I did an I Ching reading for a client the other night. She has a virtual blank slate situation and is weighing a lot of different options. It’s the kind of opportunity where one can entertain ideas that were once unfeasible. Let’s just say that she is wide open to an array of possibilities at this point.
The final hexagram was number 16, often translated as “enthusiasm.” It can also mean “lively, happy.” As a verb it can be “comfort” or “prepare.”
The judgment talks about appointing the marquis and setting the armies marching. This idea is illustrated in the form of the hexagram itself with the single yang line in the fourth place calling the orders. The standard interpretation for this hexagram is one of jovial grandeur. Those troops are moving toward a shared ideal. This is BIG. This is something to get excited about. Here we can tie a semantic thread between “preparation” and “enthusiasm.”
In practice, I have found that this hexagram has a shadow. Part of the character comes from the character for “elephant.” Again, elephants are grand. They trumpet and stomp, creating a sound that can be heard for miles around. This hexagram is composed of Thunder over Earth so we can see that reverberation. The image commentary describes a musical jam session. But when we consider another meaning for ‘elephant” the veil starts to drop. In Chinese “Elephant” also means “appearance.”
Here’s part of what I wrote in my reading:
“Have you ever watched a suspenseful thriller on mute? It’s not nearly as exciting, is it? What’s missing? The Music. Music manipulates emotions to create a mood. Stores play music to make you buy more. Its fun to get swept up by a feeling, not so fun when you realize you don’t have space for that giant couch you just bought. Enjoy your enthusiasm without getting carried away. Sometimes opportunities are not what they appear to be.”
For this reason I associate Hexagram 16 with the Tarot card, The Moon. Just as the reflective light of the moon illuminates just enough to stoke the imagination, the flat billboard side of an elephant is begging for your projections. What do you see?
I advised that she make sure she understands the reality of each position that she is applying for. Just because you’ve seen every episode ofdoes not mean that you should go work on a crab boat.