Our country is struggling through an episode of distrust, activism, and conflict. Our nation’s leaders take unprecedented, unpredictable actions day after day. Like a compass that cannot detect magnetic north, I feel myself spinning, disoriented. I decided to consult the I Ching for perspective.
The I Ching has been used as a system of divination for more than three thousand years. It consists of 64 configurations of lines, known as hexagrams, expressing variations in the relationship between active, light, masculine energy (yang) and passive receptive, dark, feminine energy (yin). Traditional groupings of hexagrams in two circular formations, one emphasizing the cyclic flow of natural energy (King Wen) and the other emphasizing the alternating polarities of opposites, have been in common usage for centuries. Joan Kellogg cited these circular formations as one of the inspirations for herArchetypal Stages of the Great Round of Mandala (Great Round)which provides the basis for much of our work at CreatingMandalas.com
To develop a reading of the I Ching, I formulated my query, meditated on it for a few minutes, then tossed 3 coins to develop a hexagram (6 horizontal lines, solid or broken). Then I turned to my favorite source for I Ching readings, Wing, R. L., 1982, The Illustrated I Ching.
Query: Help in grasping the forces at play in the US during the current episode of distrust, activism, and conflict.
I Ching Response: Hexagram Adapting, changing to Shocking
Adapting:“Growth in the midst of excess is the condition. An enlightened person, when in darkness, leads the way within for a comforting rest. Adapting brings exceptional progress. There is an advantage in correct persistence.” (p. 55) This hexagram aligns with Stage Ten, Letting Go/Gates of Deathon the Great Round,a time of surrender and preparation for profound change, as when a seed is thrashed loose from its parent plant and buried underground for the fallow winter season. The hexagram also suggests advice on attaining one’s goal, and auguries of future outcome. “If you sincerely insist upon the very best, the chances are that you will get it. Set your sights high. Good outcome.” (p. 55)
A changing line in the hexagram generates a second hexagram:Shocking.It suggests the reason for coming change is a sudden correction in the flow of energy, similar to what happens during the onslaught of a sudden spring thunderstorm. “Once the Shockingevent has passed, like the thunderbolt before the storm, the taut readiness of your awareness and caution will be released in joy. Surviving this terrifying force will give you confidence to deal with all that follows…The time is like spring, when new growth is aroused by the forces of nature…if these times inspire you to make innovative changes in your life, in your relationships and in your self, you will meet with vitality and success.” (p. 123) This hexagram aligns with the Great Round Stageof Beginning/Embracing the New,when projects, relationships, and personal missions begin to take form.
So, friends, there you have it: guidance for our times from the ancient oracle. Set your goals high and be persistent in asking for the very best, at the same time guarding your energy with deep rest and reflection. Challenge yourself to become the best person you can be. This will put you in a good position for success when a powerful correction occurs in the national mood. Seems like good advice to me.