Here’s what to watch for:
* The dream would be so simple if it weren’t for all of these pesky problems, tasks, details, and organizational or technological snafus…must. keep. going!
* The grand plan and the implementation strategy.
* Something growing both more exciting and inspiring but also more labor-intensive.
* The bustle, hustle, and back and forth chaos of a creative storm.
* Anxieties overwhelmed by faith, support, miraculous or unexpected help and blessings.
* A liminal or transitional state…preparing for something, being prepared for something.
* The angel in the details, the devil in the grand plan, or vice versa.
* A meaningful moment of restriction or limitation.
* Wanting to be done with something and the struggle of completion.
* Finding ways to limit something that is too much, finding ways of plugging leaky vessels, finding ways of moderating something excessive.
* Learning, studying, and articulating one’s knowledge.
* The difference between knowledge and wisdom. Lazy students, lazy teachers, lazy learners, know it alls, ignorance posing as wisdom, etc.
Let’s take a look at what the I Ching has to say about all of this today:
* The 53rd hexagram of the I Ching is called “Gradual Progress” or “the Marrying Maiden.”
* Hexagram 53 tells the story of a couple getting married through the gradual process of courtship, eventually having a home and family together, growing old, etc. For both young people in the marriage, their journey will require that they each grow into married life as they also grow into themselves, and then at each successive stage of life, they will continually learn to grow beyond themselves, and each previous stage, as life throws its curve balls.
* On the surface 53 feels like a “house with the white picket fence” kind of story, but upon closer examination of each of the lines in the hexagram we see that actually in each successive stage of growth and development, the young couple is thrust into a totally new dynamic, from marriage to war to children to grandchildren to growing old, each stage comes with a big shock as well as the need to adapt to it.
* In the final line the couple moves beyond this world, into the realm of the ancestors, magic, and divinity.
* And so, we might be feeling the same way right now. We might be suddenly adapting to another new stage of life, a stage that is both exciting and shocking. The I Ching tells us to stay steady in our hearts and good fortune will come. If we can remember that each new unfolding chapter in our lives, even smaller ones, requires an equal measure of calmness and curiosity, then we will find that each turn of plot is gradually inviting us upward from the shores of the lake to the high plateaus above, where we may find the rare ceremonial feathers needed to return all of our life experiences back to spirit, and back to the ancestors.
* For this reason, hexagram 53 is also a reminder that our conduct matters. When facing great changes or transitions, if we don’t face them with some sense of our children, and our children’s children, then we will miss out on the opportunity to inhabit and fill each stage of life with transcendental purpose. When we are intentional about how we handle each transitional phase of life, awake and aware, then we are leaving those who come after us with a spiritual map.
* In the Bhakti yoga tradition, for example, each stage of life, from childhood to family life, to retirement, to old age, is made sacred through a different kind of devotional lifestyle, for different reasons, benefiting the devotee in different ways. We miss the sacredness of each stage of our lives when we don’t think to ask the question, “How can this new stage of life facilitate my spiritual practice? How can it be of service to others?”
* The first line of hexagram 53 reads, “The wild geese draw near the shore. The inexperience and brashness of youth may lead to danger, but a sharp warning will set things right.”
* One translator comments, “The situation is that of a lonely young man who is just starting to make his way in life. Since no one comes to help him, his first steps are slow and hesitant, and he is surrounded by danger. Naturally, he is subjected to much criticism. But these very difficulties keep him from being too hasty, and his progress is successful.”
* And so here the I Ching’s advice becomes more specific. When we reach transitional points and we are relatively new to something, it’s also natural to be a little immature. It’s also natural to feel like we’re all alone. Actually, these conditions provide us with the wherewithal to move more slowly and cautiously, and hence even criticism, worry, and the feeling of being alone in something new can be extremely helpful when we are just starting out.
* The first changing line of hexagram 53 leads to Hexagram 37, called “Family Duties,” which is a hexagram that teaches us to maintain a working, integrated space wherein things can grow and flourish.
* Putting it all together in relation to our current astrology: we are facing a transition, and we might be a little immature or alone in it. We are also encouraged to grow gradually and keep our eyes on a bigger vision behind each new stage of our lives, while also working to create a more integrated and tightly woven space wherein great things can flourish.
Prayer: Help us to adapt, to be cautious and curious, to remember you, our author, and to work towards a simpler and more integrated space where your guidance for each of us can flourish.