What can you expect from a detailed Yijing reading?

(This is the final installment of the 3-part article)

Read first PART 2: Ancient text here

A Friend’s Inquiry
A friend of mine has been studying and practicing a different kind of consultancy. A huge part of his work is to help business people avoid becoming victims of corrupt schemes of a government agency. In doing so, he is actively confronting unscrupulous agents, disarming them with truth, ethics, and the power of law.

My friend has learned a great deal from his mentor, who has been practicing the same consultancy for almost 30 years. In doing this work, his mentor is reasonably contentious against the corrupt practices of these particular government agents. My friend thought he is still far from perfecting his mentor’s communication style. He felt he is too mild in his approach and he perceived himself as less effective. He could have been more contentious and assertive just like his mentor.

His question is “How can I become more effective just like my mentor?

So with this inquiry in place, let me walk you through the actual reading I did for him and see how it happened.

Actual Yijing Reading
We did a Yijing reading on his concern, and we got Hexagram 58, Opening, Line 5 changing.

Symbolic Reading Elements

First, the TRIGRAMS for Hexagram 58 are double lake: Lake Above and Lake Below. Trigram Lake or Dui 兌 symbolizes the mouth, which is related to communication. This is strikingly accurate to my friend’s need: his manner of communication.

The entire HEXAGRAM 58, the Lake Below implies that my friend already knows how to express himself, and he does it so well. Lake Above suggests that he also practices it well. But the change of Lake to Thunder calls for him to do a refreshing take on his communication style, instead of copying his mentor’s. Thunder Above also means to renew or refresh, to put or share a new energy, like the coming of springtime.

Textual Reading Elements

In some translations, the HEXAGRAM name of 58 is translated as Joyous. This state of joy is also the state of contentment and satisfaction. Yijing suggests that my friend’s communication style is already satisfactory.

Judgment or Decision Remarks for Hexagram 58 says:

Opening, creating success.
Constancy bears fruit

Again, Opening is synonymous to contentment. It implies that my friend is already doing his communication style effectively. Creating success is already obvious – he does it well. Constancy is a word related to “trying” or “doing”. As my friend tries what he can do, his efforts already bear fruit. He already has results.

Overall image or Wise Action for Hexagram 58 says:

A noble one joins with friends
to speak and practice together

By being in his community of specialists and learning from his mentors and peers, he already speaks and practices with them, and thus it helps him to further improve.

Friends talking at the lakeshore

Hexagram 58, Line 5 is interestingly weird:

Line 5
Trusting in stripping away,
There is danger.

This particular translation1 did not initially register to me right away. I could not make sense of “trusting in stripping away”. So I sought another translation2, which I usually do to help me understand the reading from a different rendition and choice of words. And I found this:

Line 5
Prisoners at a skinning
There will be danger.2

I automatically associated the image of prisoners with the government agents who are doing corrupt schemes. Skinning is associated with my friend’s mentor’s communication style. Just now, I remember the phrase makapal ang mukha, a Filipino idiom that means having a thick-skinned face, which often refers to people who don’t feel ashamed of doing wrong things. Somehow, this is how these corrupt agents behave. The mentor communicates to these people as if skinning them, and such approach is not my friend’s. If he imitates his mentor, it will put him in danger, or possibly in embarrassment.

So this reading suggests my friend that his style is already OK, since the consequence of trying to emulate his mentor can trap him. Here is the result of Line 5 changing Hexagram 58 to Hexagram 54:

The marrying maiden.
To set out to bring order: pitfall.
No direction is fruitful.

Marrying maiden here is someone who is married to the king not as a queen but as a second wife. Trying to bring order, or forcing to adapt the mentor’s style is not a fruitful direction. In my friend’s inquiry, it means he doesn’t have to commit primarily to his mentor’s style. He can still make it a secondary option if he has to use it when need arises.

Summing up

To synthesize all these reading elements, here is how it looks like:

My friend is already doing effective work, as he can already communicate using his own style. While he wants to do what his mentor does, it doesn’t exactly fit his style, and he can be harmed or embarrassed if he does.

This interpretation in an actual reading is not exactly exhaustive. Though I would say in my experience this approach is clearly effective. My purpose here is to demonstrate how reading elements are smoothly synthesized to come up with a clear insight. So in case you consider a reading in the future, you can somehow expect similar results in readings that I often facilitate.

Please leave me a comment or question about this post and I’ll be more than happy to reply to you.

1 Most of my translations are derived from Hilary Barrett’s I Ching: Walking your path, Creating your future (Arcturus, 2015)
2 This Line 5 translation is lifted from Stephen Field’s The Duke of Zhou Changes: A Study and Annotated Translation of the Zhouyi (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015)

Go back to PART 1: READING ELEMENTS here



Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s