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53 The Map

hexagram-53-map‘TIME TRAVELLER SEEKS part-time assistant with traditional humanist values:
must be good around old maps. Non-smoker. Sense of humour.’

Contours are ignored until they squeeze together. Brown is tough and
closest to the sky; green may flood at any time; blue is the idleness of
perfection. Instead of a church, an ecumenical shield brandished by a
p.o.w. No deer or rabbits: just the occasional duck, hawk or puffin. Old
tracks persist, since certain ghosts will never forsake their horses.

1st – The Map of Faith
Two bare feet – islands with southern inlets – signal perambulatory
powers, the pilgrim’s readiness. The navel is the holy city, the umbilical
river near by. The head is the thule of paradise, walled off, first couple and
serpent in a memory palisade. Angels and demons watch from the corners.

2nd – The Map of Knowledge
At the thoughtful centre of chaos the cartographer engraves a web of
history – the spider of civilisations growing fat on risk. Legend is the
mirror of lost witness. Jason plies his day job, importing dragon skulls to
Alexandria. The island of California is unbirthed back to its mother.

3rd – The Map of the Reconstruction
The ‘sworn viewer’ finesses a royal licence to map the new city after the
fire. Vignettes of loss escape the court censor – a destroyed paint factory
exposed to the diluting sky, a blackened prison fatal to loving visitors as
well as inmates. Griefs underfoot are bright modern hope’s foundation.

4th – The Tattooed Map
The forensic team turns up at the parlour of tawdry tattoos, cartographic
ashes warm in the grate. But the treasure’s location ripples on an inside
thigh, the client miles away, lost in the badlands of desire, sweet betrayals
by seductresses the Black Hand gang will surely brief in the erotic arts.

5th – The Map Sale
A crozier marks the spot. The nave and chancel belong to the four winds:
a gamble on futures has dropped off the edge of the ocean. Zoom in
on the treasury. Negotiations are afoot with a major auction house. The
archivist has sent for a stronger travel box, with judder-proof hinges.

6th – The Parallax Map of the Lakes
For walkers who enjoy novelty, a graphic inspired by the famed
masterpiece of the Underworld. Only up and down, and sideways, and
both diagonals. Annotation lines up barn against spire, sheepfold against
waterfall. No trace of Wainwright’s ashes in their heathery home.

All six – The Mental Map
Such inner threads, of limited use to lost souls, may have dissolved
anyway, a secret flaw like a deviated septum; or never have grown in the
first place. A compass, useless in space, outperforms a map in the city’s
most intimate convolutions. The body’s left and right assert their primacy.

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



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