I don’t do as much divination as a lot of people I know. I’m not the sort who turns toward Tarot and astrology any time I need to make a decision, even an important one. Instead, I tend to use them for spiritual and psychological guidance, setting the tone for a project I’m working on, or otherwise gaining perspective. There’s ancient advice concerning I Ching which I think applies as well to most other oracles, and it simply comes down to this: don’t be frivolous. Everyone has to figure out what that means for themselves, but for me it usually means that if I already intuitively know the answer, I’m not going to bother the cards or coins about it. If we’re being honest with ourselves, that’s most things, most of the time. Nevertheless, there will always be some things which are obscured or too far away for us to see them clearly, and so we have tools. For most questions requiring deeper vision and farther sight, I turn to I Ching.
I have been privately doing I Ching readings for the “tone of the year”, but realized that it may be of interest to others as well. This year, I did two readings: a private one for myself, and one to share with the public.
The query was simple: “What is the spiritual tone for 2019 which my readers should know?”
Hexagram 54 (The Marrying Maiden) with an old Yang in the fourth place;
Hexagram 63 (After Completion) at the heart of the matter;
Hexagram 54 transforms into Hexagram 19 (The Approach).
It’s interesting to note, first of all, that the response of the Marrying Maiden was the same for the public reading as well as my own private reading. The line reading came out differently, but it strikes me that there is a common tenor set for the year for those of a magical and spiritual bent who find some resonance with my writing. The Marrying Maiden advises us to maintain an unshaken focus on the eternal end, which is to say “keep your eyes on the prize”. This constitutes the purity of intention necessary in Yoga. While it may mean having to pass up opportunities in order not to divert one’s efforts, the changing fourth line promises that our inner purity will not have been in vain when an opportunity comes along that actually moves us forward in our spiritual practice.
At the heart of the Marrying Maiden is After Completion: while it may feel that we are just waiting around as we quietly continue our practice, we are really in a dynamic balance in our work. We are trying to hold the middle between two extremes and if we lose focus or become lazy with the thought that everything will take care of itself, this balance will collapse. Here is the most urgent reason to remain intellectually pure, for backsliding is always a possibility until the goal is reached.
In the midst of all of this focus, it is easy to lose sight of other people and their needs, or to feel superior to “the herd” for our different priorities. While a real concern for others can arise naturally from spiritual practice, it doesn’t necessarily do so on its own. We must cultivate humility and compassion not as sidelines but as an integral part of maintaining our internal balance. Excessive egotism is a klesha, a source of pain for all involved, and we must root it out by developing its opposites—if not for their own sake, at least to maintain the equipoise necessary to continue our development.
Any divination is a conversation more than a pronouncement. As such, it is up to every reader to figure out how the above applies to their own life. There is a general interpretation I can give, however, which will likely have something to say for most or all of us. If I were speaking with a client, I might say it like this:
You would be wise to put your full effort into remaining grounded in your spiritual practice in the midst of the chaos of the world. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whether it be Yoga or the Hermeticism of Franz Bardon or ceremonial magic or whatever, contemplate the goal of your practice every day and never lose sight of it, no matter what the world throws at you.
Politics, religion, economics, and similar factors will always be trying to grab your attention and topple you. Maintaining the equilibrium of priorities will make you unassailable. This can, however, lead to falling off the other way into inaccessibility, coldness, and arrogance. It is necessary, therefore, to maintain contact with other people, to allow ourselves to grow affectionate towards them, and to remember that we are all in this together. This doesn’t imply a milquetoast acceptance of anyone else’s bullshit, but it does necessitate making the effort to understand their actions and motives just as we come to understand our own.
When we talk about the world as an obstacle to spirituality, we must be quite clear: “the world”, in this context, refers not to the natural world itself but to the cultural and social world—the world of reified ideas and assumptions. This particular world assails us every moment of every day from the moment we are born until we die (and, arguably, even between death and rebirth, though differently) and we must consciously, deliberately choose to construct an inner world more in line with a combination of our own ideals, the world of Nature, and a vision of the Immensity (brahman) we call God. This process won’t usually make us a lot of friends, but it will ensure our integrity.
2019 will not be an easy year, but what year is? Harkening back to, say, 2012, or even 1996, people may pine for a year when “everything was okay,” but it only looked “okay” if you weren’t paying attention. Better that we make our way well in the world, help those we can, and keep our own equipoise at the center of our concern. We can then better enjoy the good times and carry through with far more wisdom and power during the bad times.
Here’s to all of you. May 2019 bring you the wisdom, power, and integrity to not only make it through, but to excel on your way.