Before Completion sideshows

Luis Andrade
7 min readAug 19, 2017

A funny thing happened with this reading: Done a month or so ago, right after some relevant breaking news, the original intention was to poke some fun at Trump Jr. and the revelations regarding his meeting with the Russian lawyer and Co., during the presidential campaign, back in the summer of 2016. Alas, the result didn’t appear to apply fully to that particular affair (no humorous synchronicities jumped at me…) and, for these things (ahem…, no one should do public divination of state affairs without being commissioned: prediction outside the scope of yourself can make you a target of inquiry and be harmful to your health…), I don’t dig for meaning when it isn’t immediately evident. In my personal experience, either the oracle results are spot on the situation at hand or the Yijing is telling you to save it for later; a “fore-caddy!” shout for things to come. It is almost guaranteed the ball will fall in the right situation slot of the wheel of time. That is to say, it is advising about some more important and dire situations that will reveal themselves in due time and one has only to keep the result in mind and pay attention. Well, the events of last week, starting on Friday, August 11th, in Charlottesville VA, and culminating yesterday, Friday, August 18th, with the firing of White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, proved to be the target.

The result of the reading was hexagram 64, Before Completion, with moving lines in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th positions, changing to hexagram 33, Retreat. Well, I’m sure you’ll understand why I finished the strip today, more than a month after the reading. The Trump Tower doodle remains in it as a testimony of my initial question. In any case, chances are that Donald Trump Jr. will not be off the hook of a future cartoon.

If you wish to use the text of the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, please scoot over to, it contains a copy of it. As before, I will quote from R.G.H. Siu’s book, The Man of Many Qualities, the one, and as far as I know, the only good correlation of the I Ching text with Western literature.

Dr. Siu interprets the name of H64 to mean “Tasks Yet To Be Completed,” which is very appropriate to the situation. Siu’s interpretation of the overall hexagram is:

Order and prosperity in a confused world are being realized. The chaos, which has been turned into order following deliberation and cation, is merely dormant. In its turn, the order is now entering the incipient states of chaos. The yin-yang cycle begins anew, as it has always been and will be repeated for ever and ever.

And then adds three quotations of which I will use this one, a beautiful poem by Percy Shelley:

The world’s great age begins anew,
The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
Her winter weeds outworn:
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam,
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.

A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
From waves serener far;
A new Peneus rolls his fountains
Against the morning star.
Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.

A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,
And loves, and weeps, and dies.
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso, for his native shore.

O, write no more the tale of Troy,
If earth Death’s scroll must be!
Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
Which dawns upon the free:
Although a subtler Sphinx renew
Riddles of Death Thebes never knew.

Another Athens shall arise,
And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
The splendor of its prime;
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
All earth can take or Heaven can give.

Saturn and Love heir long repose
Shall burst, more bright and good
Than all who fell, than One who rose,
Than many unsubdued;
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
But votive tears and symbols flowers.

O cease! Must hate and death return?
Cease! Must men kill and die?
Cease! Drain not to its dregs the urn
Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past,
O might it die or rest at last!

Percy Bysshe Shelley, English (1792–1822)

Cueing giggles and puns, the 2nd line of H64 goes as:

The man represses untimely actions through patient control of his strength, while remaining steadfast in his resolve.

The literary quote is:

Talent is a long patience. It involves looking at everything one wants to describe long enough, and attentively enough, to find in it some aspect that no one has yet seen of expressed. Everything contains some element of the unexplored because we are accustomed to use our eyes only with the memory of what other people before us have thought about the object we are looking at. The least thing has a bit of the unknown in it. Let us find this. In order to describe a fire burning or a tree in the field, let us stand in front of that fire and that tree until they no longer look to us like any other fire or any other tree.
This is how one becomes original.

Guy de Maupassant, French (1850–1893)

The 3rd line of H64 goes as (the cue on this one is a despairing gasp or a ‘What on Earth?’…):

The time is ripe for transition, but the man lacks sufficient strength to act alone. Advancing under these conditions would mean disaster.

The literary quote is:

But when I call to mind I am a King,
Methinks I should revenge me of the wrongs,
That Mortimer and Isobel have done….
But what are kings when regiment is gone
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
My nobles rule; I bear the name of King;
I wear the crown, but am controlled by them —
By Mortimer, and my unconstant Queen,
Who spots my nuptial bed with infamy!
— Whilst I am lodged within this cave of care
Where sorrow at my elbow still attends,
To company my heart with sad laments
That bleeds within me for this strange exchange.

Christopher Marlowe, English (1564–1593)

The 5th line goes as (don’t hold your breath, breathe normally):

Steadfastness to correct action and to sincerity on the part of the man has rallied men of good faith. Victory is achieved. A glorious new era has replaced the decadent old one.

The literary quote is:

I beseech you be careful what captains of Horse you choose, what men be mounted: a few honest men are better than numbers. … If you choose goodly honest men to be captains of Horse, ones men will follow them; and they will be careful to mount such. … I rather have a plain russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else.

Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, English (1599–1658)

Now we must pay attention to the second hexagram, the one that results from changing all the previous moving lines to their opposite, which in this case is hexagram 33, Retreat. In a regular reading, most people see the second hexagram as something that can be interpreted as a future event. It is my experience, and also an educated opinion, that that is not always the case (I will not go further than this explaining those assertions or I’d desiccate all humor left in this post). For the purposes of these cartoons, I use the second hexagram as an interlocutor, someone who partakes in a dialogue with the subject, the main hexagram.

Dr. Siu interprets the name to mean Withdrawal. There is a subtle nuanced difference between a “retreat” and a “withdrawal”…

Siu’s interpretation of the overall hexagram is:

The times favors the small men. Retreat is proper for the superior man. The right moment needs be selected, so as to control the nature of the withdrawal and to prepare for the countermove. Eventually the hostile forces are brought to a standstill through dignified detachment.

Then, of the three literary quotes given for this, I selected this one because it talks directly about what the Yijing refers to 小人, which is a familiar trope in it and can be translated as “petty people”, “vile character,” or “a nasty person.” In the example below, from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the vociferous and easily distracted monkeys are an example of what the trope refers to:

“Listen, man-cub,” said the Bear, and his voice rumbled like thunder on a hot night. “I have taught thee all the Law of the Jungle for all the peoples of the jungle — except the Monkey Folk who live in the trees. They are outcaste. They have no speech of their own, but use the stolen words which they overhear when they listen, and peep, and wait up above in te branches. Their way is not our way. They are without leaders. They have no remembrance. They boast and chatter and pretend that they are a great people about to do great affairs in the jungle, but the falling of a nut turns their minds to laughter and all is forgotten. We of the jungle have no dealings with them. We do not drink where the monkeys drink; we do not go where the monkeys go; we do not hunt where they hunt; we do not die where they die.”

Rudyard Kipling, English (1865–1936)

Something to ponder in the days ahead. For all of us.



Luis Andrade

Occasional translator. Making no sense in more than one language. Yixue student. Non-locality guru. Likely to piss you off.