Obvious Tiger,
Hidden Answer

How can tiger help reveal
quick Yijing insights?

2022: Year of the Tiger
Lunar New Year came in Just a week ago, and for the Chinese cosmology, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger – specifically, Water or Black Tiger. (Traditionally, black is the color associated with water). Thanks to my friend Patricia, she led me to their acupuncture school site that discusses 2022 predictions in great detail, plus an engaging and free live forecast replay that accompanies it. Tiger energetics is said to be about new growth, new spring, and new energies.

Learning more about this year, I remember how the symbol of tiger has guided me well in my Yijing practice over the years, particularly in doing quick readings.

Where’s the Tiger?
Yijing has one dedicated hexagram that mentions the tiger: Hexagram 10, Treading. Let’s take a look at this translation by Hilary Barrett:

Treading a tiger’s tail.
It does not bite people.
Creating success.

Hexagram 10, Oracle

Trigrams Lake below and Heaven above make up Hexagram 10. I can see an image of an excited person (Lake) facing a daunting and huge tiger (Heaven), quite afraid and unprepared on how to walk around it.

So how does Hexagram 10 help me in quick in readings?

Tiger, Tail, Treading
As I mentioned previously, whenever I want to do a particular approach in my reading, I consult Yijing for answers (an approach I call metareading, and I’ll write about this in another blog post). So I was curious on how Yijing can advice me on how to do quick readings. Here was my reading back in April 03, 2017:

How should I do a quick reading? What should be the flow and content?

Yes, I got Hexagram 10, unchanging. And I immediately saw 3 words as flow and content of a quick reading:


Let me discuss each part.

#1 Tiger: Situation
Tiger represents the situation behind the inquiry. Generally, we perceive our problems, dilemma, conflict, or issues behind our inquiry as something huge and wild, if not insurmountable. Literally, its like facing a living, breathing tiger.

This reminds me of Life of Pi, a novel adapted into film about a young boy trapped in a boat with a tiger in the middle of the ocean, with no island in sight. Its scary and unpredictable, to say the least. Facing a situation that can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming is not that easy, as it stops the thinking mind, and everything becomes foggy.

#2 Tail: Challenge
Tail represents the challenge of facing the situation. What exactly is the challenge? Say the tiger is sleeping, and you need to walk past it – so your biggest challenge is to prevent yourself not to step on its tail, lest you wake it up and attack you.

I was reminded of an old Tagalog idiom that describes a person who lacks courage: bahag ang buntot. It literally translates as “loincloth tail”, which means the “tail” is a fake one, not exactly a tail most animals have. So this idiom implies that having a real tail is actually having a sense of courage, which you all need to muster when a challenge before you is rearing its ugly head.

#3 Treading: Action
Treading represents the wise action a person must take in facing this situation and challenge. Facing the tiger and walking around it without stepping on its tail is, again, not an easy feat. But the action doesn’t have to be flight or fight, which often is our tendency. Nor should it be reckless and fatalistic. It just needs to be mindful and courageous.

The Filipino word for treading is lakad, and I can’t help but see its almost similar spelling with lakas, the Filipino word for strength. I suppose the act of walking past your situation, with the help of Yijing insights, is the exercise of your true strength and the test of your mettle.

Quick Reading
When I do quick readings (which you can do it yourself as well), I navigate the symbols and text of the cast Hexagram not by tinkering on all the details, but seeing them how they gravitate in these three segments:

Tiger = Situation
Tail = Challenge
Treading = Action

Look first at your situation. What’s the big picture, the most obvious, just like how a tiger looks like? Then, examine the challenges that you face. What exactly is the situational “tail” you’re trying to avoid stepping onto? Then pinpoint the wise actions/steps the Yijing asks you to take. How do you tread around the tiger’s tail so as not to agitate the tiger? In other words, what wise and careful actions do you need to take on your situation so as not to make it less challenging?

But don’t worry too much about the tiger. If you go back to the decision remark of Hexagram 10, it says:

It doesn’t bite

Well, that is quite reassuring, despite the scary image of the tiger. It is as if Yijing reminds us of what seems to be our biggest threat in facing change and making decision is actually a quiet, gentle yet strong presence that invites us to move forward and unlock our confidence.

Simple and Symbolic
In using this simple and symbolic structure you can see how the Yijing reveals essential insights and answers you need in your inquiry without wrestling too much on cryptic details. (Except if you want to challenge yourself, any reading has far more insights to reveal than what you see on the surface)

The next time you try reading Yijing on your own, remind yourself of the tiger and how to tread its tail. I’m pretty sure you’ll get the insight you need in no time. But if you need some help, I am happy to be of service.

Happy lunar new year!


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