An I Ching/Tarot Personality Profile

I’m continuing to experiment with the Russian table of correspondences for linking the I Ching hexagrams to the cards of the tarot. By bringing the trump and court cards into the mix, this table attempts to reconcile the discrepancy that there are 64 hexagrams but only 40 pip cards to which they can be assigned. Here is an earlier post that displays the table and also a link to the original source material. I have received e-mail authorization from the authors to use it for this purpose.

Our new grandson is due to arrive by the end of the month and I wanted to do something with the tarot to explore the kind of person he could become. (A full analysis will have to wait until I can do his natal horoscope.) Although I have a number of “personality profile” spreads, I decided to see what the I Ching has to say and then augment that with tarot cards. As before, I cast three hexagrams using the Wilhelm/Baynes “coin oracle” method, in this case one to show the outwardly-directed personality (the “urge to contribute”); another to reflect the inner or wholly self-centered personality (the “urge to preserve”); and a third to describe the dynamically involved and (ideally) integrated personality (the “urge to negotiate”). As descriptive of an incarnate being destined to navigate a material world, these three categories could be related to the binary Earth series Eight, Four and Two of Pentacles, respectively. Once again, I used Anthony Clark’s I Ching Pack as a direct cartomantic expression of the hexagrams and the RWS deck for the tarot component in accordance with the designers’ scheme. Where the Hiandl deck has a matching hexagram on a card, I appended that card for additional information (even if it doesn’t agree with the RWS card from the table).

In the model, the authors established the first ten numbered trump cards (excluding the Fool) and the court-card hierarchy of the four suits (one card per suit: King of Wands, Queen of Cups, Knight of Swords and Page of Pentacles) as “main cards” for 14 of their 16 rows of correspondences ( I think of them as “master cards”); the last two rows have no “master card” and the cells are populated with eight of the “left-over” trump cards. Fifty-two of the 64 correspondences join the Aces through Tens and the remaining court cards of the Minor Arcana to specific hexagrams, and the other twelve do the same for the higher-numbered trump cards. This looks like a product of deductive reasoning by which all the more obvious numerical associations were made and then the rest of the trumps were somewhat arbitrarily appended to the table, with a good deal of creative license. It’s an imaginative concept that I have yet to fully comprehend and validate in actual practice.

The coin toss gave me No. 31, Hsien, “Influence,” in the “outer personality” position. However, it was notable that this hexagram yielded four “moving lines:” “6” at the bottom; “9” in the third place; “9” in the fifth place; and “6” at the top. Transposing these lines into their opposites gave me hexagram No. 21, Shih Ho, “Biting Through.” The “master card” for Hsien was the Magician and the related pip card was the Ace of Cups. The “master card” for Shih Ho was the King of Wands and the associated trump card was VIII, Strength; there was no RWS pip card but the Haindl 8 of Swords bears the same hexagram so I included it. Because Hsien was so fluid with all of its moving lines, I decided to view it as an early stage of development and treat its extension, Shih Ho, as showing the more mature expression of his public personality. The moving lines all reference parts of the body in the Wilhelm/Baynes’ text, so I considered them as showing the involuntary movements of infancy. In that vein I also included the more modern delineations from Richard Gill’s companion book to the I Ching Pack.

Although Richard Gill doesn’t agree, Richard Wilhelm advises us to “take into account not only the text and the Image belonging to (the original) hexagram as a whole, but also the text that goes with the (moving lines), and in addition both the text and the Image belonging to the (second extrapolated) hexagram.” (The parens are mine.)

The second hexagram in the “inner personality” position was No. 14, Ta Yu, “Possession in Great Measure.” The “master card” for this hexagram was the Chariot, the associated pip card was the 7 of Cups and the Haindl complement was the 9 of Stones. The third hexagram was No. 29, “The Abysmal (Water);” there is no “master card” for this hexagram. The associated trump card was the Devil and the Haindl complement was the 10 of Swords. There were no moving lines in either case.

All images copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT

The Wilhelm/Baynes judgment for Hsien reads:

“Influence. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.”

The idea here is that “opposites attract.” The text goes on: “The weak element is above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each other, so that they unite. By keeping still within while experiencing joy without, one can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds. This attraction between affinities is a general law of nature. Heaven and Earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being.”

I’m thinking that the “attraction” here is simply the mother/child bond, with the “weak” above and the “strong” below. The “joy of nursing” should keep him quiet and (momentarily) well-behaved.

The first moving line, a “6” at the bottom, means”

“Six at the beginning means:
The influence shows itself in the big toe.

A movement, before it is actually carried out, shows itself first in the toes. The idea of an influence is already present, but it is not immediately apparent to others. As long as the intention has no visible effect, it is of no importance to the outside world . . .”

Richard Gill elaborates: “Twitching toes signify that you are in a state of excitement – but isn’t this too exciting and worrying, too far beyond you . . . ?”

I can certainly imagine an infant twitching his toes for no other reason than because he can, but it seems to me that, while an exaggerated toe-wiggle might convey excitement, a loud wail at dinner-time would be much more persuasive.

“Nine in the third place means:

The influence shows itself in the thighs,
Holds to that which follows it.
To continue is humiliating.

Every mood of the heart influences us to movement. What the heart desires, the thighs run after without a moment’s hesitation; they hold to the heart, which they follow. In the life of man, however, acting on the spur of every caprice is wrong and if continued leads to humiliation.”

Richard Gill observes:

“Tingling thighs signify that you cling too hard to someone. There will be shame and misfortune if you continue to depend in this way.”

This could be describing a precocious child who learns to walk early and gets himself into a lot of mischief by “following his heart,” then tries to hide behind his mother or at least appeal to her mercy. He could reap more than his share of embarrassment.

“Nine in the fifth place means:

“The influence shows itself in the back of the neck. No remorse.

The back of the neck is the most rigid part of the body. When the influence shows itself there, the will remains firm and the influence does not lead to confusion. Hence, remorse does not enter into consideration here.”

Richard Gill adds:

“Shivers down the spine signify attraction without action – and no regrets either.”

I get the impression of a strong-willed (stiff-necked?) little person who has no reservations about demanding what he wants, and who never second-guesses himself.

“Six at the top means:

The influence shows itself in the jaws, cheeks and tongue.

The most superficial way of trying to influence others is through talk that has nothing real behind it. The influence produced by such mere tongue-wagging must necessarily remain insignificant.”

Richard Gill contributes:

“A twitching tongue signifies that you talk too much and achieve nothing.”

At such a young age, he can be assumed to have a penchant for frequently (and maybe incessantly) vibrating his vocal cords – at a very high pitch – rather than possessing a wagging tongue. What will be achieved is Mommy’s full attention.

The three-card combination of Magician, Attraction and the Ace of Cups seems to indicate that he will excel at getting his way by being either emotionally ingratiating or equally obnoxious; I don’t see a lot of self-restraint that might encourage a middle ground. He will probably be adept at playing on his parents’ feelings.

The Wilhelm/Baynes judgment for Shih Ho reads:

“Biting through has success.
It is favorable to let justice be administered.

When an obstacle to union arises, energetic biting through brings success. This is true in all situations.” (Editorial Comment: I’m not sure learning how to suckle counts as an “obstacle to union,” but at least he won’t have teeth yet.) “Whenever unity cannot be established, the obstruction is due to a talebearer and traitor who is interfering and blocking the way. To prevent permanent injury, vigorous measures must be taken at once.  Deliberate obstruction of this sort does not vanish of its own accord. Judgment and punishment are required to deter or obviate it. However, it is important to proceed in the right way. Unqualified hardness and excitement would be too violent in meting out punishment; unqualified charity and gentleness would be too weak. The two together create the just measure.”

Richard Gill expands on this:

“Judgment is never pleasant – but it is necessary and will bring you success.”

For the moment he will probably just need a firm hand to get off to a good start. However, I get the impression that, when mature,  he won’t suffer fools gladly nor will he shirk confrontation. The danger would be that he might seek opportunities to cause it and thus become an agitator or instigator, but no doubt an accomplished and well-respected (or feared) one. He might have the makings of a skilled negotiator or arbitrator. (I don’t think I’d wish being a trial lawyer on anyone, but the possibility is there as well.)

The four-card combination King of Wands, Biting Through, Strength and 8 of Swords suggests that he will be a man of potent actions but few words, once he masters that wagging tongue. “Actions speak louder than words” could very well become his motto. That 8 of Swords might make him a brooder – but only until he decides to take a big bite out of whatever (or whomever) is bothering him. In that sense, I prefer to see the Woman in Strength as opening the jaws of the Lion, not closing them as Waite prefers.

The Wilhelm/Baynes judgment for Ta Yu reads:

“Possession in great measure. Supreme success.”

The Image symbolizes the union of strength and clarity. Wilhelm continues: “Possession in great measure is determined by fate and accords with the time. The time is favorable – a time of strength within, clarity and culture without. Power is expressing itself in a graceful and controlled way. This brings supreme success and wealth.”

Richard Gill concludes: “To him who is blessed, great blessings come: prosperity and supreme success.”

From an “inner personality” perspective, all of this favors enormous self-possession and self-confidence. He will be a Capricorn and no doubt highly acquisitive in many ways; here it could mean a relentless focus on gathering knowledge for the purpose of furthering self-understanding.

The four-card combination Chariot, Great Possessions, 7 of Cups and 9 of Stones depicts a goal-driven individual, tough on the outside but considerably softer in the middle. Both the Chariot and the 9 of Stones are “lunar” cards, symbolic of the condition of “accumulation” (especially of  things related to material success), which could be both a blessing and a curse. As a quality of “inner space,” it could mean that he has a head crammed full of information, not all of which has practical applications; however, the 7 of Cups signifies a vivid imagination that should be able to leverage all of that “stuff” in imaginative and creative ways, as long as he doesn’t get lost in the sheer fascination of “building castles in the air.” Maybe he shouldn’t read fantasy literature? Or, better yet, maybe he should write it!

The Wilhelm/Baynes judgment for K’an reads: (Note that this hexagram is described elsewhere as “Danger” and “Peril,” and Wilhelm denotes it as a “doubling of danger” due to the construction of the Image.)

The Abysmal repeated.
If you are sincere, you have success in your heart,
And whatever you do succeeds.

Through repetition of danger we become accustomed to it. Water sets the example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot, nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. Thus likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner mastery of a problem, it will come naturally that the action we take will succeed.”

Richard Gill offers:”If you are alert, true-hearted and confident, you can steer through this perilous chasm and survive.”

From the standpoint of the “interactive personality,” an individual with these qualities is someone I would want on my side, not on the opposing one since he would clearly strike a hard bargain.  He will most likely make an effective and fearless leader in difficult situations. I doubt that he would be risk-averse in any way, shape or form, taking on challenges singly or in groups simply because, like Mt. Everest for George Mallory, they are “there” for his entertainment.

The three-card combination of Danger, the Devil and the 10 of Swords tells a different story. The Devil following the Abysmal card represents a double helping of malignant or maybe just misapplied energy (as in “too clever for his own good”), and the dismal 10 of Swords ups the ante more than a little. This casts some doubt on the whole “sincere and true-hearted” assumption;  in this  position it could mean a sly manipulator who gets his way “by hook or by crook,” not by purity of heart and sheer grit. The Devil corresponds to Capricorn, and as a Capricorn native he could be completely in his element, pulling strings with Machiavellian glee  in a business environment, and seldom with the most unimpeachable of motives. He’s not afraid to “get his hands dirty.” From a different angle, he might not be the perpetrator of such shenanigans but the enforcer of them for those in power, which can all too easily turn into a “fall-guy” or “scapegoat” situation; the RWS 10 of Swords portrays what looks like the victim of a back-stabbing. Given the rest of this reading, however, my money would be on him delivering that stoke rather than receiving it.

On the plus side, the Devil suggests that he possesses tremendous physical reserves that could be brought to bear on feats of remarkable athletic acumen and endurance, especially in a team environment. But he still needs to be careful that he doesn’t get in over his head, deluded by his own sense of omnipotence. The 10 of Swords implies that he might run out of gas before he gets to the finish line if he squanders his resources.

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