Hexagram #19 ䷒ Overseeing

Overseeing is creative and developmental, beneficial if correct. In the eighth month there is misfortune.

EXPLANATION: Overseeing is watching over. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is earth, following, and below is lake, joyful: joyfully following truth, acting in accord with that joy, it is therefore called overseeing.

This hexagram represents watching over the furnace, culling the elixir. Creativity is the first return of one yang; development is the increase and rise of the second yang. Watching over the furnace and getting to work, one culls — these two yangs. But even though the two yangs are growing, yin energy is still abundant and yang energy is still weak; it is necessary to be careful to ward off danger. Don't be negligent, but don't be eager either. Otherwise, if one does not know when the medicinal substances are too dense or too feeble, and does not understand when to intensify the work and when to relax it, but starts out impatiently, eager for quick success, then the medicinal substances will not be genuine and the firing process will not be correctly tuned; those who spurt ahead quickly will fall back rapidly. What will happen then is that once the two yangs have grown smoothly they will soon dissipate — the positive energy that has developed will disperse — and overseeing will turn into observing (next hexagram); in the eighth month there is misfortune.

If one's effort is not correct, it will not bear fruit; if it doesn't bear fruit, what is begun will not develop — one loses what one has gained, and the great affair is gone. Therefore the path of overseeing requires harmonious accord with the time; it is important not to miss in the firing process.

The 3rd line: Presumptuous overseeing is of no benefit. If one is troubled over this, there is no blame.


EXPLANATION: Being weak and ignorant, saying the right things but not being right at heart, working on externals and losing the inner, is called presumptuous overseeing. When overseeing gets to be presumptuous, and one can talk but not act, there is no benefit at all. Since there is no benefit, presumption turns into bitterness, and there is sure to be grief. But once one is troubled by this, becomes humble, sets oneself at naught and seeks the guidance of others, the goal is not far off. One then turns away from presumption, and even one who was blameworthy can thereby become blameless. This is overseeing that rejects the false and returns to the true.

The Top line: Attentive overseeing is good and blameless.

At the end of overseeing, from striving entering into nonstriving, returning to pristine purity, totally good, without evil, there is nothing one is not aware of, nothing one doesn't know; following the laws of God, this is called attentive overseeing. When overseeing reaches ultimate attention, it is at peace with suchness as is; neither being nor nonbeing can be established, others and self are void of absoluteness, and the original face becomes completely manifest. This is overseeing that completes the beginning and completes the end, auspicious and impeccable.

Looking over the six lines, we find a way of overseeing in each of them; only the third, presumptuous overseeing, is not beneficial. The other five, when put into practice according to the proper timing, advancing and withdrawing as appropriate, with urgency and relaxation as necessary, all have marvelous functions. This is really a guide to the firing process as one watches over the furnace; if students study and find out the facts in the hexagram overseeing, then they can grasp most of the process of firing the gold elixir. -- Liu Yiming (The Taoist I Ching)


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The hexagram 19 Overseeing









The trigram Lake






















Tarot card XII, the Hanged man
Twelve branches, symbolizing the twelve sovereign hexagrams, the inhalation and exhaltion of the six breaths of the firing process, not bearing fruit.