I Ching – Hexagram 31

hexagram 31

Source: http://prince-edward-county.com/item/lake-on-the-mountain/

Hexagram 31 Mutual Influence

Some thoughts on Hexagram 31.

Hexagram 31 is made up of Lake above and Mountain below. Apparently, a Google search reveals that there’s one such natural wonder in Ontario, Canada where a lake is on a mountain, instead of the usual lake at the bottom of a mountain.

The action of lake is down, because of the weight of water. In this image, the lake is supported by the firm and stable mountain. The water in the lake also moisturizes the mountain. This feels or seems like a “good” or positive image, doesn’t it?

Let’s extrapolate the above imagery to people. The lake is akin to a young woman while the mountain is a young man. Both are mutually complementing each other. Indeed, in I Ching, Lake represents the youngest daughter while Mountain represents the youngest son. As they are young and hence energetic (frisky comes to mind), they are interacting with each other. The influence that they have on each other i.e. mutual influence is strong. So, accordingly this hexagram symbolizes newlyweds according to Huang.

The love of a couple hopefully should be as stable as mountain and as pure as the water in the lake.

What’s the hidden/mutual hexagram of hexagram 31? It’s hexagram 44 which is Encountering  or Meeting. The title of hexagram 44 resonates with the meaning of hexagram 31 doesn’t it?

Hexagram 41 Decrease

I have often wondered that if a lake above mountain below combination is auspicious, why wouldn’t a mountain above lake below combination i.e. hexagram 41 titled Decrease be fortunate too? Let’s have a look at hexagram 41.

Hexagram 41 is formed by Mountain above and Lake below. As explained early, the action of Lake is to descend while Mountain is to stay still. Lake is moving away from the stationary Mountain. They are not interacting or having a mutual influence with each other unlike Hexagram 31. This simple concept foretells that the hexagram isn’t as auspicious as Mutual Influence but still auspicious nevertheless.

You may be asking why is it auspicious when there’s decrease of something? The idea is that when something is decrease, there’s an equal and opposite reaction to increase something as well. According to Confucius,

To decrease what is lower

Is to increase what is above

Huang used an example to illustrate the principle – the evaporation of water in the lake precipitates on the mountain, thus adding to the mountain even though the lake is reduced.

What’s the hidden/mutual hexagram? It’s hexagram 24 Return or Turning Back. The way I see it, when something is increased through the reduction process, it’s a new start which seems pretty positive to me. Hexagram 24 is the image of predominantly yin lines (think winter, darkness, etc) with a yang first line, indicating that an initial change has already taken place. Things are about to get better!

So, do not fear decrease!






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