I Ching, Yijing or Zhou Yi
"Oracle of the sun": © 2000 LiSe

  Yi Jing, Oracle of the Sun

Li discern

Ideogram: net + bird
attribute: Fire


Photo: John McColgan, fire behavior analyst with the Alaska Fire Service.

trigram Heaven

 Name of a bird, Oriole. Loan for leave, depart from, to be dispersed, distribute, arrange, vis à vis, meet with, fall into, fasten, attach, pass through, droop, hang down, light, brilliance, to be separated from, differ from, to defy, to go against, paired, hedge. 

 At right a bird, and at left a bird-net: to catch or having caught a bird. Nowadays the net-part means: a bogey, bright, elegant, to oppose. 

 In the MaWangDui YiJing it is Luo (net, thread and bird), a rope to fasten the axle, or a snare to catch birds, extending its meaning to 'net' and 'catch'

Li: discerning

"God (Di) causes creatures to perceive one another in the sign of Li"
"Li manifests itself in the eye"

 Fire is intelligence that enlightens everything, leaving nothing in shadow. Many cultures have held the belief that fire destroys sorcery or black magic. (hex.21) 'Seeing' also means discerning and separating. Seeing differences, distance (hex.38). Both feeling 'kindred' (hex.13) and 'alone' have to do with fire (hex.56).

"Water and fire do not combat each other" (Lynn: do not fail to complement each other/ drive each other on).

 Water is the 'shaper-giver', fire is its manifestation. Without light, even the faintest shimmer of it, feelings cannot be realised, dreams remembered, ideals turned into reality.

"Li means dependence"

 Fire needs fuel. Transformation can only happen from one form or element into another, and manifestation needs light, the result of transformation (hex.49). Agni, the god of fire in Hindu mythology, represents the essential energy of life in the universe. He consumes things, but only so that other things can live. Fire is the energy and beauty of life (hex.22) but just as well the contrast with darkness, the night (hex.36). where light is lost – or regains new energy and purity.

"Li acts in the pheasant"

 Fire can be a symbol of immortality and eternal rebirth, as in the case of the Phoenix, the mythical Egyptian bird that is periodically destroyed by flames to rise reborn from its own ashes. In Chinese and Japanese mythology the 'fire-bird' also appears as a sacred figure.

"It means coats of mail and helmets; it means lances and weapons"

 Fire appears both as a creative force (hex.35) and as a destructive one. Flames can bring punishment and suffering, as in the Christian image of hell as a place of fiery torment. Some myths of apocalypse predict that the world will end in fire - but it may be a purifying, cleansing fire that will allow the birth of a fresh new world. In cremation, fire represents purification, a clean and wholesome end to earthly life.

"The sun brings about warmth (Lynn: that things are dried)."

 Our energy depends on our food. Its origin is the sun itself, plants convert the light and warmth into energy. Numerous myths explain how people first acquired fire, either through their own daring or as a gift from an animal, god, or hero (hex.14). They portray ownership of fire as a human quality. Even partial control over such a powerful force of nature is one of the things that give human society its identity (hex.13). In ancient Rome, a sacred flame associated with the goddess Vesta represented national well-being. Fire is the beginning of civilization (hex.50). Fire is linked with the idea of the hearth, the center of a household, in Greece the mother-goddess Hestia (hex.37). The Aztecs believed that the fire god Huehueteotl, god of the hearth and the fire of life, kept earth and heaven in place (hex.63).

 Because fire can be treacherous and destructive. mythical figures associated with it may be tricksters, not always to be trusted. Like the Norse god Loki, native American's coyote, and many others. Hephaestus (Vulcan) is usually portrayed as deformed. Prometheus got severely punished. The mind, where consciousness resides, has a dual nature. It can make that beautiful connection with the spirit, spirits, gods, by bringing their fire down to earth, but it can also be treacherous, it can cheat and scheme, and even deceive itself. It lives between spirit and matter and can move in both directions. Its energy can bring about huge feats of motivation (hex.55), but it is also the seat of light-footed humor, the mischievous sparks of the fire.

 Numerous myths explain how people first acquired fire, either through their own daring or as a gift from an animal, god, or hero (hex.14). They portray ownership of fire as a human quality. Even partial control over such a powerful force of nature is one of the things that give human society its identity (hex.13).

 Fire is linked with the idea of the hearth, the center of a household, in Greece the mother-goddess Hestia (hex.37). In ancient Rome, a sacred flame associated with the goddess Vesta represented national well-being (hex.50). The Aztecs believed that the fire god Huehueteotl kept earth and heaven in place (hex.63).

Inner and outer trigram
Fire "illumines the four regions by its continuous brightness"

 When Fire is INNER (lower) trigram it makes things xxxxx using the abilities of the outer trigram.
 In 13 the powerful order of Heaven (The noble one classifies the clans and reads the trails of creatures)
 In 36 the generous space of Earth (The noble one governs the masses using darkness and also brightness)
 In 55 the energy of Thunder (The noble one decides lawsuits and carries out punishments)
 In 37 the influence of Wind. (The noble one has substance through words and perseverance through actions)
 In 63 the reshaping power of Water (The noble one takes thought of misfortune and guards against it)
 In 30 the clarity of Fire (The great man illumines the four regions by his continuous brightness)
 In 22 the conscientious individuality of Mountain (The noble one has insight in many people's affairs without daring to judge in legal cases)
 In 49 the social limits of Lake (A noble one, by regulating the times, makes the seasons clear)

 When Fire is OUTER (upper) trigram it is the clear manifestation in the expression of the inner trigram.
 In 14 the powerful order of Heaven (The noble one by terminating evil raises good, by yielding to Heaven relaxes in fate)
 In 35 the generous space of Earth (The noble one displays his bright character himself)
 In 21 the energy of Thunder (The ancient kings made the penalties clear to enforce the law)
 In 50 the influence of Wind (The noble one corrects the situation to solidify fate)
 In 64 the reshaping power of Water (The noble one is cautious when differentiating things so that each finds its place)
 In 30 the clarity of Fire (The great man illumines the four regions by his continuous brightness)
 In 56 the conscientious individuality of Mountain (The noble one is clear minded and cautious in imposing punishment and does not protract lawsuits)
 In 38 the social limits of Lake (The noble one is similar and yet different)

Shuo Gua
discussion of the trigrams, ch.3. (Transl. Wilhelm-Baynes)

 3. Water and fire do not combat each other (Lynn: do not fail to complement each other).
 4. The sun brings about warmth (Lynn: that things are dried).
 5. God causes creatures to perceive one another in the sign of the Clinging (light)  The Clinging is the brightness in which all creatures perceive one another. It is the trigram of the south. That the holy sages turned their faces to the south while they gave ear to the meaning of the universe means that in ruling they turned toward what is light. This they evidently took from this trigram.
 6. Of all the forces that warm things, there is none more drying than fire. Of all the forces that moisten things, there is none more moist than water. Therefore: Water and fire complement each other (Lynn: drive each other on).
 7. The Clinging means dependence.
 8. The Clinging acts in the pheasant.
 9. The Clinging (brightness) manifests itself in the eye.
 10. In the Clinging he seeks for a second time and receives a daughter. Therefore it is called the middle daughter.
 11. The Clinging is fire, the sun, lightning, the middle daughter. It means coats of mail and helmets; it means lances and weapons. Among men it means the big-bellied. It is the sign of dryness. It means the tortoise, the crab, the snail, the mussel, the hawkbill tortoise. Among trees it means those which dry out in the upper part of the trunk.

last update: 15.11.2016

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