… what does it mean for readings?
That’s what an aggravatingly clear-sighted friend asked when I started enthusing at her about the beautiful ‘casting’ structure between hexagrams 3 and 50. And I suppose it’s not an unreasonable question…
Maybe one day it’ll mean I routinely consider the matching hexagram from the other side of the metal as part of a hexagram’s meaning, so no reading with 39-40 is complete without giving thought to 13-14… but not as yet, certainly!
So far, all it means for me is a difference in how I see individual hexagrams that seem particularly important in the pattern. For instance, in the liquid centre of the metal, Hexagram 26, Great Taming -
- takes on a new dynamism if I think of it as the interaction between the power of liquid metal within and the clay mould outside. The mould is light, dull, perhaps brittle; the metal is vivid, mobile, too dangerous even to get close to – and yet, like the accumulated strength of human cultural knowledge, the mould contains and shapes the metal and turns it to use.
The central (median) point between 3 and 50 is, strictly speaking, 26 and a half, so the ‘centre’ is Hexagrams 26 and 27. And 27, Nourishment -
- looks to me now like the creation of the empty mould: strength on the outside that determines the shape that will emerge. Better take a good, long and imaginative look at that mould now, to form a clear mental image of what will emerge from it.
Then hexagram 28, Great Exceeding or Great Transition -
- is – aptly enough – just off-centre. And that looks to me like the strong liquid metal taking shape within the mould, or maybe threatening to overflow it, or through excess pressure to crack the thin layer of clay at lines 1 and 6. The marriages at lines 2 and 5 do seem to be pressing hard into the mould of expectations.