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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tea-bowl for Niki, #19 of 36, "The Third Eye"
















     "I come at last to bowl nineteen
      In which I taste some soul with tea."

A drip of glass from the kiln shelf above hit the cup perfectly, and made something that looks like a third-eye!

I can't account for this, other than good fortune. The wads which propped the cup off the kiln floor must have been uneven enough to expose the side of the cup to a drip from above.

The ash that forms on the underside of kiln shelving during a wood fire accumulates from firing to firing, as globules of green glass. As part of the preparation of these shelves we knock this glass off with hammer and chisel so as not to 'spoil' the ware. But drips occur, sometimes in the most unlikely places. Many of my cups have been hit on the interior surface, but never on the side, since I fire all my cups in a vertical orientation.

The third eye refers to ajnai or the brow chakra. Some say it's the dormant pineal gland residing between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Ancient Oriental water torture, used drips of water onto the center of the forehead, an experience that soon becomes unbearable because of the steady excitation of the nerve endings in that location.

Unless of course you're Shiva, in a cave, doing yoga, meditating. One imagines the drips of water from stalactites above as a test of his concentration.

Indeed the last cup I called "Shiva's Cup" because the image there resembled a lingam in a cave.

My dialogue with the cups continues.

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Niki, a good friend, said she wanted this one many months ago. It was from the unabashed way she said "I want it!", that I decided to put the rest of the cups up and let people say if they wanted something. Then I would be happy to give them away, over a cup of tea.

So Niki, the bowl's yours! We'll drink tea and speak of Shiva.

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I've written previously on the numerology of 12, and of 7, in an essay associated with this project. 

I'll review the core idea:

7 and 12, both represents the infusion of matter with spirit.  [Emile Male].

Twelve as the product of 3 x 4, and seven, as the sum of 3 + 4, both represent this 'infusion'.

3's a sacred number, representing the Father, Son and Holy Ghost if you're Christian, or Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer if you're Hindu. In Judaism, the Holy of Holies occupies one-third, and the Holy Place two-thirds, of the Judaic Temple. There are endless examples of '3' in all religions - in each instance it's a holy number. 

Four is a number of matter, the Four directions, the four Ancient Elements, so on and so forth.

19 is the sum of 12 and 7, and so represents a double infusion of matter with spirit.

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The I Ching's 19th Hexagram, Lin, or 'Approach' has the following Judgement:

Approach has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
When the eighth month comes,
There will be misfortune.
      ['I Ching', Richard Wilhelm trans., rend. into English by Cary Baynes, Princeton Univ. Press]

Wilhelm interprets 'approach' as a time of joyful hopeful progress, but where a natural end to easy progress is approaching. I Ching judgements as an initial reading are a picture of the present moment, not a prediction. The change lines, illustrate how the reading changes from one to another, providing a the hint at divination. Terms like 'supreme success' or 'misfortune' in the judgement in the first reading are snapshots of an instant.  The same terms in a reading that is in the process of becoming is a prediction.

'Approach' is likened to a time of plenty, such as summer. The 'approach' is really the approach of the end of good times, which always is inevitable.

The times are so good that one must anticipate the end of good times. The wise read this and realize there is always the opportunity to avoid 'misfortune'. This is the meaning of the 'eighth month', or the end of summer, as the joyous fertility of the earth gives way to winter.

Reading on with the 'Image', the second section of this I Ching reading:

The earth above the lake:
The image of Approach.
Thus the superior man is inexhaustible.
In his will to teach,
And without limits
In his tolerance and protection of the people.  [Ibid.]

Now I'll interpret this reading for Niki, since the cup is already hers. We've already agreed, the two of us, that the drip is a third-eye. But why is this important, personally, to her or me? Because some years ago I introduced her to yoga. Now she has become an excellent teacher and practitioner of yoga herself.

Shiva, is the great yogi amongst the Hindu Gods. Some argue he's the so-called 'teacher within', the voice that speaks from inside, giving perfect incite. The seat of that vision? The brow chakra, the pineal gland for those seeking scientific explanations, or the third-eye.

Niki is being advised that the superior road, the high road, is all powerful, and that the will to teach, without limits, is 'inexhaustible'. So long as she stays close to teaching, in her 'tolerance and protection' of her students, as a teacher, all will be well even in the 'eighth month'.

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Now what of a change line reading for Niki. If we follow the pattern and add 36 to 19 we get 55. To get to reading 55 there are some change lines:

They are, 9 in the second place, and 6 in the 3rd and 4th place. These lines are read as part of reading #19, but the lines by changing turn into hexagram #55.

I Ching can be studied for a lifetime. Simply mine what you read, for pertinence in your own life.

Also understand that simply by coming across this blog post on the web, and by reading it, these readings apply to you! 


The I Ching functions as an oracle by providing a synchronous picture of a moment in time (the first reading) and then a divination, or prediction, based on change lines, which lead to the second reading (a picture of the future).

Nine in the second place means:
Joint approach.
Good fortune.
Everything furthers.     [Ibid.]

Wilhelm writes here:

"The good begins to prevail, and to find response in influential circles . . is an incentive to men [women] of ability) . . . it is well to join . . . but we must not let ourselves be carried away by the current of the time, we must adhere perseveringly to what is right. This brings good fortune." [Ibid.]

Six in the third place means:
Comfortable approach.
Nothing that would further.
If one is induced to grieve over it,
One becomes free of blame.     [Ibid.]

"Things are going well for a man [woman] . . he [she] achieves power and influence. . . the danger that he may relax, . . . or allow the easygoing careless mood to show itself in dealings with other people . . if he regrets . . and feels responsibility . . he frees himself of faults." [Ibid.]

Six in the fourth place means
Complete approach.
No blame.  [Ibid.]

With the last change line Wilhelm provides the following commentary: "While the three lower lines indicate a rise to power and influence, the three upper lines show the attitudes of persons in higher positions toward those of lower rank for whom they procure influence. Here is shown the open-minded approach of a person of high rank to a man [woman] of ability whom he draws into his own circle regardless of class prejudice." [Ibid.]


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So now we have two hexagrams. The first #19, 'Approach', looked like this:

Through the mechanism of three change lines (No time to explain how change lines work here!) the hexagram of 'Approach' changes (this is why the I Ching is called the 'Book of Changes') into hexagram #55, 'Abundance' or 'Fullness', which looks like this:


Now for the second reading:

The Judgement.
Abundance has success.
The king attains abundance.
Be not sad.
Be like the sun at midday.     [Ibid.]


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Recently Niki posted a photo of a ladybug found in her apartment. When a mutual friend asked how many spots, the count came to . . . 19. 


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  123,  4,  5,  6
  78910,11,12

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