Archetype 19: Approach

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Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

—Exodus 3:1–6

The Reading

There are a number of images captured in this reading.

First, we have Moses about to transition from lowness to greatness. Moses had been saved from infanticide as a baby, was adopted by a princess of Egypt, and became a trusted high official. Then he killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life. He had been reduced to tending the flock of his father-in-law. But in this reading, God has called him to a new greatness that will far exceed anything Moses has yet experienced.

The second image captured in this reading is the idea of approach, especially the approach of that which is lower (Moses) to that which is greater (God).

Finally, we have a bit of condescension between the greater toward the lesser. “Do not come any closer,” God tells Moses, “and remove your sandals.” Moses does so, and hides his face.

The Hexagram

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The lower trigram is Wonder. The upper trigram is Wisdom. Wonder approaches Wisdom with reverence.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • For the wise one to approach those who need wisdom and care.
  • To look forward to the approach of spring.
  • To remember that spring does not last forever and to prepare for the changes before they come.
  • To master evil before it becomes manifest.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

 A moving line in the bottom position suggests Wisdom is beginning to prevail and will strike a chord in upper circles. This encourages the able. It is appropriate to join in the momentum, but one must stay grounded in Wisdom and not allow Ego to get out of control.

Moving Line in the Second Position

 A moving line in the second position says that when one is invited to approach by God and is grounded in strength and Wisdom, a good outcome is likely. There is no need to worry about the future. Of course, everything is transitory, and what goes up must eventually come down. This is just the way things are. For now, things are moving in a positive direction, and as long as they remain guided by Wisdom, things will move forward. Everything suggests the path will be traversed swiftly, honestly, and bravely.

Moving Line in the Third Position

 A moving line in the third position suggests caution. Although things are going well and a positive outcome is still likely, there is a danger of complacency. Ego says we can be easy-going and careless. If this happens, one must understand what has happened, turn away from Ego, and take one’s responsibility seriously. Take action, but don’t panic. It is not too late to make things right.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

 A moving line in the fourth position observes that those in the higher position are favorable to the ideas of those in the lower position. The time is right for an able one to be drawn into the circle of influence.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

 A moving line in the fifth position advises those with authority to recognize their limitations and to look to others who have the necessary expertise. Once these experts are on board, they must be given freedom and not be micromanaged. This is the way to build successful teams.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

 A moving line in the top position describes a wise one who has put the world behind and withdrawn from life. This line suggests that it may be time for the wise one to return to active participation in life. The wise one’s insight is needed. And the wise one also benefits through this interaction.

Other interpretations of Archetype 19:

Internal Links:

  • Return to the Hexagram Index Table [click here].
  • Return to Consulting the Christian I Ching [click here].
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Reproduced with permission from Wisdom's Way; The Christian I Ching copyright (c) 2015 Roger Sessions.