Reading the I Ching with a Raccoon

Part Two

Photo by Anna Salisbury on Unsplash

In the I Ching, study the opposites which are built from the eight “nuclear” trigrams:

Earth (K’un) and Heaven (Chien)

Mountain (Ken) and Thunder (Chen)

Lake (Tui) and Wind (Sun)

Fire (Li) and Water (K’an)

Not so much a matter of “why” they are opposites, but the question of the consequences of the opposition in calculation and interpretation when you read them together, as you must when they arrive together in your day. Your daily “throw.”

There are sixty-four potential hexagrams, and only eight possible “opposites,” so your odds of receiving an opposite, theoretically, on any given day (or throw) should be one in eight. On average. Lucky you.

One could say it is a bit of a numbers game. Should you like numbers.

Should you?

The Beatles had a hit song once, “Eight Throws a Week.” I think.

“Oooh, I need your numbers, babe, yes you know I do…”

Of course, if you are one of those hipsters who likes standing under lampposts smoking dope and find The Beatles abhorrent, perhaps you prefer a different sort of music, so you can limit your weekly intake of numbers and throws to a mere Earth, Wind and Fire sort.

I knew your mother quite well. (Your mother should know… And, as I recall, there was quite a bit of kunsundali going on…)

Moving ahead.

Today, let’s look closely at hexagram 38, the very ideal for “opposition” itself.

This one is composed of Li at the top and Tui at the bottom. Li signifies a bow in this instance (the weapon or firing instrument) and Tui, by association with death, of course, this must mean metal from the West via the NRA.

The matter of opposition here generally indicates dissension and misunderstanding, particularly in the family, but perhaps even in a broader sense. The idea of a bow, one carrying metal, perhaps in the form of an arrow, is quite predictably violent.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing because through opposition, even violence, growth and necessary change occurs. Civil Wars lead to some corts of freedom. Sometimes. Ultimately. Sometimes. Then, Trumpism. Sometimes.

As a predictor of things to come, this indicates that, while things may not begin well, they may end well, as battles often do. Also, that in small conflicts, things may settle quickly and amicably. That, however much things may be in opposition at some point, in the end they work towards some sort of unity, even if this is not immediately visible. Like family members who live together but don’t always like each other; at many points, at least, they cooperate.

I was discussing this with the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the eldest raccoon the other evening, while her kids were stashed next to the HVAC unit ignoring its tremors and delighting in some leftover sunflower seed.

“Your kids don’t seem to have much of a problem cooperating most of the time…”

She wriggled her snout. “No. They don’t. I’ve raised them right. All except Mugs.”

“Which one?”

She stretched back her shoulders and raised her arms so she could scratch behind both ears while standing up to lean against the post oak. Then pointing to one of the bigger babies, sniffing around in the poison ivy, said, “That one, the piggy one.”

“He’s not…”

“Yeah, yeah. He’s the one who’s been knocking over those bird suet dishes and smashing them for you. I keep telling him, there’s nothing in them, but he won’t listen. Piggy, piggy.”

Now, I was scratching my head. “So… What do you do about it?”

She turned back around and stared. “Me? What do I do? I don’t do anything. They aren’t my bird suet dishes, are they?”

“But…aren’t we, like, close or something? Spirit animal and all that?”

She gave me the look I’ve come to recognize over these past 18 years. Almost come to expect, actually, when we hit this particular juncture in conversation. Her mouth sort of fell open and her head bobbed only just noticeably. “What? Are you…are you joking? There’s a line here.”

I wriggled my snout. “Riiiight…”

She fell back onto her forepaws and walked over to the Mugs, slapped him in the head and all four raccoons walked off through the poison ivy. In opposition, some of them, but all together.

Happy Space Cats is a humor publication here on Medium looking for new writers and followers!

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here. “Women zai shuo ba” as the Mandarin say. Born 2016.

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