57 – the gentle

Graphic hexagram 57

Scope of Questions
  • A user writes: “I can’t go on, the situation is draining me, but fighting against it makes me even more tired and exhausted”. His question to the I Ching: “Is the attitude I agree, the answer?” The I Ching’s answer is 57 – the gentle.
  • A user asks, “How should I deal with the impulses, how do I center, what are my real intentions?”
  • A user asks, “Should I make a clear cut and work for a foundation?” Currently he is employed by an exploitative and inhumanly profit-oriented company, which he can hardly stand any more. Actually, his decision is made, now he hopes that everything will work out.

Case Study

A user asks the I Ching whether she should open up a new field of business. Specifically, she is thinking of consulting in a field in which she has gained a lot of personal experience in recent years. The answer of the I Ching is: 57 – the gentle.

Hexagram 57 - the gentle (collage)
A collage based on the intuitive-experimental work with Hexagram 57 – the gentle.

The lower trigram in hexagram 57 – the gentle is Sun, the wind / tree  and stands for assertiveness and leadership. But for these forces to be effective, orientation is necessary. So the underlying question is: Where do I stand and where do the others stand? I work intuitively-experimentally with the user and give her time for a short meditation. Then I ask her what image appeared to her during the meditation. The image she received was that of a small fungus (mushroom) growing in the moss. The associated feeling was: blissful security. A mushroom that grows among tall trees and that helps these trees communicate with each other.*

Sun evolves further into Dui, the lake: touch. What feeling is triggered by the idea of touch with the outside world? After another short period of meditation, a new image has appeared to the user: the image of a black raven. The associated feelings are fear and an inkling of danger. However, the element in which the raven lives is air, while the fungus with which the user identifies herself belongs to the earthly element: the fungi, the mycelium, live in the soil. In fact, the user even has a relatively concrete idea of what the danger in her planned advisory activity might be: That she takes on work that actually her clients would have to do.

In the course of the hexagram Dui develops further to Li, the fire. Here the topic of differentiation arises, of boundary and demarcation, of the ability to differentiate between that which belongs to oneself and that which belongs to others. The user again meditates briefly on her image with the small fungus between tall trees and the warning black raven. And she comes to the conclusion that she has no problem at all with seeing the boundaries: Because the fungus, as an organism, is completely different from the trees and also completely different from the raven.

Lastly, Li transforms into Sun. The related question is whether the user is clear about her own objectives and about the objectives of her potential clients. After a short period of meditating on her image, the user answers that she knows exactly what the trees want and need: The trees need communication, they want to communicate with each other – and that is exactly what the fungus provides them with. In return, the trees provide the fungus with protection and food. A symbiosis from which everyone benefits – as long as they know who they are and what are their specific tasks.

Cf. The Social Life of Forests: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/02/magazine/tree-communication-mycorrhiza.html

The current interpretation can be found here https://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/877877.htm