Archetype 44: Seduction

CR P02 C44 A01

After this he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, “Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you”...So he told her his whole secret, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head; for I have been a nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, then my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be like anyone else.”

When Delilah realized that he had told her his whole secret, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “This time come up, for he has told his whole secret to me.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hands.

She let him fall asleep on her lap; and she called a man, and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. He began to weaken, and his strength left him. Then she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. So the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles; and he ground at the mill in the prison.

—Judges 16:4–21

The Reading

Samson and the Philistines are sworn enemies. Many times the Philistines have tried to kill Samson and failed. It would seem that Samson’s power is complete. But just when all seems lost to the Philistines, they find an opportunity. They find Delilah. Nobody can defeat Samson, but Delilah has the power to seduce Samson and convince him to defeat himself.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C44 A02

This hexagram consists of the lower trigram Spirit and the upper trigram God. Together they have five strong lines that would seem insurmountable. And so they might be, except for the weak yielding line in the foundational position. In this position, the otherwise weak line has the power to undermine and seduce the strength above. Contrast this hexagram to the hexagram representing archetype 43, in which the weak line is in the top position and is supported by strength instead of undermining strength.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To be wary of those who seem weak and innocent but use this innocence to beguile and seduce.
  • To be especially wary when one is in a position of power or has something that the seducer wants.
  • To realize that a seducer is dangerous precisely because the seducer appears not to be dangerous.
  • To realize that the seducer only has power that is willingly surrendered.
  • To understand that it is Ego that seeks the gratification of seduction.
  • To know that some unions of strong with weak are blessed; for example, the union between the divine and the secular.
  • To use Wisdom as a guide in differentiating between positive and negative unions of strong and weak.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position warns that when the agent of seduction has found an entry crack, it must be addressed immediately before its influence can take over. There is a temptation to ignore the agent of seduction because it seems so weak and helpless. But if ignored, its power will quickly grow. Then it will be much more dangerous and more difficult to neutralize.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position suggests how to control the agent of seduction: not through violence, but by keeping it under gentle control. The agent of seduction must also be kept separated from those will feed its evil potential.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position explains the impasse that exists. The agent of seduction has made a successful appeal to Ego, and this is a dangerous situation. Ego wants to be seduced, but something is preventing this, and Ego is frustrated. Movement seems impossible. But if we can quiet Ego and listen to Wisdom, further damage can be avoided.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

 A moving line in the fourth position suggests that sometimes it is best to placate those who are weaker. They may be useful. If we alienate them, they become our enemies. Of what value can they then be?

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position describes a situation in which the person of strength and light is protecting those of weakness and darkness. The strong is guided by Wisdom and is therefore able to control gently but firmly. When the weak are guided like this, they turn around, see the light, and become allies.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position describes one who has found the world’s problems unbearable and has withdrawn. People who could contribute positively but instead withdraw and rebuff those who seek help are certainly not acting according to God’s will. But while they aren’t doing any good, at least they aren’t doing any harm.

Other interpretations of Archetype 44:

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