Nature of the Book of Changes
1. The Master said: The Creative and the Receptive are indeed the gateway to the Changes. The Creative is the representative of light things and the Receptive of dark things. In that the natures of the dark and the light are joined, the firm and the yielding receive form. Thus do the relationships of heaven and earth take shape, and we enter into relationship with the nature of the light of the gods.
The Creative and the Receptive are indeed the gateway to the Changes.
In any cycle there are two extremes.
Once these are observed the remaining hexagrams will be revealed in their correct sequence.
Light is born out of darkness, and in time it returns back to the darkness.
From the greatest darkness at the winter solstice of Dec. 22, the longest night of the year, light is born and begins to increase.
The light waxes.
It will continue to increase until the longest day or summer solstice of Jun. 21.
Light increases steadily day by day until it can increase no more.
This is represented by the bottom line of the hexagram being solid.
From the greatest light or longest day of the year, Jun. 21, darkness is born and begins to increase.
The light wanes.
Darkness will continue to increase until the longest night or winter solstice of Dec. 22.
This is represented by the bottom line of the hexagram being broken.
The Creative is the representative of light things
Where there is light, there is creativity.
The increasing light is the way of creativity.
A solid line in the first place, Dec. 22 to Jun. 21.
and the Receptive of dark things.
Where there is darkness, there is receptivity.
The increasing darkness, or decreasing light, is the way of the receptive.
A broken line in the first place, Jun. 21 to Dec. 22.
In that the natures of the dark and the light are joined,
In that the heavenly light and earthly darkness come together and influence each other.
Because the heavens shine on the earth and the earth receives the light, life is born.
the firm and the yielding receive form.
Within the daily rotation of the earth across the year the spectrum of human experience is contained.
It is distinguished by forms that are firm and yielding.
These are our individual bodies and other forms that will experience the heavenly creative ascent of light as increasing strength and firmness; a time when much can be done and activity increases.
The more active we are, the firmer and more stable we can be.
We experience the earthly receptive retreat of light as increasing vulnerability and receptivity.
With darkness, life becomes more difficult and we do less.
We will need more and must yield strength and firmness, to caution and care.
Thus do the relationships of heaven and earth take shape,
In this way the heavens influence the earth and the earth responds.
In this way the zodiac signs, the light of the year, shine their light into the houses of worldly circumstances, the darkness of earth, and the natural way of astrology is established.
and we enter into relation with the nature of the light of the gods.
This brings us under the influence of the moving lights: the sun, moon, and the planets.
Our relationship to the gods manifests across the year (sun), the month (moon) and the day (earth).
In this way we are in a relationship to the moving lights or gods above.
From understanding this way and applying it in our lives we can elevate our natures and even assist the gods themselves.
We can use the sun, moon and planets and the zodiac signs and their position in the houses as guides to direct our lives.
This is the way of the changes!
This is the way of astrology!
This is the way of nature and life!
2. The names employed are manifold but not superfluous. When we examine their kinds, thoughts about the decline of an era come to mind.
The names employed are manifold
The names used have multiple functions and origins.
The names and words used in the hexagrams have several sources.
This refers to the hexagrams or cycle of changes having three levels of relevance.
The first level of association is to the heavenly lights, or the zodiac with its seasonal fluctuations of the light and the dark.
The second level of association is to the moving lights, the sun, moon and planets, and the moon phases with its monthly fluctuations of the light and the dark.
The third level of association is to the movements of the earth, or the twelve astrological houses, with its daily fluctuations of the light and the dark, which are expressed as firm and yielding reactions to the light of the heavens, within the darkness of the mundane world.
but not superfluous.
The words are not irrelevant.
They are exactly what is needed to express the nature of change.
They precisely describe the heavenly lights, the moving lights and the changing worldly circumstances on earth.
They do this, and nothing else!
These are wise words indeed!
These three levels of association inherent in the changes are also inherent in the Chinese language.
They are the changes above, the changes below, and the changes in between.
When we examine their kinds,
When we study the various levels, their nature and relevance,
When we learn about the zodiac signs or heavenly lights, we begin to understand the seasons and the main cycle of life.
When we learn about the moon phases and the moving lights, we come to understand the tides and the fluctuations of the month, and the implications of the planetary cycles.
When we come to learn about the astrological houses or worldly circumstances, we come to understand the uniqueness and implications of the hours of the day.
By examining these multiple applications and levels, we come to an incredible understanding of life and nature.
As we observe the clarity and insight of these changes we see a most elegant and sophisticated teaching.
We come to respect the wisdom of the changes.
thoughts about the decline of an era come to mind.
One begins to think about where such wisdom originated, and what incredibly advanced civilization brought these teachings to life.
We can think that the time of Confucius was very advanced in understanding compared to present times.
In the time of Confucius, the time of King Wan and the Duke of Chou
seemed very advanced but in the time of King Wan and the Duke of Chou a new order of the changes were established to represent the confusion of the times.
This was the mathematical order of the Sequence of Later Heaven.
Before that in the time of Fu Hsi, the natural order of the changes was in use.
This was the era of the greatest insights and teachings.
This was the era of the Sequence of Earlier Heaven.
The source of this natural way of change, came long before the origin of mathematical concepts and abstract concepts.
The changes originated from a most evolved time.
The changes were originally divinely lucid, but the divine clarity declined as it became abstracted and rationalized.
Today we have a sense that modern life is an evolution and progressive advancement, that reveals how man is better than and beyond nature.
Through mathematics and science, it has been presented that we have evolved from a dull witted caveman existence.
What is implied here is the opposite.
It is implied that mankind has devolved.
There was a devolution as mankind became more and more detached from nature and its ways.
Pollution, disease, discord and a lack of harmony with the changes reveals such a devolution; a movement into ignorance and folly; a movement away from and at the expense of nature.
It is no wonder that there is so little divine understanding in the world today.
One comes to think of how it must have been when the changes were used to understand the way of the gods and the way of elevating our natures to be divinely clear.
Over the millennia whenever a civilization rose to its peak astrology accompanied it.
Astrology has been the science of the world for thousands of years.
Why should that understanding be suddenly ignored and made to appear as invalid?
Once again, thoughts about the decline of an era come to mind.
3. The Changes illuminate the past and interpret the future. They disclose that which is hidden and open that which is dark. They distinguish things by means of suitable names. Then, when the right words and decisive judgements are added, everything is complete.
The Changes illuminate the past and interpret the future.
When one understands the cycles of the moving lights in the heavens and their influence on the earth, one can know when the sun, moon and planets are in each zodiac sign.
Then one can know the seeds of each cycle, when they occurred in the past, and when they will occur in the future.
Knowing the seeds one can understand the progression of the cycles, their growth, their development and their completion.
Knowing the cycles will shed insight on the past and why things have developed and happened the way that they have.
Knowing the cycles and the seeds, one will be able to see the implications of the future.
Knowing the past and the future, one will gain perspective on the present.
In this way one can see the way of life and nature from an elevated perspective.
One will see through the eyes of the gods and be able to live accordingly.
They disclose that which is hidden and open that which is dark.
The changes reveal the light half and the dark half of each cycle: of the year, zodiac and seasons, of the month with its moon phases, and of the days with its hours of light and darkness.
The existence of the moving lights, the heavenly lights and their effects on the earth are hidden to the average person.
One must be educated or initiated to know these things.
Because of this, they have been considered hidden or occult.
By knowing the whole cycle and its seeds one will see and understand both the light side and the dark side of the force.
One will see the spring and summer, and understand the implications of fall and winter.
One will see the full moon and understand the dark new moon as well.
One will see the moving lights when they are above the horizon (houses 7 to 12) and also understand them when they are below the horizon (house 1 to 6).
It is the changes that provide this understanding.
The changes are astrological.
They distinguish things by means of suitable names.
The changes are the language of the stars or astrology.
There are appropriate names for the portions (weeks) of the year, the zodiac, and its seasons.
There are appropriate names for the phases of the moon or portions of the month.
There are appropriate names for the astrological houses, and the hours of the day.
Then, when the right words and decisive judgements are added, everything is complete.
The right words are the planets in the signs and the houses.
The names of the hexagrams signify the circumstances of these celestial and worldly changes.
The decisive judgements are the astrological interpretations of these words and associations.
They are the insights about each hexagram and line revealing the nature of the light and the dark in its phase of the cycle.
When this understanding comes together everything is included.
A complete assessment can be made.
The essence and fullness of life and nature is thus completed.
Nothing is left out.
Nothing more is needed.
Completion marks the seed and essence of comprehension.
Such is the way of astrology.
Such is the way of the changes.
4. The names employed sound unimportant, but the possibilities of application are great. The meanings are far-reaching, the judgements are well ordered. The words are roundabout but they hit the mark. Things are openly set forth, but they contain also a deeper secret. This is why in doubtful cases they may serve to guide the conduct of men and thus to show the requital for reaching or for missing the goal.
The names employed sound unimportant, but the possibilities of application are great.
The names familiar and ordinary.
Everyone can relate to them.
For this reason they seem ordinary.
But when one contemplates these words and applies them to life, they apply to the zodiac or heavenly lights, the moving lights, and to the houses or circumstances of the day.
This is what is meant by great.
What application could be greater?
The meanings are far-reaching, the judgements are well ordered.
Far reaching implies that the words include all the circumstances of the earth (houses or hours of the day), the phases of the moon and the moving lights, and they go so far as to include the very lights of the heavens.
What could be further than this?
Because they align with the seasons (zodiac), the moon phases, and the light and dark portions of the day, the changes and its words are well ordered.
It is the order and way of the gods.
What could be more well ordered?
The words are roundabout but they hit the mark.
The words represent cycles around us and they represent phases of the cycles, and that is the definition of roundabout.
Hence they hit the mark, or they represent what is actual time, and what is truly going on.
Hitting the mark, they are right on time and accurate.
Words in Chinese are pictures with many levels of association and meaning.
This is similar to a horoscope which has many levels: zodiac signs, houses, moving lights and aspects.
The changes too have many levels of application.
Things are openly set forth,
By divination the hexagrams can be clearly observed and their words can be seen.
but they contain also a deeper secret.
The secret is that the hexagrams are astrological and the clear insights thus derived have astrological seeds or origins.
Thus they contain the essence of understanding.
In history it is interesting to note that while periods of astrological persecution occurred the understanding of the changes and their subtleties appeared to be something different and so they survived.
In fact astrology has survived but it has been significantly maligned or made to look unreasonable.
Astrology became a secret or hidden language.
This is why in doubtful cases
Doubtful cases are those in which one has lost one’s way, or one’s relationship to the gods and heavenly lights, when one has fallen into the darkness and doubt of not knowing these heavenly divine things or their influence on the circumstances of earth.
they may serve to guide the conduct of men
The changes are the maps and the guidelines of the heavens.
They help man to elevate his nature, and live up to his potential and destiny.
This is also what the horoscope does.
and thus to show the requital for reaching or for missing the goal.
The changes reveal the cycles and phases.
Each hexagram has a specific relationship to the seed of the cycle, and represents a specific phase with an accurate assessment of the amount of light and darkness as it increases or decreases.
Thus it can show which action or reaction is appropriate or not.
If one goes against the flow, one will miss the mark and fail.
If one goes with the flow, one will benefit and succeed.
This is the value of the changes and astrology.
This is the affirmation of the unity of the two.
This is what can be used to guide action in cases of doubt.
Without doubt one will simply act and be creative.
Such a one will have no concerns.
As concern develops,
so does the value of the changes.