This week’s installment of the I-Ching coins is #57, The Gentle. In stories of antiquity, the magical and mystical unicorn could only be caught by a gentle maiden. In a similar way, this week’s abundance can be captured by a soft approach.
Sometimes storms and upheavals create sudden change, and at other times change is created by the soft, gentle water polishing river pebbles slowly over time, or gentle breezes distributing seeds. Sometimes the things that seem gentle, slow or less “showy” than the big loud bangs are creating even bigger and more dynamic changes.
A subtle, gentle approach can be a deeply penetrating one. A soft heart can be deeply influencing in ways being a loud-mouth can’t. For example, a simple touch from a friend can telegraph more meaning than a thousand words, the presence of a loved one simply listening can be worth more than saying all the “right” things. The truth doesn’t always need a rooftop to shout from or soap-box to speak from.
A gentle energy can manifest as the power of something we don’t normally think of as “strong” or “tough” but nevertheless wields great power. This especially reminds me of all the things we think of as less “real” than things and goals. Your thoughts might seem trivial, but your faith can still move mountains. Your little seeds of ideas and glimmerings of creativity might not seem significant, but these little seeds can be the food for great things to happen. Love and kindness can part a dark curtain of fear and heal.
Keeping a steady, gentle, patient, soft pace can help you get where you need to go. When I first started hiking I wasn’t very good. At first I was trying to take giant steps and I was pounding my way up the mountain scaring the wildlife and scattering chipmunks with my loud, awkward movements. Going down small inclines was just as awkward and clumsy… and I scuttled like a pebble and had little control. Not only was I freaking out Bambi, I was getting tired and winded.
Suddenly I remembered, “Walk like a deer!” that my dad had taught me when I was young. Take small, gentle steps. I slowed down, took shorter steps, and wow! I could walk up steep inclines without getting tired, I could breathe better, I could see the animals, I took in the views. On the way down, my little “deer” steps kept me from losing a battle with forward momentum and gravity.
Don’t be afraid to be gentle, kind and soft this week.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Gandhi
About this deck: I made this oracle many years ago using wooden discs painted with wood pencils, varnish, and wood enamels. It is inspired by the I-CHING or “Book of Changes” dating back to end of the second millennium BCE, it’s also one of the oldest books in recorded history. The I-Ching comprises a set of 64 hexagrams (6 lines each) which represent all the possible six-line combinations of yin/yang energy. Yin and Yang energy are the dualistic building blocks of the universe; feminine/masculine, active/passive, light/dark, etc. Each hexagram is made up of two of the 8 “Hua” Trigrams that represent the classical fundamental elements and which were said, in legend, to have been inspired when the first Emperor of China Fu Hsi had visions related to the lines and dashes on a turtle’s back. Because of some of the legends surrounding it, scholars believe some of the “I-Ching” material pre dates recorded history in Ancient China.