Hexagram 56: Of Butterflies and Freedom

I had a vivid and memorable dream last night. In my dream, I was going to do a photo shoot and I wanted to have thousands of ladybugs in my photo, rising up above a fantasy wooded glade, so I went to this old man who, I was told, sold all types of bugs.

The man was old, with grey hair and beard, and he had a shop filled with bugs. Scattered on the floor and the shelves were bugs of all various sorts.

He shuffled over and handed me a box that was partially filled with ladybugs, but then mumbled something to himself, and took the box away. Then he handed me a similar box, but this one was filled with butterflies. One half of the box held pink butterflies and the other half was filled with yellow butterflies. They were the monarch type with gorgeous black designs on their wings.

Thinking that he didn’t have any ladybugs to give me and was hoping I would take the butterflies, I took pity on him and nodded my agreement to take the butterflies instead of the ladybugs. In my mind’s eye, I was already starting to replace the photo image from red ladybugs to pink and yellow butterflies.

He grinned at my cheerful acceptance of his replacement and pulled another box from a shelf, which he handed to me gleefully. This one was filled to overflowing with blue monarch butterflies! They were all quivering inside the box, all alive, but none of them flew out of the box. They were waiting for me to take them and then set them free.

Blue Butterflies – Graphic art by Dan Barrett

So, in my effort to be more accommodating to the man because I felt sorry for him, I ended up with two boxes of butterflies instead of one half-filled box of ladybugs. I woke up still feeling quite fortunate, of the gifts that I had been given.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t normally attach loads of meaning in my dreams, which are often colorful and filled with strange things. Sometimes, however, something inside me tells me in no uncertain terms to pay attention, to be aware of the significance of a dream.

This was one of those times, so I decided to consult the I Ching. The answer given, was a complete surprise!

Hexagram #56 – Lu – The Wanderer.


The Judgment:
The Wanderer. Success through smallness.
Perseverance brings good fortune
To the wanderer.

The Image:

Fire on the mountain:
The image of THE WANDERER.
Thus the superior man
Is clear-minded and cautious
In imposing penalties,
And protracts no lawsuits.

The gift of the boxes of butterflies is the gift of freedom. I have been given a footloose and fancy-free existence and am free to flit from one place to another, no anchor or responsibility to keep me in one spot.

I am the Wanderer with no fixed abode; my home is the road. I should not think of it as a scary bad thing that I am not tied down to any place or anybody. It is a gift to enjoy, given by the old man who gladly doubled my gift as soon as I accepted it with grace.

I should associate with good people and go only to proper places to keep myself out of trouble. In dealing with people, I need to stay humble, be obliging towards others, and find a circle of friends and a sphere of activity to belong to so I don’t isolate myself too much. If I can find this circle of friends and sphere of activity, I will rise up high within the rankings.

I also need to be careful that I don’t lose my home due to carelessness or lack of adaptability. This means I need to be malleable and ready to reinvent myself to changes that will be occuring. If it means I do a different job to keep my roof, then that is what I need to do.

On the Changing Lines: Hexagram 31: Hsien – Influence

If I do all that is suggested, it will result in Hexagram 31. This is the hexagram of courtship. This means I get a man!!! 🙂

Just joking. Actually, it means that I will be able to influence others and exert my influence in the world. But I must be aware that in order to exert my influence upon others, I must stay humble and remain receptive to good advice.

So… as a wanderer, my wanderings will lead me to a position where I can be of great influence to others. This is the gift of the butterflies. I am not sure exactly what it will bring in my future, but it is what the I Ching is telling me, and who am I to turn down a gift from the Universe?

Speaking of gifts— here are two gifts, generously given by two very dear friends of mine.  The dream I had has been magically transformed into a graphic representation as well as a hauntingly beautiful poem. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


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