Monday, February 19, 2007

Calendar Series: 28th Month / Return (The Turning Point) (1988)






















Return (The Turning Point) is the 24th hexagram in the I Ching or Book of Changes. In the late 1960s, learning that Bob Dylan had been reading the I Ching, I became curious about that book.


My college roommate had a copy of the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, the 3rd edition, and she showed me how to consult the I Ching using three pennies. Eventually I bought my own copy. The last time I consulted the I Ching was January 1, 2006. Maybe it's time to consult it again.

The following is the Wilhelm/Baynes translation for hexagram 24:



24. Fu / Return (The Turning Point)

above K'UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
below CHêN THE AROUSING, THUNDER

The idea of a turning point arises from the fact that after the dark lines have pushed all of the light lines upward and out of the hexagram, another light line enters the hexagram from below. The time of darkness is past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light. This hexagram is linked with the eleventh month, the month of the solstice (December-January).

THE JUDGMENT

RETURN. Success.
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and fro goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram K'un is characterized by devotion; thus the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement is cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth. All movements are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return. Thus the winter solstice, with which the decline of the year begins, comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of the young light, and it arises when six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement.

THE IMAGE

Thunder within the earth:
The image of THE TURNING POINT.
Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
At the time of solstice.
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.

The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year--a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the new year. In winter the life energy, symbolized by thunder, the Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.

2 comments:

Lori Witzel said...

A wonderful thing to come across on a night where my achy self woke me up much too early.

The painting gives me a feeling of gentle growth and solace, and (since I was thumbing through my much-loved copy of The Old Dragon, er, the I Ching last night) the post gave me a feeling of connected synchronicities.

Much appreciated.

am said...

Glad to hear that that painting was there at the right time for you. Hope you get a better night's sleep tonight. Thanks always for visiting. I love synchronicity.