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The I’Ching of August August 14, 2006

Posted by The Typist in Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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In May, shortly before the kids and I left Fargo, ND for Toulouse Street, I fired up the Electronic I’Ching I keep on my Palm Pilot. I have a lovely hard back text with a rice paper front piece and a forward by Carl Jung, but that was packed away. I don’t structure my life around these bits of Chinese folk wisdom as if they were tomorrow’s weather, but I find it focuses the mind, starts trains of thought that truly help shape my future. I think the western aversion to such things causes us to miss out on a tool for the shaping of our own destinies.

That, however, is not my subject. I am posting this (saved for months on the laptop) to consider the third and fourth lines of the first hexagram. As I said, I treat this as an oraclular mind exercise, and not as a prognostication of future events. But I found in terribly interesting that at the start of the peak of the hurricane season, it would tell me this:

19-Lin Approach (K’un Receptive + Tui Happiness)

Approach has Supreme Success
Perseverance furthers
When the eighth month comes
There will be misfortune

The earth above the lake:
the image of APPROACH.
Thus the superior man
Is inexhaustible
In his will to teach
And without limits
In his tolerance and protection of the people

41-Ken Keeping Still+Tui Happiness

Decrease
Decrease combined with sincerity
Brings about supreme good fortune
Without blame.
One may be persevering in this
It furthers one to undertake something.
How is this to be carried out?
One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice.

What, then, is the misfortune of the eighth month? Perhaps it will be as simple as Lusher Middle not opening on time for my son, as it appears it will not. One can only hope. It is a city of misfortunes that we live in now, but as the ancient oracle reminds us, perseverance always pays. “It furthers one to undertaken something” I am reminded. How often have I read this line? Yes, the storm may come, but as the last post here says, once you have chosen (or been chosen) to live here, there is nothing to do but keep rowing.

And the image is of the earth above the lake, of the land rising up. I will probably not work this into my panel at Rising Tide lest I be thought a flake, but the rest of the first hexagram will weigh on my mind. “The Superior Man is inexhaustable…in his wili to teach and without limits….in his protection of the people.” I had toyed with sunsetting Wet Bank Guide on 8-28 and starting a new project, but somehow this calls me, sends my mind off in directions that tell me now is not the time to stop. Yes there is much to do that calls me away from the keyboard, but there is also much to say. For a writer, saying is doing.

“If furthers one to undertake something.” In the whirl of reporters friends in journalism have siced on me to talk about our decision to move to New Orleans, as I am forced to reconsider the decision again and again (as if I needed the prompting of microphones and notepads), I find at the end of each such exercise–even as I consider the lastest baleful headlines–that I have done the right thing.

In the second hexagram, I hear an echo of the feeling I get when I open the envelope and am reminded of the frightful mortgage payment on a dry house. But as it says “decrease combined with sincerity/Brings about supreme good fortune/Without blame”. It also tells me I might bring “two small bowls for the sacrifice”. Yes, I have taken my children out of the place they knew and the friends they had come to love, but they will start school next week. In the elastic way of children, they will make new friends, have new adventures, and do so in one of the great cities of the earth.

I remind my son, whenever he confronts of a challenge, of one of the tenets of Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a junior black belt or ‘Poom’ rank: indomitable spirit. I remind him of the time in basketball he had a terrible cramp, but only five kids showed for the game. If he left the court, his team would forfeit. He played on in pain. I have to remind myself when I see the first hexagram warn of misfortune, of the phrase that would likely top any concordance of the oracle: perseverence furthers.

I return again to look at the picture I posted the other night, and think: I have chosen (or perhaps been chosen) to be here. There is no other choice but to row into the wave.

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