Today an I Ching Meditation:
* The 17th Hexagram of the I Ching is called “Following,” but it is also referred to as “according with,” “acquiring followers,” “adapting,” “adjusting,” “to accord with,” “to accompany,” “concordance,” or “conformance to the great work.”
* The judgment reads, “Following has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame.”
* Another translation of the judgment reads, “Following is primordial, pervasive, prosperous, and persevering. There will be no blame.”
* The image of the hexagram is that of thunder inside a lake, which is also considered “movement and joy.”
* Traditional commentary on the hexagram image says, “The leader goes inside and rests and nightfall.”
* Because this is a hexagram about leadership, developing a following, or being the kind of person that is ready to be followed, ready to be a teacher, ready to be setting an example, the commentary above about the leader going in at nightfall is suggesting that leaders know when to move forward and when to rest, and as such they set the example for others. Leaders do not push forward when the time isn’t right, or push for their own way, or get antsy about things yet to come, because they are naturally attuned to the rhythms of life. This is why, in fact, they become worthy of being followed.
* At the same time, a leader knows when to capitalize on a moment of enthusiasm and motion, in order to get people out of the mud, out of complacency, and out of a rigid or shallow way of thinking or behaving. The image of the lake here is also sometimes considered the image of a marsh, in which case thunder in the marsh generates motion and gladness, a willingness to follow from those who might be somewhat stuck or immobile.
* Thunder below/within the lake/marsh is also an image of the eldest son below the youngest daughter. The eldest son can be thought of as “yang,” and the youngest daughter, “yin.” The image is thus about the wisdom of the yang putting itself in service of the yin, or of leaders putting themselves in the service of those below them, or of the wealthy putting themselves in the service of those who have less.
* The hexagram is also a picture of cheerful obedience, of heeding the call or instruction, or of a message from on high coming and asking for sacrifice or action from us. We are told here to “follow” the guidance from above, and to know our place in relationship to people, teachers, elders, who may be in a superior position to us, somehow.
* Relating all of this back to Venus and Jupiter the correlation isn’t so obvious. Most people don’t know that traditionally Venus and Jupiter had a somewhat complex relationship. Whereas Jupiter was thought of as something like the high priest, Venus was though of as the layperson or the acolyte. Together, the two can represent a kind of union between image and substance, teaching and ceremony, belief and practice, but Venus was also frequently thought of as a somewhat troubling presence for Jupiter and Jupiter for Venus. For example, Venus approaching Jupiter is sometimes reference in relationship to someone or something trying to tempt Jupiter away from its values, usually something vain or superficial or lusty. On the other hand, we could think of Jupiter as potentially suppressing something vital, fresh, sensual, or lovely on account of its dogma and inflation.
* Venus and Jupiter coming together in the sign of Mars is thus related to all of the teachings of the 17th hexagram.
* When Venus and Jupiter come together in the right way, then what is above puts itself in service of what is below, the masculine in service of the feminine or the yang in service of the yin.
* When Venus and Jupiter come together, we come into contact with the higher message. Since Venus is in her exile, this message may come as a saving grace or in order to generate enthusiasm and movement out of a stuck position.
* When Venus and Jupiter come together, we are stirred to follow a calling, to make an agreement, to generate a following, or to make a sacrifice for the greater good.
* When Venus and Jupiter coming together we are not tempted into pushing for what we want or desire, we are content to follow the natural rhythms of life and trust that the eagerness we feel can be trusted to our patience.
* When Venus and Jupiter come together we are not tempted into a display of forcefulness or of manipulation. We are content to let things come or let them go. In this way an agreement is made, enthusiasm is found, and the right actions come naturally.
Prayer: Teach us to follow the waves of goodness.