The Anti-Hexagram and Reversed Primary

A hexagram’s “opposite” can be formed in two ways:  by physically inverting it, or by reversing the yang lines to yin and vice versa.  The “foursomes” described by Carrin Dunne in Yijing Wondering and Wandering consist of the array of the inverted and reversed primary and secondary hexagrams.  One of these, the reversed secondary hexagram, is significant in another way:  it is the hexagram formed by changing the non-moving lines in the original hexagram.  I call it the “anti-hexagram” and think of it as what the current situation is not changing into, or what is being avoided by the indicated change.

In the diagram below, the red figures are the reversed (complementary) primary and secondary hexagrams.  The blue figure is the anti-hexagram, formed by changing the non-moving lines in the primary hexagram.  You can see that it is equivalent to the reversed secondary hexagram.


Another way of looking at it is that the primary hexagram is one of many possible intermediates between the anti-hexagram and the secondary hexagram, almost like a stopping-point in the process, or a snapshot in time.  The overall direction of change is from anti- to secondary hexagram.


Comparing the secondary with the anti-hexagram, one looks at the differences to see the direction of movement or change.  The reversed primary hexagram may then be taken as an echo or context of the original; one looks at how they are the same.

Concerning the direction of change, you may be headed toward Mt. Whitney but that doesn’t mean you will get there, it is just the direction you are going.  Think of it as a vector with a position and a direction; the base hexagram statement or the changing line(s) are the position, the transformed hexagram is the direction you are headed.

weather vane

Example 1.

A family member had been the recipient of very unexpected negative treatment from someone who until then had been a good friend of the family.  This treatment had the potential to result in serious adverse consequences in the near future.  I considered it to have been completely unjustified, and in my usual subtle style had the urge to lash out with threats and accusations at said person, and others who were indirectly involved in the situation.

I consulted and got 31:4,5 — 15:
Hexagram 31:
Influence.  Offer a sacrifice.
The omen is auspicious.
Auspicious to take a wife.

4.  The omen is auspicious.  Regrets will disappear.
Very uncertain, going and coming.
Frinds begin to think of you.

5.  Influence in the neck.  No regrets.

Hexagram 15:
Modesty.  Offer a sacrifice.
A noble person completes what he undertakes.
Influencing others through modesty/integrity and maintaining good relationships appears to be the message.

The anti-hexagram,
Hexagram 10:
Treading on a tiger’s tail.
It does not bite.
Offer a sacrifice.
This made me think that my original plan to lash out may have had some degree of success, but at high risk and possibly harm to others.

The reversed primary hexagram, together with the corresponding lines:
Hexagram 41:
Decrease.  Have trust.
A major auspicious omen.  No harm.
Divination possible.
It is favorable to proceed with a purpose.
How should one proceed?
Using two platters, you can conduct the sacrifice.

4.  Decreasing your faults, soon bringing forth joy.  No harm.

5.  Someone increases him.  Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it.
A major auspicious omen.
This appears to add to the context of the original hexagram, suggesting self-cultivation, personal growth, and help from others.

Example 2.

I found myself in a situation of sudden conflict that involved issues that I thought I should report to “higher-ups.”  But I was conflicted about the latter because I did not want to give the appearance of backstabbing, and I was not even sure of how much support to expect.

I consulted and got 5:4 — 43:
Hexagram 5:
Waiting.  Have confidence.  Offer a glorious sacrifice.
An auspicious omen.  It is favorable to ford the great river.

4.  The omen is auspicious.  Regrets will disappear.
Waiting in blood.  Emerging from the cave.

Hexagram 43:
Striding forward.  Announce the matter at the court of the king.  A cry of solidarity.
There is danger.  Reports arrive from the city.  It is not favorable for the army to advance.
It is favorable to proceed with a purpose.
I waited until I had clarified the issue as much as possible and taken what action I thought I should reasonably take on my own.  Then I went ahead and took the matter up the chain, with positive results.

The anti-hexagram indicated that inaction was what not to do.
Hexagram 23:
Splitting.  It is not favorable to proceed with a purpose.
The reversed primary hexagram also advises taking action, but carefully:
Hexagram 35:
The powerful prince
Is honored with horses in large numbers.
In a single day he is granted audience three times.

4.  Progress like a hamster.
Perseverance brings danger.

Example 3.

Should I answer a very hostile and confrontational e-mail from a person with whom I would rather not have any dealings in the first place?
Hexagram 10:
Revolution.  On the sixth day there will be trust.
Offer a major sacrifice.
A favorable omen.  Regrets will disappear.
The answer had no moving lines, so the anti-hexagram in this case is just the reversed (complementary) hexagram.
Hexagram 4:
Folly.  Offer a sacrifice.
I do not seek the foolish youth, the foolish youth seeks me.
For the first divination, I advise.  A second or third obscures it.
If obscured, then I do not advise.
A favorable omen.
So it would be foolish, or even childish, to ignore the e-mail and refuse to answer.

Example 4.

Finally, what should I make of the anti-hexagram in general?

10:4 — 61:
Hexagram 10:
Treading on a tiger’s tail.
It does not bite.
Offer a sacrifice.

Line 4.  Treading on a tiger’s tail; very frightening.
The end will be auspicious.

Hexagram 61:
Inmost trust.  Pigs and fishes are auspicious.
It is favorable to ford the great river.  A favorable omen.
It sounds like something trustworthy, and serious, which should not be taken lightly.

The anti-hexagram,
Hexagram 62:
Small excess.  Let a sacrifice be conducted.  A favorable omen.
You can engage in small affairs; do not engage in great affairs.
The sound left behind by a flying bird.  It is not fitting to go high; it is fitting to stay low.
A great auspicious omen.
The reversed primary hexagram,
Hexagram 41:
Modesty.  Let a sacrifice be conducted.
The noble person completes what he undertakes.

4.  There is nothing that will not end favorably.
Show modesty.

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