13 – fellowship with men

Graphic hexagram 13Our mental clarity, our ability to differentiate between important and unimportant, is the pivotal point of this hexagram. Our clarity allows us to analyze a situation and the various aspects it comprises: What are my options in this situation? Which of these options should I choose to achieve best results? What or who will help me, give me strength, promote my growth? What aspects of this situation are blocking me or lead me to a dead end in the long term? Sometimes it is enough to have just mental clarity. Sometimes, however, we must take action for the situation to develop and to gain momentum.

Scope of Questions
  • A user asks: “What is my actual situation?”. Later he describes his situation more precisely: “I let myself drift, feel attracted to nothing, an this creates a certain searching restlessness within me. I almost feel like the old woman who owns a hen that lays golden eggs. But because she can’t wait and wants to know why it always takes such a long time with the eggs, she slaughters the hen… I wonder: When is the right time for something? I think that’s the question I’m really concerned with and I’m not sure about that.”
  • An experienced user is consulting the I Ching since some years already. During that time her perspective onto the world has changed fundamentally. Her quite concrete question to the I Ching is: “Am I on the right path, am I on the path of harmonious action?”
    In this context the user finds one passage of the interpretation listed below particularly inspiring: “When our mind is clear, when we are all one with ourself and with our goal, we are re-connected to the whole: a state of mind, that lets us accept life’s uncertainties and marvel at its perfection.”
  •  A user asks the I Ching the following question: “Will my appeal against the decision of an academic institution be admitted?” At first glance this question is about assessment procedures with blatant and institutionalized errors. In the background existential questions resonate: “Who can I trust, who not, who supports me, who does not, and what does all this mean: for myself and in general?”
  • A user asks, “What is most important to me right now – in a particular situation and with a specific person?”

I am slowly getting the impression that the lower trigram, Li, might be a linchpin for the various situations delineated below. Keywords: clear differentiation; purification, separation
Li, fire, represents our ability to differentiate, to separate what is “clear” from what is “unclear”. The better I know myself, the easier it is for me to make this distinction. Only when I decide and concentrate on what is essential, I remain able to act. (more on the corresponding hexagram page)

Case Study

A user asks the I Ching: “How should I act in the current situation?” The I Ching’s response is hexagram 13 – fellowship with men.

The user does not specify the situation any further. Is it a situation with other people, a job situation? But actually this does not matter. I start my interpretation at the very root and ask: What is a situation?
A situation is a constellation of different aspects. These aspects may be harmonic, encourage and promote each other. But they may also oppose or block one another. In the midst of a situation we usually can act in more than one way. So the first question regarding a situation is: “What are my options in this situation?” And question number two: “What path shall I choose to achieve best results?”
The lower trigram of the hexagram 13 – fellowship with men shows Li, the fire. In no2DO I associate Li with the small intestine, which is described in the classical texts of Chinese medicine as the organ that separates the “clear” (= what is useful) from the “unclear” (= that what is of no use). On a physical level, food is transformed and split up in the stomach and then passed on to the small intestine. In the small intestine that what benefits and nourishes us is converted into life energy (Qi). All what is useless moves on to the large intestine and is later excreted. The small intestine’s ability to make a clear distinction is vital. But this ability refers not only to the material level, it also includes the mental level. On the mental level the functional circuit of the small intestine refers to mental clarity and our ability to distinguish the important from the unimportant. (Citations to the functional circuit → small intestine).
The first trigram Li raises the following questions regarding the user’s situation: “What aspects of this situation help me, give me strength, promote my growth?” But also: “What aspects are blocking me or lead me to a dead end in the long term?” Hereby the word aspect is to be understood in a relatively broad way: it covers not only material conditions, but also includes attitudes, thoughts and feelings.
And there are even more questions to be answered: “What is the quality of the individual aspects of this current situation? Which of them are a leitmotif to my behavior? Do they help me in achieving my long term goals? Or are there aspects in this situation I have ignored so far but which support my true goals excellently? “ Answering these questions shows us an attitude regarding how to face the current situation – eventually in a completely new, previously unknown way.
Once we achieve mental clarity and make a clear distinction, things may start moving on their own, in ways that are inscribed in their very core (Sun, the wind / tree; first core character). Sometimes, however, we must act for the situation to develop and to gain momentum.
At the end of the path there is Qian, the sky (second core character and upper trigram). Qian refers to our own mind, which ideally has a high degree of clarity and coherence, undisturbed by worries, desires, thought loops. When our mind is clear, when we are all one with ourself and with our goal, we are re-connected to the whole: a state of mind, that lets us accept life’s uncertainties and marvel at its perfection.

The user had consulted the I Ching with changing lines. Hexagram 13 – fellowship with men in her case turns into 48 – the well. Hexagram 48 – the well is commented → here in detail. With reference to hexagram 13- fellowship with men 48 – the well may point at the fact that we shall proceed very carefully when distinguishing the situation’s aspects. Internal consistence, ie concordance with our own true beliefs, our gut feeling, is important.

The current interpretation can be found here: https://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/787777.htm