Hilary Barrett, I Ching

Pushing Upward, step 4 (more hexagrams of context)

treesAs promised… one more step along the path through Hexagram 46.

In this post, I’ll have a go at a couple more ‘hexagrams of context’: two more ways of saying ‘this is not that’. In the last post I looked at 46 with 45, Gathering: the contrasting, paired hexagram. Pushing Upward is not Gathering Together – the dynamics of the thing are quite different, inward focus as against upward striving – yet the two together form a unit. A very helpful tip I picked up from Stephen Karcher is to think of your reading as not just ‘Pushing Upward’ but as ‘the Pushing Upward aspect of Gathering-Together-and-Pushing-Upward’. This lets you perceive ‘not-that’ and also ‘part of that’.

A quite different kind of ‘not that’ comes from the complementary or opposite hexagram, the one created by changing every line.

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Hexagram 25, Without Entanglement, has no line in common with Pushing Upward; nothing could be more different. But of course, seeing them together, that’s not the only thing you notice. You also see how they have the same pattern of lines, and how they fit together like pieces of a jigsaw.

These two are visibly both opposites and complements, and both ways of seeing them help in readings. The opposition is generally easier to observe. Hexagram 46 is wholly committed to striving upward. Hexagram 25 is disentangled. Hexagram 46 can create something good; Hexagram 25 may experience something bad, but knows this is not of its own creation. Basically, if I receive 46 I’m going to be looking for ways I can undertake more, engage more, take it to another level…  – and if I receive 25 I’ll be asking myself what I need to put down, to disengage from, to straighten out my relationship with the world. I can do one or other of these things, not both. Simple.

Only… they are also complementary. Seeing them this way is harder – complementarity has something of a koan-like quality to it, I think. I find I will sometimes get a non-verbal sense of how hexagrams are complementary when I’m in the midst of experiencing one. I had that sense of 46-25 once when walking through the woods near our home, with their beautiful mature beech trees. They grow, they draw nourishment upward (standing with them, you can feel the power of that), and their living essence is joined with the creative life of the whole just as 25′s inner trigram, thunder, joins with its outer trigram, heaven. Their dao is natural growth, and that exists simultaneously as 46′s upward striving and 25′s immutable participation in the creative principle.

As I was saying – a non-verbal sense. You might do better to ask the trees directly.

Another not-that: the shadow hexagram. Since I wrote that post and started experimenting with this idea, I’ve found it’s a reliable way of finding how not to think about your hexagram – and hence, how not to think about your question or situation. (I’ve also been reading Scott Davis’ fascinating book, The Classic of Changes in Cultural Context, and one of the many structural principles he uncovers in the sequence of hexagrams is meaningful usage of this ‘shadowing’ principle.) Hexagram ‘minus 46′, counting back 46 steps from Hexagram 64, is 19, Nearing.

Here’s LiSe describing Hexagram 19:

“In old texts ‘lin’ is often used for descending towards a valley. It is nearing, but it is also overseeing. From high above one sees the whole valley.”

That’s a very different perspective from the foreshortened view you get as you start to climb the mountain. Nearing calls for you to be the one with the overview, the adult caretaker who sees things and people in their totality. If you try to do this in a time of pushing upward, in ‘one step at at time’ season, you’ll be paralysed. (And conversely in a time of 19, it wouldn’t work at all to immerse yourself in and identify with the process.)

The shadow hexagram stands out particularly clearly for me as something I can work with when I contrast it with the nuclear hexagram. The nuclear is exactly what the original hexagram really is ‘about’ – its inner theme, the work that’s being done here. And for Hexagram 46, that’s 54, the Marrying Maiden. She can’t look down over the whole scene, and she certainly doesn’t get to be the responsible adult: she has to feel her way in. Pushing Upward: not time to try for an overview or think of yourself as responsible for the whole; time to think of yourself as the newcomer, the junior, and try to find your place.

Or as LiSe puts it, for Hexagram 46:

“Do not live past or future, but live the moment, developing itself step by step, like a plant, growing around obstacles. Its goal is not somewhere out there, but in itself, an inherent plan. It is one with what it becomes.”

(Is this enough Hexagram 46 to be going on with, do you think, or should I post something about the lines?)

6 Responses to “Pushing Upward, step 4 (more hexagrams of context)”

  1. Trojan Says:

    just a side issue re this

    “– and if I receive 25 I’ll be asking myself what I need to put down, to disengage from, to straighten out my relationship with the world.”

    I think the only thing to disengage from in 25 is a plan, a design..but this doesn’t mean being totally absent and disengaged from everything. You might put aside a plan or design and yet in the spirit of innocent spontaneity still act vigourously.

  2. Hilary Says:

    That’s true. Since I have a predilection for plans and designs, I typically have something to disengage from any time I get 25.

  3. Gene Says:

    I had put a little piece about hexagram 25 under part 3. Don’t know if anyone has seen it. I will try to post more about this later.

    Gene

  4. Trojan Says:

    Have tried playing with the idea of opposites and it seems useful. For example the opposite of 51 is 57 so I thought what 51 doesn’t feel like is that it’s something permeating, imperceptibly from within and around,,,it feels like it comes from outside oneself hence Shock !

    And the opposite of 24 is 44. 44 not returning to oneself but having the self intruded upon from without.

    I agree it is much harder to think of them as complemetary to each other though.

  5. Lisa Says:

    Personally, I’d love to see something about hex 46′s lines.

    These posts about the hexagrams of context are good because they are things I hardly ever consider in readings or know much (if anything) about.

    Information about the lines would be good for the opposite reason – because it IS what I look at. It would help complete the series and the story.

  6. Hilary Says:

    Thanks, Lisa! I’m getting there…

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