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Timing

gene

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Hi everyone. Thought I would start this thread about timing in the I Ching because it was brought to my attention that was giving a lot of people a problem. First, let me say I do not say anything claiming to be a master, only an intermediate or advanced student. The I Ching is unfathomable, and the learning is endless. Second, I do not think the I Ching offers specific times, only general trends. Often the lines will describe the situation, and the relating hexagram will explain the outcome. The key to knowing the timing is when the conditions described in the lines or first hexagram have completed their effect. For example, in #23 we have a situation where the current situation is crumbling, the advise in the relating hexagram will take place when the crumbling of the current condition is complete, then one can take the actions recommended in the relating hexagram. Somethings on the surface do not refer to timing but have a subtle message regarding timing. For example The second nine in hexagram 38 speaks of two people who should be working together, but they cannot. However, by fate or concerted action they succeed in meeting, this reverts to hexagram 21 which is called biting through. Master Alfred Huang says of the sequence, after careful attention, people surely draw together. Often we are isolated through opposition. Forces tear us apart, many hexagrams related to rebuilding the relationship, but sometimes the way is not clear. Direct contact will result in suspicion. H13 line 3, he hides weapons in the thicket, each person distrusts the other, suspecting a secret ambush. Or, he sees his companion as a pig covered with dirt...
When the situation has spent itself, and fate brings us into a position where we have to come to understand each other, then the new condition arrives. We know the timing by the sequences that have occurred. The misunderstanding is dispelled. Now the new conditions apply. Now the two sit down together and bite through the wrappings. They enjoy a meal in common, biting tender meat until the nose disappears. The way to tell the timing is to know when the conditions represented have manifested themselves.

In a previous post I stated that the lines of the first hexagram give a hint as to how to interpret the yang lines in the following hexagrams, The first line says, "hidden dragon, do not act. As a rule when we receive a changing line as the first line, the conditions are too early to act upon. The sixth line says, "Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent", because he has gone too far. It is now excessive, so we can surmise often that receiving the sixth line, it is too late. Actions will not be advantageous. There are of course, exceptions to this. I will try to write more later.

Gene
 

lindsay

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One aspect of this topic involves understanding the Chinese lunisolar calendar. There is quite a lot of good information about the Chinese calendar on the web, but I would like to recommend a couple of sites:

A brief, accessible, and reliable explanation that stresses the historical development of the calendar is:
http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-chinese.html
This is a page on a site called ?Calendars through the Ages,? which contains information about most of the important calendar systems in the world.

A slightly more scholarly site with an emphasis on astronomy features a detailed overview by authority L. E. Doggett:
http://astro.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html.
Again, you will also find information here on other calendar systems as well.

The mother of all Chinese calendar sites appears to be:
http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/chinese.shtml.
This site offers the lifework of mathematician Helmer Aslaksen, a professor at the National University of Singapore. Aslaksen can definitely take you as far as anyone would want to go with this topic, and offers a number of useful pdf?s.

Once the gist of the Chinese calendar is clear, I?m sure you will want to make date conversions from the Western calendar to the Chinese calendar. Actually this is a pretty good way to see how the two systems align. I like this site because it has the heavenly stems and earthly branches in its date conversions:
http://www.mandarintools.com/calendar.html
This whole ?mandarintools? site looks very interesting for things Chinese.

Lindsay
 

lindsay

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Dear Gene,

I hope you don't mind if I segue from "timing" to "time" in the Yi. I realize the two topics are not quite the same, but your new thread seemed like a good place to pursue all kinds of time-related issues.

Lindsay
 

gene

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Hi Lindsay,

Yeah, that is fine. Actually, I was kind of wondering if some people didn't think I was being too bold by posting this because there were no responses. I am not doing this just to teach, but to be taught also. Granted, my aspect of timing is a different aspect, but I want very much to look into the type of timing you are talking about too.

I will try to write more when I have time. No matter how much time I have...well, it just isn't enough.

Gene
 

lindsay

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When we talk about time and timing in the Yi, it is easy to get confused because the word ?time? has several different meanings. This is more than a semantic quibble. Take a look in any good dictionary, and you will see quite a lot of text devoted to explaining the various nuances of the word ?time?.

I would like to mention three different meanings that appear somewhat indiscriminately in our postings, but which really point to very different problems.

(1) Time as a period marked by certain prevailing conditions or trends. In Yi divination, this time is usually defined by the primary hexagram, which most often spells out the significant aspects of a problematical situation. When Stephen Karcher discusses the meaning of a hexagram as a whole, he often begins with the phrase, ?This is a time of . . .? This kind of time appears in phrases like ?the times are changing? or ?time for a drink? (the situation being such that a drink is desirable). It assumes there are certain characteristics that make one period or situation different from another. All in all, this is the most important kind of time in the Yi. The Yi is based on the premise that meaningful times can be identified, explained, and acted upon. When Gene talks about the ?requirements of the time,? this is the kind of time he is speaking about. One finds out about this kind of time by asking the question, ?What??
(2) Time as duration. Very simply, time is the ongoing continuum of events from the past to the future. We have many words that describe segments of that continuum in various degrees of precision: decade, year, month, day, hour, minute, second, nanosecond. Other examples include the seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) or definable stretches of time (the reign of George II, the Mesozoic era, the Han dynasty). There are quite a few examples of temporal durations in the Yi: ?for ten years,? ?until the eighth month,? ?by the end of the morning,? ?three times in a day.? Nearly all of them are problematical. Why ten years here, but three years there? How odd to specify a period of eight months? Do specific numbers have any meaning at all? Interesting questions, but I doubt any of us will lose much sleep over them. Time as duration answers the question, ?How long??
(3) Time as a precise interval or exact point on the continuum. This is the kind of time we are most familiar with in the modern world. ?The time is 3:14 AM, EST, January 13, 2003.? ?The movie runs 2 hours and 14 minutes.? ?Set your watch to the nearest second.? This kind of time has no place in the Yi because it is an invention of the modern world, and yet it seems to run our lives. This is the kind of time most people want to know when they ask the Yi questions like, ?When will I get a new job?? or ?How long will I have to wait for my boyfriend to propose?? If Hilary could answer these questions with the Yi, she wouldn?t need to worry about her copy, the world would beat a path to her door. This kind of precise modern time is extremely difficult to map with the Yi.

All three kinds of time pose problems for divination, but the most difficult by far is trying to come up with accurate future intervals or points. However, a number of systems have been developed to do just this, and I hope to describe a few of them later.

One final point: when we seek exact times from the Yi, we are nearly always in the realm of prediction. Who asks a question like, ?Exactly when did Caesar cross the Rubicon?? No, most of us want to know when precisely certain future events or developments will occur. How comfortable do you feel about using the Yi for prediction? Even if Hilary could do it, would you believe a reading like ?All your problems will be over by the middle of next August?? The problem of time leads us right into the issue of divination vs. prediction.

Lindsay
 

willow

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Lindsay, one way I see the predictive durations (sense #2) is that they give you a particular "hook" for keeping your perspective on the prevailing conditions (sense #1) vital and focused. The future always comes, no matter how one understands, misunderstands, acts on, or ignores a particular reading. When a specific time is mentioned, the image I have is like that Blake illustration where God is leaning down with a compass and measuring something. When there is a mention of a specific time or interval, no matter what you do, the reading has touched you at more than one place in the span of your life, and I think the message is that it means to do so.

Say, for example, you get "When the eighth month comes, there will be misfortune." (in Hex 19, Approach) Instead of just giving the general guidance that there comes a time when approach must be reassessed, by giving a warning that is rooted in a specific time, it 'compasses' your perspective, it insists that, in this case, both now and then are important. Regardless of if you understand the 8th month to mean 8 months hence, or August, or 2/3 of the way through a cycle, or just before harvest, or maybe even Scorpio, once you've settled on an understanding you will most certainly find yourself revisiting the reading when that time arrives - in a way that probably complements the way you attempted to project yourself forward to that time when you first had the reading. For Approach, this matters very much (so much that fortune turns on it). For other hexagrams, other types of time perspective matter.
 

lindsay

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Dear Willow,

Welcome back! I?ve missed you. You are such an excellent reader and wise woman in general. Of course, I agree completely with your idea that specific time references in the Yi point us toward thinking about and identifying specific time intervals in our own situations. Some people think Yi durations are simply vague indications. 10 years = a very long time. 3 years = a long time. 8 months = a pretty long time. Seven days = sometime fairly soon. Three days = soon. There has to be more to it than that, doesn?t there?

Actually I have collected all the specific time references I could find in the Yi. I found 32 of them. I want to think them over a bit, but I hope to report back my results. Other people will no doubt see things differently. I also want to spend more time on your ideas, but first there is something I have to add to my last posting.

There is another important aspect of time in the Yi I forgot to mention. In fact, I think it is probably the second most important one in the Yi for divination.

(4) Time as a relational point in a process. Some people see the King Wen sequence of hexagrams (the one used for the Yi) as meaningful as a whole. The sequence represents a complete cycle of change, a paradigm of development, a model of human life. Gregory Whincup sees the sequence as the story of a warrior?s life. In this case, each hexagram occupies a significant place in relation to all the others. Some are at the beginning of a process, some in the middle, some at the end. This is a temporal relationship.

[It might be an amusing party game to invent a story where, beginning with Qian, each new development must take on the character of the next hexagram in sequence. Of course, the party would be fairly small, since only people familiar with the Yi would know how to play.]

In addition, there are a few hexagrams ? 3, 63, 64 come to mind ? that directly reference a point in the temporal development of a process. Several others can also be interpreted that way if appropriate.

Inside the hexagram, because the lines are thought to move from bottom to top, a line?s position can indicate relative time. Line 1 is the very beginning, Line 6 is the very end, and Line 5 is usually seen as the fullest moment, the climax. And of course the order of moving lines in a reading can indicate relational temporal sequence. This idea seems to be the basis for Karcher?s Steps of Change.

Sometimes the bottom trigram is seen as preceding the top trigram within a hexagram.

Also it is very common to see the primary hexagram as preceding the relating hexagram. This is the classic interpretation where the primary hex shows the current situation, and the relating hex shows the likely future outcome.

I do not see any particularly difficult problems associated with using relational time in interpreting the Yi except knowing when it is appropriate. It is usually an adjunct to other kinds of interpretation. Of course, like all Yi time, it is not easy to speak with precision about exactly when things will happen, but it is often possible to indicate the likely sequence in which things will happen.

Lindsay
 

lindsay

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Here is a list of all the specific time references I could find in the Yi. I did not look at the Daxiang (Image ? you know the one: ?Wind over Water. The superior man ties his shoelaces before leaving home.?). I think all of these bring up questions of interpretation in actual divinations. The only pattern that really surprised me was the fact that so many of these references are negative. ?One does not do something for ten years? or ?something does not happen for three days.? I?d be happy to hear what anybody has to say about any of these statements and how to interpret them.

The translations are Wilhelm/Baynes. There really aren?t a lot of translation issues with the time references ? even Mawangdui agrees with most of them. I did check each statement in 14 other translations to make sure Wilhelm had it basically right.

Lindsay

1.3 -
All day long the superior man is creatively active.
At nightfall his mind is still beset with cares.
3.2 -
Ten years ? then she pledges herself.
6.6 -
By the end of the morning
It will have been snatched away three times.
9.6 -
The moon is nearly full.
13.3 -
For three years he does not rise up.
16.6 ?
Firm as a rock. Not a whole day.
18.0 ?
Before the starting point, three days.
After the starting point, three days.
19.0 ?
When the eighth month comes,
There will be misfortune.
24.0 ?
On the seventh day comes return.
24.6 ?
For ten years
It will not be possible to attack again.
26.3 -
Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.
27.3 ?
Do not act thus for ten years.
29.6 ?
For three years one does not find the way.
30.3 ?
In the light of the setting sun,
Men either beat the pot and sing
35.0 ?
In a single day he is granted audience three times.
36.1 ?
The superior man does not eat for three days.
43.2 ?
A cry of alarm. Arms at evening and at night.
47.1 ?
For three years one sees nothing.
51.2 ?
After seven days you will get them back again.
53.5 ?
For three years the woman has no child.
54.5 ?
The moon that is nearly full
Brings good fortune.
55.0 ?
Be like the sun at midday.
55.1 ?
When a man meets his destined ruler,
They can be together ten days.
55.3 ?
The underbrush is of such abundance
That the small stars can be seen at noon.
55.4 ?
The curtain is of such fullness
That the polestars can be seen at noon.
57.5 ?
Before the change, three days.
After the change, three days.
63.2 ?
One the seventh day you will get it.
63.3 ?
After three years he conquers it.
63.4 ?
Be careful all day long.
64.4 ?
For three years, great realms are awarded.
 

pam

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Lindsay,

I can give you examples for almost all those lines where the time coincided almost exactly with the prediction, but for now, I will give you an amusing one that happened about 7 years ago. I was working as a software consultant in a silicon valley biggie where one of the other consultants was day-trading quite successfully in between doing his other tasks. On that day, he asked me to do a reading on a buy he wanted to make. I threw the coins and got hex 6, line 6. I told him I thought it was a horrible day to buy the stock, but he laughed and went ahead and got 1,000 shares of Bay Networks (bought up by Nortel or somebody long ago). The stock climbed all morning and by 11:30 he was $6,000 or so ahead. Our manager asked if both of us and another person wanted to go to lunch with her and we were all up for that and did. I asked him if he wanted to sell out his position, but he said "no way". On the west coast it is 1:00 pm when the market closes in N.Y. When we got into the car to drive back to work after lunch, we heard the market had reversed itself and ended with a huge loss for the day - when he checked Bay Networks, his own position was DOWN by over 6 points ($6,000+) at the close...by the end of the morning, snatched away three times. I had a good laugh, and so did he (this wasn't a lot of money to him) but he never failed to go against my advise again.

Pam
 

lindsay

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Dear Pam,

That?s a great story! I did not expect to hear anyone confirm a literal interpretation of these time phrases. But, as Hilary is always reminding us, sometimes the Yi means exactly what it says. Thank you.

Lindsay
 

gene

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Hi everyone

Remember that I had mentioned that line one usually indicated that the situation was too early? This related to line 1 of hexagram 1 which says, "hidden dragon, do not act." Also line 6 has gone too far, relating to the 6th line of hexagram one, where it says, "arrogant dragon will have cause to repent."
Let's look at this another way. Line one and six are outside of the nuclear hexagram. (In order to build a nuclear hexagram, one must take line two, three, and four of the primary hexagram, use that for the lower trigram, and use line three, four, and five for the upper trigram of the nuclear hexagram.) Without getting into a big explanation of the nuclear hexagram, let's just say, when you receive line two, three, four, or five, you are receiving a line that is part of the nuclear hexagram. This means we are now in the active part of the hexagram. Line two of hexagram one says, "Dragon appearing in the field. Once again, this gives us a clue as to how to read line two in the following hexagrams. The action is beginning to take place, it is at its earliest stages but it is happening. As an example, and I hope to show more examples for the other lines later, but for now, let's just look at line two. Hexagram 29 line two, says "one should strive to attain small things only." Why? Because the conditions indicated in the hexagram have only begun to manifest themselves. "the dragon is just beginning to appear in the field." The I Ching is constantly giving us step by step examples, great undertakings may not be taken until the prerequisite strength is acquired. Or line two of hexagram 28, "A dry poplar sprouts at the root." The situation is beginning to take shape. When we get to line three, then greater action is required, because the ridgepole sags... In line three there is usually great danger... In line four, it is braced. We will deal with these issues in line three and four later, but for now, suffice itself to say that in line two, the conditions supposed by the hexagram are manifesting themselves. (Note that line three and four manifest in both the lower and upper nuclear hexagram giving them a lot of dynamic tension over all).

Gene
 

anita

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Hello Gene,

I had an experience that said something about timing to me the other day. I wanted to call my boyfriend in Germany and asked what if I called, would he be in and got hex. 47 lines 2 and 4 changing to hexagram 8 - Seeking Union.

Line 2 (Wilhelm)said the man with the sacrlet kneebands is just coming....to set forth brings misfortune.

Line 4 - He comes very quietly, oppressed in a golden carriage. Humiliation but the end is reached.

Hmmmm thought I. If I call now, he won't be in. He's just coming. Line 4 means he may be in his car travelling. But 8 is union. So maybe I'll leave a message on his phone.

And I did.

After that I asked if I should call later and got hexagram 43 - determination, line 5 changing to 34. And I thought now's the time. Determination is needed because I need to pull myself out of the house again to call him (no outgoing long distance on my phone yet). And 34 seemed to imply I ought to take the initiative and that it is a time to influence others. So I called later and viola! He said he'd just got in from a trip to Wuppertal. It was wonderful. He's calling me tonight.

Best for your Quest

Anita
 

gene

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Hi Anita

I'm glad everything worked out for you.

Gene
 

gene

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I have been writing a little bit about timing in terms of lines, and that is just a beginning, later on I want to get into timing in the hexagrams themselves, but before I go any further than I already have, I want to talk about line 1 from the yin aspect as well as the yang. We had already talked about the hidden dragon in line one of hexagram one, and how that shows that the line is premature. Now a little bit about hexagram two.

First though, we see from the image (and other ways too), that hexagram one relates to time in the sense of being opposite to space. (This relates to another discussion going on in, "How the I Ching sees itself," but I will not indulge in any conversation about that at this time). Later I may go into how the yin and yang came about in the first place and Chinese theory about polar opposites, how they came about. Now let's just talk about line one. Admittedly, timing does show up in line one of hexagram two also, even the hexagram relates more to space. Line one of hexagram two says, "When there is hoarfrost underfoot, solid ice cannot be far off." So line one of hexagram one is saying, do not act yet, (a function of time), line one of hexagram two is saying, Weigh the signs. Observe what is going on around you, (a function of space, but has timing overtones too.) So in the yin lines at level one, we often see the concept of paying attention. It is not happening yet, but you will need to see the signs to know what is happening. The great war general, or whoever wrote the book "The Art of War", stated, "It is not enough for the able Commander to know when he sees leaves on the ground that Autumn is coming. He must see the less obvious signs even before the falling of leaves." This is what we as individuals are charged with by the universal powers, or by our own unconscious if you prefer, is to develop our senses to the point where we can see the signs at the earliest stages.

Later, I hope to look at some yin lines and yang lines and see how they integratge with these hexagram one and hexagram two lines.

Gene
 

lenardthefast

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Hi Gene,

That would have been 'Sun Tzu".(Author of 'The Art of War').

Namaste,
Leonard
 

gene

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Hi Leonard

Yes, the only reason I stated it the way I did, is often these names that end in Tzu are not really names, more like a form of encryption. If I remember right, Tzu means man. Lao Tzu means old man, not sure just what Sun Tzu means. But yes, the book is attributed to him.

Thanks, Gene
 

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