Archetype 49: Revolution

CR P02 C49 A01

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

—Matthew 10:34–39

The Reading

One might think Jesus wants an armed revolution. But this is not the case. On the contrary, Jesus is calling for an overturning of Pax Romana, the peace through force that is the calling card of the Roman Empire. Jesus brings instead Pax Christi, the peace of Christ, a peace based on love, compassion, and equality. Jesus knows that the Roman Empire is not going to give up power willingly. They will respond as the powerful always respond: with coercion, intimidation, and violence.

Jesus is telling his followers that this is not an easy path he has laid before them. His prophecy comes true. In short order, Jesus is crucified, Stephen is stoned to death, and James is murdered by King Herod Agrippa’s sword. Before long, most of Jesus’s original apostles will meet violent deaths. The persecution of the early Christians will continue for another three hundred years. But Jesus promises us that the Kingdom of God will eventually overcome, and, in fact, that it is already present within us. But we must understand that those who choose to follow the path of light will be ostracized by those who follow the path of darkness. Darkness can only survive by attacking light.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C49 A02

This hexagram consists of the lower trigram Christ under the upper trigram Wonder. The image of Christ is Fire, and the image of Wonder is Lake. Thus we have the lake over the fire. This is an unstable situation. Fire cannot long survive like this. Soon the fire will be extinguished, and a new order will emerge.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To bring about social revolutions, but only as a last resort; revolutions have a high cost and result in much sorrow.
  • To know that not all are able to bring about a successful revolution. It requires the support of the people and precise timing.
  • To be clear that the leader of the revolution must be free from Ego and closely follow Wisdom’s way.
  • To lead the people wisely, by uplifting them and teaching them how to move forward in accordance with God’s will.
  • To carefully observe the internal patterns of that which seems chaotic, and to thus bring clarity and order to the chaos.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position warns changes should not be undertaken lightly. Restraint is called for. Now is the time for cultivating Wisdom, not for rushing into action.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position suggests that the time for revolution has come. But preparations must first be made. The right leader must be found, one who is wise and is trusted by the people. And great Wisdom is called for. But there is no other alternative. Revolution is no longer avoidable.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position warns of two mistakes that can be made. One is to move too quickly and too aggressively. The other is to move too slowly and too conservatively. Either of these is dangerous. Not every demand for change is to be heeded. On the other hand, valid issues must be addressed. How can one tell the difference between the frivolous and the substantial? One test is simple: where there is smoke, there’s fire. When the demands are heard again and again, it becomes clear that action is called for.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

A moving line in the fourth position suggests that the more radical the change, the more important the character of the leader. For radical change to be successful, the leader must have adequate authority, influence, and great inner strength. Even this is not enough; the leader must have access to great Wisdom and thus have successfully vanquished Ego. Any revolution that is not built on such a foundation will fail.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position describes a revolution led by a great leader. Such a revolution has clearly defined guiding principles that are easily understood and attract widespread support.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position describes the aftermath of the revolution. This is the time to undertake additional minor reforms and solidify the gains that have been achieved. People need to adjust to the new times. This is not a time to expect major changes, but to be satisfied with relatively small adjustments. These adjustments will give long-term stability to the great changes that have been achieved.

Other interpretations of Archetype 49:

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