cast hexagram 38

A couple posts ago, I offhandedly mentioned consulting the I Ching to see where I should travel to next. While it was somewhat of a joke, I have actually been rather addicted lately to the online version, where you can virtually cast the coins and it generates a reading. I had randomly picked the book up at a friend’s a couple months ago and started leafing through it, and have been fascinated ever since. Purists may cringe at the thought of casting the coins online, but for me, how you generate your hexagram is completely beside the point since I don’t believe there’s any real relationship between how the coins land and your reading. I mean, you could as easily open the book to a random page; tossing coins just seems more fun.

I don’t believe things like astrology, fortune telling, tarot etc. are a means of predicting future events, but I do believe they can have value in that they get you to examine the issues at hand in ways you may not have thought of. The great thing about the I Ching is that it offers advice and wisdom that, while obviously a product of ancient Eastern philosophy, isn’t predicated on a specific belief system per se; with an open mind, anyone can benefit. As I’m in a transitional phase, the act of seeking answers, new perspective, or illumination on certain aspects of life gives me comfort. Some of my favorite readings are the ones that seem completely at odds or unfitting with the situation in question, because it forces me to reevaluate my assumptions. Other times, the readings are scarily apropos, but offer hope and clarity. Take today’s reading, for example:

Cast Hexagram:

38 – Thirty-Eight

K’uei / Estrangement

Fire distances itself from its nemesis, the Lake:
No matter how large or diverse the group, the Superior Person remains uniquely himself.
Small accomplishments are possible.


You are working at cross-purposes with another.
The distance between you is very wide.
The gap can be closed, however, with no compromise of your integrity.
You are not adversaries in this case — just two persons addressing individual needs.
Ask yourself: are these needs mutually exclusive?
Is there common ground here?
Must there be one winner and one loser?
Could you become partners in seeking a solution that would allow for two winners?

This hexagram reassures me that “small accomplishments are possible”. I’m not sure if these will manifest, because I only have a say over my own actions. But I’m all about partnership and seeking solutions. The part of this reading I’m appreciating the most, though, is the line about others not being my adversaries; just individuals with different sets of needs. This perspective can probably be applied to just about anyone you’d be in conflict with. And once you remove the adversarial aspect of a conflict, it’s much easier to find common ground and a sense of shared purpose. It seems obvious, but easy to lose sight of when you’re in the heat of battle and emotions take over. Which is why I’m grateful for the reminder.

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