Old & New. Part II

I met with another fine spirit this week, someone comparatively new to my life, who may well be in a similar 'family' of personhood as SG in my last post below: Old & New Part I. 

Kuan Yin (by Jan Zaremba)
MR, had a question pertaining to career direction, and at the time of casting, threw only young yin and young yang in the combination of "61, Sincerity in the Centre."

"Young" yin or yang, means that they are new. If they were "old," this only would denote that those lines (or, times) within the hexagram were upon a time of change, about to invert into their Other. I prefer to avoid the dualistic term 'opposite,' as I have found that when we pair things in such a way, the arising dependency intensifies: that each 'opposing' pair increases its need to be defined by the other within the pairing. I find such a mindset to be unhealthy, as it is ever ready to unwittingly create conflict. When things are defined communally, such territorial/philosophical cock-fighting can be avoided. So, in the example of SG prior, moving from 'Joy,' to 'Sameness,' there were two 'young' lines, and four 'old' lines. THIS IS NOT A COMMENT UPON A PERSON'S AGE: It is only to suggest the energy of the moment and the item being considered by the person casting I Ching has greater or lesser elements of transition present. Here, MR, cast all 'young' lines, and therefore is experiencing less "transition" in her qualitative day-to-day. Old and young denote the time of the event, where the action lies, and what decisions may lay ahead for best consideration: hence, the I Ching also being commonly known as 'the book of changes.' This is the study of Change. SG, is in a time of growth and the enhancement of acceptance. MR, here, is in a time of consideration. 

Change, is democratic of age and aging.

"61, Sincerity in the Centre," is described by lake on the inside - the lower trigram - and wind, on the outside/upper trigram. Lake, is synonymous with joy, and wind, with action. Thus may 'Sincerity' abbreviate into "Joy within Action." The overall judgement of this time points to "the centre," and though career decisions have an inherent confusion, the only successful road onto making a decision, is to look within.

MR is of such character inherently, and in a good place to be making this decision: MR is immeasurably conscientious, and if the feeling of each career option were to be sussed out first hand, the resultant decision will arise quite naturally. That is, if MR were to take a course or brief workshop pertaining to each field, by sampling each field and having an impression to work from, the impression which sticks most will be the career path best chosen. That at this time the 'Sincerity' is unmoving - that is, young - it is a good time for reflection, capitalizing upon the constancy at hand. If enough time passes and the decision has not been made and acted upon, MR would naturally become restless, regardless of an ensuing choice. So enjoy this time, MR. You have a great wealth at your disposal for making a true examination of your options at hand, and finding the career path which will give you a great sense of congruency in your life. Stay true and tuned to yourself.

Kuan Yin (photo credit)
If... IF... we look at the yin moments of this hexagram (lines 3 and 4) under the idea of (and I loathe say this) "weakness," then there is a couple of gentle cautions to consider. As above, contrasting yin/yang as "weak/strong" creates a less considered frame of reference for the intrinsic considerations of I Ching and internal alchemy. However, it is not without its degree of merit: When we are excessively receptive, then yes, this can be dangerous. Yet even under that light, I'd rather consider yin moments as invitations. Even conflict, when you really look back upon one, was - and is - an opportunity to create something worthwhile for all involved. Yin, then, as much as Yang, is inspiratory. When receptivity culminates, it cannot do otherwise BUT to invert into action; thus, are incidents of yin worthy of extra consideration under this light - not avoidance! 

Conversely, Yang, in excess, would be an invitation to question if one is being compelled, and moving headlong into danger.... a much different qualitative measure. Imagine if you will:  the biggest video game couch potato addict... at some point, said potato gets restless and goes out to grab some more chips! The receptive grows into action, and the active grow into the receptive... Truly: "the opposite" resides within. 

So... again using the idea of chakras: the third and fourth pertain to stomach and heart. (This is where our reading took an interesting turn... And if you're asking - but there's 7 chakras no?! Consider please that the TOTALITY of the hexagram to be synonymous with a total understanding, an arising unity which is often depicted by the 7th chakra. As a person steps through the six considerations given by any hexagram, the arising hermeneutics grant the reverie.) 

MR, coincidentally (or not, depending on how you may view things) is on a cleanse currently(!) I always recommend having fresh burdock root kicking about - detox or 're-tox' - as it is a powerful and delightful "re-set" for the digestive track. After developing some rather fearsome anxiety during my career in live-performance, the ensuing digestive troubles were indeed re-set by incorporating this into my diet. (I'm sure my fellow thespians would be much "relieved" to read this!!)

Now... pertaining once again to the Book of Gardens... #61 was a true pleasure to uncover in its writing, as it represents a culmination of several "voices" throughout the book... The I Ching is a thorough dissection of CHANGE...The I Ching is the anatomy of CHANGE, and its anatomy has many parts, components, and so then "voices." Looking to comprehend Change in an all-at-once glimpse is a monumental task for anybody. I think this is why we have such admiration for those who have done it so well, like Jesus, Buddha, and Lao-Tzu. Religion aside: those individuals are true exceptions, and whatever words they've left behind for the rest of us to read, are, in my opinion, worth reading. It feels good - at the very least - to be a part of such a dialogue.

Kuan Yin (photo credit)
In my rendition of "Sincerity in the Centre" I found a way to have both the masculine voice and the feminine voice speak simultaneously - for "opposites" to speak together. And further to my hesitancy over the mindset of opposites, I go so far as to claim Yin and Yang to be Lovers. Mother Earth is a Lover: Heaven, embraces: The Way, is a beautiful thin line of Love... And so, as an experiment, MR & I read the poem together: first, like a script (my line, your line), and then as music: as two instruments contributing to one piece of music. MUCH FUN!! ... As it is probably one of my favourite pieces in the book... I will not be putting it to print here.... Sorry. 

BUT! I am going to be publishing the Book of Gardens in book form very soon through Lulu self publishing. STAY TUNED! :)

Thanks so much MR! It was a beautiful day. Much to consider. Deliciously, and deeply so. Keep your aim true, as per your own personal rulebook. Only you can know if a "rule" has been broken: Sincere to oneself, you betray no other.

Old and New. Part I.

I had again the pleasure to cast I Ching this week - twice, graciously! - for two friends, one old, one new. 

SG, cast "16, Joy," moving into "13, Sameness with People." 


"Joy," interestingly is where I began writing the Book of Gardens: it was the first poem upon which I discovered so many 'rules' which would hold the Book together, as an artwork, and, as a contribution to the lineage of I Ching interpretation. That SG cast 16, brought about this memory for me: that Joy, is a great place to begin something.

Hexagram 16 is characterized by the image of Earth inside the image of Thunder. Earth is characterized by three lines of yin - broken lines - and whose nature, then, is flexible and of pure receptivity. When I was once lost to anger, I was advised to go and 'pound the earth,' or plow it, or hit it with a stick, as, "she could take it." Indeed, the Earth's embrace of our treatment is Great: met with an individual, she subdues, soothes, and loves. Though pure yin is often characterized as 'female,' I prefer to use 'The Feminine,' or better, 'the receptive.' Gender is often referred to in the I Ching, under several contexts, but if taken too literally, like, 'women are this way, and men are that way,' I find that what I Ching can offer a person begins to sound antiquated, or even silly.

Yes. Silly. (Click this!)
SG, is receptive quite naturally, and currently works in children's programming, a field which inherently asks for patience and fortitude. He also recently took on greater levels of responsibility within his organization. Between these two facts I found his casting of coins to be quite exciting. Comparing hexagrams 16 and 13 (in that order), the lower trigrams (bottom three lines) are moving from pure receptivity (earth) into illumination (fire), and the top trigram is moving from the action of thunder into the fuller action of heaven (pure yang). This suggests to me that if he continues along the active ground of being receptive - being actively receptive - this natural open welcome he possesses will allow him continued success toward the instruction and guidance of others - namely the young. Put another way, in all his actions, journeying from the inside and into the outward action of the work place, SG can travel quite literally from Earth to Heaven, from full and pure receptivity into full and pure action.

Presence, brings about Greatness.

If we look solely at the bottom lines of each trigram in this pair of hexagrams - that is, lines one and four in each body - there is a goodly amount of balance and constancy. The first (bottom) line of a trigram generally describes what takes place in a person's own self knowing. The fourth line of a hexagram depicts how they move this self awareness into the world. In 'Joy,' yin and yang are paired in the first and fourth lines, balancing each other. And SG here, is coming into a situation where he is rather balanced: he is self aware, receptive and humble to new information, and un-afeared to put his person into the world at large. At this time of change, of enhancement lets say, SG is moving into a time of greater action, as seen in the yang line in the first position of 'Sameness with People.' The yang lines in positions one and four of 'Sameness' can be interpreted here as mutually supporting one another, and there is also the potential of going to far, or being excessive. This is a mild caution in this case, as, moving from 'Joy' to 'Sameness,' the fourth line remains constant, and is supported by the other yangs of 'Sameness,' depicting a good/solid/supported outcome.

'Sameness,' first requires self-knowing, which SG practices in abundance. The bottom trigram of 'Sameness with People' is fire, or, illumination. Illumination inside, followed with heaven outside - fire into heaven. By pairing 'Joy' and 'Sameness with People,' we can see that flexible knowing, well rooted, is leading SG toward illuminated knowing: his personhood is growing, or, ascending. As indeed it should...

SG happens to be in his fifties. As the Chinese saying goes: "when you are 30, you are ready to walk; when you are 40, no one can fool you." And though I do not remember exactly what follows at 50, or 60, and onward... I would hazard to say that 'when you are 50, you can no longer fool yourself! Certainly, if there is grace in this life, SG reflects such by his general pleasant and optimistic demeanor. That he is in the position to guide children is in my opinion a beautiful thing, as his strategy of self awareness and self knowing appears to be moving toward being shared prolifically, shared well, and with grace, all by virtue of his inner life being flexible, receptive, and constant. When we look at the fourth lines of 'Joy' and 'Sameness,' both are yang, and again, this is the position of how ones self knowing moves through the world. There is a slight caution here of over-compensation for perhaps once being too passive (ie: the lower three yin lines in 'Joy'). On the flip side of that, lies the interpretation of constancy; that, things just get better as they age.

The other transition of note here is that in 'Joy,' there is only one line of yang; and in 'Sameness,' there is only one line of yin. The line of yin in 'Sameness' is in the second position - a lower chakra - and so I recommended that SG perhaps incorporate some more ginger into his diet (I like using ginger for tea myself: keep fresh roots in the freezer and grate the desired quantity into a tea cup for a spicy and pleasing drink). I wanted him to be certain that in this time of natural growth and expansion that his foundation (his kidneys) were well supported with routine care. Ginger tea, is easily something to look forward to, and so this caution is really a very light one. 

SG and I have crossed paths in a variety of circles over the years, and it was a true pleasure (honour!) to connect with him through my beloved study of I Ching. SG is clearly the person I had always sensed: a positive spirit, receptive and trustworthy, and a gentle leader. Thank you SG!! You are a fine example for us :) 

If anyone would like me to expound further on the pairing here of the second and fifth lines, or the third and six, do let me know. Each pairing reflects a different area of our life, and the pairing of hexagrams details how we are changing at this time; what we can work toward, hope for, and be cautiously aware of. A total appreciation of the Change at hand often brings about increased self awareness, acceptance, conscientiousness and tranquility. 

Thank you SG!! :)