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After looking at the Terence McKenna video I recently posted and having been in a state of discouragement about personal issues I was inspired to ask I Ching a question from the point of view as if I were asking McKenna to speak to me through the I Ching. I was wishing he were alive so I could discuss the I Ching with him and have a valuable dialog. So my question was:

“Terence, I saw you speaking about the I Ching on one of your videos. You explored hallucinogens, shamanism and the I Ching. Encourage me with my struggles right now as I am feeling despair.”

I threw the coins and received for the answer, Hexagram 12, Standstill (Stagnation) with the 4th line changing, to Hexagram 20, Contemplation (View.) 

Different I Ching interpretations sometimes give different names to the Hexagrams. For example, Wilhelm uses the above. The Rudolf Ritsema and Stephen Karcher version calls Hexagram 12, Obstruction. James Legge names it, The Phî Hexagram.

I always consult the Wilhelm version which you can read HERE:

Richard Wilhelms’ interpretation for the 4th line is:

“He who acts at the command of the highest
Remains without blame.
Those of like mind partake of the blessing.

The time of standstill is nearing the point of change into its opposite. Whoever wishes to restore order must feel himself called to the task and have the necessary authority. A man who sets himself up a capable of creating order according to his own judgment could make mistakes and end in failure. But the man who is truly called to the task is favored by the conditions of the time, and all those of like mind will share in his blessing.”

The James Legge version, one of the first English, says for Standstill line 4:

“The fourth NINE, undivided, shows its subject acting in accordance with the ordination (of Heaven), and committing no error. His companions will come and share in his happiness.”

Recently I found a book called, “The Illustrated Book of Changes” by Li Yan which I had to buy just to see the illustrations. The images are black and white line drawings. What also interests me in this book are the authors short cryptic words of interpretation under each image. You will see that his interpretation is different from the previous two.

The author is a professor at the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in Beijing. His illustrations and interpretation for all the Hexagrams are very different from mine – of course – and while his images are detailed his text is always succinct. The words he uses for line 4 are:

“Although you are a long distance away from your place of happiness, you are destined to be immune from calamities.”

So by showing these few varying interpretations of just one Hexagram and one line you can get an idea of how these ancient Chinese glyphs are open to meaning to the interpreter. I can’t read Chinese so I have to come to my conclusions based on what feels right to me at the time with heavy reliance on Wilhelm. What we all agree on is that this powerful ancient work means something to each of us in that moment we ask for guidance. It is interesting and helpful for me to see these different interpretations of I Ching. There is not a right way or a wrong way to work with I Ching. We find a way – our way.

I have not yet posted in this blog my own meditation on Standstill but I will post the work I did on a previous version. The words will remain the same but I don’t know what will happen when I start this one in color.

Hexagram 12 – Nine in the Fourth Place

The time is right.
My highest essence
Guides me to the light again.
I open and find that
I am not alone awakening.

The image shown here is from that version where I used the imagery of the process of flowering. The complete Hexagram can be seen HERE.

I invite readers to ask questions of my process, if you have them – or what ever comes to mind regarding the I Ching. If I can’t answer your question I will do my best to send you to where you may find more information. I am also interested in your experiences with I Ching.

You can post a comment with a question here and I will post a Page where viewers can ask questions.

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2 Comments on Asking a question of I Ching

  1. carlaNo Gravatar says:

    reading your post I had a beautiful insight, very thank you.

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