Hexagram 57-Tree over Tree-Gentle Penetration, Flexibility, Permeate. The Chinese word for this hexagram means to crouch, or to bow down. Be quiet, observant, and flexible, as this is how trees avoid being uprooted by strong winds. You have the opportunity to learn much, and to gain insight.
Hexagram 58-Lake over Lake-Self-Confidence, Encouragement, Pleasure. Now is the time to come out into the open and speak your mind, a time for joyous self-expression, and friendly interchange with others. Difficulties are easier to bear when you’re enjoying yourself. Your ingenuity and inventiveness will serve you well in this matter.
Hexagram 59-Tree over Water-Break Up, Disperse, Scatter. The ice breaks up at the end of winter and the water begins to move. The Chinese word for this hexagram means ‘flood.’ Floods are frightening at first, but they can sweep you to high ground. You are in unsettled times. There is movement after a period of relative immobility. Strive to keep your balance in the flood and your head above water, without getting drowned, or wiped out.
Hexagram 60-Water over Lake-Discipline, Guidelines, Limitations. Now is not the time to do things freestyle. Order, structure and limits are needed in this situation. Act with restraint, if at all. Remember, though, that too much restraint is not beneficial; it can create bitterness and resentment. So look for where you can loosen-up restrictions if this is the case.
Hexagram 61-Tree over Lake-Trusting, Wholehearted, Centered. Remain centered, and do not solose yourself in your surroundings, you forget who you are and what you’re doing. Picture a mother hen with her chicks; she sits in the center while her children mill about her, but she nonetheless keeps an eye on everything. With sincere and single-minded dedication, you can accomplish much.
Hexagram 62-Thunder over Mountain-Details, Caution, Getting By. Loud action happening over a bunch of stillness. You aren’t in a position to make major changes to this situation. Pay attention to details, and keep a low-profile. Fly under the radar and keep a look-out for thunder. Don’t push your luck right now.
Hexagram 63-Water over Fire-Climax, Culmination, Achievement. When fire and water are in perfect balance, a magical transformation occurs. This is a flawless moment. You have made it. You are lucky. But be aware, this flawless moment is already changing into something else, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Hexagram 64-Fire over Water-Second Wind, Not There Yet, Unfinished Business. Fire and water are moving away from each other, and it will take some doing to bring them together in a beneficial way. Picture a fox trying to cross a frozen river in winter. Depending on the fox’s age, it will approach the challenge differently, but it’s a tricky and potentially-hazardous situation in any event. Keep your tail up. Whatever circumstance you’re in, it’s not over yet. Success isn’t assured, but it’s possible, if you can make a sustained effort.
So this is a brief introduction to the 64 Hexagrams. In the next lesson, we’ll discuss how to cast the I Ching, and what to do in the event there is a ‘changing’ line in the hexagram you’ve thrown.
Print out the Eight Trigrams Flashcards from the pdf posted above. Then with the flashcards in hand, look over the list of 64 hexagrams. Cut the cards out, and move them around to reflect each hexagram. Just using the Eight Trigrams cards, what do the component trigrams of each hexagram suggest to you? What images does it conjure up for you? For example, Hexagram 63, Water above Fire. Do you think, ‘pot of water boiling on a stove’ or do you think ‘water dousing a campfire’? Can both be true?
Go to your local public library and look up what resources they have on the subject of the I Ching. If you choose to practice the I Ching as one of your regular divination methods, it is a good idea to read-up on the subject from more than one source. Do any of the sources seem to clash in their interpretation of the 64 hexagrams, or is there general agreement as to their meanings?
Next Lesson: How to cast the I Ching, and what to do if you have changes in one or more lines of the Hexagram you cast.