An I Ching Lesson for today’s transit:
* The 56th hexagram of the I Ching is sometimes called “the Wanderer,” and it has to do with being in a transitional or liminal state, a state of exile or departure, or a state of being an outsider or the foreigner.
* Such positions indicate that whatever power we may have inside, it is not capable of being fully expressed outside because of the situation we find ourselves in.
* When we aren’t playing on our home court, or we’re not in power, or we’re abroad or we find ourselves in a foreign situation, or when we become the stranger or the “other,” we have to act very carefully, with patience and modesty. Hexagram 56 speaks of achieving small things and instructs us to avoid making large decisions or harsh decisions or big demonstrations of power. They won’t play well because of the place and state we find ourselves in.
* Part of the hexgram contains the image of fire on a mountain, and it includes a teaching about being a wanderer, or being in liminal or transitional states: “A fire on a mountain lays hold of the grass, and runs with it over the whole space, not stopping anywhere long, and soon disappearing — such is the emblem of the traveler.”
* Hexagram 56 also teaches us to rely all the more heavily on proper codes of conduct when we’re not in power or we’re the “other” or “outsider.” Long term success is dependent upon us maintaining an awareness of the danger of our position as an outsider while acting naturally and freely and not lingering anywhere with anxiety or desire for too long.
* There is also an admonition not to hold things up or delay things for a long time without just cause. We are instructed to be swift and to handle strange or foreign situations with great care but also without delay. Unnecessary delay is said to lead to disaster during these times.
* In the fourth line of the hexagram the traveler is depicted as she finds a hut and a place to rest and take shelter. However, she also finds an ax and doesn’t feel at ease.
* During transitional times, or strange times, or times where we aren’t in power, even when we find a temporary place of peace or comfort, it’s not as easy to find a psychological or spiritual level of comfort. Put differently, we often go looking for something very literal that we think will put us at ease when we’re in a foreign situation (like creature comforts) but this will not address an underlying dis-ease we’re feeling inside. Finding a Ritz-Carlton in a strange land might seem like a victory, but here we see the stranger still sleeping with an ax next to his hotel bed.
* The 4th line of hexagram 56 depicts a situation of deep unrest, uncertainty, and even something like a paranoid defensiveness. It is both a line telling us to stay on guard and also a line reminding us that inner peace can be found anywhere, at any time, regardless of the outer circumstances.
* When the 56th hexagram transforms into the 2nd hexagram we move from the wanderer to a hexgram called, “The Receptive.” It’s the only all yin-lined hexagram of the I Ching and it depicts the freedom and docility of a mare roaming over the open fields.
* When 56 and line 4 changes into Hexagram 2 it’s as though the traveler is waiting for signs and for guidance from above. We have to maintain an open heart, a patient and sober mind, and trust that guidance will come. Rather than trying to shape the situation we have to trust that we are strangers or outsiders for the moment but that with patience, modesty, and a healthy period of staying watchful and under the radar, guidance will come at last. The receptive has success because it does not attempt to shape the situation, but allows itself to be a vessel for heaven’s directions.
* The 2nd hexagram depicts an incredibly powerful moment of creative activity, but it is entirely dependent upon the gentle, yielding, and receptive qualities of the traveler.
When I completed this reading this morning I felt a sense of calm come over me. Sometimes our lives feel on hold, or we feel like we’re out of our element, far from our center, and waiting for everything to fall back into place. It’s very tempting during times of turmoil and change, during periods of transition or disempowerment, to act severely or from the space of our anxiety or our desire to do anything but wait any longer. However it’s at just these moments that we have to learn that the ax near our pillow isn’t necessary. Our dreams will offer better guidance and protection than our impatience or aggression. Keeping our hearts open and resting while not lingering, we will find the inspiration that fills us up, inspires us, and delivers us from times of uncertainty.
Jupiter in Libra square to Pluto is like a cosmic judge looking at all the evidence brought before it and carefully deliberating over the testimonies of key witnesses. Although this judge has the power to right wrongs and set things straight again, the judge has to be careful that it not make its decisions too hastily and not merely from its desire to reclaim power as quickly as possible. However, the judge cannot delay or hold things up, either. This is why, as the I Ching reading suggests, we should continue deliberating carefully, without delay, while also waiting patiently for the arrival of direction and power from above.
When waiting with clenched jaws and eager fists the environment commonly sees us as an outsider, and it doesn’t respond with friendliness. We need to be ninjas of peace and patience, ninjas of trust. We need to be ninjas wandering for the moment, but knowing our time and our sign is coming.
Prayer: Make us ninjas.