What is my direction? Like Mulan, Loyal Brave and True: Do I lose my Armour or drop it?
Your reading resulted in the following hexagrams:
Hexagram 18, Corruption
What is behind this trouble?
What is the hidden cause?
'Corruption. Creating success from the source.
Fruitful to cross the great river.
Before the seed day, three days. After the seed day, three days.'
In ancient China, ancestors angered by neglect would send sickness and misfortune. This is corruption: something dark, like a curse, lurking under the surface of life and manifesting as patterns of negative experience. We don't have to believe in angry ancestors to be haunted by corruption, whether we inherit its darkness from our past, our culture, or through our parents. When you receive Hexagram 18, it is time to examine those old, old patterns at last, to seek out their source and give it due honour and attention. When you understand where your experience comes from, you can restore the creative flow and make a genuinely new beginning. You will need to commit yourself to the journey and take the risk of crossing the great river into unknown territory. And you will need to pay careful attention to the process. Before 'seed day', which marks the beginning of a new cycle of time, you'll need to identify the source of the corruption and prepare for change. Afterwards, you need to pay attention to the needs of the new growth. Each of these phases has only a modest duration; you're invited to attend and examine, but not to dwell on this change for a lifetime.
'Below the mountain is the wind: Corruption.
A noble one rouses the people to nurture character.'
Corruption follows from Hexagram 17, Following.
'Following people with joy means there are things to be done, and so Corruption follows. Corruption means things to be done.'
'Ancestral father's corruption.
Hexagram 57, Subtly Penetrating
How can you get to know this from the inside?
What is taking shape?
'Subtly penetrating, creating small success.
Fruitful to have a direction to go,
Fruitful to see the great person.'
Subtly penetrating means becoming part of something, or someone. It describes all-pervading influences, like the wind shaping the landscape.
You penetrate subtly by feeling your way into things, yielding gently to their nature. You shift your own ideas and expectations, and come to understand the situation from inside, on its own terms. And so, as you allow things to shape you, you also reach a place where you can shape them. The old Chinese character for 'Subtly Penetrating' shows a stand bearing the official seals a ruler would bestow on those he trusted. Someone who bows down and accepts a seal is submitting to the order of things, entering in and receiving his place within it. Then his seal, sign of personal authenticity, endows him with influence and the power to 'make his mark'.
Whatever penetrates subtly becomes influential – not by acting on situations or people to change their nature, but by becoming part of their nature and acting in them. Because it never acts as an antagonist, it never creates resistance and permeates everywhere.
Such influence does not bring sudden transformations: it works imperceptibly, in tiny increments, only creating small success. It is useful to align all these small shifts with a single intention that lends direction to the changes. And, whether you see them in the flesh or with your inner eye, it's good to have a clear vision of the great person – a model of the larger possibilities implied by small success.
'Wind follows wind: Subtly Penetrating.
A noble one conveys mandates and carries out the work.'
Subtly Penetrating follows from Hexagram 56, Travelling:
'The Traveller has no place where he is accepted, and so Subtly Penetrating follows. Subtly Penetrating means entering in.'
Subtly Penetrating forms a pair with Hexagram 58, Opening:
'Opening: seeing. Subtly Penetrating: hidden away.'
You can share your reading with the I Ching Community here: explain to people what you were asking about, and post your question What is my direction? Like Mulan, Loyal Brave and True: Do I lose my Armour or drop it? and Yi's answer, 18.5 to 57.
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