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Yi Wood: Charm, dependency, disorder, softness, resilience. (The Study of Chinese Symbol)

When discussing the element of Yi Wood 乙木, we can approach it from two perspectives: symbolism and temperament theory. Symbolism refers to it as a form of written symbol or a symbol within Eastern divination. Temperament theory regards it as an expression of the energies or qualities of the five elements. As a symbol, it's widely accepted because Chinese characters evolved based on pictograms. Therefore, it can be understood as a form of symbol carrying substantial information for interpretation. Looking at the character '乙,' its curves resemble the bent state of a person's arm, the twisted branches of a tree, or the contorted state of sprouting grass... This reflects how ancient people observed nature to create characters. Characters were a way to represent elements of nature and aspects of the human body. In BaZi, excessive restriction on Yi Wood could lead to susceptibility to limb injuries and difficulties in nurturing plants in reality. Yi Wood also symbolizes the liver and gallbladder. If the moisture level of Yi Wood is imbalanced, it can lead to liver and gallbladder issues in a person. This signifies aspects of symbolism where many interpretations can be applied and validated.

    Everyone should understand that in ancient Chinese characters, there are original characters—those that have remained unchanged since their creation—and another set that underwent revisions during the Spring and Autumn period of the war states, then again during the Han Dynasty, and further modifications after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Despite these alterations, the ten heavenly stems have remained largely unchanged in shape and writing, although there have been variations in font styles. Characters like 甲乙丙丁(Jia Yi Bing Ding...) belong to the original set, carrying certain information that seeps into other related characters. For instance, the character '乙,' with its final stroke resembling a vertical hook or a horizontal bend, often reflects some characteristics of Yi Wood. Consider the character '亂- luàn,' (Chaos, mess) which includes a vertical bent hook on the right side, indicating a state resembling Yi Wood. If I were to tell you that individuals aligned with Yi Wood tend to exhibit a disorderly pattern in their actions, not conforming to norms—would you believe it? It suggests that such individuals tend to adopt varied, intricate, and complex approaches, exploring multiple directions. People associated with Yi Wood possess such traits. Do you believe it? You can contemplate this! Similarly, the character '尤- yóu' includes a final stroke with a vertical bent hook, signifying 'especially' or 'particularly' (尤其). This implies that individuals aligned with Yi Wood tend to repeat tasks, ensuring security through repetition or reinforcing completed tasks repeatedly. This encapsulates the meaning of '尤' and '又-yòu.' In ancient times, '尤' and '又' were synonymous, thus Yi Wood embodies the essence of '又'.

    Through these symbols, we can derive certain meanings regarding human destinies. Examining the writing style of '乙,' the top is flat, known as a 'flat head.' If Yi Wood hasn't undergone modifications (sitting on earthly branches that are the same self is a form of modification, and interacting with other heavenly stems is also termed as a modification), a person aligned purely with Yi Wood embodies the symbolism of a flat head. A flat head holds a meaning—such individuals prefer not to stand out excessively, working with a low profile, preferring a moderately suitable position rather than one of excessive prominence. Even in a relatively lower position, they are content. This is the essence of Yi Wood's 'flat head.' Several other heavenly stems, such as 'Ren 壬,' 'Bing 丙,' 'Ding丁,' among others, also have this symbolism. These individuals outwardly exhibit a modest demeanour; their flat heads indicate humility and not seeking attention. However, after modifications, for instance, a person aligned with Yi Wood and You-Metal - Rooster (酉) would reverse Yi's natural inclination; such individuals tend to seek attention or stand out. Similarly, when Yi Wood is surrounded by Xin-Metal (辛), through modification, it alters Yi Wood's nature, making the person more impulsive or prone to taking the lead. (Do not see You-Metal 酉 as another flathead, instead see it as Metal restrict the Yi Wood) Unmodified Yi Wood tends to be modest, humble, and tranquil, but after modification, it changes. This is a crucial concept in understanding the 'Qiong Tong Bao Jian'—the concept of modification.

    Previously, I discussed the different layers within individuals. Now, concerning the ten heavenly stems, whether from a perspective of symbolism or the temperament of the five elements, we've only explored the fundamental essence of Yi Wood without delving into its modified form. We've deduced these qualities from the symbolism of Yi Wood, which might be quite exciting for readers—it reveals the greatness of Chinese characters. Post-1919, some Chinese felt inferior, considering Chinese culture inadequate, advocating for the destruction of Chinese characters in favour of Latin script, blaming all superstitions on the Book of Changes (Zhou Yi)... The Book of Changes consists of pictograms; they lacked understanding of these aspects. The eight trigrams of the Book of Changes symbolize the laws of heaven and earth, representing the universe's myriad symbols. For instance, the Kun trigram symbolizes motherhood, representing entanglement. Its appearance holds corresponding significance—that's divination! The same goes for BaZi; Yi Wood individuals possess Yi Wood's traits, inherent in pictographic characters, especially in Chinese characters within the ideographic system. Foreign languages lack this pictographic function, hindering their ability to classify things. In fact, foreigners have long recognized the mystique and greatness of Chinese characters (but only very little of them). The Chinese characters truly hold universal significance and can communicate with anything. Western languages, like English in the Latin script, are mere symbols, unable to reach the depth of written characters, incapable of soulful communication, and only transactional. This deduction of Yi Wood comes from our study of symbolism.

    Yi Wood, as an expression of the essence and quality of the five elements, is interconnected with Jia Wood. Jia and Yi Woods represent two aspects of the Wood element, albeit on different levels. Comparatively, if Jia represents a vital force, the essence of vitality, then Yi embodies the manifestation of that vitality. At times, you can also perceive them in reverse: Jia as the form and Yi as the representation. Jia Wood is the form, akin to towering trees, while Yi Wood signifies the expanding growth state. Overall, this falls within the paradigm of Yin and Yang. Philosophically speaking, it's a contrast between form and essence—a contradiction between Jia and Yi, yet both fall under the category of the Wood element. It's the ability of a single entity to express itself in two facets, where Wood can be represented as both Jia Wood and Yi Wood.

    Studying Yi Wood allows us to articulate through comparisons with Jia Wood. Ancient beliefs held that Jia Wood represents the initial growth of wood, the stage where vitality emerges after breaking ground, while Yi Wood embodies the stage where the form and physicality of wood are revealed beyond this process. Therefore, Jia Wood might precede Yi Wood. Consequently, we infer that Jia Wood might easily encounter significant opportunities in society, signifying substantial entrepreneurial challenges, as it always takes the lead. Being at the forefront means grabbing opportunities, which might be favourable or might bring immense pressure. Yi Wood follows, hence it operates at a slower pace. The rhythm of action for Yi Wood individuals is comparatively slower, referring to rhythm and not necessarily the speed of completion. It's essential to understand that the discussion here revolves around theory, requiring personal empathy, not just factual analysis. When dealing with someone associated with Yi Wood, you might distinctly sense a slower pace in their actions. However, being slow doesn't always imply delayed results. Some individuals with a slower pace still yield efficient outcomes, achieving tasks swiftly. Jia Wood individuals tend to act swiftly and directly, yet the speed of action doesn't guarantee a positive outcome. Speed only matters when the action is right; being fast without correctness doesn't ensure success. The complexity of studying Chinese metaphysics lies in its language. The interpretation of a single language varies in different contexts. Hence, establishing certain prerequisites for concepts and patterns complicates matters, much like interpreting BaZi. This requires a high level of abstract thinking from readers. Our discussion focuses on the rhythm of actions for Jia and Yi Wood, which is perceptible in general, but when applied to specific tasks, regardless of the heavenly stem involved, correctness in action matters more than pace. Even if Jia Wood acts swiftly, if it's done incorrectly, it still requires redoing. Success or failure still hinges on this.

    When discussing destiny reading, there are two aspects: the process and the outcome. Regarding the process, one involves swiftness while the other involves a more indirect approach. However, concerning the outcome, it's simply about correctness regardless of the heavenly stem involved. This is the distinction between Jia and Yi: Jia comes first, Yi follows. From this, we infer that Yi Wood tends to exhibit a certain dependency. With Jia Wood leading and Yi Wood following, we deduce that Yi Wood prefers standing on the shoulders of Jia Wood. Indeed, individuals aligned with Yi Wood tend to exhibit a sense of dependency. In Chinese metaphysics, especially in Bazi, there's a common term called 'entwining vines on Jia 藤萝系甲,' likening Yi Wood to vines that thrive when they latch onto something. This concept embodies a form of dependency, where Yi Wood clings to Jia Wood. In real life, individuals associated with Yi Wood often prefer a starting point before engaging, and hence, they possess a remarkable ability to seek opportunities. Once they find an opening, they execute tasks with confidence and stability. From these observations, to leverage this trait, individuals associated with Yi Wood should ideally have influential figures within their BaZi  (aka, the nobleman), such as a 正官 Zheng Guan (Direct Officer) or 正印 Zheng Yin (Direct Resource), especially the latter, as it nurtures and supports Yi Wood. Considering the sequence of Jia and Yi Wood, we can draw connections to these characteristics.

    Compared to Jia Wood, Yi Wood might be described as a bit chaotic, which sounds rather unflattering. A more pleasant way to put it is that individuals associated with Yi Wood approach tasks with a sense of style, constantly varying their methods. When it comes to relationships, women often appreciate individuals with a sense of style. For instance, if two men are pursuing the same woman—one wealthy but lacking charm, while the other is less affluent but exudes charm by constantly finding creative ways to please her—she might prefer the latter. What does this illustrate? It implies that sometimes, when things are handled in a more intricate and diverse manner, a person exhibits charm and appeal. Hence, Yi Wood individuals tend to have more charm than Jia Wood individuals. Having charm and being a bit chaotic are somewhat interconnected to a certain extent.

    What's learned in Buddhist practice is to bring everything in this world, with its myriad forms and colors, back to its essence. Similarly, in Chinese metaphysics, if Yi Wood catches my attention, it might appear disorderly or emotional—it all depends on the perspective from which I speak. A well-coordinated BaZi might highlight Yi Wood's emotional aspect, but if the coordination is poor, it might manifest as chaos. Even using various means to please someone might miss the point. From this perspective, we generate different expressions for Yi Wood—representing disorder or charm—two vastly different expressions, yet rooted in the same essence. In Buddhism, they say 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form.' Form represents the diverse expressions of Yi Wood, while emptiness is Yi Wood itself, inherently holding no specific meaning, yet demonstrating so much. Different perspectives reveal different facets. The same applies to analyzing destiny. If you aim to become an expert in destiny analysis, you must first be impartial and explore the essence of Jia and Yi Wood. Failing to uncover the inherent traits of Jia and Yi Wood might hinder your ability to be just. If you solely perceive Yi Wood as charming, you might miss seeing the disorderliness in their actions, leading to inefficiency. Understanding that there's a lack of efficiency but failing to recognize its inherent softness might prevent you from empathizing with it.

    Yi Wood and Jia Wood exhibit several distinct characteristics when compared. Through contrasting the traits of Jia and Yi Wood, we can perceive the differences among individuals. Summarizing the differences between Jia and Yi Wood, a few words come to mind: Yi Wood tends to be more diverse, somewhat chaotic, yet resilient—a resilience in contrast to the directness of Jia Wood. The term 'chaotic' is derived from comparing Yi Wood's adaptability against the decisive nature of Jia Wood. Yi Wood also carries a sense of charm and dependency, traits extrapolated from its inherent softness. These are some key terms utilized in our analysis of destiny. Behind these key terms lie the two expressions of the Wood element, representing two manifestations of life.

    Another Bazi Classic, 'Yuan Hai Zi Ping 渊海子平,' when discussing the characteristics of Yi Wood, mentions that Yi Wood prefers being in sunny places and dislikes shady areas. Additionally, it tends to be averse to excess water, like most vegetation. While some plants grow near water, they're the minority. Vegetation fears excessive fire that might scorch it, but it's difficult to completely destroy; it's resilient, enduring through wildfires and regenerating with the spring breeze. This resilience is Yi Wood's strength. In a BaZi chart, when Yi Wood encounters excessive fire, it may indicate a fragile vitality. Individuals characterized by this might struggle in their endeavours throughout life yet display remarkable resilience to persist. Their persistent efforts might make them appear inadequate due to the struggle, yet their perseverance showcases their resilience. It's like two sides of a mirror, illustrating the concept of Yin and Yang dialectics. Compared to Jia Wood, which is like a pillar, Yi Wood is more about adaptation and refinement.

    As previously mentioned, Jia Wood requires the influence of Geng Metal and Ding Fire to refine itself. Geng Metal trims the excessive branches and leaves, aiding Jia Wood's rapid growth. Meanwhile, Ding Fire accentuates Jia Wood's warmth, showcasing its talents to gain public admiration. Regarding Yi Wood, the 'Lan Gang Wang Qiong Tong Bao Jian' common version which was written by Yu Chun Tai did not explore this aspect. However, some "hidden version" of Qiong Tong Bao Jian (that I have) describes Yi Wood as representing flowers and plants that generally thrive in sunny and moist conditions. When these conditions align well, the vegetation thrives. This correlates with traditional Chinese medicine where, as we've discussed with Jia Wood symbolizing organs in the body, Geng Metal and Ding Fire have their symbolic significance. Within the body, Yi Wood symbolizes the liver. The liver necessitates a balance between dryness and moisture; excessive dryness leads to liver yang hyperactivity, while excessive moisture causes bloating and ascites. Hence, a balance of Bing Fire and Gui Water is required. In overly humid conditions, Bing is needed to remove moisture; excessive dryness causes headaches, indicating liver yang hyperactivity, which can be balanced by adding Gui Water to moisten and nourish the kidneys, thereby regulating Yi Wood's vitality. See, Bazi is not a pseudo subject, it reflects reality in any form of subject.

    So, what is the true nature of the ten Heavenly Stems derived from? Is it derived from the symbols in nature? Or from the two manifestations of the Five Elements? Or is it derived from human beings themselves? As we've discussed, everything corresponds! They are all interconnected—different facets of the same entity! Every object has myriad facets of representation—all are just different facets of the same thing!

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