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

  Yi Jing, Oracle of the Moon

Hex.05.4 coming out of the cave

May, 2020

需于血  出自穴
  5.4 "Waiting in blood - coming out from hole/cave"

In all translations, this sentence is rendered as if one has to get out of that cave or hole. The Chinese text has no demand. It just puts two small sentences in sequence, like in ALL other lines of hexagram 5.

  5.1: 需于郊  利用恆无咎

  5.2: 需于沙  利用恆无咎

  5.1 Waiting in the outskirts. Profit of steadiness...
  5.2 Waiting in the sand. There is some talk...


  5.3: 需于泥  致寇至

  5.4: 需于血  出自穴

  5.3 Waiting in the mud. It will attract bandits.
  5.4 Waiting in blood. Getting out of the hole/cave.


  5.5: 需于酒食  貞吉

  5.6: 入於穴  有不速之客三人來

  5.5 Waiting with liquor and food. Determination auspicious.
  5.6 Entering the hole/cave. There are unexpected visitors.

  Five parralell sentences and one is different?? There is no valid reason in the text. There is no sign of the demand that we automatically put into it because 'waiting in blood' makes us cringe and we want out. It is a gut reaction.
  In the original Wilhelm the text is a literal translation of the Chinese. "Warten im Blut. Heraus aus dem Loch." There is no demand in it, and neither is there in his interpretation. In the Dutch Yijing translation there isn't either. But in Wilhelm-Baynes suddenly the demand appears. "Get out of the pit". Pit isn't the best translation of Wilhelm's "Loch", which is a hole. (Wenlin: a cave, hole, den, grave or acupuncture point).

  In all sentences of hex.5 there is a situation with a result. If you wait in the outskirts - good to be steadfast. In the sand - there will be talk. In the mud - attracts bandits. In the blood - you get out of a hole. With liquor and food - good. Entering a hole -there are visitors.

  Hexagram 5 is about a time of waiting, not about how to get out of something. How to wait, where to wait, when to wait. Nothing about not to wait, that deserves another hexagram. Maybe 49, or 3, or another hexagram about things which change. About how to change, where to change, when to change. Every hexagram is about its own time.

How many users of the Wilhelm-Baynes translation found themselves in a pit and fought for a way out to their own detriment?
Maybe none, I believe that oracles are 'true', despite a bad translation. They tell you what you need. But it is your intuition which has to latch on to the right meaning, which is much harder when the text gives a wrong clue.


last update: 27.07.2022


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