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As we discussed in the previous article, “The Rhythm of Life and Death,” there exists a rhythm in nature both on the largest and smallest of scales which we either work with for our evolution, or that works against us in order to push us towards growth. To help us better understand this rhythm, we can reference the I Ching, an ancient Chinese and Taoist system of describing the patterns that exist within the cycles of nature. The I Ching’s divinatory and predictive functions depend upon its Trigram and Hexagram formations that follow the natural rhythmic cycles present in the macrocosm and microcosm.
To introduce the 8 Trigrams of the I Ching, and to reveal the pattern of the ebb and flow of energy (Yin and Yang) in nature, let us look at King Wen’s Bagua (or arrangement) of the Trigrams ::
Kăn :: Water :: Enveloping, Dangerous :: Yule :: Rebirth
Associated with early Winter, and therefore Yule. The Waters form the conception vessel for the Rebirth of Spring to come.
Gèn :: Mountain :: Stubborn, Immovable :: Imbolc :: Purification
Halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, the energies inspire festivals of spring cleaning to stave off stagnation. The purification vessel is prepared for the coming Fertility.
Zhèn :: Thunder :: Arousing, Stimulating :: Ostara :: Fecundity
The arousing energies of the Spring Equinox inspire and pressure new life to grow; fertility festivals give honor to the engendering of new life for the year.
Xùn :: Wind, Wood :: Gentle, Penetrating :: Beltane :: Marriage
Between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, celebrations of the Marriage of the virile Green Man (Rising Yang) and fertile May Queen (Declining Yin) energies occur.
Li :: Fire :: Beautiful, Clinging :: Litha :: Nurturing
Midsummer, when Yang is at its height, is a time of nurturing, when life clings to nourishment and the maturation of fruits and vegetables for harvest begins.
Kūn :: Earth :: Receptive, Yielding :: Lammas :: Fruition
The first fruits and the beginning of harvest season occurring roughly halfway between the Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox, is a time of receptivity and thanks for the abundance from the cultivation throughout the year.
Dui :: Lake :: Joyous, Pleasurable :: Mabon :: Harvest
The autumnal equinox is a time of rejoicing and thanks for the year’s harvest and sharing the abundance for the continuation of good blessings.
A time of celebrating the life that has past, when the veil is thinnest between earth and heaven, the influence of Heaven coming forth in the period of rising Yin, when life is in decline.
With the eight major solar holidays (Sabbats) mapped to the course of rising and falling Yin and Yang energies, we arrive at the yearly rhythmic cycle ::
However, we should recognize that, as was explained in the previous article, this pattern exists at all levels, both large and small. As the solar cycle follows this rhythm, so too does the lunar cycle, and the weekly cycle, as well as the daily and hourly cycles, into each minute, second, and instant, etc.
Hence, this rhythm is teaching us a pattern that, if we learn how to recognize consciously, we can work with to create ever-increasing positive states, instead of a static rhythm of positive and negative states at the same degree or plane of experience. For example, if I am happy in the morning, but later in the day experience the problems of life, I am at the polar end of the same degree of happiness in that morning.
This is the rhythm showing us that we have gone unconscious to its process and therefore the rhythm comes back on us, pushing us to awaken again and regain control.
If, instead of following the rhythm of negativity downward or clinging back to the opposite degree of happiness, we can find the positive polarity within that negative moment, we will have stopped the swing to the negative pole.
Then, from a place of clarity, we can begin to consciously create the next state, an upswing occurs, and we will have transmuted a negative state into a positive one. This is an advanced understanding of a simple principle of life, and is included in detailed study in our online learning center at the Lucid Sky.
Let us look at the I Ching’s symbolism in the Trigrams deeper, to uncover some hints about the nature of the energetic changes present in this rhythm or cycle of nature and how it impacts our own spiritual evolutionary process.
Kăn :: Water :: Enveloping, Dangerous :: Yule :: Rebirth :: Conception
The boundary of the old vessel (the old state) encroaches, and the subtle enveloping is an indicator that we should push for ‘birth’ in the next state, hence the water being associated with the waters of the womb and rebirth. It is ‘dangerous’ because if we get comfortable in this and the next state, we will miss our opportunity and the rhythm will swing to the negative to push us towards growth.
Gèn :: Mountain :: Stubborn, Immovable, Stillness :: Imbolc :: Purification :: Gestation
A time of purification, cleansing, and preparing oneself for the new vessel, or state. This isn’t a state of expectation, but rather presence, rest, and silent witnessing, like a retreat upon a mountain. The danger here is complacency and comfort, being lulled into a sense of security, where we miss the rhythm and the rousing pressure comes to nudge us onward.
Zhèn :: Thunder :: Arousing, Shocking, Stimulating :: Ostara :: Fecundity :: Labor
This is pressure to grow and expand our vessel; when we work with the pressure and the flow, we push onwards and through whatever seeming obstacles are in the way. When we fall unconscious, however, the arousing active force comes to jar us awake, often in an unpleasant or suffering manner, so that we can return to awareness in the present of the energy and rhythm.
Xùn :: Wind, Wood :: Gentle, Penetrating :: Beltane :: Marriage :: Birth
If our awareness does not waver, we expand fully into the new state, and this slow emergence into a larger vessel of perception is a gentle marriage of the twin energies and a newer, larger reality in our awareness emerges. When unaware, we miss this marriage, and leave our Lady in the garden destitute, alone, and infertile, spoiling our opportunity to create abundance in our lives.
Li :: Fire :: Beautiful, Depending, Clinging :: Litha :: Nurturing :: Development
Nurturing the growth of the soul in its larger vessel, this Trigram refers to the attitude and intention we should have towards the soul, as a beautiful, innocent, and perfect child, crowned and conquering, to connect our hearts with our inner child and cultivate the gentle qualities of warmth, compassion, and freedom of expression. If we cling instead of allowing the child to cling to its Mother, we take away the beauty of the flame we’re trying to cultivate and smother it instead.
Kūn :: Earth :: Receptive, Yielding :: Lammas :: Fruition :: Maturation
Here in this environment, the soul can receive new understanding and begins to fill the vessel with awareness. If we are receptive, help comes from above; if we look for the next state, all we perceive is darkness. This is because here, we are still immature, and need to find our inner guidance through calm abiding and deeper awareness.
Dui :: Lake :: Joyous, Pleasurable :: Mabon :: Harvest :: Completion
Finally, the soul ‘grows up’ to master the domain of its current vessel. The energy is relaxed, joyous, at ease, and there is cause to rejoice. Finding a state of equilibrium and enjoying the resting of the opposites, so long as we remain aware, we can drink in the fullness of the lake. If we become intoxicated in the pleasure, however, the lake runs dry and we are already declining to a state of lack.
Quián :: Heaven :: Creative, Active :: Samhain :: Death :: Inception
Here, we begin to create our next vessel; the creative energies of heaven assist us and support us. If we lose ourselves to the process of emptying, we cling to the dying feeling, and life loses its flavor. If we remember the receptivity of the earth and how to marry the two together, we receive and allow the process to unfold, and behold the new life that begins in the death of the old.
While the descriptions here attempt to make sense of an inner process that must be felt and experienced, and truly is beyond words or description, if it seems unrelatable or foreign when read, recall that the rhythm is of the same nature both in the macrocosm and the microcosm, on the smallest and largest of scales. Each holiday teaches us how the cycle unfolds, and we can witness clearly in nature how this energy plays out. The Trigrams, then, are just a way of characterizing that energy in a way that we can understand, so that when it is felt, we can recognize it and learn how to work with – and eventually co-create with – the rhythm while staying ahead of the swings of the cycle.
The macrocosm wants us to experience ever-greater forms of bliss in each movement of energy and each state of consciousness; when we’re asleep at the wheel, the macrocosmic rhythm wakes us up with a little bit of chaos we perceive as suffering, and when we’re aware and noticing the energy as it’s unfolding, we experience joy, happiness, and all the states that we consider pleasant. Once we understand the lesson, mastering and manifesting the kind of reality we want is in no way difficult.
We study the rhythm and how to work with the tools necessary to practically apply our understanding to these universal principles in depth at The Lucid Sky Learning Center; join our family of dedicated practitioners in a free and nonrestrictive environment where a supportive community and one-pointed focus towards realization of our own essential natures is nurtured, welcomed, expressed and explored.
“Find that place which is effortlessly at rest within itself.
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“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self
If you are depressed you are living in the past.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth.