4 of Wands – Alliance
Two pairs of decorated wands stand like a gate, an entrance into a community. Behind this structure, a couple stands in front of a castle with hands raised triumphantly in the air. This is all set against a bright yellow sky, the colour of joy. This is an image of a celebration, perhaps a political marriage between neighbouring communities to generate trust and goodwill.
The message of this card is that it is auspicious for people to come together under a common cause. The fact that the people are part of the background implies that it is not the individuals who are important but the act of coming together, to put the community before the self. Just like how bricks turn into a house when placed together correctly, the gathering of people into a community creates something larger than the sum of its parts. Together, people can accomplish great deeds that no individuals can do alone.
Aligning ourselves with the right people provides many benefits. The most obvious advantage is that it enhances our own survival through the protection offered by the group. Once our survival is ensured, it provides further benefits through the establishment of an economy, where we can trade our skills and products with others and, thereby, increase our own material and intellectual wealth. Lastly, and most importantly, a community provides us with happiness, an immeasurable and priceless possession.
In order to achieve these benefits, we must align ourselves with the correct people. When we gather, we must do so with people who share the same goals and values so that we can genuinely work together. The most important factor to successful alliances lies within people’s intentions. Each participating member must enter the relationship with goodwill and trust. People must care for and respect each other. When these conditions are met, the alliance will be strong and true. Without it, it will crumble at the first hint of dispute.
Hexagram 8 – Union
This hexagram is composed of Water above Earth. The ancient Chinese visualized this as an image of rivers running across the earth until they pool together into lakes. Hence, this hexagram describes the conditions of Union.
Humans are social animals and naturally seek union with others to fulfil our desire for connection and belonging. Getting along with others is one of the first things that every person learns. Because it is so natural, however, many of us take our social environment for granted. This attitude can lead to selfishness and/or ingratitude, which are the seeds of unhappiness.
We should never stop learning and developing our skills in how to get along with others. As the famous saying goes, ‘no man is an island’; we must work and play with others if we want to lead healthy and happy lives.
Six on line 1:
The attitude with which we connect with others must be that of sincerity. In order to gain the trust and confidence of others, we must first demonstrate these qualities in ourselves.
Six on line 2:
While the first line expresses the importance of being sincere to others, line 2 expresses the importance of being sincere to ourselves. We must be willing to work with others while remaining true to ourselves. Unions should begin with our innate and natural desires. For a union to last, it must be with the right people and the right cause.
Six on line 3:
There are people you cannot commit to without denying your own nature. For those with whom you do not share a natural connection, be courteous but not intimate.
Six on line 4:
While line 3 warns us of aligning with people that are different from us, line 4 speaks of the potential benefits. Connecting with people outside our own social circle can broaden our horizon. We must examine each potential relationship closely and determine if the other party is a thief or a well-intentioned stranger.
Nine on line 5:
No matter how badly we want a union, we must not impose or force our opinions on others. Relationships should be forged willingly.
Six on line 6:
It is crucial that unions are formed properly in the beginning. Without a correct beginning, there can be no correct ending. Timing is an important factor. If we hesitate and do not commit fully in the beginning, true and solid bonds will not develop and we shall regret it when it is already too late.
Every society on this planet has at least one thing in common – that they are made up of people who live and work together. For a society to function, people must get along. As such, the art of cooperating is one of the most fundamental skills for every member of the human race who does not wish to live the life of a hermit. It is a skill and an art that must be learned if one wishes to succeed in any aspect of life.