Wind Question Assignment


  • How does the trigram describe a situation?
  • …a cause (origin, root)?
  • …a person?
  • How does it tell you what to do?
  • What does it tell about how to do something?


    Trigram Wind by Adele Aldridge


“It is communication, exchange, lasting progress, gradual & subtle change, curiosity, asking questions, playing the journalist, research, investigation, never give up, work on the long term, gentle pressure, small steps, walking, attention to details, writing detailed descriptions.” –Harmen


It is characterized by the effects that come from slow moving progress. Writing a story. Building and maintaining. Always there and never lost: influencing, forming, and changing perceptions. It affects the way of seeing the world and making choices. Elements manifest over time. There are visible effects from unseen beginninstairs-1627424_1280gs. It is quantity and quality of work. Little bits add up. It is a garden, a work of art, and tree roots growing through the sidewalk.

Research, slow, detailed work. It influences the approach taken. It is considering elements and attributes. It seems to be a diversion. Movement of the wind is unseen but effective. By the time the actual effects are seen time has passed. It is contemplation on deep levels, and daily tasks that are all adding up. Acceptance of a destination. Following a pattern.


Wind as a cause is easier to consider, because that is what we see anyway. The wind causes swirls and eddies, it causes leaves to dance, deserts to shift, and mountains to move. It causes a shift, which can be in perception. It has effects on mood and  creative expression and communication. Changing effects. The wind shifts the desert sand or the clouds and they appear completely different by the same cause. It is like influence of the Yi. The affect of 10 years ago is different than now, though it is the same cause.japan-956073_1280

In a more negative sense, a cause of a situation like the wind would be looking at things through only the details, the research, the long term pressure. This kind of cause might lead to a situation where time was spent on these things rather than other approaches. Could cause an imbalance in feeling release or joy in the present.


breeze-1578424_1280Someone who is detailed, curious and never ending in their research and investigation. Questioning, and going step by step in the ongoing learning process and accumulation of knowledge to a useful approach that can be seen and felt.

There are people who spend their lifetime on projects and great works of art. There are also people who have toiled through life but have managed to support a family or build a business or have a farm. It is someone with inclination to continue doing.

What to do

Pay attention to the details with a questioning mind. Expect long term effects that cannot necessarily yet be seen or felt. Do not give up because things are happening on an unseen level. Don’t rush things or expect that it will go quickly. Consider the bigger picture. Approach the situation step by step. Consider the possible influence of things already put in motireed-1666746_1280on or that move more slowly. Use investigative techniques with a sense of curiosity. Do things with patience and an acceptance that some things take time. Be alert to subtle changes or affects. Exert a gentle pressure. Pay attention to the subtleties in communication, exchange, and music. Do a little bit consistently and continuously.

How to do it

Slowly. Gently. Curiously. Unceasingly. Investigatively. Patiently. With alertness to detail. With continuance. With subtlety in action and influence. With faith in small actions. With a sense of awe in noticing small things. With a sense of the grander vision within the details. With a sense of accomplishment in small steps.long-1245787_1280

Stupid Questions

woman-1733891_1280I say  this to myself after I get an answer I do not like or understand. I say it as if I am scolding the question that would illicit such a response. Inherent in this feeling is that I perhaps don’t want to know the answer. Questions are only stupid when the answer is obvious, impossible, or one that you don’t want to hear. Now that I have seen the answer, I am hesitant to explore what it means.

This happens most when I receive a scary hexagram. There may be no bad hexagrams, but there are scary ones. I have found that I approach answers like thunder. I get frightened and startled at first. Oh my God! Baton down the hatches, coral the ponies, and run for cover…a scary hexart-1295282_1280agram has come to town! What could that mean and what the hell was I asking in the first place? The rumble of thunder scares me to 100 li on the inside. Will there be lightning to follow? I peep at the hexagram and laugh at myself. The three little lines of the trigrams are not so scary. It is safe to come out of hiding. Ah, it was only thunder and the storm has passed. I take up the sacrificial spoon and study the trigram images.

Q: Communication with Harmen

A: H47 Confining. Movement at lines 2 and 3.

It feels like one of those scary hexagrams, all about confinement and being dried up. It’s not exactly the thing I was expecting in imagery for communication with a teacher. So I do not do much with it at first. I rest with the images. It is an ongoing subject anyway, and it may take a bit for the storm to pass in my negative associations.

I give more thought to my question. There are limitations to discussion and communication when it all must be done on the internet and through varying time zones. We use different apps for different things. I have found FB messaging near impossible for scrolling back through and finding things. I have to remember to copy and paste or bookmark things as they come up. It is useful for casual chat and short questions and humorous associations (GIF’s stickers, and emoji’s). I have lost attachments of feedback there and found that frustrating. Email is OK for attaching things, but is not conducive to back-n-forth chatting. I have lost things there too.

Recently I joined Clarity forum:

I like the format of the discussion board. It is interesting that there are the various schools of thought about interpretation. When people hear a little about Harmen’s way of teaching using the hexagram, I find agoats-692660_1280 bit of defensiveness about it. I feel the tension. People seem to think it discounts or diverges or goes in some opposite direction from their experience and use of the Yi. There is discussion about it on the forum, and I came on too strong in defense of it. I am still a novice at the methods, but I can see the advantages of learning it in order to enhance whatever other methods are used.

It was from this experience, that Hilary mentioned inviting Harmen as a guest teacher on her forum. She opened a thread for trigrams by Harmen. It has been a mode of communication that I would never have thought to suggest. I find that other people’s questions are ones that I had not considered. It opens up the learning for me to be able to see others involvement in it. Even if people approach it with doubt or take it other directions, it provides thoughtful commentary.

It got me to thinking that the forum style that Hilary has so well perfected on her website has many advantages. This (and the reading about communication and H47) prompted me to ask Harmen if there was something like that on his website that I could use for assignments. He was very accommodating in creating such a space.

After these positive experiences that came out of receiving this answer, I decided to tackle the stupid question and scary hexagram with a more in depth look at the imagery. I also followed the example provided by Harmen of looking at the hexagram and starting with the idea or phrase: “Hmmm, that is interesting…” This also helps  take away the stupid question / scary hexagram syndrome. So I begin again in earnest:

Q: Communication with Harmen

Water below. Lake above. Arousal at lines 2 and 3. 

Hmmm, that is interesting…2 lines excited in the lower trigram. The upper trigram is lake and one I often associate with discussing the Yi with Harmen. Thatoilet-42802_1280t is good, right? Well, at least it brings a little hope to the scary feeling I get when I see water underneath the lake. Weird, I just flashed on an image of a toilet flushing into the pipes below. Hmmm, interesting, but is that helpful?

Seeing the water being drained out of the lake into the river below has me questioning my question. I think: “Oh my Gaaawd, I am draining the lake and drying it up! Arrrghh.” There I go approaching every reading like thunder: “Ahhh!” Then “oh?” Then “Ok, that was kinda funny.” And then, “ah, cool, look at the growth that was caused by the scary, rumbling shock.”

Surely, I was thinking of ways to improve or deepen communication, though perhaps from a place of feeling the obstacles and limitations about it. Yeah, I will go with that question. Is that allowed…asking the question after seeing the answer? I am playing Jepbanner-1090830_1280ord-Yi: “I will take Communication for $1000.00 Alex.”

Hmmm, so the lake representing communication with Harmen isn’t so bad….er, uh scary: weee, communication at the lake of Yi with Harmen. It’s that lower trigram with its warning lights and flowing through danger that is giving me the rub. “Don’t focus on water being danger, it is more than that,”  I can hear Harmen saying.

I wish I could get that toilet and sewer pipe image out of my head. Though, it does occur to me that the FB chat app is a bit like a toilet bowl. What you see is what you get. Once you move past it, it is gone. It is flushed. But the bowl fills up again with new chat, as long as everything is working properly and everyone participates. I also feel that I try too hard to capture and recall everything, when it is Ok to simply absorb what I can in the moment.

River water can be diverted into a pond. The situation takes thought and care. The river feeds the pond, but only of it is guided and directed that way. Hmmm, that is intfountain-958269_1280eresting. Does it relate to my question somehow? Am I allowed to construct a pond from the river? I think so, since they are both
there already.  I decide to look up ways that water can be diverted upwards: siphoning, pumps, damns, water locks, and capillary action. In any case, diverting flow upward takes unusual measures and some ingenuity. That fits this situation.

The lake has no areas of imbalance. That sounds like Harmen, just enjoying the communication and oblivious to my concern. The communication itself is fine. There is joy and all the qualities of lake in it. It does have the attribute of a downward flow, draining into the river. This feels like an image of the challenges of time, distance, day-to-day stresses, and internet apps. I see the communication as a joyful interlude from the stresses of everyday life. A pond is a precious kind of oasis, but is dependent on environmental factors.

Line two:

It is yang. The old dragon is coming into being, and expressing himself. Here it should be a yin line. I don’t have to communicate everything or be ‘in your face’ about it. It gives me the feeling of not trying to control or force things too much. There is nothing to prove and no standard to meet.

I would say that I do struggle with what to share, how much to share, within the bounds of the conditions of the environment: the time, the distance, the student / teacher relationship, and the friendship. I question things too much. Water would not do that. Ah, it’s where I get into trouble. It’s a fear and resistance to just going with the flow. 179872_164970316884426_1018286_n

Line 3:

Line three is yin when it should be yang. It is making decisions about the next move, but not passively waiting. If the pathway between river and pond is too solid the pond won’t get any water from the river. If it is too giving, the water in the pond will merge with the river. It’s like that all important flapper in the toilet bowl.  Be responsive to environmental conditions. Who hasn’t had to adjust the water flow valve in the commode?

A yin line at three has got to be really bad in the text. I can feel that. But it’s more of a bad like me thinking it is bad then really being a bad situation. It’s  a warning to to be flexible and adapt to conditions. I am in the danger of catching myself up by being overly concerned or trying to control something that does not require concern or control. It takes a bit of work and attention but the whole thing is worth it. Just enjoy it.

Nuclear Trigrams:

Water envelops fire on the inside and wind on the outside. The inherent challenges make it  interesting.  If there was no river, no challenge and difficulty, there would be no pond. The forum that Harmen created on his website is like a pond in the river of the internet. It is the same with the blog, and the thread on Clarity. They are diverted little ponds fed by the river and quite precarious too. It is fun and a kind of wizardry in the ways people have found to teach and to learn and to communicate. Inside, my fire clings and needs the environment and the fuel of this learning. I seek it in the midst of the challenges. Communication with Harmen is wind and work over the long term where the effects are manifested over time.


I may be pollyannic when it comes to interpretation of scary hexagrams and stupid questions. I use the images to my advantage for sure. Instead of focusing on the idea that the pond could dry up, I can see thtree-1648524_1280at there are ways to keep it going. If one pond dries up, like it did in another forum recently, then we will make another pond. Worry or control  will only hinder the flow and the balance.

A bonsai tree will never be full grown tree, but it is just as interesting and alive. It takes a special kind of focus. Necessity and desire is the mother of invention. Wanting a pond, a place for communication, has led to inventiveness.

Ah see, I have come to the place of laughing and smiling after the initial shock. It’s all good. Silly girl, there are no stupid questions.

Bad Hexagrams

In consulting the Yi there are those line combinations that seem to carry negative associations.woman-520052_1280

The Question: “I consulted the I Ching recently about a woman”

Answer: H29. Water below and water above. Arousal in line 6.

I think it is best to let go of pre-conceived notions about the meaning of hexagrams as much as possible. After all, each new question – answer combination is a completely new situation even if the question is similar to others. I like to go to the trigrams and their meaning and attributes when I feel bogged down with overwhelming text from hexagrams. The attributes of the trigram represent that element in balance, doing what it does naturally. There are no bad trigrams, though there may be some imbalance.

Running water is following its course and meeting every twist and turn and drop by flowing through. Depending on the environment, it may eddy and swirl, or increase in speed, or splash at the banks. Water flows downwards. Consideration of these kinds attributes and comparing them to my experience in nature tends to calm my nerves about the overall hexagram.

The idea of two running streams on top of one another is interesting to consider. What would that mean? To me it says there are two different flows, each reacting to the environment and each flowing downward. If I was to consider kayaking such a double stream, I would take great care indeed. It would feel unpredictable. The surface may look one way and the under currents quite another. Such a situation would be dangerous and even with fore thought, the unknown factors could take me under. It would take work and skill and hyper vigilance to make it through.

Water is also associated with emotions. This makes perfect sense to me. Emotions are ever flowing and changing and subject to be influenced by the environment. In considering relationships and communication with others, there is a great deal of emotional current. The trigram of water has a yang line in the middle, where emotions are more controlled, the flow is more steady. The outer lines are yin and more subject to the environment.

Line 6 in a very general way carries the meaning of being at the end of a situation. It is the place of looking back over what you have been through and also preparing for new beginnings. It can be the place of the sage or the outcast, one who is in it but not of it. I get the feeling from this line of one who is trying to stay out of the dangerous flow of the two rivers, and gets entangled on the banks of his own emotions.

If I were to get this line in regards to advice about a relationship, I think I would see it as a warning that I was letting my own emotions be pulled by the emotions of another. I would look back over similar situations and relationships and consider them. I would consider the emotional qualities that helped or hindered and be on alert for them in dealing with the other person. I would recognize it as a challenging situation where it was important for me to stay true to myself and not get caught up in rushes of emotions. But neither can it be avoided. To do so would only put me in another kind of tangle. It is not necessarily an image of how things will turn out.


I am reminded of a story my late husband told. He was a guitar player and singer and song writer (among many other talents). He told that when he was playing frequently to audiences, he said before every song: “This is a song about a woman.” It was a line we used over and over.

I would venture to say that a high percentage of questions are about how to get along with, or figure out, the other perspair-707506_1280on. I once heard a story about a ship of refugees who had been through very difficult struggles. The experiences they had were traumatic and unimaginable. A therapist volunteered to meet with each individually. They did not want to talk about the struggles through life and death and dignity. They wanted to talk about the interpersonal relationships aboard the ship. They wanted to ask about a woman (or a man). It is human. It is our shared experience.

No one is alone in wanting to understand. Also, it is quite possible that, in 2500 years (of people using the I Ching), this question has been answered with every single possible hexagram and line combination. There are other instances of people receiving  H29.6 in response to that question.

The dialogue with the Yi is internal. It is a personal understanding of the images provided. That is why some dude 2500 years ago asking the same question, about a woman, and got the same answer, could also relate to it.

How can two rivers be good? I thought of a double river waterfall with two
rivers at different heights meeting the same cliff. I am standing on a bridge over looking them. It’s an objective view. However, if I were in the waterfalls it would be different. If I were at the top of the upper waterfall I might be hanging on for dear life to the ropes or vines. But I am not. I am considering it. A hexagram is not bad if it gives a good idea about how towaterfall-1549639_1280 make a decision or act or approach something. It can’t be bad if it gives good advice.

How is a relationship, a woman, like standing at the top of a double waterfall? Hey, that would be a good song: This is a song about a woman. Relationships are the hardest thing. There is nothing more challenging. Water takes the plunge. It encounters risk without reserve. Are you entangled in the past of other relationships and caught in the future of what this one could be? Are you the sage, the outcast, the person at the top of the waterfall? Only you can say.

I mentioned before my husband. He reminds me of H29. It was the most difficult and challenging relationship of my life. He transitioned two plus years ago after a long bout with cancer. The difficulties and challenges of that experience changed me. I do not regret one single moment.


Allen Shapiro

I am the last person who should give advice on relationships. I know that the most difficult and challenging ones, in my experience, are also the most rewarding. On the other hand, a relationship is its own path. When you commit to caring about another, your life will change. It is not wrong or right. It is only different.