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10 The Ghost

hexagram-10-ghost‘A GHOST WHO imitates the owl’s hoot has misunderstood the moonlight.
The canny ghost gets hold of a sheet.’

On our side, seekers of asylum may find themselves in a cell of longing;
on theirs, there’s an occasional mix-up over papers, or emotions may
serve as a one-way shuttle, earthwards. Some punishment may also be
involved, though the rules have never been codified. Transgressions are
recognised only by their intensity, the archer only by his sweetheart.

1st – The Ghost of Conscience
The imploring yelp in the pipework, the shoulder tap while you climb the
stairs, the peacock screen that has dragged itself out of the sun. What if
conscience is the culprit – that porcupine of arrows? Relax your mindful
attention. Turn the attic upside down in your search for a clean slate.

2nd – The Ghost of Public Resort
True evidence of a haunting encourages tomfoolery – tricks played on,
say, a new recruit in the bar, a student from Minsk. A wall with hunting
trinkets is easy enough for a ghost to walk through: arrow light shows it
well. Among so many counterfeits its limbo is ever more desolate.

3rd – The Telekinetic Ghost
Confusion among the living, muddled further by limited powers on the
other side. An arrow cannot be pulled from its course, only fall short of
its target; a vase cannot be emptied, only nudged off its shelf. The art is
in its infancy. The soul in pain appears merely brattish, a spoilt child.

4th – The Invited Ghost
Expectation can manifest as knocks and shudders, and perhaps there’s
contact of sorts – a crackling comb-fest of invisible filaments, a timeshare
of intention. An electric arrow spins on its axis of yearning. Galvanised
picnickers feast off their winding sheet. Nutritional value: negligible.

5th – The Ghost with the Upper Hand
A spirit, clothed, may even smile in a bathroom at a naked person’s
discomfort. Then will follow the sudden vanishing, like a whoosh
of arrows through the steam, leaving our witness with that aching
incompleteness before telling such an urgent story for the first time.

6th – The Ghost of Persistent Life
The lattice stands tragically public: the vine has withered back into
its root. At the molecular level there is no loss of energy – much of it
parasitical. An arrow will cleave to its birth tree. No one can annihilate a
memory – some fragment blooms in fury. The realm of severance teems.

All six – The Ghost Exorcised
This is serious: expunging a demonic life form requires anguished effort,
far down in the fountainhead. Removing his purple stole, he puts on the
white. Hands wet with his own spittle, he touches mouth and nose and
tears the devil’s arrow from the wound. Latin works intensely in extremis.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos


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