The Autumnal Equinox arrives, accompanied by fog and mist and rain and clouds of every shade of gray. The world’s qi shifts from boundless movement toward boundless stillness. We leave behind the excessive yang of summer and move into the newborn yin of fall. The time of outward action gives way to the time of inward action. The turning of the season carries us back from the branches into the roots.
The cycle of change carries matter, energy, and spirit along its course of natural unfolding. Time is spatial: autumn follows summer just as a time of consolidation follows a time of expansion. The Current, the Way, the Tao, is organic in the way it develops, moving the individual and civilization both according to the seasons of generative energy.
The Oracle can speak to the way present trends are developing into future situations because it gives voice to the principles underlying all change. The seeds of winter are sown at the Summer Solstice, just as the seeds of summer are planted at the Winter solstice. Because they are seeds of generative energy, however, and not phenomena directly perceptible to our senses, their sowing and fruition generally occur long before—or sometimes after—we imagine.
The structure of the hexagram’s six lines is traditionally divided into three levels, of old called, Heaven, Man, and Earth.
The top two lines represent heaven, or spirit. The lower two lines represent earth, or matter. The middle two lines represent mankind, or human awareness. Humankind, embodying so perfectly the conjunction of spirit and matter, is thought of as the bridge connecting the sacred and the mundane, the invisible and the visible, the formless and form.
The Oracle is able to communicate with us because we bring human awareness into the divinatory moment, bridging the physical mechanism of divination (such as coins, yarrow stalks, cards, dice, random number generator) and the oracular awareness permeating time and space. The Oracle gives voice to the One based on the relationship it has sustained with human beings for many thousands of years now. The divinatory moment, then, is the very embodiment of the ancient saying: Just as there is only One Mind, so is there only One Body.
Is this not the same Oracle that takes different forms in ancient cultures throughout the world? Will we continue to hold ourselves apart from nature and spirit by relying on a crippling kind of reason that does not recognize its own limitations, even as the Great Mystery stares it in the face every moment? Will we continue to believe, against all evidence to the contrary, that materialistic reason and religious zealotry are the only two poles of human participation in the world? Will we dare to return to the ancients’ worldview of everyday unity with the Living Whole? Can we abandon our histories of wrongs and establish a time of amnesty in which we might address our common problems? Will we find our way back to a lifeway of nature mysticism that bequeaths to our descendants a civilization in harmony with itself and nature and the sacred?
With the above in mind, I take up the coins this morning of the seasons’ pivot and throw my question into the Beyond—
What Can Humanity Expect with the Approach of 2012?
The divinations I have cast on the subject of 2012 have been unanimously positive in the long run but have hinted at obstacles to be overcome in the short run. The Oracle I received on the Autumnal Equinox 2010, regarding the events swirling around the turning point of the Winter Solstice of 2012, is the most detailed yet about the storm we will have to pass through before we achieve the calm of the New Dynasty of peace and prospering for all.
The first hexagram, representing the near-term events, is called Repeating Test. Following is its illustration and interpretation—
Image: A male warrior wearing the emblem of the smoking mirror pauses in his tracks. The true road runs straight ahead but the warrior’s footprints show that he has doubled back on himself, circling around a pool of water. The day sky overhead is filled with sunlight but the pool reflects the full moon in the night sky, indicating that the warrior made that past part of his journey in the dark of night. As he prepares to undertake this leg of his journey for the second time, the warrior must face the additional danger of a jaguar who now crouches beside the pool.
Interpretation: This hexagram depicts someone facing a dilemma for the second time. The male warrior symbolizes the challenges and self-discipline that make us stronger and more adaptable than we imagined. The smoking mirror symbolizes the penetrating insight, introspection, and self-knowledge required if we are to achieve a vision of the true self. That he pauses in his tracks means that you take the opportunity to slow down your decisions in order to consider your circumstances carefully and discern how they resemble a past experience you have long wished to rectify. That he has stepped off the true road to circle around the pool means that your true destiny must wait while you return to a previous stage in order to complete its task. That it is light now but the pool reflects the night sky means that you are more aware and capable now than you were when you first encountered this test. That this part of the journey is complicated by the additional danger of a jaguar lying in wait means that you clearly perceive this to be a new situation even as you use it to change your spiritual history. Taken together, these symbols mean that you heal wounds left from a past stage of development.
Action: The masculine half of the spirit warrior gazes into the smoking mirror of the true self without blinking. It is a time for exhibiting the character traits you believe you should have exhibited when facing a similar dilemma in the past: because you take advantage of this second chance to prove yourself to yourself, you erase past regrets and reveal your true self to the unseen forces. By turning our perception upon ourselves, we are able to sense the lessons we have learned from past mistakes. Until we have had the opportunity to act on those lessons and put them into effect, however, part of us remains frozen at that stage of our development. For that reason, there are few more fortuitous times than those in which we can prove we are stronger and wiser than in the past: by discerning our own patterns of behavior that run consistently beneath the surface of appearances, we are able to stop repeating past mistakes and emerge victorious over our own self-defeating attitudes and behaviors. Because you intuitively know that turning points periodically return until they are finally resolved, you are fully prepared to act when the time comes: because you wait vigilantly for the opportunity to revisit a period of darkness, you do not fail to use the present turning point to extend the continuity of your light further back into the past.
Intent: Now is the time to strengthen the ladder of your evolution by descending it in order to repair a lower rung. Actions and decisions that have haunted us must be laid to rest if we are to advance further toward our rightful destiny. Within the inner landscape of our soul there are hurdles we failed to clear, pitfalls we failed to avoid, on our first encounter—where we first reacted with weakness we can now react with strength, where we first acted naively we can now act wisely, where we first reacted with fear we can now react with confidence, where we first acted selfishly we can now act lovingly. Because you do not allow this opportunity to correct the past to slip through your hands, you break the chains holding you and your allies back from ascending to the next rung of success.
Summary: Don’t make the same mistake again. Some fears are false fears, some hopes are false hopes: stop and consider how you are reverting to a way of thinking, feeling, and acting that did not work before. You are stronger and wiser now—act as you wish you had acted the first time. Seize this opportunity to heal the past and you will create the future you long for.
The Oracle appears to be saying that we—humanity—are going to have to pass through a crisis with all the dynamics of one we mismanaged the first time. The exact nature of this crisis remains veiled by time, of course, but the transformation of our collective response is mapped out in the lines of change.
In other words, the specific transition points between the short-term and long-term are marked out by the line changes that produce a second hexagram out of the first. In the present case, it is the first, second, and sixth lines that change.
1st: Many are in denial of the growing trend toward oppression—all you can do is join with those of like mind and prepare for what lies ahead. Avoid controversial positions and don’t call attention to your efforts. Make yourselves useful but anonymous.
2nd: Many cannot get past the first hurdle—all you can do is appreciate the cunning of those above and go along with it for now. There will be time to fight for principles later but the priority now must be just surviving this time. Do not provoke envy or resentment by flaunting your little success.
6th: The dam breaks—the last vestiges of oppression dissolve, the will of its leadership broken, and the waters of free-thinking and creativity rush forward again. Celebrate with those around you. Spend your time training the next generation, for without continuity of principles it will all happen again.
From the above we can surmise that our collective response to the first crisis was a knee-jerk reaction toward the use of force and intimidation—and that our first tendency in the second crisis is to revert to our previous response.
The first line change points out the insidious nature of fear that is generated by shock: it is easy to convince people that the worst has only begun and that they must protect themselves by taking up a defensive posture that makes life more miserable everywhere. This kind of lashing out against enemies real and imagined, internal and external, can be masked as necessary for only so long—eventually, there is a growing recognition that no amount of rationalization or justification changes the fact that irrational oppression is irrational oppression.
The second line change points out that there are many who remain fixed in a fear and aggression specifically propagated by those in power. This is the most difficult time, when the fever is at it pitch. It can be a dangerous time for those who dissent, one in which it is necessary to avoid attracting the attention of those with the power to crush dissent in the name of the greater good. At the same time, this line change reminds those who manage to thrive during this time not to distance themselves from those less fortunate.
And finally, in the sixth line change, we see that the fever has broken. The mass delusion passes like a nightmare evaporating with the dawn. Even those perpetuating the self-destruction lose the will to go on. People of good will and innovative solutions to the crisis come to the fore. It is a time of widespread celebration and an overwhelming sense of relief. Most of all, however, it is a time of establishing the new worldview for the next generations, because the forces of self-destruction are forever like a seed ready to sprout even in the loveliest garden.
The second hexagram, which grows out of the first by virtue of these three line changes, represents the long-term repercussions of the events associated with 2012. Titled Sensing Creation, its image and interpretation follows—
Image: A female warrior is naked, immersed in water and surrounded by flowers. A wellspring of water rises from between her hands. The water drops are drawn as beads of jade in order to portray the precious nature of that which sustains life.
Interpretation: This hexagram represents the great courage essential to creating a meaningful life. The female warrior symbolizes the way of nurturing and encouraging human nature that increases its sensitivity and loving-kindness. Being naked means that nothing stands between you and the world. Being immersed in water means that you plunge whole-heartedly into the spirit of that which nurtures all. Being surrounded by flowers means that you perceive the perfection of the world as it truly is: each moment blossoms perfect and whole, then passes like a fading flower—each perfection born into the world must die. The wellspring of water symbolizes the inexhaustible source of courage that allows you to use your awareness of mortality to more profoundly experience the joy and sorrow inherent within every encounter. In this sense, the flowers and the water signify not only the wisdom attained through experience, but the aesthetic sensibilities to be moved by a beauty and truth not always apparent to others. Taken together, these symbols mean that you open your spirit to the overwhelming perfection of the world and share your vision with all you touch.
Action: The feminine half of the spirit warrior collects the movement and energy of the unseen forces, calming them and bringing them together in harmony, making a place for them to gather strength and then making that source of benefit open and available to all. Where past injustices and resentments survive to poison the well of benefit, true need goes unmet and people suffer unnecessarily: the spirit warrior fosters a climate of forgiveness and reconciliation, reuniting those whose hearts have become estranged and dissolving the tensions and insecurities that have prevented people from coexisting in harmony and mutual understanding. Before action, the passions breeding distrust and discord appear too strong and too deeply entrenched to be overcome. After action, the benefit you help cultivate results in a greater union of good will, hope, and creativity. You succeed where others fail because you rely on the warrior’s refined sensibilities to guide you rather than past experiences. You succeed where others fail because you reflect generosity in every thought, word, and deed rather than demanding that others first prove their worth. You succeed where others fail because you cleanse yourself of all ill will rather than harboring any spiritual intent that might poison the well of benefit that you are become.
Intent: Whether the struggle is internal or external, work to increase your sensitivity to the realms of nature, human nature, and spirit. Because people differ only in the degree of their sensitivity to the One Spirit, continue to open your perceptions to more and more sublime thoughts, feelings, memories, and sensations. By recognizing that you are filled with the source of nurturance, you can calmly let all your adaptations arise from it. By giving form to the source of nurturance, you can respond to things with dignity, patience, joy, and appreciation. Because your sensitivity to the world is your strength, you can find the way to restore harmony and progress where others find only opposition and antagonism. Make the well-being of others your goal right now and you can build a coalition of allies to undertake even greater endeavors in the future. Avoid taking sides, work to bring them together. Cultivate trust in the early stages of discord, rely on your lack of self-interest in its later stages. You succeed because you bring future benefit to those separated by the past.
Summary: The beauty and loving-kindness you seek are within your reach. Let go of obsolete opinions and dogma handed down to you from others. Find that which allows you to share happiness with others and you will achieve greater freedom and creativity. Focus on the healing of old wounds, promote the forgiving of old wrongs. Set aside personal ambition, act for the common good.
Surely one of the most beautiful and promising of times, Sensing Creation is the opening up of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a time of universal trust and mutual goodwill. Past differences dissolve in an atmosphere of shared hope and a collective vision of a greater future for all.
With this, the Oracle appears to reiterate its prognosis for the era beginning with the changes surrounding the 2012 landmark: following a period in which the self-destructive forces in humanity start to reassert their authority, a new wave of humaneness emerges to guide us into the Golden Age of Humanity.
The Oracle sees, in sum, a tempestuous storm before the long calm.
What shall we build together?
The Toltec I Ching, by Martha Ramirez-Oropeza and William Douglas Horden has just received a Silver Award in the 2010 Nautilus Awards. It recasts the I Ching in the symbology of the Native Americans of ancient Mexico and includes original illustrations interpreting each of the hexagrams. Its subtitle, 64 Keys to Inspired Action in the New World hints at its focus on the ethics of the emerging world culture.