Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So we consulted the I-Ching. I say 'we' - but Richard was helping me in this and he has, I dunno, 30 years or more experience in this stuff and has even published his own translation of The Book. So I was in safe hands there.

We threw a Hexagram 10. Lu or "Treading".

TREADING: "Treading on the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success."

I'm not going to tell you the question I asked, cos that's personal shit - but this resonated immediately on a whole bunch of levels. Less than 24 hours after throwing this 'gram I trod on the tail of the tiger, fer sure, but the tiger did not bite back because the tiger was, in this case, passive/aggressive. A reflective aggressor whose technique is to echo/mirror-grrrrr back at all who they come into contact with. "Neither a Victim nor an Aggressor be". These people have no ammo if you don't give 'em any.

Treading can mean a path; it can also mean maintaining (or acknowledging) a hierarchy. It also particularly relates to conduct, both in life and in business:

"That which is strongest and that which is weakest are close together. The small and cheerful [Tui] treads upon the large and strong [Ch'ien]. The strong, however, acquiesces and does not hurt the weak, because the contact is in good humor and harmless.

"In terms of a human situation, one is handling wild, intractable people. In such a case one's purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum. Pleasant manners succeed even with irritable people."

Here, conduct is the key: one's goals can be achieved by small, respectful steps forward.

The hexagram is split into two trigrams:

Above: Ch'ien - The Creative, Heaven.
Below: Tui - The Lake, The Youngest Daughter. It is associated with pleasure and joy, the desire to reproduce - to speak via the mouth or, in my case, impulsiveness. It signifies decline, collapse and breaking; it is The trigram of Metal - again, this all personally resonates with me in terms of health, personal outlook, etc.

Combined, the two represent ascension, an upwards movement; though, again, through small incremental steps. "Treading."

If the hexagram is represented as solid black lines or blocks, then it's easy to play Rorschach with it: it can be seen as a maze, as viewed from above, from which one has to find a way out of. Seen in these terms, the idea of 'conflict' quickly becomes an outmoded concept; situations reposition themselves in terms of paths that have to be navigated, rather than battles to be fought. Again, conduct is key to aiding that navigation.

Similarly, the hexagram can also be seen Rorschachally as a ladder (which ties in with the idea of slow upwards movement). Is that a broken rung? Okay, then we just move up past that one a little more slowly and carefully. Steady as she goes.

A parallel reading (these Chinese dudes were wise and spent hundreds of years evolving and developing this stuff) is that I am both The Tiger and The Man - in Chinese medicine, the Tiger is a particularly strong form of Chi or energy that is associated with the lower bowel - again, that's particularly poignant in my case - The Tiger will not bite (or can be overcome) if The Man deals with it respectfully, but with good humour.

This certainly seems to be the case.


At 2:00 am, Blogger Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:02 am, Blogger Martin said...

A wise consort punctures the pigeon in the pot with a single arrow. No blame apportioned.

God, I used to love pissing around with I Ching

At 12:25 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

"Pissing around..!?"

Right...outside, you - now!

Er...I mean...*ahem*...walk a few minutes with me in The Garden of Gilded Lilies, Brother Swan.

At 10:32 pm, Blogger Martin said...

Well I only had the big black book, none of the things you throw on the carpet to determine your hexagrams, so I couldn't really do much - just cheat and flick it open at random pages. I genuinely used to love reading it, regardless of whether it meant anything, I really got into the phrases, it was one of my favourite 'experimental novels'.

Reading it while repeatedly playing the first Raincoats LP during thunderstorms had a very dizzying impact too - in fact, I kind of associate the two artefacts completely |(and not just cos the LP cover artwork looked a bit 'Oriental' either). Only I lost the book ages ago.

At 10:55 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

"Reading it while repeatedly playing the first Raincoats LP during thunderstorms..." Well, that's just utter genius.

We randomly threw three different coins I found in my pocket to work out the hexagrams.

Yeah, I love the subtle variations in emphasis in the translated passages depending on how yr lines fall... I know nothing about all this stuff, but I loved how it was simultaneously wide open to individual interpretation, yet also tightly defined and honed down to precision over the centuries. I didn't realise til last week that it also all tied into Chinese medicine, cosmology, philosphy, social conduct, etc - that it was a total holostic system that described pretty much, well, everything.

I found the whole thing pretty mind-blowing 2bh...


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