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Tigers and snakes

The ancient white tiger      'Shout'

   In hex.61, line 1, the first character is yu, which is (among other meanings) a mythical white tiger with black spots who only appeared when the state was ruled in sincerity and benevolence. It did not kill living things. The white tiger Yu is also a type of Wen Wang (king Wen). The character is composed of 'tiger' and 'shout'. This last part is at the bottom at right, the tiger is the left and top part.

   In hex.3.3 this character is used as precaution or forester or guide. Here in 61.1 by Wilhelm-Baines as 'being prepared'. Rutt says: 'sacrifice of repose' (and in Mathews' dict. nr. 7648, about this sacrifice: offered on the day of the funeral when the mourners went home). Lynn says 'devotion' and A. Huang 'ease and confidence'. Very different translations. I think the core meaning is the skill to hunt like the old indian guide who knows the jungle and all in it. When one takes good care of things, then the gods send the white tiger - "God helps who helps himself". 

Two old characters of the snake

   More animals in this line (61.1):  a character which means 'this, someone else, more' and in W-B 'secret designs' is actually a drawing of a snake. 

The ancient swallow

   And the last character , in W-B 'quiet' (together with 'not' it is translated as 'disquieting') is a swallow. This character is nowadays still also used as swallow (the bird, but like in English also in the sense of gulp). 

   Translating all the animal-pictures as the animals: 'The white Yu-tiger: auspicious. If there is a snake, there are no swallows'. The meaning of the sentence does not fundamentally change: if there are secret dangers, like invisible snakes, the birds don't sing, so be prepared and heed signs (like silent birds) and you will know if there is danger.  

To Hexagram 61

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