I call the hexagrams that are naturally related to the cast hexagram, regardless of its changing lines, ‘hexagrams of context’. They make an extended family of contrasts and sources. (Those simple old human ways of understanding something – seeing what it isn’t, and telling its stories – work just as well with hexagrams.)
Hexagram 46 isn’t Hexagram 45 -
- except that, if you turn round and come at it from the opposite direction, it is after all…
That is, these two are an inverse pair: two perspectives on the same pattern of lines. Hexagram 45 has its two solid lines high up in the outer trigram, a Gathering of meaning, resource and dedication all focussed into one powerful moment. The king is present in the temple, the great people can be seen, great offerings are made, there is a direction to go…
…and this naturally tends to turn around, with the solid lines internalised, and the sense of being part of something significant translating into a desire to go somewhere significant, to offer something. The Xugua (Sequence) says,
‘Assembling and moving higher is called pushing upward, and so pushing upward follows.’
This is what is called pushing upward – the sequence follows just from naming the essence of the gathering. There’s a sense that the gathering contains the aspiration within it (‘fruitful to have a direction to go’), and 46 gives it expression. It’s the story we see unfold when a whole group of people all aiming for the same thing starts to move, or when you align your whole self – all the ‘little selves’ – towards a single purpose, and then naturally find yourself in motion. Investing and identifying creates its own momentum.
Receiving Hexagram 46, you look at Hexagram 45 both for this broader sense of story from the Sequence, and also for the ‘this is not that’ insight from the contrasting pair.
The contrast within each pair of hexagrams is summed up in the Zagua (contrasting hexagrams):
‘Gathering means assembling; Pushing Upward means not coming back.’
That gives you a simple idea of the dynamics of the thing: you could represent Gathering with a lot of lines spiralling inward towards a focus, and Pushing Upward with one broad arrow pointing upwards. If you receive Hexagram 46, you don’t have to try to uphold a great meaning, all pooled into a single reservoir. You can travel one step at a time.
Sometimes that comes as a relief: I’m only expected to take one step, not leap the mountain in a single bound. But it can also be disconcerting, as it speaks of real commitment. (You can imagine that deciding to climb to an altar to make an offering, and then deciding it’s too much like hard work and turning back would not be the done thing.)
So some people receive 46 and say, ‘What, all that?’ (or ‘what, no helicopter ride?’) and realise they don’t want to start. Especially when it’s unchanging, Hexagram 46 invites some questions about the ascent: is this something you can commit to wholeheartedly? What are you pushing up towards - and is that somewhere you want to be so much that you’ll undertake the climb? Which wall is this ladder leaning against anyway?
And this brings us to the hidden core of 46, its nuclear hexagram: 54, the Marrying Maiden. (A nuclear hexagram is found by ‘unpacking’ the original hexagram’s inner lines – 2345 – into a full hexagram – 234,345.) Pushing upward contains a drive towards relationship and connection, a desire to participate in something bigger. And the ultimate experience of participation in something bigger would be finding you have become part of something much too big for you, you’re relatively much smaller than you’ve been used to, and your own will and intention are of no consequence. So – apparently paradoxically – at the heart of all the purpose and drive of 46 is the girl who finds that ‘to set out to bring order means a pitfall, and no direction bears fruit.’ For example, you get the dream job but find it overwhelmingly stressful, and hard on your self-esteem.
(The other hexagrams with 54 as nuclear are 11, 18 and 26. They have in common this inner experience of getting out of your depth – by no means always a bad thing.)
(And speaking of going one step at a time and getting utterly out of your depth – I think there’s another post’s worth of hexagrams of context to write before I start on the moving lines, post-apocalyptically.)