In this post will address hexagram 44 in its most mundane dimension; that is the relationship between women and men. I see it as a woman myself, a woman who has lived as such here, in our Christian Eastern society. 

Hexagram 44 says that nobody can own a woman, because woman decides who, when and where to share real intimacy with a man. She Comes to Meet a man because it pleases her, because her desire has ripen.

There is a widely spread habit that has breached that essential principle in intimate relationships. That breach —10000 or 20000 years old—, has carved our minds, both female and male ones, with a misunderstanding regarding this.

We need to be clear about the fact that some of the comments on this hexagram have some sort of “macho” connotations. Men have treated women as property. Women have stayed inside their homes and accepted this fact in order to survive and avoid mistreat outside. That has not avoided themistreat inside, though; but at least, women get a place where to eat and live (which is pathetic for both men and women alike). 

The judgment of that hexagram and its lines were written by a man, he speaks.

The Judgment of hexagram (Wilhelm):

COMING TO MEET. The maiden is powerful.
One should not marry such a maiden.

Here we can hear the words of a man and the voice of the institution of marriage (as a means have children as property and women as useful servants inside the house (a disposable woman in bed). She has accepted it to protect their children from things like slavery —even if she ends up as a slave herself—, but this is already settled in the society of the man who is speaking here. Tradition says that these judgments were written by king Wen Zhou ( Zhou Wenwang 周文王, personal name Ji Chang 姬昌 -1152- 1056 a. D). Three thousand years are nothing compared to the creation of the patriarchal family which trail is lost in the unwritten prehistorically times. 

The perspective of woman as private property —that begins in the first line— is stated in the second line where the man says:
There is a fish in the tank. No blame.
Does not further guests.

Of course there is no blame, and it does not further guests. You can look but you can’t touch. How else can a man ensure fatherhood of her children and the availability of the woman whenever it pleases him? These is how we are confined either in a harem, family or any other ornament designed by religion, or moral and circumstantial fashions for the last 10000 or 20000 years. 

Nevertheless, this line does not say whether this woman is pleased to share intimacy or not; if it is her own will that keeps her in this intimate exclusivity of a tank. She is a fish in the tank, everything else is a personal business. 

In the third line the woman has come out of her confinement at home, and now any man can have a look at her. Here the man says:
There is no skin on his thighs,
And walking comes hard.
If one is mindful of the danger,
No great mistake is made.

His safety, which relies in the imaginary possession of a private woman, is threatened. His certainty that she will not indiscriminately spread “illegitimate” children around the world is also threatened (as if he could have ever been certain of this). His moral and religious rules concerning intimacy between a man and a woman are troubled by his idea of lost women all over the world without a man to keep them company and “protect” them; women who are not inside a fish tank.

Here is a demonization of a woman, as the temptress of man shown in Christian culture. Is she available for anyone if she is left to move around? What if I force her into a relationship that she does not want? What if I stalk her until she gives up? 

In line four, the man does not find a woman who is willing to come to meet him:

No fish in the tank.
This leads to misfortune.

Here he could even pay for a beautiful woman to fake agreeableness, but this cannot please him, either. This line also could imply a division of tasks inside the patriarchal family, which brings to hexagram 57, the wind, a hexagram that speaks of new insights while devoting to fulfill domestic tasks. This is a man with no fish in his tank, so he is forced to wash his own clothes, or pay someone else for laundry. When there is no fish in the tank, misfortune follows, says the man who wrote this judgment. 

Hexagram 44 states that nobody can own a woman, because she is the only one who can choose who, when, how and where she wants to share her intimacy and true experience with. She does so because it pleases her, because she allows that man to come and meet her, because her desire is ripe. 

The fifth line is a line which gracefully gives me some comfort as a woman:

A melon covered with willow leaves.
Hidden lines.
Then it drops down to one from heaven.

there is a lot of ripe melons covered by blossomed leaves, as many as the times that Adam received Eve’s pleased visit, which has a natural advantage: to produce healthier and happier children.
Eternity. William Blake. 

The mutation of the fifth line brings us to Hexagram 50, The Caldron.

The sixth line is when the woman oversteps her seductive power and imposes herself on a man. Here the man is seduced and outrun by a woman; and he writes:

He comes to meet with his horns.
Humiliation. No blame.

No blame in that. We can also seduce and outdo men sometimes.

This hexagram has given me a lot of work because scholars avoid that question so common in every day’s life. I guess that the 80% of readings for this hexagram concerns an intimate relationship. I think that they avoid it because their vision was limited to their own culture; I mean, they could not free themselves farther than from the very thoughts of their dominant culture.

It gave me a lot of work, also, because the vision of hexagram 44 surprises us and lets us with a lot of food for thought.

When I see the image of the wind under heaven and read the words associated with The Image, I say to myself that I Ching forces me to elaborate it all again. This hexagram, and many others, has been keeping my mind for over 30 years now.

This is the image that keeps me sleepless:

Under heaven, wind:
The image of COMING TO MEET.
Thus does the prince act when disseminating his commands
And proclaiming them to the four quarters of heaven.

If the fifth line is the prince, the second line is the princess. Both are regents of the hexagram and when both changes appears hexagram 56, The Wanderer.

Hexagram 44 coming to meet, a heaven’s proclaim

Hexagram 56 the wanderer, fire above the mountain

In Wilhelm’s translation the judgment of hexagrama 56 is:

The Wanderer. Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune to The Wanderer.

There is plenty to think about in this judgment and in the context that I am suggesting in The Image and the lines of Hexagram 56. Here I will not say anything about it; I will let that task to you, woman or man.

One time I asked: what is love? And the answer was hexagram 56. I am still struggling to understand that reading. I wrote something in a post, but it is not solved, there is something missing. Perhaps it is the words of 44. As I say, there is a need to think everything over again and it will take a lifetime.

In 44 I see the natural order which rules intimacy between men and women. Women should surrender willingly, men have to wait until desire ripens in her, until the hidden lines come to blossom, until she is aware of it, so she can give herself willingly and with all the power of her desire.

This is how it is; and anyone who breaks it, breaches a natural order which is common in all four cardinal directions. I mean, this is the order that rules plants, animals and humans alike.

It is the natural order of life; The Creative waits for the willingly opening of The Receptive to Come to Meet. This is so, even in the tiniest world around us. Coupling does not happen until the flower is open, even if there is a lot of pollen floating in the air.

Everybody knows so, but our culture and its ideology stuck in our minds deny it. Flowers that force themselves to open, pollen that insist to penetrate, are one of the many unnatural absurd that take place everywhere in the social human world. Anyone that denies this fact does not know of what they missing.

I also think – because one never stops thinking about a hexagram – that the only yin line of the hexagram is the first one, and in a yang position, a male position. When that line changes together with the line of the prince – the fifth one- the relating hexagram is 14, Possession in Great Measure.

In hexagram 14 the fifth line reads:

He whose truth is accessible, yet dignified,
Has good fortune.

You can realize that the phrase refers to a man. He is truthful and kind, but he does not turn into a clown or a puppet because of that.

On the contrary, there is a certain dark weakness – with dark I mean unconscious and fallacious – in the intentions of a man who imprisons and degrades women. Something like a pig which must be checked with a brake of bronze to avoid its rampage, as the judgment of the first line of hexagram 44 says.

I think that is because of fear, fear to be in the position of the fourth line, to have no fish in the tank. As fear calls the feared, if there is no fish in the tank in the fourth is because the man did not learn to check his pig in the first line, he mistreated his woman so she has left him, or he has killed her. The first line correlates with the fourth because both are the lower lines of each trigram.

I will stop here. There are so many edges about the sexist comments of yi that they can keep us amused for quite a long time.
. . .

And here is a contribution of Selene. It seems that this woman nearly lost her life in the bonfire because of this poem:

You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;

if you invite their disdain
with measureless desire
why wish they well behave
if you incite to ill.

You fight their stubbornness,
then, weightily,
you say it was their lightness
when it was your guile.

In all your crazy shows
you act just like a child
who plays the bogeyman
of which he’s then afraid.

With foolish arrogance
you hope to find a Thais
in her you court, but a Lucretia
when you’ve possessed her.

What kind of mind is odder
than his who mists
a mirror and then complains
that it’s not clear.

Their favour and disdain
you hold in equal state,
if they mistreat, you complain,
you mock if they treat you well.

No woman wins esteem of you:
the most modest is ungrateful
if she refuses to admit you;
yet if she does, she’s loose.

You always are so foolish
your censure is unfair;
one you blame for cruelty
the other for being easy.

What must be her temper
who offends when she’s
ungrateful and wearies
when compliant?

But with the anger and the grief
that your pleasure tells
good luck to her who doesn’t love you
and you go on and complain.

Your lover’s moans give wings
to women’s liberty:
and having made them bad,
you want to find them good.

Who has embraced
the greater blame in passion?
She who, solicited, falls,
or he who, fallen, pleads?

Who is more to blame.
though either should do wrong?
She who sins for pay
or he who pays to sin?

Why be outraged at the guilt
that is of your own doing?
Have them as you make them
or make them what you will.

Leave off your wooing
and then, with greater cause,
you can blame the passion
of her who comes to court?

Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insist

St. Juana Inés de la Cruz
(1651 – 1695). Also Mexican, as Selene

Let me introduce you to her:

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Miguel Cabrera (1750)
They could not beat her. Let’s not forget her.

Look, Palas Athena is also feminine, receptive, and open to life and knowledge. The best general in battle is intelligence and sagacity.

I like her expression here: she observes without judgment, if she judges she cannot know. First to know, then to judge. Also symbolizes Justice.

A weird world

This song is very appropriate for the great lie. Because, what happens if a woman says that she knows the best kind of love? If she accepts the fact that she has loved and been wounded when there is a new love offered to her? What happens if a man says that he is angry because someone broke up with him? That he is in pain and sorrow, when a new love is offered to him? We know what happens next, so we lie. We create a weird world where things like these have no place, where love does not exist but in our golden dream —A fucked up love, an untruthful one—.

That man who wrote “Un mundo raro” (a weird world) says that it is fine to create those lies; and that is the weirdest thing of them all. He does not want us to unmask him as a love loser, that is, as a man who does not know how to make a woman happy, a woman he can love and can love him back. It is a weird world this one, indeed, an absurd one. This is not new; St. Juana Inés and our grandmothers have seen this time and again.

Concerning the dangers implied in yin,—something of some sort of a terrifying atmosphere men have printed to hexagram 44—, I say it is complete foolishness. Everything that is powerful is dangerous, yang is no exception.

If you read hexagram 24, the return of yang, you will not find omens to prevent the potential danger the yang line that is sneaking below the yin lines may bring. This line can be read as a powerful man – a warrior, because below there is thunder - living among women, children and the elder. 24 is winter’s rest, and it is a warrior confined in a place together with children, women and the elder having nothing to do. It is a potential danger, unless that warrior pretends to be a worthy man, like Sir Galahad. If those men pretend to be Galahad they are very wrong, —children, women and the elder had already confirmed it before.
Hexagram 24, rest of the warrior
For a better understanding of what I am trying to say, this photo shows a group of soldiers with nothing to do in an occupied territory full of children, women and elder people. This photo shows one of the many conditions of hexagram 24, the coming in of the Yang. It seems to me those men do not look like Galahad. They look more like the orcs of Saruman’s White Hand, instead.

Here is a polemic novel, widely discussed by men and women. It is an ongoing polemics that is far from being solved; we still need to cross the T’s and dot the I’s here.

Something more to keep thinking about hexagram 24, the Return of Light: What if when we cast this hexagram we miss the chance that the man that returns to us, women, is in fact a White Hand’s Orc disguised as a prince?
Then – as a general rule for yi readings: I recommend the Ritsema-Karcher version, the I Ching Eranos, which has a great autonomy of thinking. I also recommend relying on the meanings of trigrams and do not allow fear inside our interpretation.

I have commented different aspects of that trigram in other posts that you can find in the section “hexagrams 31 to 64” on the menu bar above in the blog.

. . .

Translation by Jorge Trujillo, from Viña del Mar, Chile. I really appreciate his collaboration on this project.
Original post in Spanish: