An alligator barks at something in the night. Limpkins call eerily in the bayou out beyond the mosquito screening. A pale green luna moth flutters at the window light.
I’ve travelled to the Everglades in Southern Florida to greet the Winter Solstice of 2012 and commemorate the ending of the Mayan Sacred Calendar and celebrate its new beginning. The night wraps me in its living mystery of potential. I formulate my question, echo it back into the unblinking darkness, and throw the coin oracle that has, since time immemorial, been called the forest of fire pearls—
“What is the course of the transition to the new Age of Light?”
The Predictive Hexagram (#46) points to the need of the present generation to realize how fortunate it is and to recognize the contentment it enjoys. In the unpredictable swings of history, the current period stands out as one enjoying relative stability and comfort. That this is true in the face of so much poverty, suffering, and violence in the world is, itself, a justifiable cause of grief. The implication, of course, is that this period will come to an end—an implication reinforced by the Derived Hexagram (#7), which states unequivocally that the course of things will be drastically interrupted and set in a new direction. The Predictive Hexagram is named Honoring Contentment and, within the context of this divination, advises those living now to recognize their good fortune in order to have it last as long as possible. The unpredictable and unexpected changes brought about by the Derived Hexagram, Compelling Motive, points to a new beginning so counter-intuitive that vast numbers of people struggle against it for some time.
The line change in the third place of Hexagram 46 indicates the difficulty of the transition from a time of relative stability to a time of an unexpected beginning: here the Oracle speaks of failing at a futile task and how this is not a test of ability but of character. This seems to mean that certain matters beyond human control will bring the current time of relative stability to a close, ushering in a time that appears to have no precedent in human memory. The fact that the third place is a broken line changing to a solid line indicates that this uncontrollable change will bring with it a deeper sense of alienation and separation among people.
The Nuclear Hexagram (#39) points out that the essential experience of the vast majority of people is a revival of—or regression to—traditional world views. This movement back into known lifeways stands in contradistinction to the minority attempting to advance into the unknown future. The positive aspect of this movement is that people attempt to hold on to values and ethics that provide them a center from which to act as they confront an unprecedented future. The negative aspect, of course, is a reactionary fear of the new, an overwhelming compulsion to hold on to obsolete and self-defeating traditions, and an inability to move beyond historical animosities.
This motif is reinforced in the Metamorphic Hexagram, which points to a widespread tendency of peoples to renew their emotional and psychological devotion to their past beliefs, values, and decisions. As with the Nuclear Hexagram, this bodes well for those who aim to carry the wisdom teachings into the unfathomable future—and ill for those who aim to abort the potential of the future by clinging to history.
The forces sustaining the relative stability of the present are those of generalization and non-specialization: This is the pre-adaptive set of attitudes and behaviors that leans into the wind of change with an openness of mind and heart, creating human nature in response to the ever-changing creation within which it is immersed. This Inertial Hexagram indicates the path of freedom, the way to step off the path of fate, but the odds are not in its favor: The past becomes a gravitational pull of security when people are faced with an insecure future—but there does remain a remote probability that the majority of people, or at least their leaders, will let go their historical differences and enter the future unencumbered by obsolete views.
The emerging equilibrium, however, demonstrates that the long-range consequences of this transition are humane in the highest sense. The forces driving a new and more positive equilibrium demonstrate an entirely entirely different kind of direction taken by the vast majority of people—one that can be summed up as a universal movement to ennoble and support the individuation process. This shift of social resources—away from regimenting attitudes and behaviors, and toward full development of individual potential and eccentricities—marks a major turning point in human history and the first large-scale effort to embody the universal civilizing spirit of the age. The goal of this movement, fueled by the technological advances in global communication, will be to ensure that the light of wonder in every infant’s eyes still burns as bright in the eyes of every elder.
This individuation process, conceived of as an eclosion, or emergence from the chrysalis, will be viewed in the Embodiment Hexagram as a Mountain of Stillness in the external social world meeting the Sun of Creativity in the internal personal world of each individual. This ancient formula for the formation of character allowed to reflect the immortality of the true self, finally given the social resources on the widest scale, is the catalyst giving full realization to the ancients’ dream of transmuting civilization from within the individual.
The line change in the third place of the Embodiment Hexagram reverses the curse of alienation and separation, returning humanity to its original sense of wholeness with nature and spirit. The resulting Age of Light is then one in which neither groups nor individuals disrupt the harmonious balance of life by seeking personal benefit at the expense of others—an ethic so simple and straightforward that, once embodied in both attitude and behavior, guides humanity for the next several millennia.
Below follows the full reading of the divination, including the nuclear hexagram.
The Immediate Future
Hexagram 46: Honoring Contentment
Image: A female warrior receives the affection of her grandson.
Interpretation: This hexagram depicts the source of contentment. The female warrior symbolizes the feminine creative force, who conceives in order to nurture and sustain what is valuable. Her grandson symbolizes the extended family of all our loved ones, all our friends, all our relations. That she receives her grandson’s affection means that you open your heart to the overflowing joy abiding in the eternal moment of love unreservedly shared. Taken together, these symbols mean that you increasingly find meaning and power in acts of simple and unadorned affection.
Action: The feminine half of the spirit warrior embodies the wellspring of blessings. Just as that which is truly loved is truly nurtured and that which is truly nurtured truly grows greater, that which receives blessings is destined to dispense them: only those who feel whole-hearted gratitude for the blessings borne by ordinary and everyday circumstances are able to give others the kind of pure and unselfish love that truly nurtures greatness. True greatness is greatness of spirit, just as true love is love of another’s spirit: if we wish to encourage others, we must reflect the loving-kindness that shines upon us. It is a time, in other words, for more than simply feeling content—it is a time for honoring our contentment by directing our joy into gratitude for the blessings bestowed by the divine unseen forces. Sanctifying the love we share with those in front of us helps crystalize the love we share with those behind us: allowing ourselves to be loved by those we can see teaches us to allow ourselves to be loved by those we cannot see. It is to our spiritual ancestors that we turn, then, when we honor contentment, for it is in the company of the ancestors that we find our home. Because we are destined to eventually become one of the ancestors, it is only natural that we come to be better able to sense the love, care, and guidance they give us every moment. Dwelling in the deep and abiding sense of fulfillment that comes with loving and being loved, therefore, makes us better able to see the spirit of our loved ones and understand how to nurture the greatness of each. In this, we repeat what we learned from those who truly saw our spirit and truly nurtured its greatness. It is in this manner that everyday moments of pure, unselfish love are transformed into bridges that span all the generations, binding them together in the single act of universal love.
Intent: The continuity that binds the generations together arises from the meaning and power of the memories each of us make of our experiences—and the meaning and power of each memory arises from the emotions and insights we possess while in the midst of its experience. For this reason, there are few actions we can take that are more significant and beneficial than honoring contentment. In this sense, contentment means that you whole-heartedly experience the joy of being a loving part of a loving universe, whereas honoring means that you see spirit within every form and nurture its metamorphosis. Toward this end the spirit warrior trains to love every thing in creation as though it were a grandchild.
Summary: Recognize moments when you are content. Recognize moments when you are at peace. Recognize moments when you feel love. Do not let these moments pass unnoted: share them with spirit and thank spirit for its blessings and vow to spirit that you will work hard to deserve many more such moments. Be good company for spirit and you swim in the sea of bliss.
Line Change in the 3rd Place:
When people are given a futile task, they take it to heart and allow it to affect their self-confidence. Once you appreciate that it is infinitely better to fail at a futile task than an achievable one, you will regain your composure. Bring out your flexible half again—this is a test of character, not ability.
The Emerging Future
Hexagram 7: Compelling Motive
Image: A female warrior who is close to giving birth bathes tranquilly in a lake. From her womb there emerges a heart, with whom she is having a dialog. The speech glyphs are colored white to signify their purity and dignity, the water drops are drawn as jade beads in order to portray the precious nature of that which sustains life.
Interpretation: The female warrior symbolizes the way of nurturing and encouraging human nature that increases its sensitivity and loving-kindness. That she gives birth means that you bring something new into the world. The lake symbolizes the tranquility and serenity found in communing with nature and spirit. Bathing symbolizes purifying the thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Taken together, they symbolize beginning a new endeavor that you truly believe will bring benefit to others. A heart emerging from the womb means that you love what you are creating—and feel loved by it. Having a dialog with the newborn heart means that you actively speak to it of your hopes and intentions—and actively listen to its vision of its purpose and potential. Taken together, these symbols mean that the spirit of your lifework sustains and cares for you and your unborn creation—and that your vision and purpose are part of a larger effort dedicated to protecting that which is most valuable.
Action: The feminine half of the spirit warrior does not tarry at the crossroads. When the spirit of the heart calls, you must answer. Even if the calling comes when you are least prepared for it, it is your calling and cannot be ignored. Those who come across an acorn but see instead an oak tree have glimpsed the next part they have to play in the unfolding of creation. If you set aside other goals and whole-heartedly pursue this new direction, then you will find greater meaning, happiness, and success in life. It is essential to speak to the spirit of your endeavor, to treat it with respect and love and caring, to nurture it until it is whole and strong enough to emerge from the womb of benefit: you find that which deserves to be preserved when you find an inner need that you share with others. It is likewise essential to listen to the spirit of your endeavor, to allow yourself to be respected and loved and cared for, to be nurtured until you are whole and strong enough to emerge from the womb of benefit: just as an infant still in the womb may communicate with its mother, sharing its perceptions and protecting her with its intuitions, the spirit of your endeavor guides you to a future that is safe and filled with opportunity for growth and fulfillment.
Intent: Before acting externally, it is necessary to act internally—before making your decision known to others, it is necessary to incubate your plans in private. For this reason, it can be a frustrating time, one in which preparation can be mistaken for procrastination and gestation for inaction. This kind of impatience must be subdued by immersing yourself in the feminine spirit of water, which nourishes without bias. It can, however, also be time of timidity, one in which real procrastination can be mistaken for preparation and true inaction for gestation. Such hesitancy must be subdued by immersing yourself in the masculine spirit of water, which rushes headlong towards the sea without interruption. Once you have made the emotional decision to change direction, in other words, you must not reveal your intention until you are ready to act—but once you have revealed your intention, you must not allow anything to deter you from acting.
Summary: What you are trying to do is important, not just for your own future but that of others, as well. If you remain true to your loving and nurturing nature, you will enjoy real success. If you succumb to mistrustful and self-serving feelings, however, your hopes will not be fulfilled. Do not hesitate to pursue a new opportunity at this time, no matter how suddenly or unexpectedly it arises.
The Nuclear Hexagram:
Hexagram 39: Reviving Tradition
Image: The ancient spirit of fire takes the form of a male warrior, who is made part of the land by the roots growing like veins through his body and the earth. His arm is raised, greeting the long line of people in shadow that approach him. Another line of people, their torches rekindled, depart in light.
Interpretation: This hexagram depicts the ancestors’ inheritance passing from individual to individual and from generation to generation. The ancient spirit of fire symbolizes the universal tradition of fire-making, whose timeless ritual unites all people in a common heritage. The male warrior symbolizes the self-discipline and training needed to stand against greed, ambition, and materialism. That he is made part of the land means that you find your spiritual home in the site of your own lifetime. The long line of people in shadow is a symbol of those seeking to find their way back to a balanced and harmonious way of life. The line of people departing with torches rekindled is a symbol of those who find the light of the ancestors inside their own hearts and carry it through the darkness of their own time. Taken together, these symbols mean that you resist spiritual erosion the way a mountain of righteousness stands against the wind of corruption and the rain of meaninglessness.
Action: The masculine half of the spirit warrior views everything as a buried treasure left behind by the spiritual ancestors for their descendants. It is a time for holding fast to what lasts rather than getting distracted by the novel or overwhelmed by the fleeting. Avoid participating in the fads and fashions of the day, seeking instead to uphold the values and world view of a more spiritual time. This means, first and foremost, respecting and honoring all that is not human: when matter is seen as devoid of spirit, then nature can be desecrated without a second thought; when one form of nature is seen as devoid of spirit, then all forms of life can be desecrated without a second thought; when one form of life is seen as devoid of spirit, then human beings can desecrate one another without a second thought. For this reason, the spirit warrior sees the world as the divine homeland shared by the living and the dead and those not yet born. Recognizing that meaningfulness is hidden from those who attack it, you look into the secret heart of things and see the One Spirit of creation everywhere you look. Recognizing that meaningfulness is an open secret to all but the greedy, ambitious, and materialistic, you bury the treasure again in your own turn so that your descendants will find their secret heart.
Intent: Even though you feel out of step with the wounded spirit of the time, you are actively involved in healing it: recognizing that its illness is meaninglessness, you feed it the medicine of meaningfulness day and night throughout your life. Just as the fire of light and warmth must be fed wood and air to continue burning, the spirit of the time must be fed the joy and insights born of meaningfulness if it is to continue living: without the tradition of meaningful consecration to feed it, the spirit of the time will eventually die and be replaced by that of meaningless desecration. For this reason, the spirit warrior keeps alive the ancient tradition of training every thought and feeling to reflect the hidden sacredness of every moment.
Summary: The more you put the world view of the ancients into practice, the more you have to offer others. Be generous with what you have learned but do not stop learning: just as people depend on a well for their water, the well depends on the invisible river below ground for its water. Assume that you will understand matters better in the future and act with a corresponding degree of humility.