Saturday, August 22, 2020

I Ching Questions and Answers: Line 1 and Line 6

 I often receive questions about the I Ching, and how to read it more effectively. If you have a question post it in the comments below and I will try to answer it.

Meanwhile, here is one example of a question someone recently sent me, and my answer:

Q: what does it mean when only line 1 and line 6 are changing?


In an I Ching casting, you derive a six-line hexagram. In the casting, any number of those lines, from none at all to all six, could theoretically be changing lines. 

Any lines might or might not be changing. 

You cast the lines in order from the bottom to the top, so that the bottom line is considered "line 1", and the top line is considered "line 6".

If more than one line is changing, it is important to determine what is the "central line", the part of the casting that is the most important. The way to do this is explained in The Magician's I Ching.

So if you get only two changing lines, and they are line 1 and line 6, of the two the central line of the reading is line 6. Line 1 needs to be read as a kind of prelude to the central line 6.

In an I Ching casting the position of each line has a general sense of importance. As each Hexagram represents a situation, the bottom 1st line represents the very beginning of the situation; often even what happens before the situation is really in action. Line two is often when things get going. Line three the most difficult part (the jump between the lower lines and the upper lines). Line four is when you're past the middle of the situation. Line 5 is usually the climax or peak of the situation, and Line 6 is when the situation is ending or even past due to end.

Since Line 1 usually signifies something taking place very early, and line 6 very late, there is a bigger distance between the two than if they were any other two lines. It can also mean with regard to the question that issues that happened at the beginning of the process are relevant to what is happening right now.

So in a casting where Line 1 and Line 6 are the two changing lines, you ought to think of Line 6 as what's most central right now, but there are things about how the current situation began that are having an important effect or consequence at the time of the situation ending.

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