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A collection of notes on the topics of classical Chinese, medicine, and traditional culture.
 

This blog is a collection of ruminations, translations, and personal opinions by Sabine and some guest authors. Reflecting my own personality, some posts are academic, some clinical, and some personal, some are excerpts from existing books and some may become part of future books. Please leave comments with feedback, questions, constructive criticism, and differences of opinion as long as you argue your reasons for disagreement logically. Any personal attacks, uncivil remarks, or self-promoting comments will be deleted.

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Yijing Reading on the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing

I am definitely not a specialist in the Yijing (also called Iching or Classic of Changes, 易經), but felt compelled to asked it for advice today because I just couldn’t get myself to concentrate on the gynecological text I am currently working on. Here you have my results…

Yijing reading shortly after noon on Sept.27, 2018 in the midst of the Kavanaugh/Ford testimony

Question/Request:

I do not have a direct question. This reading is more a request for guidance and solace in the midst of all this trauma from male to female violence and unhealthy dominance, which is preventing me from concentrating on my current translation project. I am asking the Yijing for help in making sense of this controversy to me personally, for right now and over the next few weeks until the midterm elections in November.

Results:

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Hexagram 55 豐 Fēng (“Abundance”)

豐:亨,王假之,勿憂,宜日中。

象:雷電皆至,豐;君子以折獄致刑。

Abundance: Favorable. The king approaches it. Do not grieve/worry. It is suitable to be right in the sun.

Image: Thunder and lightning arrive together. Abundance. The cultivated person uses [this situation, attitude, or constellation of energy] to decide legal cases and mete out punishments.

Sabine’s take:

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Thunder over Fire means the presence of creative, explosive energy, dynamic movement, over the burning clarity and brightness of fire, or lightning. The combination of these two strong energies signifies the apex, the highest development, ultimate greatness and fulfillment. The king as the ruler of humans and the link between Heaven and Earth is the only one who is able to approach this highest state. At the same time, this reading already implies the decline that invariably comes after this apex, like the moon beginning to wane right after it is full (as it happens to do today, after a VERY intense mid-autumn harvest moon just two nights ago) and the sun beginning its descent immediately after high noon, as also is the case right as I am receiving this reading. In the situation charactized by this reading, it is suitable to stand in the full light of day, in the brightness, fully illuminated by the sun. Even knowing that the height of Yáng implies the inevitable return to Yīn, this reading tells us not to worry (or not to grieve).

The image is one of thunder and lightning arriving together, which promises fertility to the fields because they bring life-giving rain. At the same time, the combination of thunder and lightning can be scary in its power and can burn those in its way to the ground in an instant. The louder the thunder and the smaller the time span between thunder and lightning, the nearer we are to the center of the storm. If we can avoid being struck and killed by the lightning, the electricity released in the storm will cause our fields and gardens to flourish visibly, providing abundant harvest. At this time, the cultivated person decides legal cases and metes out punishments in this same way, with the awe-inspiring and shocking clarity, magnanimity, and life-giving power of thunder and lightning.

Changing lines of Hexagram 55:

Lines 2, 3, and 4 all describe a situation where this abundance, and the bright light of of the sun in the middle of the day, is screened or obscured to such an extent that the Big Dipper (in lines 2 and 4) and faint stars (in line 3) become visible even in broad daylight. These lines either spell good fortune (lines 2 and 4), or in line 3, at least state that there is no blame for the broken right arm. What is the significance of these astronomical phenomena? As line 2 warns, “when proceeding, you will obtain suspicion and haste/illness” 往得疑疾. So we need to act with an attitude of confidence and integrity, standing in the light of our truth, to dissolve doubt and overcome obstacles, and ultimately bring about satisfactory results and good fortune豐其蔀,日中見斗,往得疑疾,有孚發若,吉.

With these changing lines, Hexagram 55 changes to Hexagram 19, which on the basis of my question describes the situation over the coming weeks.

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Hexagram 19 臨/林 Lín (“Looking Down/Forest”)

臨:元亨,利貞。至于八月有凶。

象:澤上有地,臨;君子以教思无窮,容保民无疆。

Looking Down/Forest: Originally favorable, perseverance benefits. Arriving at the eighth month, there is misfortune.

Image: Earth over Lake: Looking down/Forest: The cultivated person uses this [situation, attitude, or constellation of energy] to instruct and ponder to no end, and to shower the common people with boundless magnanimity and protection.

Sabine’s take:

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What is the situation described by Earth over Lake? Earth is low, as opposed to Heaven being lofty, so how can it be looking down on anything else? But a lake, or even water in the ground as subterranean moisture, can be even further down, so this is not an inauspicious situation. If we read the name of this hexagram as “forest” 林with the same pronunciation but a different character, as suggested by the Mawangdui version of the Yijing, this hexagram describes a forest that is fed by a subterranean aquifer and is therefore resistant to drought and will grow strong and healthy. Alternatively, Earth over a Lake can also signify a cliff overlooking water, hence we have four Yin lines on top of two Yang lines. Related to the two Yang lines, this auspicious hexagram is associated with the second month of the lunar calendar, the fertile, dynamic season of incipient spring when Yang just begins to gather strength. Since the traditional lunar calendar begins in the eleventh month, the eighth month mentioned in this hexagram as the time when the good fortune changes, actually refers to the sixth lunar month. What this warning about the fortune reversing in eight months means is simply that the state of two yang lines slowly pushing out the four yin lines above will eventually reverse to where yin starts overtaking yang, as it should in the natural order of things. Humans have no choice but to adapt to the natural alternations of waxing and waning yin and yang. In other words, while we have a situation of Yang waxing and waning for the foreseeable future, it will not last forever. As such, we should govern or “overlook” those below us with boundless concern, care, tolerance, and protection. Rather than governing through force and punishments, we must focus on education and generous protection for all. Sounds like great advice to me!

Sabine WilmsComment