Hexagram 38 – Fire over Lake – 12/31-1/5

K’uei – Opposition
Struggle – (Effortless) Perseverance – Honor .:. Codon Ring of Humanity

This hexagram is known as Opposition. Fire resting upon lake is unnatural. The searing energy of fire does not sit well on the Lake. It sears the belly and creates anxiety, mistrust, and fear. If we fall into despair and Struggle against what life brings, we limit the gifts that are hidden in the friction of life’s twists and turns. All motion, whether it be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, is constantly playing out an interconnected dance of equilibrium, whether its intention is clear or not. What is being called for is to trust in the flow of life, even when the tide pulls out and the fire of the sun bakes the exposed sea bed. With patience and fortitude, trusting in the natural cycles of time, the sea will again rise, and the waters will nourish what has been baked by the fire of the sun.

What is counseled is to recognize that each Opposition in life carries the essence of its reintegration. All manifest forms come back to balance in time, so do not resist the push back that you receive from life. Instead, recognize that this Opposition comes as a direct indication of what must be faced, accepted, and integrated for your presence to be whole.

The trigram of Lake is known as youngest daughter, while the trigram of Fire is the middle daughter. While they are closely related, they are of completely different mindsets. When minds are crossed, there is little room for accord.

This is not a time to undertake large shifts in intention of behavior. But as this hexagram falls across the new calendar year, this is exactly what most of the world is doing. This is a time where only small achievements are possible, yet in the west this is the time when we all make New Year’s resolutions. But the cosmic stream of neutrinos moves through a geometry of opposition, in which  the external energies move counter to harmonious flow. Doubt and suspicion are ripe at this time, making others seem adversarial. Harmonizing the imbalance of yin and yang is the way to find purpose in the opposite forces.


All who live have Struggled through times of opposition. Struggle is part of existence. There is no way around Struggle, even in an enlightened state of consciousness. There is, however,  a difference between Struggling and suffering. The Struggle will never end, for it is part of the evolutionary impetus that has allowed for all life to rise from the primordial void to fill the universe. There may be an end to our suffering, but never our Struggle. Enlightened beings Struggle, but they do not suffer while struggling. The challenge, then, is to find a purpose worth serving and Persevere through it with Effortless grace.

Even in the face of opposition we must continue on. The only way out is through. This leads to the gift of Perseverance. By finding the will to Persevere through our continued Struggles, we are tempered like steel by Fire and Lake. They hone our will to be sharp and strong. Each Struggle through which we Persevere brings Honor. This is the purpose of the shadow: to encourage us to make the choices necessary to raise our frequency. The gift allows us to pick our battles, skillfully bending around obstacles while not fighting against the flow of the universe. This speaks to the original word for this gift: Effortlessness. Chi flows through an open hand, a relaxed body, and an open mind.

The two of these words together illuminate the intricate balance necessary to walk the middle way. This is the path of the holy warrior of light. Perseverance is the warrior’s will to always rise and never submit, while Effortless speaks to the emptiness of mind, openness of hand, and ease of movement that the warrior uses in battle.

To sacrifice one’s time and energy to stand for those who can’t stand for themselves brings Honor. The goal is to find Honor in every Struggle and to Persevere. Any action made in this light creates legend and rings out into eternity. Hold the shadow, gift, and siddhi as one. The Samurai speak of the purity of an Honorable death, but to live an Honorable life carries even more potency. Honor lives in the core of one’s being, and is honed over and over by opposition, creating a finely tuned sword of truth within.

Keys of the iChing .:. Jesse Chesnutt