Saturday, January 10, 2009

So, I've been a fan of the I Ching (or book of changes) for a long time... I made a necklace about 3 years ago for the first Detroit Urban Craft Fair and decided to make some more this past week.

There is no easy way to explain the I Ching if you're not already familiar with it. To explain my necklace, I will simply say that it is an ancient collection of linear signs to be used as oracles. A sort of Chinese form of divination, if you will. Although divination is a very shallow, superficial explanation.

The quick explanation of the lines: Each line (and whether they are broken or unbroken) has a meaning... each set of 3 lines has a meaning. 2 sets of 3 lines put together has a bigger meaning....

I like to randomly place lines on a necklace and then look it up later. This one was particularly significant. My husband and I have been trying to remain calm under a lot of financial pressure lately. He recently lost his job and we are looking for work and a new place to live... A lot of changes... A lot of our life is thrown up in the air... When I looked up the meaning of these lines in my book of changes - it just made sense. I think I'll give this necklace to my husband.

Here is the short version of the meaning:

Treading {conduct}
above - The creative, Heaven
below - the joyous, Lake

The name of the hexagram means on the one hand the right way of conducting oneself. Heaven, the father, is above, and the lake, the youngest daughter, is below. This shows the difference between high and low, upon which composure, correct social conduct, depends. On the other hand, the word for the name of the hexagram, TREADING, means literally treading upon something. The small and cheerful [tui] treads upon the large and strong [ch'ien]. The direction of movement of the two primary trigrams is upward. The fact that the strong treads on the weak is not mentioned in the Book of Changes, because it is taken for granted. For the weak to take a stand against the strong is not dangerous here, because it happens in good humor and without presumption, so that the strong man is not irritated but takes it all in good part.

Treading. Treading upon the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success.

The situation is really difficult. That which is strongest and that which is weakest are close together...... The situation is one in which we are still not bound by any obligations of social intercourse. If our conduct is simple, we remain free of them. We can quietly follow our predilections as long as we are content and make no demands on people.

The meaning of the hexagram is not standstill but progress. A man finds himself in an altogether inferior position at the start. However, he has the inner strength that guarantees progress. If he can be content with simplicity, he can make progress without blame. When a man is dissatisfied with modest circumstances, he is restless and ambitious and tries to advance, not for the sake of accomplishing anything worth while, but merely in order to escape from lowliness and poverty by dint of his conduct. Once his purpose is achieved, he is certain to become arrogant and luxury-loving. Therefore blame attaches to his progress. On the other hand, a man who is good at his work is content to behave simply. he wishes to make progress in order to accomplish something. When he attains his goal, he does something worth while, and all is well.

The situation of a lonely sage is indicated here. He remains withdrawn from the bustle of life, seeks nothing, asks nothing of anyone, and is not dazzled by enticing goals. He is true to himself and travels through life unassailed, on a level road. Since he is content and does not challenge fate, he remains free of entanglements.

This is only about 1/4 of the meaning! Maybe I'll post more later on but I think this sums up the meaning sufficiently enough. At least in relation to our lives right now.

Hopefully not too boring for you!

No comments: