
 

hilary

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Sometimes I'm quite happy to see 7 - especially after weeks or months of being told to quit trying to get things done.

Hope your teeth are happy!
 

madcreates7

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Serendipity-Synchronicity-Bad News-What?

After writing about the hexagrams that I fear just a day ago or so, of all times tonight when consulting the Yi about what I can expect in 2012, I drew the dreaded hexagrams 12.3 and then 33 - one I'd forgotten to list in my earlier comment. All I can do now is proceed through the year and hope that things are not too negative. At least I didn't draw 47 or 6. My solace is that if anything comes up that is troublesome, I can always consult the sage again. I find it odd that sometimes I can sit down for a consultation and think of a hexagram that I do not want to receive - and that will be the very one that turns up.

Having used the book since 1985, I find that I go through stages when the same reading will turn up over and over - letting me know, I suppose, there are things to which I need pay attention. I want to continue to use this website so that I can learn some of the many permutations of a particular reading - rather than taking such a literal view - for example #23, Splitting Apart. So many times though when getting that reading, I do feel that things are splitting apart literally.

Number 51 used to frighten me as well - Shocking - can have so many negative connotations - however when I've drawn that one and reflect back upon a happening or period of time, frequently it has to do with laughter - the shock of sound.

:confused:

Madelyn - ruminating on New Year's eve . . . Happy New Year Hilary and I Ching community. Thanks so much for providing this service - it is an awesome way to learn about the I Ching.
 

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