Tag Archives: hexagram #54

Chuck’s Place: Patient Waiting

These days I allow myself but one minute a day to read the world news. It’s all I really need to stay informed. It’s not an act of avoidance; it’s highly pragmatic and necessary to ensure my energetic preservation.

Patient waiting…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I came to this decision after observing the impact on my energy when I tracked the flow of news throughout the day. Repeated exposure led to spikes of reactive emotional activity that sucked the life out of me.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico identified this as the impact of entities preying upon human energy. The shamans realized that the way to not feed these entities was to stop getting aggravated by them. When the shamans calmed their own energy the entities could no longer rile them. The entity then had nothing to feed off and moved on. That is what the energetic predicament on the world stage feels like right now and I feel it most imperative to guard my energy very carefully, to preserve the Self, and have the needed energy to act when it feels really right to do so.

Trump appears to emulate such an entity. It’s time to stop being aggravated by him, to stop expecting him to be different. It’s not going to happen. Give him nothing to feed off.  He can only be empowered by the emotional volatility that he incites. Starve him!

For objective guidance I have sought the counsel of the I Ching ever since the U. S. Presidential election was decided. The first reading I received was hexagram #54 Making Do, which I discussed in a previous blog back in November. Here is that blog: Making Do.

Last week I was compelled to consult the I Ching once again, as I felt the stirrings of a more extraverted response, as collective movements began springing up in response to executive orders. The I Ching gave me the exact same reading that I received in November, hexagram #54, Making Do. Once again it accentuated the first line of the hexagram and, in addition, the final line. I quote Richard Wihelm’s commentary on the first line:

“A man may enjoy the personal friendship of a prince and be taken into his confidence. Outwardly this man must keep tactfully in the background behind the official ministers of state, but, although he is hampered by this status, as if he were lame, he can nevertheless accomplish something through the kindliness of his nature.”

I think an apt example of this type of tactful influence is exemplified by an Elon Musk, a CEO chosen for Trump’s advisory council. Musk holds the value of addressing climate change, yet knows how to make money. Trumps respects him. He is one of only two CEOs on Trump’s CEO advisory panel of nineteen who challenged Trump’s order targeting Muslims.

The additional line at the top that I received in this second reading is abundantly clear: A marriage ritual is to be performed but neither the man nor woman is sincere; no real union is possible. The I Ching makes clear that though the outer forms of a democratic union may be observed, they are superficial. A genuine union is not possible. There is no genuine union with Trump.

This hexagram turns, in the future, into hexagram #61, Inner Truth. When the outer truths are overshadowed by fake news and authoritarianism, it is wise to send one’s attention inward and discover the real truth in one’s own heart and gut.

This morning, seeking further counsel, I once again consulted the I Ching for guidance to pass on. I received hexagram #3, Difficulty at the Beginning. This hexagram is about the chaos of birth. In one respect we are facing the chaos of the birth of a radical new world leadership. Additionally, we are at the beginning of the birth of a world movement seeking to respond to actions that many feel to be extremely dangerous to world survival.

The I Ching highlights the second line of this hexagram: a wagon breaks down, the horses run off; it’s a crisis, but someone immediately appears and offers rescue. The I Ching warns about a quick solution that appears to provide rescue. It points instead to patient waiting, that a cycle of time must first be completed which will prepare the foundation for a natural solution to fall into place. Strong guidance to avoid impulsive, precipitous action, however tempting it may be!

The future of this hexagram is #60, Limitation. Here the guidance is to accept the limits of what can be accomplished at this time and to place limits around the growing anxiety and emotional pressure within the self. A lake without borders can only flood, whereas a contained reservoir offers abundant nourishment when the time is right for sweeping action.

Each one of us must check in with our heart and gut and decide what action is right for us to take. Sometimes patiently waiting is the wisest yet most challenging action. That being said, it is the guidance for now.

Patiently waiting,


Chuck’s Place: Making Do

The following guidance may not satisfy the anxiety, fears, and anger of the moment, but I am obliged to pass on what I received from my trusted guide of 45 years, the I Ching, when I asked the following question: What is the correct attitude in this coming time of darkness?

Out of the darkness the light will rise again... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Out of the darkness the light will rise again…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The reading I received was hexagram #54, The Concubine, Making Do. Please be advised that though the hexagrams of the I Ching are archetypes, that is, configurations of energy that remain unchanging, the manifestations or actual representations of the archetypes change with succeeding generations. Thus, the anachronistic notion of a concubine in today’s world represents an unacceptable condition that one is forced to live with. Advice is offered in how best to survive it and have influence in a time of Making Do.

For better or worse, America married Donald Trump on November 8, 2016. The bride of Obama, the progressive populace, has been displaced and relegated to the lowly status of concubine. We all remain part of the same Union, but she/he, who until now enjoyed dominance in governance, must now come to know and be led by the other side. That other side has attained the legitimacy of the White House, and so it stands.

The I Ching does liken this national predicament to a family that houses both a legitimate wife and a concubine. Though both women live in the same home only one has legitimate power. We are at present a nation completely divided in half, but with only one half legitimately represented and in power. Hatred and blame will only further the divide. The overarching principle that is accentuated in hexagram #54 and is key to weathering through the divide is affection. As the I Ching states: “Affection as the essential principle of relatedness is of the greatest importance in all relationships in the world.” We must not forget this most important advice as we enter a new era where affection seems already greatly lacking.

The first moving line of hexagram #54, nine in the first place, offers special counsel stressing the correct decorum for one relegated to a lowly status while nonetheless finding a safe and meaningful place within the nation. The guidance is clear: withdraw modestly into the background, do not attempt to overstep bounds or usurp power that one is not entitled to.

In a second example offered by the I Ching, a man of lowly influence is friends with a prince and is taken into his confidence. This man remains tactfully in the background behind the ministers of state and though hampered by his status, as if he were lame, he is nonetheless able to accomplish something by quietly working behind the scenes.

The key to the guidance here is the checking of hubris, entitlement, and self-importance. If one can tactfully withdraw attention from oneself, one may indeed exert influence. In the shaman’s world this is the exercise of losing self-importance when under the dominance of a petty tyrant. By dropping self-importance, the ego, one is able to accomplish something that ultimately brings down the tyrant.

Nine in the fourth place of hexagram #54 offers additional special guidance, depicting a maiden who refuses an alternative arrangement to a legitimate marriage. Through her patient, virtuous waiting she is rewarded with a late but most fulfilling marriage. The guidance here is patience and containment. Remain inwardly true to your values and ideals though the tension of the time of waiting and the challenges presented over the next four years will be great. In patient acceptance of where things are, but inwardly remaining true to and keeping alit the true light in the heart, we will indeed be rewarded with a new dawn.

Finally, though the I Ching advises that for the present we must “make do” with a highly virulent and volatile predicament, in patience and containment, it stresses that the light will again be restored and reassert its guiding influence over the darkness that now descends upon us. Eventually, it teaches us, the right light will shine again, for the future of this hexagram is Spring: the return of the light.

The I Ching translates as, The Book of Changes, that is, all things must pass, nothing is forever.




Chuck’s Place: The Marrying Maiden & The Petty Tyrant

Images in search of resolution... - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
Images in search of resolution…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

The Marrying Maiden, hexagram #54 of the I Ching, is a reading I’ve grappled with much of my adult life. The Petty Tyrant is a central theme in the training of the warrior in the shamanic world of Carlos Castaneda. I see the marrying maiden and the petty tyrant as mirror images of wisdom, pearls from two ancient traditions that reflect so relevantly in the world of now.

Contrary to a sweet, innocent image that the marrying maiden might evoke, hexagram #54 depicts an unchosen life, a woman forced into the role of second wife as she must enter the home of her marrying sister’s husband, an ancient Chinese custom. Not the chosen bride she nonetheless must accept her new station and all the duties it entails. Thus, hexagram #54 depicts an unchosen, unwelcome fate.

From a broader perspective this predicament captures a salient feature of the reality of life in this world. As Buddha concluded, “Life is suffering. There is no escaping old age, sickness and death.” This is our collective reality—we are all marrying maidens to forces we cannot control.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that we spend the bulk of our energy fighting these deeper truths of our human condition. They saw this as absorption in self-pity. I understand this as absorption in the child state of resistance to the inevitable loss of paradise that we may or may not have experienced in our early childhood. Regardless, we feel entitled to have it restored or finally delivered, refusing to leave the garden, stubbornly demanding our due.

Of course, this is a very young hero that holds the world accountable, but this young hero is ill-equipped for the adult truth of old age, sickness and suffering, that which ultimately afflicts us all. The Shamans see humankind as fixated at the stage of this young hero, wasting most of its energy fighting fruitless battles. The marrying maiden is doing the same thing, bemoaning her fate. The I Ching guides her to see the reality of her situation and to position herself appropriately without self-pity. Similarly, the Shamans encourage us to identify our petty tyrants—those who ruthlessly show no consideration for our needs—as our teachers.

Rather than spend energy on fruitless anger and resistance, a warrior stares down any energetic spillage of self-pity. A warrior fully accepts the circumstances that life presents and with clarity and full energy acts in accordance with what is possible, with what is the best decision to make, and with what is the best action to take in the moment. To achieve this readiness one must be fully present without an ounce of energy spent feeling sorry or sad for the predicament one finds one’s self in.

Ahh...peace at last! - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
Ahh…peace at last!
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

In a world currently dominated by violent opposition, where the opposites are dissociated and only seek resolution by destroying each other, we are confronted with being marrying maidens to these petty tyrants all over the world, most especially in our own country. It is challenging to not succumb to the self-pity of helplessness in such a state of chaos. On the other hand, we are gifted an opportunity to train in warriorhood.

A warrior pauses, examines the true nature of things and awaits decisive action in full clarity. A warrior spends no energy bemoaning his or her fate; all circumstances are equal opportunities to transform one’s position as fateful marrying maiden into that of decisive warrior. A warrior is grateful for all teachers, especially the petty tyrants.

Once broken of the fixation of self-pity and entitlement, we are truly freed to be leaders advancing into a new world beyond the filters of self-obsession into deeper truth, fulfillment and new balance.

Most humbly,

Chuck’s Place: From Destiny To Choice In A Concubine World

Zeus over the lake...

The lake rests in calm repose. Suddenly and shockingly, thunder blindsides the stillness. Zeus ravages once again; the lake is disturbed and shown its destiny. The marrying maiden is delivered to the threshold of her husband’s door.

In the case of Kuei Mei, the I Ching’s hexagram #54—The Marrying Maiden—this is not an auspicious event. This is the marriage of woman as concubine, indeed a destiny of suffering.

Buddha discovered that LIFE itself is suffering. As beings born into this world we are all stamped as concubines, and we only fully grasp this notion as we understand that the circumstances of our births, the stamps of our destinies, require us to fully suffer those destinies. We cannot escape them. Even if we refuse them through denial, delusion or death, we cannot escape the controlling hands of our destinies. We cannot change the reality of what or who we are. Our challenge is to fully discover, become, and accept that which we are. And then we are free to truly dream it forward, that is, to choose.

Once we embrace our destiny we are free to dream it into new worlds of possibility and fulfillment, untethered to the destiny of our origins. But, until then we must suffer.

It was my stamp, my destiny, to repeatedly suffer the ravages of rape and alcoholic violence foisted upon my mother as I lay in frozen stillness, incubating in the embryonic pool of her womb. Like the calm lake in hexagram #54, I had to withstand the sudden thunder and lightning that came from outside, in the form of my abusive father. My destiny was PTSD, PTSD in oneness with my pregnant mother.

My choice, after decades of discovering my destiny—who I am—has been to dream that destiny forward, as a therapist discovering an evolutionary advance for PTSD, dreaming it forward as a gateway to infinity. Arrival at that gateway—being released from the confines of destiny—through deep inner work, leads to choice and real freedom.

All worlds are multifaceted...

The journey from destiny to choice is multifaceted. Most prominent is the facet of recapitulation. Every day we are triggered by our spirit to recapture the deepest truths of our destiny. We are asked by our own fears and stumblings in everyday life to wake up to where we’ve been and who we are, right down to the elemental essence of our conception. That joining of genes is the stamp of our individuality, the formative journey of our material beings, sending us off on our destinies. Just as I was stamped in my mother’s womb, so are we all.

Until we can feel and know all that we are, all that we’ve been through, we suffer the limitations of beings not ready to fully know ourselves. Of necessity we are held back from the full truth of our heritage and personal history and remain caught in revisionist lives. We remain blinded by false beliefs of who we are, struck by the glare of the thunder and lightning of our lives. We remain stuck in a concubine world.

In recapitulation, we gather up and recondition our parts, the fragments of our destined selves. We reclaim and rejoin with our true selves, experiencing revitalized energy as we recapitulate. Along the path we are challenged to face our victim status, i.e.: None of it was fair. None of it was okay. We didn’t deserve it. It’s not supposed to be this way. They shouldn’t have been allowed to do that. All of this, and much more, is true. It must be acknowledged; yet, beyond that, the truth is that destiny is not fair. The world of the concubine is not fair. Destiny, however, is an experience seeker, a unique combination of energy—a “probe of awareness,” as the shamans would say—sent out in search of new experience.

Who are we? Victim or Fox?

Destiny has no morality. It just is. We awaken to our destiny and seek to make it pleasurable, meaningful, and fulfilling. That is our predilection, the stamp of our humanness. And so, as humans we naturally challenge ourselves to evolve our destinies beyond their victim, concubine, origins. To remain in the victim range is to limit ourselves to the concubine world, far from dreaming our destinies forward. But, the truth is, it’s a formidable task to release our destinies from the human judgment of victim. And, yes, “victim” is a human judgment, for destiny carries no such judgment. It simply is. It simply seeks to evolve, asking us to work with what we got in order to break away from the victim, concubine, world we find ourselves in everyday.

All judgments—though so humanly necessary, as we scrutinize and come to know ourselves and our world—are, ultimately, obstacles to full self-acceptance, as much of what we are, what we’ve done, and what we’ve been exposed to, is often truly unacceptable. To arrive at truth, we must release the human judgments of acceptability and unacceptability. We must fully open up to what is, and, most especially, to what was. Suspend judgment, Carlos Castaneda recommended, as the fundamental resource to discovering who we are and who we might fully become.

Destiny and choice, seeming opposites, are actually a pair of inseparable twins, though in this concubine world destiny births first, followed by choice. Allow the full birth of your own destiny, through recapitulation of the concubine world you now live in, and birth your choice.

Still choosing to dream it forward,