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Hexagram 10: Treading




I just returned from the South Pole, and would like to share two experiences with you.

First, leaving Christchurch New Zealand for Antarctica, my boarding pass number for the flight was #46, "Departure toward the South brings Good Fortune." A welcome coincidence!

In such a unique place I decided to ask the Yi about the South Pole.

Concentrating on the "South Pole" I walked from the Dome of the South Pole Station to the geographic marker at the Pole. I used three US pennies, and setting them on the top of the marker which sits on a pole about three feet above the ice, thought about the South Pole standing at the Pole, and flicked the pennies to the ice. They landed flat, and I wrote the line on a piece of paper, using the marker as a flat surface.

My pen froze. It was about -37F. I picked up the coins, thought about the South Pole again and tosssed them on the marker again, where they fell to the ice. This time I wrote the line using the frozen pen to indent the paper. Four more times I repeated the thought and tossed the coins.

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#10, no moving Lines

Journeying and Returning,
W/B: TREADING(Conduct)

The Judgement

Treading upon the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success.

Standing there in my extreme cold weather gear, I found this humorous and insightful. If the Tiger were the Earth, indeed I was treading on the Tail and not bitten, frostbitten or otherwise!

In the symbolism of Trigrams, above is the cold blue sky of the Heaven, and below my feet about 2 miles of ice, the Lake frozen.

In my own translation of #10, Journeying and Returning, the South Pole captures this essence. The Journey is an adventure itself. It is not a place to put down roots and live, rather, one returns northward. From the W/B perspective, treading has quite overt symbolism. In every walking moment at the South Pole, the distinctive and loud crunch of one's bootstep in the brittle, dry snow is a constant presence speaking aloud in conversation.

Without any preconceived notion, the Yi's image of the treading on the Tiger's tail, journeying to the end of the Earth and Returning seems quite appropriate. In such a place, caution, respect, and preparation (and awe) for the Tiger lead to success. Not bitten, the beauty is overwhelming. Hexagram #10 will always contain this image for me.

Snowy tiger smiles
As the Earth silently spins
Blue sky, frozen lake

Rhett Butler
www.highereaching.net