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Validating Comments

When I started studying the I Ching, I promptly realized that the hexagrams were describing situations. The comments associated with each hexagram and line either give proper advice, or describe the situation and eventually predict its outcome.

This is how I started studying, situation after situation, until I came to a stop because there were situations that I could not resolve, comments that I could not understand. 13.1 is one of these, I could never understand what it was about. At some point I could not progress anymore.

Then I have stopped studying the I Ching for 10 years, and when I returned (long story short) I asked the oracle to give me its own titles and comments for the hexagrams and the lines. The multiple lines comments came after. And then, many of the lines I could not understand appeared much clearer, but at the same time some situations that I thought I was understanding crystal clear became less obvious, for example 8.1.

So there were some gains and some losses, but overall, my understanding of the I Ching has tremendously evolved. And then I’ve wondered if it was possible to prove these comments to be true, how would I proceed to do that?

Two ways of validating comments

One can validate comments and titles by using structure or readings. If you choose to validate them with the hexagram structure, you don’ t rely on anything else than the other comments for different hexagrams. Validation with readings suppose that you have access to a large base of readings, preferably with enough background and also the outcome, what happened in the end. Such base exists on the internet, but you can also use your own readings if you have enough and documented them sufficiently.

Validation with structure

When I was a young I Ching student, I was annoyed by 63.4 because it was warning of a danger but didn’t propose a solution.

The finest clothes turn to rags.
Be careful all day long.

It is fine and dandy that I should be careful all day long, but there should be something to do about it, don’t you think? I’ve read more about it in Richard Wilhelm and Da Liu’s books, and I got some hints about a boat having leaks that one could fix with rags, and also about the bottom of a dress getting wet. So, I reflected that if the boat presents leaks, it would be better to take another or at least to put it on a dry dock to fix it rather than using rags. Likewise, if the bottom of my clothes get wet, I can return home and change them. And then I considered that 49.4 could be the “solution” of 63.4.

Remorse disappears. Men believe him.
Changing the form of government brings good fortune.

49.4 is this kind of situation when you tidy up your room and change the place of every piece of furniture. It’s a great way to find old coins and lost papers. So, if your boat has leaks, putting it on a dry dock is very 49.4.

It turns out that 63.4 becomes 49, I’ve later learned that 49.4 is called the Fan Yao of 63.4. And then I wondered if each line’s Fan Yao was the “solution” or the “remedy” of the said line. That would be a great way to validate line comment’s don’t you think?

But before doing that we should consider unchanging hexagrams first.

Unchanging hexagrams

Oftentimes, people don’t understand unchanging hexagrams. What do they mean exactly? They have so many meanings!

Complementaries

There is something very simple to do about it: consider the complementary hexagram. Let’s take the hexagrams 29 and 30 as example :

29 – Depth

When problems are too difficult, one tries to work around them.

I Ching Hexagram 29

29 represents darkness, difficulties, danger and depth. It is quite easy to understand Now that we have understood that, we can infer the properties of hexagram 30: light, security, easiness, because 29 and 30 are complementaries.

30 – Lucidity

Patience leads to success.

I Ching Hexagram 30

And it is true that many of the lines of hexagram 30 relate to security, specially line 3 and line 6. On the other hand, the hexagram 30 has been named Lucidity by the oracle, so 29 must be about confusion, it works both ways.

We can understand hexagram 30 just by reflecting on hexagram 29. While it is true for any hexagram pairs, some are harder to get than others.

Some of the “easy” ones other than 29 & 30 are 1 & 2, 63 & 64, and also 11 & 12. We can also easily understand 19 & 33 since one is named (Wilhelm) Approach and the other Retreat. However it is much more difficult to get some of the pairs such as 3 & 50, 8 & 14, 9 & 16, 26 & 45. They require thorough attention and I am far from being able to validate them all. As of today, I have been able to validate 8 & 14 by following the oracle’s titles: Selecting recruits for 8 and Meeting demands for 14. This is how comments and titles can be validated, by considering the complementary and this is why you cannot put any name in front of an hexagram, because it has to match its complementary.

The hexagrams 41 & 42 form a kind of exception here, since they represent decreasing and increasing but are not complementary of each other. The reason can be found in hexagram 42, for it is not about being increased but about increasing others. By decreasing others one gains in influence (31), by increasing others they make them last longer (32). You can get the picture by considering a pile of sand. When shoveling it, you decrease the pile (41) and gain some sand (31), then you would drop it (42) at it’s resting place (32). 41 & 42 are said to be mirror hexagrams.

As I was consulting the I Ching to get the hexagram titles, when I reached the hexagram 61, one of the first readings I got was 63.4. I took it as a warning, because the hexagram 61 is traditionally called Inner Truth, it is a beautiful concept and as such the hexagram 61 is the favorite hexagram of many, even though they don’t get it always. The oracle was warning me that it would turn into something ugly, and I finally got Immobilized as title. This was causing two problems for me, the first was that it was conflicting with hexagram 52 (Keeping Still) and the second being that hexagram 61 is usually interpreted as trust. Now there are arguments in favor of Immobilized. The first is that it looks like a cage, the second is that Immobilized is the complementary of 62, which represents a bird flying, so is about mobility. The oracle gave me Exiting as title for 62, which confirms 61 as being Immobilized. 61 being the cage, 62 is the bird and we can recognize that love happens when the bird (soul) gets caught into the cage (heart). This is how we can find Inner Truth again, despite the difficulties. Even if someone disagrees about the titles of 61 & 62, we can see clearly that they fit into the complementary scheme. And if someone would like to propose different titles, or even keep Inner Truth and Preponderance of the Small, then they would have to show how inner truth is a complementary idea of the small being in excess, good luck with that!

Nuclear hexagrams

Another great way of validating an unchanging hexagram and its comments is by considering the nuclear hexagram. The nuclear hexagram is the hexagram formed by the two inner trigrams of the starting hexagram. That is, when you have an hexagram, take the lines 2,3,4 then 3,4,5 and you will get its nuclear hexagram. As I understand it, the nuclear hexagram represents the root or the origin of the situation. For the hexagram 29, the nuclear hexagram would be 27:

27 – Supply

One supplies as needed.

I Ching Hexagram 27

There is a lot to say about the nuclear hexagrams. Here we can understand that feeding oneself creates difficulties. Among the 64 hexagrams, four hexagrams have 27 as nuclear (the three others being 59, 60 and 61). So there are four possibilities given a root situation. There are sixteen nuclears of the first level, and those sixteen nuclears have four nuclears of the second level, which are 1, 2, 63 and 64. 1 & 2 being their own nuclears, 63 & 64 being the nuclear of the other. So, the need for supplies (hunger) limits us (60), creates difficulties (29), causes separation (59) and is a cause of immobilization (or capture, 61). Again, given an hexagram and its nuclear, the titles and comments need to match. This is how we can ensure that comments are valid.

Single changing line

As I have already explained, the Fan Yao is a very interesting line of research when it comes to validating line comments. Naturally it has to work for every line, and not just for 63.4 & 49.4. So, can we find other examples ?

Fan Yao

A relatively easy one is 16.1:

Enthusiasm that expresses itself
Brings misfortune.

This situation is quite well understood. We are enthusiastic about something, then get disappointed. So, let say I have been enthusiastic about a new singer, then my friends may tell me that this singer is worthless and they don’t like this kind of music. This is how 16.1 works. Is there anyway I can fix this issue?


Shock comes–oh, oh!
Then follow laughing words–ha, ha!
Good fortune.

OK, I have been enthusiastic, and it turned wrong but I can still joke about it. This is how I can revert misfortune into fortune.

Another is 35.4:

Progress like a hamster.
Perseverance brings danger.

We have someone hiding here. What can be done about it? The answer is 23.4:

The bed is split up to the skin.
Misfortune.

23.4 represents a direct attack. For example if a thief is hiding stolen goods, a search warrant would let the policemen find them. Note that the reverse is also true. If you are scared about a direct attack (23.4), then hiding yourself (35.4) is the way to go.

I have used here Wilhelm’s comments but I have naturally in mind Taoscopy’s comments. But before we look at them please let me introduce you other ideas about these changing lines.

Derived, Juncture and Reciprocal

It’s only recently that I have learned about those lines, in a post at onlineclarity.co.uk mentioning a line path. The idea is quite similar to the Fan Yao in that any hexagram line has connections. Let’s examine the line 1 of hexagram 28 to see what it is about, and let’s see if we can validate Taoscopy’s comments with these lines.

28.1 Strengthening supports

I Ching Hexagram 28 - Line 1

One wants to improve because of the weakness.

There is nothing too controversial here, since the comment matches the classical version:

To spread white rushes underneath.
No blame.

The Fan Yao of 28.1 is 43.1, and there the classical comment and Taoscopy’s comment do not match.

Derived (Fan Yao)

43.1 (43 > 28) – Revelation

43 - Revelation

There is a risk of rupture by displaying one’s preferences. One must keep a low profile.

Mighty in the forward-striding toes.
When one goes and is not equal to the task,
One makes a mistake.

So, my theory is that the Fan Yao (which I used to name Derived) is the “solution” or the “remedy” to 28.1. Now it sounds strange, because 28.1 is about strengthening something, so why would I want a solution to that? This is why I have enclosed the word in double quotes, it’s a “solution”.

As we see it here, 43.1 is about exerting pressure on a single point. This can be a cause of rupture. In the classical comments, we also see the pressure caused by being mighty in the toes. So, you would prevent risks of rupture by reinforcing the whole, and you would fight the reinforcement by exerting pressure on a single point. This is how the line and its Fan Yao respond one to another. There is great insight to obtain by studying the Fan Yao.

Reciprocal

28.6 (28 > 44) – Losing one’s bearings

28 - Losing one's bearings

One wants to continue alone because of the weakness of one’s entourage.

The Reciprocal is the line that you obtain if you flip the hexagram upside down. In the case of 28 we still get 28 since the hexagram 28 is symmetric.

We can see here that it goes the opposite way: instead of strengthening the weakest element, it is abandoned and left behind.

The Juncture is the Fan Yao of the Reciprocal, it can be seen as a kind of middle ground between 28.1 and 28.6.

Juncture

44.6 (44 > 28) – Invitation

44 - Invitation

One asks their relatives to wait because they are not ready.

There is here a period of uncertainty, the weak element has been spotted but there is no decision taken between strengthening it or abandoning it.

As with the complementaries, these connections can be easy or difficult to grasp. But they are nonetheless helpful because they help us understanding a given line and its associated situation. Before looking at the multiple lines, let’s examine another example, with 22.3:

22.3 Making the pleasure last

I Ching Hexagram 22 - Line 3

One does not want to finish too fast.

Graceful and moist.
Constant perseverance brings good fortune.

Derived (Fan Yao)

27.3 (27 > 22) – Depriving oneself of food

27 - Depriving oneself of food

One neglects their supply.

Again, we can see here that the “solution” to not finishing too fast is to neglect your supply, and the “solution” to having neglected your supply is to use whatever is left slowly.

Reciprocal

21.4 (21 > 27) – Claiming one’s due

21 - Claiming one's due

One asks what one believes that one deserves for one’s trouble.

Rather than living on reserves, the subject here prefers asking for payment.

Juncture

27.4 (27 > 21) – Searching for the best solution

27 - Searching for the best solution

One considers the possibilities.

Again, the middle ground and indecision here, we can consider living on reserves or asking for payment.

Multiple changing lines

While I have obtained comments from the Oracle for the 4096 situations of the I Ching, these comments still need to be validated, essentially for three reasons. The first is that I have made mistakes, the second is that I don’t understand them all, and the third is that you may not believe that these are the right comments, and thus need some kind of proof.

When it comes to multiple lines, there is no definitive method of interpretation. One option is to use the hexagrams names to make a sentence. For example, if you get 20 (View) > 30 (Lucidity) you could as “Seeing light” or “Seeing clearly”. There are also multiple methods for the interpretation of multiple lines, such as the Nanjing rules or the transitional method.

There is another method that I use here, and that I have called the “Pivot Method”, which consist of taking one line and amend it with the other lines. I have written several posts about this method already, I am not going to detail all the different methods here, but we can look at the pivot method, and see how we can validate comments with it.

The pivot method

This method consists of taking the topmost line of the hexagram, which we can call the “Ruler”, and amending it with the situation formed by the other lines. Hilary Barrett had come to a similar method last year but seems to have abandoned it since. It is a very simple and natural approach, which has some level of recognition for two changing lines.

Thus, in our example 20 > 30 has the following title and comment:

20.1.3.4.5 (20 > 30)

20 - View

20 > 30 – Reading the headlines

One focuses on the most convincing elements.

Reading the headlines, why not after all? But, is this a random comment or can we validate it with the pivot method?

So, with the pivot method we would read line 5’s comment, then amend it with the comment for 20.1.3.4.

Ruler

20.5 (20 > 23) – Refreshing the memory

20 - Refreshing the memory

One explains to others what they already know.

Correction

20.1.3.4 (20 > 13) – Studying the situation

20 - Studying the situation

One looks at what the others have done to know what is left to be done.

I have already said that this method is not definitive, but it is very promising anyway. The biggest problem is caused by line 5, how can you explain to others what they already know when they read headlines? It does not seem to make sense. The correction also brings an issue, how would you study the situation when you read headlines? You would rather read the headlines, then study the situation by reading the whole article. And while you read the article, you already know what it is about since you have read the headline, thus, retrospectively, 20.5 makes sense here. This situation is about reading an article after having read the headlines. Maybe I will be able to refine the title later, but the comment is right on track One focuses on the most convincing elements. We have chosen an article to read after reading the headlines.

This method is not definitive because we have yet to take into account the transformation (some modern I Ching’s students call it the related hexagram). In 20 > 30 it does not seem to matter that much, but there are situations where it weights heavily.

Here is another example with only two changing lines:

33.3.4 (33 > 20)

33 - S'éloigner

33 > 20 – Defending one’s nest

One promises one’s children to do everything possible to get them out of the situation.

This comment is what I got from asking the Oracle. How does it relate to the changing lines, and we can explain it with the pivot method?

Ruler

33.4 (33 > 53) – Moving away

33 - Moving away

Leaving to succeed alone: one has to be competent.

Correction

33.3 (33 > 12) – Moving away

33 - Moving away

Getting assistance from those who are coming in.

First, we interpret the line 4: someone is in a position where they can succeed without help. Without the help of what? The help of what is described in line 3: from outside. Thus, it means that someone relies only on their own and refuses outside assistance. What the final comment suggests here, is that there is a competition between line 3 and line 4: not only line 4 does not want the help of line 3 but line 3 is seen as a competitor, so it is about defending oneself from rivals. The children here can be seen as one’s works who are endangered by line 3.

This example shows how limited is the pivot method. We may use it to validate a comment, but it won’t tell us definitely what it is about.

Finally, let’s examine an example where the transformation can be seen in the resulting comment:

33.1.2.3.4.5 (33 > 41)

33 - Moving away

33 > 41 – Being part of the court

One criticizes the weak more than the powerful.

Ruler

33.5 (33 > 56) – Returning to the majority

33 - Returning to the majority

One stops searching alone.

Correction

33.1.2.3.4 (33 > 61) – Playing with nerves

33 - Playing with nerves

One encroaches on the line of demarcation without creating a significant incident.

While we can see the criticism in 33 > 61 and the court in 33.5, the opposition weak/powerful comes directly from the hexagram 41, because 41 shows a situation where the powerful takes something from the weak. This is why the pivot method is not sufficient to explain a situation, but it gives solid clues nonetheless.

41

41 - Remove

41 – Remove

One loses their support and abandons. Accepting the constraints will arouse sympathy.

Validation with readings

The best theories don’t always resist Reality. To be valid, a comment has to help interpretation and give comprehensive results. There are many readings on the internet, you can find them on social networks (such as reddit or Twitter), you can find them on forums (such as Taoscopy or onlineclarity.co.uk), you can find them in I Ching’s books, and you can naturally find them in your own records.

In the French translation of Richard Wilhelm’s I Ching, the translator, Etienne Perrot, has written a short tutorial on how to consult the I Ching. The question being “What is the usefulness of the instructions I am writing?” When I saw it the first time, I was baffled because he received 29.1.3 > 5, and I thought at the time that it was a very negative reading.

He must have been embarrassed himself since his short interpretation is only about the hexagrams. However, when reading the comment for 29.1.3, here is what we get:

29.1.3 (29 > 5)

29 - Depth

29 > 5 – Repeating the demonstration

One presents facts that others have already experienced.

This is what I call a spot on answer. In his interpretation, he has stressed on the importance of sincerity. And his sincerity is rewarded now, since we can make sense of the reply he got.

I could go on and quote a lot of threads, however some have personal content and can be embarrassing. So let’s stick to general questions.

While I could go and plunder the other I Ching’s sites, there are a few daily readings on Taoscopy’s forum. At that time (2015) I didn’t have the comments for multiple lines, so we can have a second look here:

Daily reading: 5.1.3 (Fukushima: Up to 100% of No. 2 reactor fuel may have melted)

http://taoscopy.com/forum/english-discussion/i-ching-discussion/interpretation/107-daily-reading-5-1-3-fukushima-up-to-100-of-no-2-reactor-fuel-may-have-melted

The original link is gone but the situation is well known. We got 5.1.3 for this daily reading.

5.1.3 (5 > 29)

5 - Hope

5 > 29 – Hope

One expected better conditions than those that occurred.

Again, the comment is spot on. We have a follow up question in the thread that contains multiple lines.

Who/what become distant? -> 25.1.6 > 45

25.1.6 (25 > 45)

25 - Carelessness

25 > 45 – Earning respect

One  takes advantage of an unstable situation by taking protective measures.

Again, this is spot on. The lack of protective measures is pointed out here.

Validating controversial comments

While comments about multiple lines have no equivalent, some comments for the hexagrams and changing lines can be controversial when they don’t match closely the classical ones. The most difficult of all is probably 8.1. So, what about examining it?

8.1 (8 > 3)

8 - Selecting recruits

8 > 3 – Coming from the other side

One is tired of the delays caused by checks, so one modestly asks the other to come back to finish what they have started, when they are done showing their results to others.

Hold to him in truth and loyalty;
This is without blame.
Truth, like a full earthen bowl:
Thus in the end
Good fortune comes from without.

In the second part of Wilhelm’s book, we can see a comment related to “Coming from the other side”, but for the rest, the comments do not match. So, what are we going to do? We just need to check if the line makes sense in regard with the Fan Yao, the Juncture and the Reciprocal:

3.1 (3 > 8) – Resolving difficulties

3 - Resolving difficulties

When others ask for help, if one accepts despite the constraints, they set an example.

Juncture

4.6 (4 > 7) – Questioning

4 - Questioning

Dismiss those who cross the line.

Reciprocal

7.6 (7 > 4) – Restoring discipline

7 - Restoring discipline

It is time to restore order after action and for that one will need people who are willing to do what one commands.

We have seen that the Fan Yao is the “remedy” of a given line. In 8.1 (as expressed here) the subject is waiting for the results of checks. It can be for example a medical examination. In our example, while the subject is waiting the doctor or the nurse is showing the results to someone else. At some point the examination will be over and the medical visit will resume.

What is the remedy for that? Instead of being studied, the subject is being helped, the constraint being that without examination it is difficult to help.

The Reciprocal 7.6 shows a situation where order needs to be restored, while in 8.1 order is in the process of being restored. Also in 8.1 the subject is in a position of weakness when in 7.6 the subject has won the war.

The juncture 4.6 shows a middle ground between 8.1 and 7.6, things must not be taken too far.

I would not be surprised if you are not convinced as of now, because as already said, 8.1 is certainly the most difficult line to validate. A line that is usually well understood by I Ching’s students is 8.5, so we could check 8.1.5’s comment against the pivot method and see if it makes sense:

8.1.5 (8 > 24)

8 - Selecting recruits

8 > 24 – Moving the lines

One has succeeded to turn the situation around in their favor.

Ruler

8.5 (8 > 2) – Selecting the most dedicated ones

8 - Selecting the most dedicated ones

Show what selection is: only take those who want to come, others can leave.

Correction

8.1 (8 > 3) – Coming from the other side

8 - Coming from the other side

One is tired of the delays caused by checks, so one modestly asks the other to come back to finish what they have started, when they are done showing their results to others.

In the comment for 8 > 24, we clearly see the weight of 24. 8.5 is well understood: those who do not volunteer can leave. What does 8.1 apply to? To those who have left, or to those who volunteer? While I don’t have a definitive answer here, the study of the comments show that it has to be those who have left, who then are asked to return. Thus the situation has been turned around in the subject’s favor.

We can also validate 8.1 with readings. Unfortunately, while I have found a few examples, they are a bit too personal or don’t have enough background to be presented here

Conclusion

In this post we have seen different ways of validating comments. If you have any doubt about a comment, if it is an unchanging hexagram examine it’s complementary, if it is a single line, look at the Fan Yao and the Reciprocal, and if it is a multiple line comments, check it with the pivot method. And at any rate, always verify with readings giving the same hexagram.

We have also seen with 8.1 that it is not possible, as of now, to validate every comment. More work has to be done.

But to conclude on a spiritual note I would like to show you something. We have seen that the complementary hexagram can be used to validate an unchanging hexagram name (or title) and comment. But yet, the oracle has given me very different names for 1&2. 1 is named Evolution while 2 is named Obedience. At first, I have seen Evolution as a way to settle the dispute between creationists and evolutionists, since 1 is usually named “The creative”. We can also see that giving different names to the hexagrams help us understand them better, because if 1&2 had been named “The emitter” and “The receiver” then we would not gain much knowledge here. But recently I have found another way to explain these meanings. It is a quote from Sri Ma Anandamayi in Bhaiji’s book.

Mother said on one occasion, “The one Eternal Word is the prime cause of the universe; with the evolution of that ever-abiding Word, the progress of the material life of creation goes on in parallel lines.”

The evolution of the divine word is represented by hexagram 1 while the obedience of material life is represented by hexagram 2.

Can the I Ching predict the future?

The title itself of this blog post resumes the difficulty that we face. I could have chosen instead “Can I predict the future by using the I Ching?” or “Does the I Ching’s oracle know the future?”.

This is a difficult question, because the answer is “Sometimes yes, sometimes no”. So we have to explore the mechanics that lead us to see the future.

Who is the oracle?

First of all, we need to discuss who or what is oracle. There are several points of view, and according to your opinion you will accept or reject some assertions. Hopefully we can find a common ground later by accepting to examine the spiritual laws that operate in conjunction with the I Ching.

The I Ching operates from our subconscious

This is a minimalist stance. Those who defend it usually don’t trust other castings than those made with yarrow stalks. They think that our subconscious manipulates the stalks and that we end up talking to ourselves. That way, we can only get general advice from the I Ching and certainly not anything that would look like forecasting the future.

The I Ching is a tool, like a compass, that points at the Tao

This point of view is shared by many. Being a tool, the I Ching would not know anything but would resonate when asked something. Just like when you plunge your hand in the water to test its warmth. In this perspective, by asking clever questions, you should be able to predict the future.

The I Ching works with the law of Synchronicity

Synchronicity is CG Jung’s invention. It states that when an event happens, we can see some replicas. For example two people say the same sentence at the same time, the same discovery is made by different researchers, or when you think of a song and you hear it on radio five minutes later. Under that point of view, the I Ching shows situations, and when something happens the I Ching describes it by displaying the corresponding hexagram. It is more than just a compass then because we can attempt to alter the future by changing our attitude or state of mind. Having changed one parameter, then reality should follow.

The I Ching is (the word of) God

There are two difficulties here. The first is to believe in God, and the second is that divination is forbidden by the Bible, more precisely in the Old Testament. For a westerner these two difficulties make it near impossible to think of the I Ching as the word of God. However these difficulties can be lifted by setting aside the Old Testament and studying Taoism and Hinduism. While Taoism does not speak of God, it describes the Tao (The Way) which can be seen as the Formless.

In that perspective, Synchronicity still stands, but can be seen as God’s play, what the Hindus call lila (or leela). What is most important here is that the oracle does not answer with predictions but with decisions. God tells us what He has decided for the matter that we are consulting. And then we can pray God to change or delay that decision, and it can happen sometimes. There we no longer control the future but we are able to negotiate an acceptable issue.

The spiritual laws at work

Whether the I Ching’s oracle is a mere Tao compass or God, we have some constants here, that we can rely on. Each hexagram describes spiritual laws. They are mentioned in the Ta Chuan (Great Treatise):

First take up the words,
Ponder their meaning,
Then the fixed rules reveal themselves.

These fixed rules are described throughout the classical comments. Since we are talking about predicting the future, let’s take just two of them for the sake of the demonstration. The first one is 16.1 and the second 60.1. I will use Wilhelm’s version for discussing them.

16.1, or the forecast trouble maker

When someone consults the I Ching, they often want to learn what is going to happen, but above all they want a positive answer to their concerns. After a rupture, when the question asked is “Will we get back together?”, what should be understood is “What do I have to do so we get back together?”.

So, let suppose that someone asks this question, “Will we get back together?”, asks a I Ching diviner to interpret it, and then the answer seems favorable. If the diviner says “Yes, it’s fantastic, you will get back together!” then there is a risk of triggering the situation described by 16.1 and the situation longed for will not happen:

Enthusiasm that expresses itself
Brings misfortune.

And then there is danger that the person who asked will be disappointed. Did the oracle lie? Not necessarily, but the answer has to be reinterpreted afterwards because it was a misunderstanding. We will examine a real example later.

60.1, the seal of secrecy

This law is quite similar to 16.1, what is said here, is that the I Ching can tell us what is going to happen, but we have to keep quiet about it. If we plan to make a public announcement about it then the situation we expect will not occur.

Not going out of the door and the courtyard
Is without blame.

Richard Wilhelm illustrates this situation very well by quoting Confucius:

Concerning this, Confucius says: Where disorder develops, words are the first steps. If the prince is not discreet, he loses his servant. If the servant is not discreet he loses his life. If germinating things are not handled with discretion, the perfecting of them is impeded. Therefore the superior man is careful to maintain silence and does not go forth.

So, whether you think that the I Ching’s oracle is an expression of your subconscious or operates through Synchronicity, your first move should be to study and understand these spiritual laws and to adapt your conduct to them when you consult the I Ching, and naturally in your every day life if you are so inclined. This is how spiritual progress can be made by consulting the I Ching.

A concrete example: Trump vs Clinton

The 2016 US presidential election has been the occasion to cast a lot of readings trying to forecast the outcome. While doing research recently, I have stumbled upon a thread that I had forgotten at Online Clarity:

This thread lists a lot of questions that have been asked, with the date, and the resulting hexagram. While we are not going to study them all, we can check a few and notice the evolution of the election forecast.

Understanding misunderstandings

The oracle never lies, but can manage to make us understand the exact contrary of what is going to happen, whenever necessary. Naturally if you think that the I Ching is a tool you will strongly disagree with me. But maybe be you can agree that 60.1 applies. Technically the oracle does not lie because when we receive an hexagram, we can ask follow-up questions, and these questions can change dramatically the former meaning, and in some occasions reverse it. This is how we can fail to interpret a situation properly.

And this is exactly what happened here. The two first questions, asked the 20th of April, are:

Will Trump be our next President?

41.1 (41 > 4)

41 - Remove

Situation

When one prevails they must stop.

Will Hillary be our next President ?

10.1.4.5 (10 > 4)

10 - Continuity

Situation

10 > 4 – Continuing to rise

One follows a well-defined plan to still have the right to be considered part of the elite.

Naturally, it looks like Hillary Clinton had the lead the 20th of April. So, did the I Ching predict the future at that time? No. We can still argue that it would have been possible to predict correctly by asking follow-up questions, but those follow-up questions would have called for more follow-up questions and our brain would have melted before getting the right answer.

So, what is important to understand, is that the 20th of April, things were not settled, or at least not disclosed. Now let us have a look at the 1st of July readings:

Will Hillary win this election?

41

41 - Remove

Situation

41 – Remove

One loses their support and abandons. Accepting the constraints will arouse sympathy.

Will Trump win this election?

15.5.6 (15 > 53)

15 - Decency

Situation

15 > 53 – Opening one’s eyes

One accepts to see the face of reality.

Ok, so here we have bad news for Hillary Clinton, and the face of reality is that Donald Trump will win.

In September the situation did not change:

Will HC be the next president of the US?

25

25 - Carelessness

Situation

25 – Carelessness

When one overlooks the future, one will not see what is coming.

Will DT be the next president of the US?

51

51 - Shock

Situation

51 – Shock

Something is coming which enables the identification of a problem.

On a side note, I usually interpret 51 as Yes, so in my opinion these two readings also show Trump’s victory.

Conclusion

We have seen here, that early readings did not necessarily give outright the proper answer, while the later readings were accurate. This is in total compliance with the spiritual law described by 60.1.

Before I leave it to you to check the other questions and answers, why was I looking at this thread? I was validating Taosopy’s comment for 26.1.2.6 > 15, and I found one occurrence of it there, among the other readings:

Will trump win the election?

26.1.2.6 (26 > 15)

26 - Checking

Situation

26 > 15 – Answering one last time

One recovers their poise the time to fight their last battle.

So, it seems to say that Donald Trump won’t run in 2020. Can the I Ching predict the future? Let’s talk again about it in 2020!

.

Interpreting multiple lines: the pivot method revisited

The pivot method

When obtaining a multiple lines reading, you can use one line or groupe of lines as a pivot and amend it with the remaining line (or alternatively take one line as pivot and amend it with the remaining line or group of lines). This is what I call the pivot method. Some people read all the lines separately and my opinion is that the lines interact together, to alter the final meaning. When considering two lines transformations the pivot method works very well, with only a few difficulties. The problems arise when trying to interpret three or more changing lines. In this difficult task, we are helped by the comments given by the oracle: since we have the comments for multiple lines done already, it is relatively easy to check whether they make sense when organized that way or not. Finding the right way to interpret multiple lines, not only gives us the opportunity to validate the oracle’s comments and see that they make sense, but also it reveals new insights about the situation.

Previous attempt

When I consulted the oracle about the interpretation of multiple lines, I received 63.3 as answer: One is hard at work to solve a problem, it will be painful. The most able will go first.

Since the fifth line traditionally represents the prince and the first line the subject, I have tried to consider the topmost line first and amend it with the lower line. My experiments are detailed in the previous article:

A promising methodology for interpreting multiple changing lines

However the results are mixed, sometimes satisfying , specially with two lines, and sometimes discouraging, and I considered abandoning the pivot method.  Then by reading comments about a situation, I remembered that the chronological order was from bottom to the top.  So, let us revisit the readings of the previous article and try to interpret them with the bottom first approach:

 

7.1.2

This one does not change, since we still read the first and the second line as before.

7 - The will24 - To return

Situation

7 > 24 – Not being taken immediately

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others.

The formation

7 – The will

To solve their problems, one will need discipline and continuity.

7.1 – Contradictions show falsity.

7.2 – One does like everybody else, therefore is trusted.

We can refine, the earlier interpretation in the following way: If one contradicts what everybody else does, they won’t be trusted. Consequently one has to respect the choice of others, which is the actual comment of 7.1.2, and probably the basis of democracy.

7.1.2.3

7 - The will36 - Adversity

Situation

One goes further than those who have been afraid to face the unknown.

The formation

7 – The will

To solve their problems, one will need discipline and continuity.

7.1 – Contradictions show falsity.

7.2 – One does like everybody else, therefore is trusted.

7.3 – One gives up on others.

My argument was that:

One gives up on others. (7.3)

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others. (7.1.2)

makes less sense than:

One warns those who seek to stand out. (7.2.3)

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

to obtain the following:

One goes further than those who have been afraid to face the unknown. (7.1.2.3)

Which seems true, at first glance. It is difficult to connect Giving up on others with Showing to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others because they are contradictory.

This is because in the first case I have used 7.3 as the pivot and tried to amend it with 7.1.2. But what if 7.1.2 is the pivot?

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others. (7.1.2)

One gives up on others. (7.3)

This time we have to connect  respect the choice of others to one gives up on others. The simplest way to interpret this with the pivot method is to take 7.3 as a kind of negation. So the interpretation becomes that One will not show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others. Thus, One goes further than those who have been afraid to face the unknown.

It makes more sense that way. When using 7.3 as the pivot, we cannot use it as negation.

Another way to interpret these three lines is to consider that the first line is about contradiction:

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

What are the contradictions? 7.2 and 7.3:

One does like everybody else, therefore is trusted. (7.2)

One gives up on others. (7.3)

However interpreting like that would not match the comment of 7.1.2.3 that we have received from the oracle.

7.1.2.3.4

This is where things become really interesting in my opinion. In the previous post, I had only considered the topmost lines, so let see what we have here:

7 - The will55 - To manage

Situation

One explains to their opponents that it is necessary to find a compromise.

The pivot would be 7.1.2.3 and we will amend it with 7.4:

One goes further than those who have been afraid to face the unknown. (7.1.2.3)

One prevents others from continuing, until one has restored their concentration. (7.4)

and we should obtain:

One explains to their opponents that it is necessary to find a compromise. (7.1.2.3.4)

One wants to go further but the others won’t let them, thus it becomes necessary to find a compromise. If you compare with my previous post, I had given a very different interpretation with the other method. This is is why it is of the utmost importance to find the right method, so we can interpret these multiple lines correctly. As usual, the main way to validate these comments is to read real situations and their outcome whenever possible.

7.1.2.3.4.5

7 - The will49 - Tidy up

Situation

One joins those who want to highlight the most deserving.

One explains to their opponents that it is necessary to find a compromise. (7.1.2.3.4)

Something useful can be obtained, the most experienced will be able to succeed, another would damage it. (7.5)

One joins those who want to highlight the most deserving. (7.1.2.3.4.5)

The compromise being that the most experienced will be able to succeed.

7.1.2.3.4.5.6

7 - The will13 - Company

Situation

One had expected better conditions than those that really occurred.

One joins those who want to highlight the most deserving. (7.1.2.3.4.5)

It is time to restore order after action, and for that one will need specialists. (7.6)

One had expected better conditions than those that really occurred. (7.1.2.3.4.5.6)

Someone has received less rewards than expected, this is also explained by the transformation 13, that shows a community of people, so one cannot receive all the rewards.

Real example

Recently, I have stumbled upon this thread at onlineclarity.co.uk: Career Readings 42.2.3.4>1 and 49.2>43

The question was about whether someone would be hired, the answer was 42.2.3.4 and this person did not get hired. If you read the three lines separately, the answer is totally positive, but if you use the pivot method you get another story. The comment that I got from the oracle for 42.2.3.4 is also difficult to grasp without a serious thinking about it.

42 - To progress1 - Evolution

Situation

42 > 1 – Staying away from the flame

One is going to be torched if they keep coming closer to the fire.

Actually, this sounds very negative. But, how can we relate to the fire and the flame in this situation? Let see what happens with the pivot method:

One supports their friends so they can be recognised. (42.2.3)

When one needs something else they can admit it. (42.4)

As we can see, the interpretation can only be negative, this person won’t be hired.

One is going to be torched if they keep coming closer to the fire. (42.2.3.4)

For the record, we can check 42.3.4 and amend it with 42.2:

One shows the newcomers everything they need to learn to be able to fulfill their promises.  (42.3.4)

Others offer to one to meet their representative before one decides to associate. (42.2)

This sounds very positive, and by following this method, without reading the comment for 42.2.3.4, I would have interpreted this as the person being hired.

What about the fire? I think it is about passion, commitment, or high activity. After envisioning various possibilities, it could be that the candidate is presented by an agency that is not trusted. They have played with the fire too much and in the end get burned.

Conclusion

While it would be dishonest to claim that this method is crystal clear, it shows interesting tracks that lead to a compatible interpretation. Naturally, since the changing lines turn into a new hexagram, the final interpretation has to take it into account. In the last example 42 transforms into 1, evolution, and another candidate has been hired.

Synchronicity

After publishing this article, I’ve noticed that Hilary Barrett has followed a similar route in her article: Multiple moving lines, revisited

While we have a disagreement about the comments, I totally agree with the interpretation method that she recommends.

A promising methodology for interpreting multiple changing lines

While the interpretation of unchanging hexagrams and single changing line hexagrams, it has always been difficult to interpret multiple lines.

Several methods have been suggested, which all gave mixed results. Sometimes they were encouraging, and sometimes they were discouraging.

As I have been busy working on multiple line comments, by the mean of consulting the oracle, and by following a particular method, I have been unable so far to describe a proper method for interpreting multiple lines.

When consulted, the oracle hinted with 63.3:

63 - Maximum3 - Remedy

Situation

One is hard at work to solve a problem, it will be painful. The most able will go first.

I have interpreted this as the topmost line was the most important, thus should be interpreted first.

This gave me some good results with two changing lines, the topmost line was to be read first, then the bottom line. For example 7.1.2:

 

7 - The will24 - To return

Situation

7 > 24 – Not being taken immediately

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others.

The formation

7 – The will

To solve their problems, one will need discipline and continuity.

7.1 – Contradictions show falsity.

7.2 – One does like everybody else, therefore is trusted.

You would read the comment for the second line first:

One does like everybody else, therefore is trusted.

then the comment for the first line:

Contradictions show falsity.

Since the first line amends the second, this can be interpreted as “everyone should be allowed to contradict others”, and we have this comment on the situation:

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others.

This is compatible with the interpretation we have just made.

What about 3 or more changing lines?

My first idea was to use transitional changes, I have written an article about them here.

However, we have just seen that using transitional changes was not necessary for two lines. Would they be useful for three or more changing lines? Actually, I don’t think so.

For example, let’s check the transformations for 7.1.2.3:

7 - The will36 - Adversity

Situation

One goes further than those who have been afraid to face the unknown.

So, my first idea was to read the comment for 7.3, since the oracle commented that the most able should go first. Then I would read the comment for 46.2 since 7.3  > 46 and finally  15.1 since 46.2 > 15. So, roughly:

One gives up making a gesture of staying in place.

This is quite compatible with the comment on the situation. Of course, we can criticize “the gesture of staying in place” as being meaningless.

Alternatively, we could use the comment on 7.1.2 to interpret 7.1.2.3:

One gives up on others. (7.3)

One must show to their relatives that they are ready to respect the choice of others. (7.1.2)

That does not help… Finally we can use the comment on 7.2.3 to interpret 7.1.2.3:

One warns those who seek to stand out. (7.2.3)

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

And this makes perfect sense. Someone contradicts those who warn against standing out. In my opinion, the rest of the comment (facing the unknown) can be explained by the resulting hexagram 36.

So, the correct method would be to use the transformation of all lines except the bottom one amended by the bottom line.

We can verify with 7.1.2.3.4:

One explains to their opponents that it is necessary to find a compromise.

The 2 comments to take into consideration being:

One is in a hurry to leave when things have a reached such a level that one can no longer resist. (7.2.3.4)

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

So, if one can still resist but also shows signs of fatigue, it may be necessary to find a compromise.

We can also verify 7.1.2.3.4.5:

One joins those who want to highlight the most deserving.

One sends their friends to inform those who are wondering. (7.2.3.4.5)

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

While the two first comments have a similar tone, the influence of 7.1 is more difficult to catch. My interpretation is that those who are wondering are not really wondering, so they help highlighting the most deserving (for example with prepared questions).

Finally, we can have a look at 7.1.2.3.4.5.6, since we have all the comments for hexagram 7:

One had expected better conditions than those that really occurred.

One wants to learn the reason why the opponents have eventually agreed. (7.2.3.4.5.6)

Contradictions show falsity. (7.1)

So, if we interpret this as “the opponents did not really agree”, the comments are compatible here.

 

Conclusion

This methodology does not give a straight explanation of the comments on the situation. However it can be completed by the study of the two hexagrams, and also by the nuclear hexagram. Compared to using the transitional sequences, it offers little contradictions or conflicting interpretations (such as 46.2 mixed with 15.1). It is important to find the right methodology to demonstrate the validity of the comments on the situation, and eventually find errors. As we have seen with the difficulty of interpreting 7.1 in 7.1.2.3.4.5, the interpretation can be fragile, and thus questionable. However this method appears to be  the most promising to me, as of today.

Studying the I Ching with Anandamayi – Part 7: the spiral of criticism

8.3 (8 > 39)

8 - Distribution39 - Uncertainty

Situation

One has established relations with unpleasant people.

One of the most dreaded lines of the I Ching is 8.3. In some comments it refers to wrong people (Wilhelm-Baynes), in others to non-people (Hilary Barrett)  or unpleasant (disreputable) people (Taoscopy).

 

Six in the third place means:
You hold together with the wrong people.

Wilhelm-Baynes

What is generally understood is that we are confronted to evil people. It seems like we should be very careful when dealing with these persons and if possible shun them. Richard Wilhelm recommends:

Maintaining sociability without intimacy is the only right attitude toward such people

However, when practicing the I Ching, it can happen that we get this reading for something else than people. For example this thread at onlineclarity is about housing. We could elaborate that a house is non-people, but how can we interpret this? The question was:

“What advice for me re timing to buy a house “

In the background description, we can see that the poster describes difficulties with the landlord. At the end of the thread, the advice came to be wary of buying a house for wrong motives.

So, some can see this advice as an encouragement to leave because the landlord would be this kind of unpleasant people. Others can see it as a warning against leaving for wrong motives. And naturally there are other interpretations, for example that the new house would be unpleasant.

So, what is remarkable in this reading, is much less the interpretation that we can make, but the fact that the comment led us to point at the landlord and label him as unpleasant. Without even knowing more background. Someone in the thread also suggested suspicion against the estate agent, who could possibly be the wrong person. This line is as such a perpetual source of suspicion and embarrassment. Fortunately, Sri Ma Anandamayi can rescue us.

 

 

To listen to discourses on God or Truth is certainly beneficial, provided one does not allow oneself to be moved by a spirit of fault-finding or disparagement, should there be differences of outlook to one’s own. To find fault with others creates obstacles for everyone all around : for him who criticises, for him who is blamed, as well as for those who listen to the criticism. Whereas, what is said in a spirit of appreciation is fruitful to everybody. For only where there is no question of regarding anything as inferior or blameworthy (asat) can one call it Satsang – a play upon words: Sat means True Being, the Good; satsang the company of the good, and also a religious gathering. Asal, the opposite of sat, means non-being, wrong, evil. Therefore to find fault (asat) in a religious meeting (saiang) is a contradiction in terms.)

source, part TWO

What is described here is the spiral of criticism. This is similar to Jesus’ saying:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:3-5, NIV

Please note that Jesus recommends working on our own flaws first before dealing with others. This is precisely the lesson of the hexagram 39, as taught by Confucius.

To explain the problem in my own words: if you say something bad about someone, then you in turn will be subject to criticism. And the people who will criticize you will also be subject to criticism. This is the never-ending spiral of criticism and what the line 3 of the hexagram 8 is warning us against. Therefore, analyzing the aforementioned thread at onlineclarity led us to be suspicious of the original poster, of the landlord and of the estate agent.  Then we can in turn criticize who has been suspicious, thus offering ourselves to open criticism.

Now, it can be necessary to exert some criticism. For example if one of your good friends is a singer and can’t sing correctly, you’ll want to help your friend by saying the truth. When asked about this the I Ching commented:

2.3 (2 > 15)

2 - Obedience15 - Decency

Situation

One takes only the necessary to carry out their task.

Now, how can we interpret the 8.3 comment from above? Simply put, this poster had no reason to leave this house, other than being critical about the landlord. Who are the unpleasant people? And what if we were leaving this question unanswered?

Update:

After consulting the oracle, the comment has been changed to: One is acquainted with people whose reputation has been tarnished.

Studying the I Ching with Anandamayi – Part 6: the empty basket

54.6 (54 > 38)

54 - Assistance38 - Misunderstanding
 

Before I even started making Taoscopy’s comments, I had some knowledge of the I Ching. Among the lines that I thought I was understanding very well is 54.6.

 

The woman holds the basket, but there are no fruits in it.
The man stabs the sheep, but no blood flows.
Nothing that acts to further.

So, this is about requesting for a service without payment, or asking a question when you already know the answer, things that are arranged beforehand. It’s all about falsity.

As we can see in the classical comments, the basket has no fruits, and the sheep is already dead. This can also be related to Jesus’ withering of the fig tree. What can be more clear than this line? Why should we ponder even more about it?

When I have started writing Taoscopy’s comments, the oracle had a few surprises for me. This is one of them.

Others wait until one has finished to prepare before returning.

How can I explain this comment? Until recently, I couldn’t, or at least not very well. We can say that the comment is not so pessimistic, because of 58.5, it would be dangerous to talk about misfortune here. Also, we can, with difficulty, admit that “one is preparing a lie”, so it would show a situation where someone wants to come back after a dispute and is waiting for an acceptable lie to do so.

Can Sri Ma Anandamayi teach us something about this line? Judge by yourself.

 

 

Sri Ma Anandamayi and her group of devotees were at Tarapeeth, to celebrate a religious ritual for Tara Devi, one of the Hindu goddesses who are a manifestation of Durga.

Here is what Sri Gurupriya Didi writes about this visit (page 14):

In the course of the conversation, Shachi Dada said “Ma, a dead body is arriving today.” Ma said “I have heard that unless a dead body arrives here, Tara Ma cannot have bhoga (enjoyment). In truth, unless what is impermanent and unreal is not finished the true substance cannot be offered to Ma’s bhoga.”

Here, a few explanations are necessary. During the churning of the ocean by the Hindu gods, a deadly poison was produced and Shiva swallowed it. Then the goddess Durga assumed the form of Tara to heal Shiva. So, Tara is the goddess who is curing the poison, and naturally poison is related to death and lies. What is impermanent and unreal is a lie, it’s our body, we think that the material world exists because of Maya, the great illusion.

Thus, we need to understand 54.6 as that the lies need to finish, so that truth can appear. So, truth (one) waits until others have finished to lie (prepare) before returning.

Ma concludes:

She continued, smiling, “How can that which is permanent and true be offered as bhoga? It is only to make a point that such statement is made.”

 

 

 

43.5: Bad herb gone good

The Yi Jing comments have been made by humans, and as such they carry their lot of misunderstandings and mistakes. I have pointed already that mantic formulas like “Fortune” and “Misfortune” contradict the comments of 16.1 and 58.5. But there are also more subtle errors. 43.5 is one of them.

43.5 (43 > 34)

43 - Revelation34 - Concentration

Situation

Others return because one didn’t want to continue.

This comment on the situation has been made by consulting the I Ching. As you can see there is no mention of good or bad here. Thus, it made me ponder whether that 43.5 was always describing a bad herb, or if it could also describe something good returning.

Here is Richard Wilhelm’s comment, translated in English by Cary F. Baynes:

 

In dealing with weeds,
Firm resolution is necessary.
Walking in the middle
Remains free of blame.

Weeds always grow back again and are difficult to exterminate.

What is interesting here, is that weeds are mentioned, so the advice is to exterminate them with a firm resolution. What is even more interesting is that Richard Wilhelm adds:

So too the struggle against an inferior man in a high position demands firm resolution.

The man in in a high position is deemed “inferior”. And thus it seems to be a bad thing that this man always come back to pester us like a weed.

Let’s now examine what James Legge had to say about this line:

The fifth line, undivided, shows (the small men like) a bed of purslain, which ought to be uprooted with the utmost determination.

Purslain? Ha ha. It must be a very bad weed. Out of curiosity, I have googled purslain to discover what it was. Here is an excerpt of the Wikipedia entry:

Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable.[6] It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico.[1][7] The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a saladstir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews.

And then, about nutrition:

Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular[13]) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin Avitamin Cvitamin E (alpha-tocopherol),[14]vitamin Bcarotenoids), and dietary minerals such as magnesiumcalciumpotassium, and iron.

 

The purslain contains low fat, vitamin C, and omega-3, it is an excellent vegetable food! So, why would you uproot with the utmost determination such a wonderful plant?