Will Judge Kavanaugh Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court?

The I Ching Weighs In.

It seems the whole country is now caught up with this burning question, one that should be resolved with the Senate vote on Saturday. The nomination process – intensified by the recent allegations that Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual assault at least once when he was in high school – has divided Americans so deeply that it seems like everyone has taken a side and dug in.

Full disclosure: I, too, have taken a side. I want this nomination to go down in flames, and what he may have done to Christine Blasey Ford and other young women is only a small part of my rationale.

Regarding the allegations, I agree with the Democrats that the FBI investigation was probably insufficient, and with the Republicans that without corroborating evidence, this really is an instance of he said, she said.

Instead, I’m concerned about adding another conservative vote to the court that will tip the balance. And I’m especially concerned that he appears to advocate for greater powers for the President, as well as immunity from prosecution when that person is in office, and I’m thinking that is probably why he landed on the short list for this nomination to begin with. He wasn’t on the previous two lists of potential nominees given to Trump, but now with the Mueller investigation closing in, Trump needs a defender more than ever.

I also hated his comportment during last Thursday’s public hearings – how he ranted and interrupted the Democratic senators, how he denigrated the whole process while loudly proclaiming his unequivocal innocence. He even tried to deny he was much of a teen drinker, even though such a confession would probably have been viewed as fairly benign in these circumstances. To me, he came off as a bully, and a dishonest one at that.

Given this bias, I’m sure some of you would expect me to announce that the I Ching affirmed my heartfelt, almost desperate, wish regarding the outcome of Kavanaugh’s nomination. But this is what makes the oracle so great: it is not a mirror of your thoughts or wishes, and the process for casting a reading does not seem to be subject to unconscious manipulation.

While it is true that some readings are so puzzling that you can project your desired meaning upon the text, the reading I received for this question allowed for no doubt or tricky interpretation: Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

My questions:

What is the likelihood that the Senate will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court?

What is the likelihood that the Senate will vote to not confirm Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court?

The I Ching readings:

Will Kavanaugh be confirmed? Hexagram 16 (title: “Enthusiasm”*) changing to Hexagram 2 (“The Receptive”). Generally, Hex 16 discusses favorable conditions and energy moving in the seeker’s direction. There was 1 change line, in the fourth position. A part of the original text of that line reads: “One’s will is bold enough to fulfill great aims.” Another reads: “Great accumulation obtained.” However, the line does advise the reader to not be “suspicious.” That could either be interpreted as a warning to me that he won’t be as damaging to the court as I think he’ll be, or an advisory to Kavanaugh that allaying suspicion – both his and the liberal public’s – will be one of his challenges as he settles into the court. Instead, his charge will be to gather others, to seek out connections and work to the greater good. Hex 2 is pure yin, symbolizing Earth, and heavenly manifestation of events on Earth initiated through the action of Heaven, while also indicating that friends will be won and lost.

Will Kavanaugh not be confirmed? Hexagram 52 (title: “Keeping Still”). Does that say it all? This position is a non-starter.

*Titles vary by translation. For this blog, I used those developed by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes in one of the first authoritative I Ching translations to appear in English, The I Ching, or Book of Changes, (1950/1967).  (R. Wilhelm & C.F. Baynes, trans.).  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press.



OK, Who Will Win the Presidential Election?

After asking the I Ching to predict the outcome of each presidential debate, I certainly could not pass up consulting the oracle on the Question That Actually Matters.

Who is going to win this thing?

While Hillary Clinton is ahead in most polls, this lead is certainly not enough to assure a blow-out — and many states, including key ones such as Florida, remain in a statistical dead heat. Meanwhile Donald Trump is making a last-ditch effort to peel off voters in traditional Democratic strongholds, such as Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and his supporters everywhere seem more dug-in than ever in their indefatigable support for his populist candidacy.

In its response to my questions about the outcome of the third debate, the I Ching had predicted that Clinton would not emerge with a key mandate and, sure enough, she did not. While she made some modest gains in the polls following her debate performance, those were wiped out when FBI Director James Comey dropped his bombshell a little over a week later that agents had discovered new emails that might be “pertinent” to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. As poll numbers tightened between the two candidates, suddenly, it seemed, Clinton had an actual chance of losing.

So, concerning the outcome of this hard-fought election, here were my questions, which I posed to the I Ching on the evening of Monday, November 7 (the night before the election):

What is the likelihood that…

  1. Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the U.S.?
  2. Donald Trump will be elected President of the U.S.?

While both readings were rather propitious, I’m going to commit myself here and say that the I Ching is predicting a Clinton victory. I say this because Trump’s reading concerned decrease and the importance of taking a humble stance, while Clinton’s reading talked about enlightened power coming into its own.

Trump’s first hexagram (see below) “signifies either decreasing or losing.”* Actually, according to the I Ching, this state of affairs isn’t as bleak as it sounds, for this decrease concerns diminishing one’s material concerns and entanglements to augment a focus on spiritual growth. One of the I Ching’s core philosophies, in fact, is, “What is excessive should be decreased.” A person accomplishes this by remaining “steadfast and upright” and making simple offerings. The specific guidance given in this reading via the three change lines was that Trump could find himself alone following the election, but this will afford him the opportunity to forge new relationships that will help him heal afflictions suffered during the campaign. Finally, he is being advised that if he can assume a “modest” stance, he will be able to win the loyalty and trust of others, and experience “supreme good fortune” in advancing his affairs. If, however, he adopts a stance of “conceit,” he will be dragged down.

The second (“destination”) hexagram obtained in this reading is that of pure yang, i.e., generative, creative energy. However, it is still all potentiality; the rubber has not yet met the road. Trump may well lose the election but he still will have a stellar opportunity to exert his influence in bold new directions if he can adopt a modest, conciliatory tone and sincerely endeavor to serve others. Sounds like a tall order for Trump, but you never know.

Clinton, on the other hand, received a hexagram that signifies “great strength,” representing “a positive advance for further achievement.” Recognizing, however, that such a strong person can too easily let such power go to his or her head, the I Ching includes in its judgment that it’s “Favorable to be steadfast and upright”; one most definitely should not become “too self-willed and opinionated.” This point is further emphasized in the specific guidance in this reading. Even though the querent is very strong, he or she should also employ “righteousness” when vanquishing the inferior element; relying on strength alone will bring “danger and regret.” The image accompanying this reading is a hedge that “falls apart,” enabling a wagon to move forward without employing further force.

The destination hexagram continues this theme of enlightened leadership. Here, the image is of Heaven and Earth coming together and moving in communion, and bringing peace and prosperity. It is also symbolized by spring, the season when life renews itself. “The little is departing,/ The great is arriving./ Good fortune./ Prosperous and smooth.”

So, to sum up: By giving a reading that discusses power and leadership (which certainly is consonant with being President of the United States), the I Ching is predicting that Hillary Clinton will carry this election. However, she must not gloat over her victory, but seek to promote peace and healing as soon as possible. Trump, on the other hand, may lose the election but can win another way: by allowing new connections to help him transform this humbling experience into creative, action-oriented ways for being of service.

The I Ching readings:To make these blogs more immediately digestible, I provide the commentary first, followed by the actual readings, so that readers acquainted with the I Ching can check my interpretation.

Likelihood that Trump will win the election: Hexagram 41 (title: “Decrease”*) changing to Hexagram 1 (“The Creative”). There were 3 change lines, in the third, fourth, and fifth positions.

 Likelihood that Clinton will win the election: Hex 34 (“The Power of the Great”) changing to Hex 11 (“Peace”). There was 1 change line, in the fourth position.

*Words and passages quoted in this blog are from Huang, A. (1998). The Complete I Ching: The Definitive Translation by the Taoist Master Alfred Huang. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

*Titles vary by translation. For this blog, I used those developed by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes in one of the first authoritative I Ching translations to appear in English, The I Ching, or Book of Changes, (1950/1967). (R. Wilhelm & C.F. Baynes, trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.