Purple Moon & Other Sychronicities

“Take off all your clothes. Paint yourself purple. Go out in your neighborhood and shout ‘Donald Trump is an alien’.” –Harmen Mesker

The student, that is me, does noimg_20160916_191002233t question the validity  of the assignment from the teacher, that is Harmen. Ok, to be honest, this wasn’t actually an assignment, but he did say it. In the course of our online chats and Yi school lessons, I mentioned that I had decided to do whatever he said. Many things Harmen suggest go against my natural inclination, like not using books for I Ching readings; or, his suggestions may challenge my self-confidence, like starting a blog. I have found that acting on his suggestions work out for me. This reminded me of George on Seinfeld, who found that when he went against his natural inclination things went well for him, i.e. he got the girl or the good job, etc.

A link to the Seinfeld clip:  https://youtu.be/cKUvKE3bQlY

When I expressed this idea to Harmen, that I was doing whatever he suggested, he quiped with the painting purple thing. Though I understood he was joking, I did not dismiss the idea. After all, I had just made a statement of strong intention. I did not need to act on it immediately. In fact, it took me some time to actually start this blog after he originally suggested it. I began researching body paint. I found stories of women who overcame negative body image by doing it. In the meantime, it also became a running joke. I responded to Harmen that I was working up to it and waiting for the right timing. I am pretty sure Harmen had no idea just how serious was my intent.


In online conversation with Harmen, he mentioned something about ‘getting points’ in an unrelated topic. I asked how I would get points in Yi school. Another ongoing joke is my grade status and even once I feared I might be expelled. Harmen answered that I could get points by painting myself purple. He also mentioned the disadvantages of procrastination. I ordered the paint that day. I also spoke to my long time friend and neighbor, Stone, about the best ways to accomplish this…er, uh…performance art.

I am also currently working on a project of writing the gospels of the Bible from the perspective of a very feminist Mary Magdalene. On this same day, that I ordered paint and spoke with Stone, I found a passage: “Behold a Canaanitish woman came out from the borders and cried ‘Lord have Mercy on me.” – Matthew 15:22. As is my style, I researched the etymology. I found that the women of Canaan are associated with sacred sexuality and sacred prostitution and performing earth related rituals. Canaan means “Land of the Purple” after the powder of a common shell that colors the area. The women painted themselves purple in the ceremonies. I was blown away by the synchronicity. ‘ I I have some nicknames for Harmen (he detests titles like ‘Master’ for the pretentiousness, so I have a slew of alternates). It is foretold in the Bible and handed down by the Yi-siah. Behold!

Stone and I planned for the upcoming Sunday. I consulted the Yi:


Q: Painting Purple Considerations

A: Hexagram 12. Earth below and heaven above. It is the symbol of yin supporting yang. It carries the meaning of blocked, the yin obstructed, decadence, or impasse.


The lower trigram represents me in the considerations. Earth is submissive and responsive. This reminds me of my original idea to take on this event. The idea to ‘do what Harmen says’ is about being receptive to the seeds of encouraging suggestions. Even though this came as a kind of challenge or dare to my idea to be ‘submissive,’ I have followed through so far. It represents a willingness on my part to experiment with receptivity. Being ‘submissive’ was a tough attribute for me to get over in studying the trigram of earth. I changed it to a ‘willing sub-mission.’ It may mean the same, but carries for me the idea of a willing volunteer for a mission into non-resistance.

I have had plenty of resistance to doing other suggestions Harmen gave me. But when I overcome them, and just do it, things turn out well. I now have some expectation of growth and benefit from being open to his suggestions. Some are more subtle and do not require action. This one, of course, is on the opposite end of that spectrum. I cannot easily pass over the connection of Harmen’s gentle but firm suggestion to go ahead with it. (In his mind, it was part of a running joke). Immediately following, I read Bible information about the women of Canaan. I was sold.


The upper trigram is the outer situation and is characterized by creativity, timing, and moving forward like a beam of light through the universe. This would characterize the consideration of going through with this creative pursuit. At the very least, it suggests the idea to just keep going with it until something hinders or stops it. The timing will reveal itself along the way. Approach the outer situation creatively and with action.

Heaven can also be indicative of the patriarchy, laws, and society. This is in contrast to the Canaanite women and their purple painting sexuality. It is the yin, the dark secrets coming up against the bright light of rules and conforming to structure. Though I do not believe it is illegal, it surely is outside the norm. It is a questioning and a statement about the political scene. It is a consideration of the factors of the current environment.

Hexagram 12. Does no mean no?

Stone is making a skirt and a halter top from fig leaves. It is very nice. She also got me a purple wig and a purple mask with wings. We are looking at Sunday as the day; however the paint has not arrived.dscn5425 Knowing that H12 means ‘no’ or ‘blocked’ (or does it?) I thought maybe it means the paint will not arrive on time, so maybe it means ‘no’ for Sunday. This is a possibility.

I also remember something in the judgement of Hexagram 12  about ‘non-people’ (I am forbidden from reading I Ching books, another one of Harmen’s quirks). This immediately made me think about the phrase that I am supposed to say “Donald Trump is an alien.” That is ‘non-people.’ Silly as it may seem, once I got the Biblical passage, I began to see it as something bigger than myself. It is a strange political environment after all. I have actually seen internet postings that both Hilary and Donald are aliens. So who knows?

I know that earth and heaven are a kind of opposite, a polarity, like yin and yang. In Hexagram 11, when heaven is on the inside and earth is on the outsidedscn5427, it is considered in harmony, or in communication. The opposite is true in this case. I wondered about why this is so, considering the trigrams. I see H12 as not a good situation for outward manifestation, which is
what people usually want. The inner sphere is all submissive with no ability to project it into the outer situation. The outer situation is action with no growth potential, no inner guidance. I can see
that the attributes of earth on the inside are up against some mighty forces on the outside.

I did not ask the YI whether I should do this weidscn5433rd thing. In that case, maybe this would mean ‘NO…don’t do it.” I merely asked for considerations in painting purple. It is a thing not normally
done or accepted by people. It is a kind of ‘no-people’ thing to do. I can approach in willing sub-mission with receptivity. Earth is to do without doing. It seems to be saying to let it happen naturally and don’t press it. I can just be and nurture the willingness. On the outside there is movement and also the patriarchal society. I might consider signs in timing. The world may be saying ‘no’ to such an enterprise. It is counter-intuitive. And that is the point.

Feedback from Harmen on the consult:


“Well done. Many people would indeed regard H12 as a big No! But there is more to it than that. It also means Earth disconnecting herself from the Masculinity; elements taking their proper place.

And of course I never thought you would actually do it.

But the relevance that has come out of it turns to become bigger than the initial funny intended remark that started it.”

Following Through

As it turns out, Sunday was not a good day for it. That might have been part of the meaning of H12. I re-set the date for Friday 9-16-16. It was to be a full, harvest moon and an eclipse. It turns out that painting myself purple was very nice. It feels good, like a skin or massage treatment. I found purple to be a naturally slimming color. Stone, helped me with putting on the skirt and halter of leaves, the wig, and the mask. Once dressed, or not really dressed, but painted and costumed, we set off for a well-known hang-out spot nearby: Little 5 Points. This area is known for being avant-garde with tattoo parlors, bars, new age book shops, and thrift stores. I figured I would blend in.

I must insert that, being painted purple and wearing leaves did give me the feeling of not being naked. Though, when I look at the photos and video, it seems much more risqué then I had intended. Basically those darn leaves did not cover my boobs as much I had hoped. But hey, I only had one shot, one take. This was it: now or never.


In the process of me posing for photos, as Stone shot away, a number of people approached. One guy said “You got my vote.” Many thought I was a fairy. I explained that it was a challenge, a dare, I had undertaken in the interest of being open to positive suggestions (this became my official full moon intention). One guy proclaimed that I totally owned that dare. The women loved it and thought it was bold and courageous. One woman actually hugged me. We are a society obsessed with body image. I was putting it all out there and this made a statement as well. The experience soaked in for me too. I felt prettier in purple, than I do in my own skin. My concerns about my age, weight, perceived flaws, and exposure gave way to the spirit of the moment.


Stone Morris, stylist and photographer.

Another positive thing about the experience, was the artistic collaboration with my long time friend. She is a stylist, a chef, and a wonderful friend. Without her encouragement, creative contribution, and support, I would never have pulled it off. Now we have something we will always remember.

Stone was having trouble getting a good video of me speaking my line. We were about to settle when a young couple approached with curiosity. They said it was fantastic. It turns out, he is a film student, and shot the final take on his phone.

You can see the completed challenge here:


(Video by opynmic, as he is called on youtube and instagram).

I consulted the Yi again about whether to include these photos and video in this blogimg_20160916_190739414 post. I am feeling a bit shy and well, exposed. I am not sure whether my nudity, even in purple, is appropriate for Yi audiences. The response was Hexagram 57. It is wind over wind. It represents a gentle but penetrating influence; the symbol of bending to enter, willing submission, complaisance.  It might also be felt as a devotion to service and acceptance of a seal. Who am I to argue with destiny AND synchronicity?

Harmen’s Feedback:




I think I deserve an A+ in Yi school, plus points.



Hexagram-ese: Predicting Rotten Apples

A kind of short-hand has developed in my communication with Harmen, over time zones and internet and in our discussion of the Yi. We sometimes refer to a situation as being ‘he500_f_62396567_egiytwftq79wadhpm4ieuehhf55xfwm9xagram-ish.’ A pleasant exchange could be called “H58-ish.” Likewise, I might feel pretty “trigram-esque” about something and approach it “mountain-y.” I might also feel it as a verb, as in: “I H5-ed all day.”


In a recent experience with the Yi, I had a trip planned with some friends. I was to ride with them and split expenses. It became apparent that this couple was not getting along. Things were brewing that would make a trip for them extremely unlikely. I did not see how I could accomplish it on my own.

I asked the Yi: “direction of cancelling my vacation.”

I received: H13, unmoved. It is the image of fellowship and union.

Granted, I went in with the bias of not seeing how this trip could possibly work out, but I also did not want to cancel. The answer seemed to be giving a picture of how I hoped things to be. The image so clearly related to friends and fellowship and even crossing the water.14040060_1066541470060635_8345774298183971287_n

It was to be a trip to the beach and an island and to visit a favorite friend.  Fire below is about clinging and clarity. Heaven above is about movement and, like the light of the sun, continuing until something stops it. There were no moving lines, no arousal, disruption, or turbulence. It gave me the feeling of being definitive.

I also considered that my question was about cancelling, so maybe it was somehow an affirmation to the cancellation. That seemed a bit far-fetched. However, Harmen consistently points me in the direction of making sure to answer the question. It is a Yi school 101, so to speak. Make sure the images relate back to the question. It should all be an answer.

I pondered whether the Yi was being ironic. I asked Harmen about the possibility of the image of H13 being a description of the situation of cancelling. He said something like if I asked the YI “should I not eat the apple pie” and the YI gave me an image of eating an apple pie, then the answer would be to eat the apple pie. (Harmen really has a thing for apple pie, at least in metaphor). What if Snow White had consulted the Yi? I  also wanted to know which hexagram is an image of eating apple pie? I have so many questions.


I still feel a bit confused about this idea of posing the question without bias and relating the answer to the exact question posed. It feels pretty tricky at times. I have spent a good deal of time and effort at posing questions with directions and without directions or as situations or as what I want to accomplish…talk about loaded questions. Harmen did not think the Yi was being ironic in giving me an image of the situation of the trip going favorably, or not cancelling. He advised me not to cancel the trip. So I did not cancel my hotel reservations or my time off of work.


I then wanted to know about the Yi and predictions for the future. Harmen said that it is not a fortune telling tool. It is a way to understand the current environment and what decisions to make now. It is an image of the present situation in regards to the question. I want to know now, what is to be next? Hexagram 13 is given as a positive image of what decision I make in this moment. I asked him: ‘What if I do take the trip and it is all H13-ish?’ Then does that mean it is a prediction? He said no, but I am not entirely convinced.

It turns out that the couple I was to travel with was ensconced in a personal crisis and upheaval. They both backed out. My friend, whom I was to visit, asked me to consider other ways of getting there. It was to be a real opportunity staying in an historic place with the benefits of accommodations with her, as she is a volunteer park ranger. I looked up alternative plans like renting a car, or taking a bus or plane, etc. It seemed more and more impossible. Still, I kept the image of H13 and its clear description of fellowship and crossing the water, clinging to friends and moving forward. It felt so clear and even purposeful. I also decided to trust in Harmen’s apple pie metaphor. The Yi said to eat the apple…didn’t it?


It was less than a week from my departure date. The couple texted me and said that I could borrow their car for the trip. They did not want me to have to cancel just because they were not going. This was a real surprise. It had not occurred to me as an option. So I did take the trip. It was a lovely week of fellowship. We crossed the great river (the Intercostal) by ferry to Cumberland Island which is a wilderness and full of history. Was it a foretelling? Was it that my own intention and belief allowed for it to happen?  Is it my trust in the Yi? Though perhaps I have more questions than answers, I will consider this example again and again as I move forward in my learning process. I was worried the apple was rotten and asked about not eating it. Because of the image, I took a bite. The trip was fantastic. I was H13-ing it to the maximum.


Line Analysis: Earth, Wind,Thunder, & Mountain

Harmen gives me assignments, but we do not always find the time for feedback sessions. I am putting forth a disclaimer, in a sense, that this is  my response and may or may not represent Harmen’s ideas on the subject. In any case, I learn by doing them and reviewing them.

Assignment: Give a description of the following moving lines/trigram combination: – 1st line in Wind – 2nd line in Earth – 3rd line in Mountain – 1st and 3rd in Thunder.

  1. 1st line in Wind. A yielding line in the first place is considered in an incorrect position. The general meaning of the place of the first line is the beginning, or first step, or having not yet entered the situation. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable would be determined by the situation and the time, but is considered to be coming, as opposed to going.

Wind is a gentle, unseen force, which has affects over time. The yielding line, at the beginning is like the gentle, unseen part, and the other firm two lines are the affects. Arousal in the first place of wind would be an indication to pay attention to the beginnings of the gentle forces put in motion. It is a call to consider what is not seen, the thought processes, the intentions and motivations. Look at the thoughts coming, that which is unseen and inside, in reference to their affects over time.


  1. 2nd line in Earth. A yielding line in the second place is considered in the correct position. It is also central, in that it is in the middle line of the trigram. The general meaning is expression, engagement, visibility. It is also associated with the fifth line (which is undecipherable in this assignment). It is said to be the official in the country who is in connection with the ruler in the fifth place. Being central and correct generally or usually means that is also favorable.

Earth is nurturing, yielding and open. All lines being yielding characterize the imagery. Arousal in the second place is an indication to consider what and how the outward expression is taking place. The situation and time and fifth line would give more information on whether to increase firmness or to continue to give way. It is a place characterized by adaptation on an inner level and in a favorable way. In any regard it is place to consider these inner qualities and how they are expressed outwardly.


  1. 3rd line in Mountain. A firm line in the third place is considered in the correct position. The general meaning is a place of decision or indecision. Its placement at the top of the inner trigram means to look back and / or inwards and also means to look forward or outward towards the situation of the upper trigram.

Mountain is representative of restraint, stillness and the ending and the beginning. The lines form the image of a gateway. Arousal in the third place calls for an intense inward focus on the decisions involved in the situation. The intensity and the inward focus of it come from the line position, the meaning of the trigram, and the placement of the trigram in the lower place.  All are factors which call for inward consideration of a decision. Look at the path leading there and the path going forward. Movement in this line suggests instability in the decision. Whether it is favorable to firm up the original intent or give way to other considerations, and which is favorable, depends upon the situation and the time.


  1. 1st and 3rd in Thunder. 1st: A firm line in the first place is considered to be in the correct position. It indicates a solid first step or beginning. It is a firm foundation in that which approaches. That is not to say it is necessarily favorable, which would depend upon the situation. For example if the inquiry was concerning an unwanted situation, then the stage is set for movement in that direction, which would be unfavorable.

Thunder is about action and movement in a burst of exploding effort. The firm line at the bottom gives rise to open growth in the upper two lines. The attributes of thunder speak of rising up from below and a rumbling down under. Arousal in the first line and also in the lower trigram, connect with the overall meaning of the trigram. They all speak to the importance of focus at the beginning and inwardly. A moving line in this position indicates a need to think about the action, because once it is begun there is no stopping it, according to the attributes of thunder. Its favorability depends on the situation being considered, for example whether it is a cause or a choice to be made or an understanding the motives and intentions within a situation.

3rd: A yielding line in the third position is considered incorrect. It is in the place of making a decision and considering inner factors, and if what was begun is to be continued. Its placement at the top of the lower trigram also calls for a focus about the implications of moving forward or outward.

The yielding line at the top is a place to consider a decision while looking at the intentions of the beginning. It is a place to consider the decision in term of its place moving outward and forward. Arousal in this place indicates a possibility of re-considering the current affects that were begun with a burst. In applying it to thunder it is looking at the startled environment and deciding about the favorability of the situation. A startling shock can get things moving or it can arouse too much fear to continue.


Moving lines in both the 1st and 3rd place of the trigram thunder indicates instability in the characteristics of thunder. Thunder is not about hesitation, and the movement in these lines call attention to this characteristic. The situation is marked by instability and a contrast to the attributes of thunder. If both lines were changed into their opposite, then the trigram becomes its inverse, which is mountain. It is as if the arousal and focus on the first and third lines in thunder quiets it into the attributes of mountain. This consideration of opposites heightens the instability of the situation. The favorability of these lines depends upon the situation which would dictate whether it is a cause for concern, or it is advice, or a description of the movement through time.