I Ching: the hexagrams and the Book of changes

I Ching: the hexagrams and the Book of changes

Two types of lines, eight tetragrams, 64 combinations of hexagrams. And from them, the Infinite. Welcome to the world of the I Ching.

I Ching: the hexagrams and the Book of changes

The wisdom of the I Ching … How many times have we heard of it, how many times, intrigued by its fame, we have approached this text expecting a type of wisdom other than the one we have found there or that we have not found.

In fact, the I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a text difficult to understand, hazy, yet ultimately so simple. Everything in it is contradiction, ambiguity and paradox .

These qualities are typical of Taoist wisdom , where everything is One and yet at the same time constantly changing, fragmenting and becoming infinite while remaining One. It is vain to define the Tao .


The structure of the I Ching

Its structure is unique in its kind , unmistakable and the subject of research and interpretation for almost three thousand years. It is a divination text , more precisely of cleromancy (from the Greek klero – manteia , sorte-guessing), also commonly called spell (from the Latin sortem – lego , sorte-leggo), based on the interpretation of the so-called hexagrams , or series of six lines that can be whole (yang) or broken (yin) .

There are 64 possible combinations accepted by the classic version of the I Ching, that is 64 different hexagrams, each representing a different description of the energy we are associated with at the moment of divination .

In reality, each hexagram is the result of the combination of two of the trigrams that make up the series of eight trigrams in Bagua , a Taoist cosmological philosophy, linked to occult practices, martial arts , and the fundamental principles of Chinese alchemy.


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Interpreting the hexagrams

Going through the interpretation of each hexagram is fascinating and risky at the same time , in fact you risk being trapped by the literal meaning of each hexagram and by a forced logic that unites hexagram to hexagram.

In reality it is  necessary to let yourself be pervaded by inspiration and always leave room for the intuition that comes from applying the basic concept behind each hexagram, to the current context of our life.

“ First examine the words, meditate on everything they mean, the fixed norms then reveal themselves. But if you are not the right man, the meaning will not be revealed to you ”, the Book of Changes tells us.


Taoism and hexagrams

According to the Taoist philosophy, nothing is absolutely positive just as nothing is absolutely negative, everything is relative and changing , the elements chase each other in balance, as well as empty and full, light and darkness.

If the first hexagram represents the Force , the second called the Field , represents the flowing. The third hexagram is Sprouting , symbolically a difficult situation at the beginning but which can only get easier and simpler.

The fourth hexagram is youthful madness , a type of adventurous and sometimes reckless energy, while the fifth represents a static energy waiting for some event. We then move on to Conflict , to the Army , to the energy of Recollection , that of Small Recollection , that of Bargaining , and so on.


The practice of the I Ching

Who can help us interpret the hexagrams ? Everyone and nobody . There are infinite variations in the interpretation of the I Ching and its 64 hexagrams, all interesting but none of them 100% effective and reliable in any context.

What the sages suggest is to practice, regularly consult and refine your relationship with the 64 cosmic energies represented by the hexagrams .

The relationship between hexagrams and those who consult them is in fact based on a special affinity that over time can only grow, or become simpler, depends on the point of view.

What is important to understand is that the less the human being stands in the way and the more the universe communicates , the more streamlined and minimalist the interpretation is, the more it adheres to the truth of the facts, and finally it is very  important to remember at every moment, at every breath , with every blink of an eye, that the universe never repeats itself, our red blood cells will never return to the same position as before , and although our mind tends to repeat habitual patterns, it is never the same energy that crosses it.

In this way the hexagrams of the I Ching must be approached, knowing that even if they are apparently only 64, through them the infinite change peeps out .


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