In my inglorious youth I used to consult oracles morning, noon and night. It’s something that young people do… constantly. As one gets older this habit diminishes (thank goodness) and now I consider the I Ching as a book of wisdom offering information about the character and organics of change, and the Tarot cards as a picture book of human archetypes.
But recently things have been odd and uncertain. The recession grinds on, there are crises across the world and people are worried. On the brighter side my partner’s sister has moved into our house, which is exciting for all – a pleasure shared is a pleasure increased – but the effort was unbelievable, following over 50 years of life in a vast old house. With the stress of the move my partner became ill, and for other entirely different reasons so have many friends and relatives; some good people I know and love are very seriously ill indeed.
A close and wise friend who is an inspired astrologer says that there are many squares and therefore many blockages in the movement of the cosmos… it does feel that way.
It was in this atmosphere of flux and evident change that I decided to consult the I Ching – The Book of Changes, asking for a hexagram that might offer advice to all those that may share this moment of uncertainty… and who might read this blog. I threw the coins. Which hexagram? I asked. The answer came back… 42.
Before I go into the meaning of this hexagram, which is pictured on the left, I have to say that the universe, the cosmos and the deities (whether you believe in them or not) all have a sense of humour. 42, as you know comes after 41, but it gained hilarious notoriety after its appearance as ‘the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. That said, it’s worth noting the significance of this hexagram in the Book of Changes, and its relevance.
Hexagram 42 means Increase… of all things!
The strong lower line that once belonged to the upper trigram (the top three lines) has moved down to take its place at the bottom of the lower trigram. This is an important pattern; it reiterates the concept that ‘to rule is to serve’. The sacrifice by a good person at the top of the tree produces an increase in the wellbeing of those sitting on the other branches – spirit can change the world, the zeitgeist is on the move, and even if we don’t feel as though things are on the increase… apparently they are. It’s true to say… the I Ching doesn’t usually get it wrong, and in my life… it has always been right.
So maybe… when we all felt rich or at least safe and secure we were slipping into spiritual and (for some of us) material decline, and now the tide is turning, in unexpected ways. Apparently when change starts to manifest itself, and certainly the summer took us all by surprise, we need to take advantage of the movement of time, we need to gently make decisions that bring change for the better, in oracle speak, we need to ‘undertake something… so… it furthers one to cross the great water”. This is a symbolic or metaphysical way of saying… get out there and do something inspired, and if possible, beautiful in every sense.
It’s the time of increase, and yet it may not feel like it. Perhaps that’s because we are all apprehensive. It’s true to say that when I went to the allotment today I came back with practically more than I can carry, and who could have believed such a thing was possible during the first the first four months of this year when it seemed that winter would never, ever end.