21 Biting Through SHI HE


Gnawing and Biting Through. Make an offering and you will succeed.
Advantageous to judge and punish.

Confront problems. Bite through obstacles. Use severe measures to clarify what is right. Don’t cover things up. Beware of inaccuracy, delay, not probing deeply. Cooperate fully with authorities. Make clear, quick and incisive judgments.

The Image
The first character shows a shaman, a mouth and two people in an ancestral hall with spirit plants growing from the roof. The second character shows an open mouth, a sacred vessel with a charge inside and a lid lowered to seal it.

Circle of Meanings
Confront the problem, bite through the obstacles; tenacious, determined, enduring; legal actions and punishments; male initiation that connects thought and action. Heart Theme: 39 the Difficult goings and comings that prepare deliverance.

Spirit Helpers
Thunder below Fire. Eldest Son and Middle Daughter, the Groundbreaker and the Visionary, are rousing new energy that breaks through to awareness. This is a time for severe warnings, legal actions and punishment. Be determined. Gnaw away at the problem until you can bite through and reveal what is hidden. Take decisive action. Use laws and punishments if necessary. Insist on your rights and go to judgment. Your determination can break through the obstacles and shed light on the whole situation. You have thought about it long enough. Take action!

Voice of the Mothers
Tenaciously bite through the obstacles to union. Take decisive action. Punish what needs to be punished. Accepting the shock of inner enlightenment now brings you the ability to set real directions in life. Actively harmonize people’s goals (13). Do not focus on coupling with your new fate (44).

Biting Through connects eating and biting through an obstacle with words and questions. The root is mouth, speech and language. It suggests posing a question to an oracle and getting a response, the bird dances of the Wu or Intermediaries that call the spirits and the pulses taken at the wrist in medical diagnosis. It means to bite through to something hidden, to invade or annex territory, to bite through obstacles to harmony. It portrays the shared ritual meal that unites spirits and humans held in an Ancestral Temple, linking it with the initiation ritual for young men held in the Tower at the edges of the marshes where they were passed through the Tiger’s Mouth to “eat the ancestor’s flesh”. It is also the punishment and sacrifice of criminals who were “eaten by the ancestor.” The figure deals with ordeals, judging and punishing. It includes three significant punishments: foot-cutting, nose-cutting and the cangue, a heavy wooden yoke strapped across the shoulders. The characters share a root with the shi or Corpse Embodiers who were possessed by ancestor spirits at the shared meals and the shi or book diviners, the bamboo-shamans who hold the power and virtue of the ancestors.

Summer (21): Ripen the fruits by biting through obstacles. Though you feel held back, this is for your own good. Change your perspective. Be clear and simple. Your worth will be recognized.
Fall (35): Harvest the crop by applying your talents. Strip away your negativity and take action. You can influence people if you master your words. Hidden forces are working in your favor.
Winter (16): Find the seed of the new. Don’t call out for help. Lead by example. Get your house in order, be generous and you can inspire the creative energy.
Spring: (51): Rouse new growth by staying calm when others are confused. Be brave and independent. Watch who you let in. There is a real source of energy and profit here. Re-imagine the whole situation.

Voice of the Fathers
This is an Inspiring Figure. It is part of a Zone of Radical Transformation where we pass through the Tiger’s Mouth to receive the Bright Omens of a new life. It is a Gate to the stage of the Symbolic Life that centers on initiation, finding a relation to culture and an image of the deeper self.

The Situation: A time to confront impediments to justice and set right past misconduct.

Caring for Others: Make definite strategic plans to establish the facts and bring the matter to objective judgment. Cut through concealment and bring mismanagement to light. Action is required. Make the truth public.

Setting Intentions: Clarify procedures. Be firm and decisive. Treat legal matters with care and keep to the spirit of agreements.

Communication and Interaction: Question everything. Trust your intuition. Reply to all communications promptly and keep records. False rumors and calculated lies are obscuring the facts. Be clear about your position.

Change from the Inside Out: Take no risks and do not trust available information.

  • Immediate Future: old problems re-surface.
  • Personal Development: cut through obstacles to clear thinking and feeling.
  • Working within the Family: use ruthless insight to get to the core of the problem.
  • Expanding the Circle: make decisive plans to deal with misconduct. 
  • Partnership: stand your ground. Set limits for each other.  

Pairing: Bringing Change to Life
Each hexagram is part of a Pair that that activates hidden paths of transformative energy through the interaction of the trigrams or Spirit Helpers, connecting phases of Inspiration and Realization. You are in the Inspiring phase of this Pair.

The transformative process of the Pair 21:22 Biting Through and Adorning develops the determination to face all obstacles and joy in the renewal that results.

Outer to Inner: The process of the pair shifts the clarity and awareness of the Visionary trigram from the outer world of 21to the inner world of 22. This turns abstract awareness of patterns into a real source of inner guidance.

Inner to Outer: This interiorisation transforms the Groundbreaker trigram in the inner world of 21 into the Gatekeeper trigram in the outer world of 22. This turns the shock of inner enlightenment into the awareness of the patterns that mark real ends and beginnings.

Transforming Lines

Mothering Change presents Transforming Lines as Steps of Change that show you where and how to focus your energy. Click on the links to connect with the Relating Figure generated by each line.

Inner World

Step 1 Beginnings: This return of the spirit attracts a new fate.
Shoes locked in a wooden stock, his feet disappear.
This is not a mistake.
You have been locked up and cannot move. This is for your own good. Though you feel held back, there is a net of relations that connect you with a new time. Take time to reflect. Adorn things with purity and clarity. Step outside the norms. Gather energy for the decisive new move. (35 Flourishing)

Step 2 Inner Center: This inner re-organization leads to harmony with others.
Biting through flesh, his nose disappears.
This is not a mistake.
Do not be afraid of your enthusiasm. Confront the situation and you will find the hidden cause of things that are happening. Use it to care for all. What you have to offer may be small but it will be effective. Co-operate with the ongoing process of change. (38 Diverging)

Step 3 Threshold: This inner re-balancing lets you make your way in life.
Biting through dried meat, meeting poison.
Small is distressed. This is not a mistake.
Biting through to union you encounter something old and poisonous. Bring it out. Beat your drums or you will end up lamenting like a very old person. The distress you feel will soon disappear.  Those who approach you now are not outlaws. Treat them with great respect and seek an alliance. Do not be afraid to act alone. You are connected with a creative force. (30 Radiance/Visionary)

Outer World

Step 4 Arrival: This inner preparation leads to what is greater.
Biting through parched meat with bones. Acquiring a bronze arrow.
Trial: Hardship is advantageous. Wise Words! The Way opens.
You can acquire the ability to act directly and effectively now.  Accept the drudgery. Eliminate corrupt old patterns and pursue your real desires. Do not reject this opportunity or you will languish for years. This could become an ever-flowing source of energy. Be open and provide what is needed. (27 Jaws/Nourishing)

Step 5 Outer Center: This inner re-grouping lets your real purpose shine.
Biting through parched meat. Acquiring bronze and gold.
Trial: Going through adversity is advantageous.
Confront the hungry souls and angry ghosts. This is not a mistake.
Getting through this is a long arduous task but you acquire wealth and connection in the end. Disentangle yourself from this sudden and unexpected affliction. See it as a spiritual problem, not a literal one and you will soon rejoice. You are carrying a hidden secret, something that can renew the place you live and work. Have patience. Gather energy for a decisive move. (25 Disentangling)

Step 6 Culmination: This inner stripping leads to a breakthrough.
Why are you locking yourself in a wooden stock so your ears disappear?
Trap! The Way closes.
You have cut yourself off and will not listen. Do not be infected by this old fear and confusion. Do the inner work and do not keep running after impossible desires. There is an ever-flowing source of energy available now. Adorn yourself with courage and set out on your own. Step outside the norms and re-imagine the situation Gather energy for a decisive new move. (51 Shake/Groundbreaker)