Archetype 56: The Wanderer

CR P02 C56 A01

A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

—Matthew 8:19–20

The Reading

Jesus has chosen the precarious and lonely life of a wanderer.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C56 A02

This hexagram consists of the lower trigram Stillness, whose image is Mountain, and the upper trigram Christ, whose image is Fire. Fire on the mountain cannot remain in a fixed position. It must move forward, seeking new fuel.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To not remain rigidly in place, but to wander through new, strange lands far from home.
  • To accept the insecurity of having few resources to draw upon, few friends nearby, and little protection.
  • To understand that the way to win allies in the distant lands is to be accommodating, considerate, and courteous to those you encounter.
  • To be cautious in the places one tarries and in the people with whom one associates.
  • To treat imprisonment as a temporary state of affairs and not to allow it to become a way of life.
  • To deal with lawsuits and penalties quickly and then move on.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position tells the wanderer not to get distracted with things encountered that are of little value. These things are demeaning. This is also not the time to try to make friends by demeaning oneself. This can only result in contempt and degradation. Now is not the time for the wanderer to appear soft spoken and defenseless, but to cultivate the inner dignity that will see one through.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position reassures the wanderer that modesty and humility are proving helpful. The wanderer is in touch with Wisdom. Interiorly, the wanderer is grounded. Exteriorily, people are supportive and goals can be accomplished. The time is also right to gain the allegiance of a new supporter, one who will prove valuable in future wanderings.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position describes a wanderer who is in trouble. The wanderer has nobody to blame but Ego. The wanderer has treated followers with contempt and has lost their loyalty. The wanderer is minding other people’s business, behaving poorly, and acting arrogantly. No wonder the people have turned the wanderer out. A stranger in a strange land is particularly vulnerable, and the wanderer would best remember this.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

A moving line in the fourth position describes a wanderer who has learned to control Ego and stay true to Wisdom’s way. Shelter has been found, property has been acquired, and the wanderer has a respite. Still the danger persists, and the wanderer must remain on guard, ready to defend possessions. Despite the respite, the wanderer is not truly safe and remains a stranger in a strange land.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position describes a wanderer who knows how to greet circumstances and make introductions. Doing so, the wanderer may find supporters and make progress in reaching goals.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position describes a wanderer who has forgotten the rules of wandering. The wanderer has begun to laugh at others’ expense. Needless to say, others are not amused by this, and the wanderer will be forced away. The wanderer is warned to not forget the importance of humility and versatility.

Other interpretations of Archetype 56:

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