Hexagram 12, line 5:
Nine in the Fifth. Stopping obstruction. For the great man good fortune. It is lost, it is lost. Binding it to the leafy mulberry.
The obstruction has reached its apogee and begins to descend. The bad people are negated, the good have good fortune. The second part of the verse looks like a folk verse. The mulberry was and is a very important tree for China. The silk worms eat mulberry leaves and produce the elegant, warm fabric. This saying may be associated with the ancient practice of attaching talismans to mulberry trees for a happy marriage or affair. The mulberry grove in antiquity, was also a traditional place for assignations.
‘For the great man good fortune’ is a challenging phrase. At first the enquirer sees the character 吉, good fortune, and is pleased. But there is a condition. This good fortune is only for the ‘great man’. In an ancient context this was simple. If the person asking was in a high position this is a good omen. If they are out of office, in exile, or otherwise not occupying their proper place in society then the good fortune does not apply to them. But what of today? Does the book only speak to kings and nobles? Of course not. At the beginning of its history the Yi, like the oracle bones, was a national oracle. Its use was the prerogative of kings. Over the centuries the nobles started to use it as well, then the lesser nobles, equivalent to knights in western medieval society, then the educated among the common people took it up. In the end even street fortune tellers could use the texts written by and for royalty. But the text still holds this good fortune up only for those who are great. Chinese culture became increasingly meritocratic over the years, noble birth and hierarchical position began a long dance for power with scholars and moral and military heroes. So now life is more complex. You cannot look down at your nametag and say, ‘I’m great, it says so right here’, you have to earn it by great actions.
King Wen showed the way when he was imprisoned by the tyrant Zhou Xin. His position was dire, his life hanging by a thread. According to tradition he turned to the Yi. He sat in the darkness of that place of despair and contemplated the Ba Gua and stacked them up into 64 hexagrams, thus taking human thinking to its next level. His example reaches out to us from that distant and barbarous time. He maintained a principle that Marcus Aurelius would speak of centuries later: “You have been formed of three parts—body, breath and mind. Of these, the first two are yours insofar as they are only in your care. The third alone is truly yours.”
Iulian Shchutskii’s Book of Changes version:
Here, in a situation of collapse, by developing creative forces to the greatest extent possible one can stop the process of collapse. But this is not something spontaneous. It requires energetic and vigilant intervention. This energy is shown by the nature of the line and place, a light (active) line in the central (culminating) position of the trigram The Creative. According to the norms this position is that of a great man and it is in correct, resonating correspondence with the yielding line in the second place. So the line text speaks of good fortune for the great person who can stop the process of collapse. However the situation is still not safe for the inactive. Collapse is still present, and steps must be taken to prevent the reversal of that collapse from failing. It must be greatly strengthened, which is shown as binding it to the rapidly growing mulberry tree, a plant that cannot be uprooted. Thus cognition, gradually freed of the domination of illusions, can be vigilantly strengthened in order to escape collapse. This is expressed in verse in the original text but is in prose here for clarity of meaning:
Strong line in the fifth place.
Stop the collapse.
The great person has good fortune. (It) would not perish, would not perish!
Fasten (it) to the rapidly growing mulberry.
Oracle of the Singularity version from Second Life:
Stagnation is coming to an end.
Good fortune for the superior avatar.
If you fear it will flee, tie it to a tree.
Forest of Changes verse for today:
12 - 62
A black dragon radiates light,
That which was darkness is now bright.
Using fire hunting to take the great prey,