A Reading From the I
This week I have been playing with the traditional yarrow stick method of I-Ching. I generally use my Elvis playing cards, but it is good to mix it up. It's always interesting to get back to the roots and see how the old masters did it.
I won't go into the details of how to perform the reading. There are plenty of good instructions for that online. This will be about the reading I drew. Hopefully in the process, we can learn a little more about how to understand the I in general.
A quick note before I begin. You will notice that I do not speak to the nuclear trigrams or the outer wings at all. Both of these elements are critical to a complete understanding of the work but in the context of a particular reading, they add too much noise. In my study of the I they are relegated to academic investigation unless the reading is of the utmost importance and is worthy of many days of study.
First is the inquiry: Do I press forward as planned with the release of Tuesday's Song? Note that an I-Ching query should always be framed as 'Should I...?'. This is because the response is always framed in terms of the crisis or obstacle. "Should I go left?" will yield better results than, "Should I go left or right?" or, "Which way should I go?" The question here is more of the gut-check variety, verifying if I am on the right path.
After drawing the reading from the yarrow we are left with a hexagram or six yao lines, each either yin or yang, and either changing or stable. For this reading, I received all yang lines, with the first and fourth changing to yin. This is the first hexagram, known as Qian. The translation I generally use is Master Huang's and he translates this as 'Initiating'. Before digging into the hexagram itself I always have a look at the two trigrams that make up the hexagram, as well as any interesting nuances. In this case, it is obvious that we have a Lot of yang (motion) going on. It is also interesting to me that both of the trigrams of Heaven (three yang lines) are turning into Wind. Heaven into Wind. A heavenly chorus?
Here is the decision, as presented by Master Huang:
Sublime and initiative.
Prosperous and smooth.
Favorable and beneficial.
Steadfast and upright.
Having read and understood the decision we then examine the changing lines:
Dragon lying low.
Do not use.
Probably leaping from an abyss.
These two verses represent our first and fourth changing lines. They act as modifiers and clarification to the decision.
Lastly, we will look at the hexagram that the changing lines then create. Here we have hexagram number 57, Xun, or Proceeding. For the changed hexagram I look at only the decision itself. To wit:
Little prosperity and smoothness.
Favorable to have somewhere to go.
Favorable to see a great person.
In this way, we reveal the decision, the details, and the results.
For our reading, in regard to the question posed, this is briefly what I take it to mean: We have an excellent start with almost unparalleled potential. However, there are elements that are not forthcoming or confident. There is no need to pressure or force these things. There will be no fault and they will manifest in time. Watch for small gains and know that we will need help along the way.