The Psychedelic I Ching: Hexagram 33, Tun. Thoughts and opinions on meaning and intention. Art and Play on the Road to Insight.

Back to the I Ching once again. It’s what fueled the beginnings of this blog and so much of the artwork in the early phases of this exploration. And, as an oracle, a wisdom application, a way of fueling insights, it continues to inform me and the work. These “psychedelic” I Ching hexagrams are the result of using some of my previous abstract art work to create yin and yang lines and randomly build some hexagrams. By randomly, I mean that I just created hexagrams without considering what they were. I just combined the short yin lines and long yang lines into random combinations. I’ve decided to pick a hexagram each week as my own reading or thought to consider and post it here.

As far as an exact interpretation or perhaps, a more traditional interpretation, I’ll leave that to one of the literally hundreds of sites out there that have that information already. At the bottom of the post, I’ll give you a few links if you’d like to read those I Ching interpretations. This will be simply the art and my thoughts and feelings on what the hexagram means in general to me.

My disclaimer is that I am in no way an “expert” or someone who has studied the I Ching in depth. I’ve only been turned onto this ancient divination and wisdom tool recently by my spiritual guide and soul mate, Zengirl. I’ve found it highly insightful and quite helpful in considering the situations I have found myself in over the last year. I always seem to get the “right” hexagram, lol. But I think you always get the right hexagram. It may not be the one you hoped for foretelling good fortune and an easy path to success, but every hexagram brings forth viewpoints and perspectives, to consider.

The hexagram for this post is I Ching hexagram #33, Tun which signifies Retreat. I’ll follow up the art with some thoughts on Tun, but for right now, let’s look at those trippy colors, shall we?

"The Psychedelic I Ching Hexagram #33, Tun: Retreat" is a psychedelic art wortk based on the hexagrams of the I Ching. ©2013 Sacred Square Art and Design.

Hot colors and quite textural. And to me, there is a very nice meditative quality to this one. Four yang lines and two yin lines. The 64 I Ching hexagrams (six lines) are created from the eight trigrams (three lines). In this case, Tun, hexagram 33 is created by the trigrams Heaven (3 yang kines) over Mountain (1 yang line and two yin lines). Hexagram 33 signifies “Retreat”. Let’s look at what retreat may mean or be interpreted as…

When one retreats from something whether it be a career or a relationship or perhaps a dream they were chasing, it does not necessarily mean quitting or surrendering. Retreating can be a method of regrouping, rethinking and approaching the problem or area in a new way. It can be an admission that what you’re doing isn’t working as well as you wish and that perhaps some new strategies, new methods are needed.

It’s also a sign to not continue blindly on. That perhaps it’s time for some introspection. Perhaps it’s time to slow down and look at the situations and challenges you are facing. This is not defeat. This is wisdom. Even the very best generals, planners, businessmen and women have had to retreat, had to rethink and reorganize. To me hexagram 33 is all about rethinking situations. How can you make them better? Is it worth continuing in a particular venture or relationship? Rethinking your position can often lead to a new angle, a new insight that causes things to move forward quicker or on better terms. Taking the time to retreat, to pause, is often the wisest course of action. I can look at several areas where I need to take a break from attacking and advancing and just ponder and reconsider. That is what Tun is telling us I believe.

Here’s some links to in-depth and cursory interpretations of I Ching hexagram 33 from some of my personal favorite sources along with the Wikipedia entry for the I Ching..

Quick insight into Hexagram #33

Classic Wilhelm interpretation of I Ching hexagram 33

Wikipedia entry for I Ching

I encourage you to look into the I Ching even if you’re not someone who “goes in for such things”. The hexagrams were developed as an aide to living, to negotiating an ever changing world and it’s situations and challenges. It is as valuable today as it was thousands of years ago.

As always, your thoughts, comments, critiques and opinions are welcomed and treasured, so share yourself.

Yours in subverting the ordinary…

P.S. To the woman who changed my world, my beloved Zengirl… much gratitude and love to you.


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