Archetype 17: Following

CR P02 C17 A01

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

—John 13:1–5

The Reading

Jesus is getting ready to go to his death. His death will only have meaning if his disciples carry his message of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation to the world. But will they follow through? Jesus knows that Judas will soon betray him. Peter will deny him, not once but three times. Most of his disciples will abandon him to die alone. What can he do to impress upon them how much he needs them and how important their work is? Should he browbeat them and tell them how worthless they have been? Should he threaten them with damnation if they do not follow through? But Jesus does none of these things. He gets up and washes their feet.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C17 A02

This hexagram is composed of the trigram Wonder above and the trigram Word below. The image of Word is Thunder, which denotes great power. The image of Wonder is Lake, which denotes receptivity. So we have the powerful thunder in the lower position, subservient to the “weaker” trigram above. This is the picture of this archetype, a great leader deferring to a weaker follower.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To learn to serve so that one may learn to rule.
  • To understand that by serving others, one builds commitment in one’s followers.
  • To know that those who follow willingly and joyfully will remain true, whereas those who follow from fear will soon fall away.
  • To build one’s following by adapting to the needs of the moment.
  • To take the time to rest and regain strength.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

 A moving line in the bottom position suggests that it is appropriate for the relationship between leader and follower to switch. The leader must empathize with and listen to the opinions of others. An effective leader cannot associate only with those who are of like mind. This does not mean giving up principles. It does mean being open to others’ ideas.

Moving Line in the Second Position

 A moving line in the second position warns that one must be careful in choices for friends and close relationships. One can surround oneself with either positive or negative influences; one cannot do both.

Moving Line in the Third Position

 A moving line in the third position suggests that when one connects with those who are wiser, one will lose connections with those who are inferior and superficial. This is part of the human growth process. But one must remain grounded in God. Otherwise it is easy to be led astray by impulsive desires.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

 A moving line in the fourth position cautions that those who are attracted to an Ego-driven leader are not useful followers. They will gladly feed the Ego, but this leads only to further separation from God. Cultivate Wisdom, and see these people for who they are.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

 A moving line in the fifth position reminds us that all people need something to follow that is beautiful and good.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

 A moving line in the top position refers to a holy one who has set aside the demands of the world and embraced an interior peace. This line predicts that a follower appears who is simpatico with the holy one and will not leave until the holy one agrees to help. An eternal bond is formed between the holy one and the follower, and the holy one returns to help the follower further God’s purpose.

Other interpretations of Archetype 17:

Internal Links:

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Reproduced with permission from Wisdom's Way; The Christian I Ching copyright (c) 2015 Roger Sessions.