Hexagram 40 -- LIBERATION

This sculpture, called Freedom, was created by Alfred Tibor and given to the city of Columbus, Ohio, by the artist. Born in Hungary in 1920, Mr. Tibor was imprisoned in both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia before emigrating to the United States in 1957, "penniless but free," in his own words.

The principle of freedom, or LIBERATION, is one that can elicit passionate, sometimes ferocious feelings, for freedom's shadow aspects include oppression, enslavement, and captivity. We tend to think of freedom in three ways: freedom of, freedom from, and freedom to. Many of the images of freedom I encounter around the Internet include birds in flight, open sky, galloping horses, humans leaping through the air...and images of broken chains, disentangled ropes, smashed prison bars, fists raised in defiance, and victorious armies.

The I Ching hexagram -- Thunder over Water -- envisions LIBERATION as a thunderstorm that clears the air of tension and offers deliverance through the storm's cleansing properties. In human terms, LIBERATION implies a loosening of attitudes, beliefs, and prejudices that we use to keep ourselves from thinking and acting with kindness, mercy, and ethical intention. As often as not, the chains we are bound with have been tied by our own hands; our own minds. We may recognize this self-enslavement while watching the film A Christmas Carol -- who among us has not shuddered at the terrible clanking of Marley's ghost as he hovers over Scrooge's bed, reminding his former business partner of the misdeeds he must drag behind him through eternity and warning Scrooge that his fate will be the same unless he transforms his own ways? I know I have.

Scrooge, in his terror, heeds Marley's warning, and is led on a harrowing journey through his past, present, and probable future. Unloving and unloved (though many have tried to love him, he's rebuked every heart), he finally feels his self-enslavement for what it is, and so frees himself to bestow on the world all the generosity that he can. He awakens on Christmas morning wild with joy -- besotted and smitten with everyone and everything he beholds. He's drunk with mirth and tears out of his musty mansion with a rampant urge to give! ... and he does, like a dove who flings an endless train of olive branches in every direction.

let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked open length
wise – let all go
so comes love

(e.e. cummings)


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