䷚ Yi
🗻
Gen-Mountain
Zhen-Thunder

Yi I Ching Gua Meaning

頤 Yi ䷚ hexagram meanings:

Nourishing, Lower Jaw, Corners of the Mouth, Providing Nourishment

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The twenty-seventh gua is called Yi, which originally meant the chin or the lower jaw. Later on, the definition expanded to include keeping fit through nourishment. This gua has also been translated to mean the corner of the mouth or to jaws, both having connotations with nourishment. Yi is associated with the eleventh month of the lunar year, or December in the solar calendar. This gua is represented by images of eating and drinking in order to symbolize nourishment. Yi is concerned with physical needs but encapsulates virtuosic and spiritual needs in its definition of nourishment.

The ideograph representing Yi contains two pieces. The first part is a side view of a mouth, showing an object held between the teeth. This is meant to symbolize nourishing the body and spirit by eating food. The second part of the ideograph gives sound to Yi and represents a person. When all the parts are put together, the ideograph illustrates the act of nourishing oneself or others. Although the ideograph depicts someone eating, Yi has as much to do with food and drink as it does with other forms of nourishing the body and soul. The twenty-seventh gua is Mountain above Thunder. The mountain stands still while Thunder moves, mimicking the movement of the upper and lower jaws. This is another way Yi expresses the wisdom of nourishment to us.

Nourishment is closely linked to nurturing, and to the ancient Chinese, to nourish anyone without also nurturing them is to fall short of being human. The concept of nourishment should not only be reserved for the family but is something that concerns all of society. To nourish one’s family is important but selfish. To nourish one’s fellow human being is selfless and that is what cultivates harmony in society. Similarly, one’s bodily nourishment comes second to one’s virtuosic nourishment. To take care of others instead of focusing on self-satisfaction is to cultivate virtue. Yi teaches us this wisdom of nourishment and shows us what builds a harmonious society.

The twenty-seventh gua refers to the period of famine that occurred after King Wu overthrew the Tyrant of Shang. The newly founded Zhou dynasty offered nourishment to the people of the Shang dynasty. Although they were newly conquered, King Wu offered them this nourishment because he knew it would benefit society to take care of fellow human beings. Because people have both physical and spiritual needs, both were provided by the Zhou dynasty. If only one or the other were treated, misfortune would follow. King Wu was wise enough to consider this and brought good fortune to the people. Yi asks that we remember this story and work to nourish others as well as ourselves.

䷚ Yi hexagram

Yi ䷚ Yi hexagram Illustration

䷚ Yi hexagram meaning

Happiness shines in the fat man’s face.
His good fortune smiles at you.
One look and you and I know
That he has food and to spare.

Bottom Line

Yi Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning


My future is written on my face,
Not in some turtle’s shell.
Tell me what awaits me,
I feel its terrible weight.

Line Two

Yi Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning


Your face trembles
As your quivering hand
Brushes tears from your cheeks.
Your troubles are ominous.

Line Three

Yi Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning


Your hands sweep bad luck across your face.
Your own troubles stand in your way,
Success ever out of your grasp.

Line Four

Yi Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning


Face quivering with desire,
He freezes like a tiger
Eyes locked on his prey with lust,
Muscles tensed to leap.
He will not miss.

Line Five

Yi Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning


You pass your hands over your face
To calm your inner force.
Rest quietly at home, reflect.
It is better not to cross that big river.

Top Line

Yi Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning


The way he glows,
We all can tell
He’s reached a decisive moment:
Now, he can cross the widest river.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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