Unified Cross-Traditional Semantics for 4-bit Binary Arrays

By Ville-Matias Heikkilä a.k.a. viznut/pwp; supplements the blog post at Countercomplex.

The Symmetries

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Modern binary 0000 (0) 1111 (15) 0110 (6) 1001 (9)
Visual interpretations group of people/things, maximum number of things road, path, single, half crossroads, joining of two figures enclosure, prison cell, link in chain
Unified semantics HOME: stay at home, family (-> people), no change (-> permanence, stability, longevity), enough wealth (-> satisfaction, yin), receiving guests. ROAD: travel (-> messenger), change, exploration (-> new, expanding, yang), being a stranger (-> incompleteness, solitude, sibling). MEET: encounter (-> trade, business, external relations, problems with strangers), join (-> alliance, copulation, children). JAIL: reclusion (-> privacy, secrecy, introspection; -> avoidance, self-restriction, postponing), protection (-> security), chain (-> heritage, unchangeable essence).
4-way grouping + stability separation + movement grouping + movement separation + stability
Greek (unknown) (unknown) (unknown) prison, watch
Greek trigram sun (000) moon (111) hermes / mercury (010) kronos / saturn (101)
Ilm-al-raml assembly road unity, meeting deception, link
Geomantia people, congregation, diurnal moon way, nocturnal moon union prison
Sikidy abundance solitude, death, journey slave, bad thoughts, weights and measures, protection from thieves and enemies vagabond protection, house, food
Ifa double longevity, good journey good visitor children, end of good luck bad visitor, avoid journey
Igbo Afa double bad condition reappear, twice worthless, destructive miss the target
Igbo Afa single home, family, conflict journey, visitor, coming, death, messenger, market birth, death, waste, illness ancestor, mother, anger, underworld
I Ching trigram earth, receptive, yielding, yin (000) heaven, creative, expanding, yang (111) water, abyss, danger, rapid rivers, moon (010) fire, radiance, clinging, rapid movement, sun (101)
I Ching hexagram field, receptive, acquiescence, flow (000000) force, creative, strong action, key, god (111111) great exceeding, critical mass (011110) swallowing, jaws, comfort/security (100001)
I Ching hexagram (alt.) small exceeding (001100) center returning, inner truth (110011)

Notes

The Contrasts

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Modern binary 0011 (3) 1100 (12) 0101 (5) 1010 (10)
Visual interpretations beam of lights from the sun, emptied container blessings growing from earth, full container, knife incoming arrow, two emptied bowls outgoing arrow, two bowls
Unified semantics POOR: poverty (-> hunger, desire), temporary help from outside (-> debt, gift), lost greatness (-> modesty, obstruction). RICH: wealth (-> power, success), long-term independent success (-> stability, rich family), gained greatness (-> victory, difficult beginning), knife (-> right hand, blood, lineage, death). GONE: arrow (-> danger, risk, destiny; -> poison, medicine, illness), loss (-> something outside grasp, leaving for dangerous journey, sacrifice). DONE: avoided arrow (-> safety after risk), gain (-> money, something within grasp, new friends/enemies).
4-way lack + passivity satisfaction + activity lack + activity satisfaction + passivity
Greek incoming fame outgoing fame outgoing things incoming things
Greek trigram (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart)
Ilm-al-raml victory leaves victory comes incoming arrow outgoing arrow
Geomantia minor fortune, aid coming in, minor adventure, diurnal sun major fortune, aid going out, major adventure, nocturnal sun loss gain
Sikidy chiefs, elderly, pride, domination, food, anger fire, creator, most sacred tears, land, enemy protection, boss, child money, misfortune
Ifa double poverty longevity, slander good wife, journey, prosperity share, be alert
Igbo Afa double pay a debt knife, right hand see suffering
Igbo Afa single food, greed, gift blood, violence, war, lineage, wealth, animal sacrifice joy, sacrifice, poison, medicine suffer, escape, alcohol
I Ching trigram (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart)
I Ching hexagram obstruction, standstill, stagnation, selfish (000111) pervading, peace, greatness (111000) not yet fording, before completion (010101) already fording, after completion (101010)

The Directions

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Modern binary 0001 (1) 1000 (8) 1110 (14) 0111 (7)
Visual interpretations arch, fountain, rainbow, mountain broken arch, stake being driven into ground, thunder cloud, tornado new moon's crescent old moon's crescent
Unified semantics UP: high thing (-> mountain, high building, immovability, stability), high status (-> king, government, god, keeping up), high mood/state (-> joy, happiness, good luck, prosperity), going up (-> rising, appearing, future; -> seeing far, wisdom). DOWN: opposition (-> evil, struggle, revolution), low mood/state (-> sorrow, suffering, accident, bad luck), going down (-> disappearance, destruction, past), low things (-> earth, foundation) IN: appearance (-> beginning), internal (-> internal problems, internal authorities, self-sufficiency), inner circle (-> secrets, relatives) OUT: going out/away (-> disappearance, retreat, end), external (-> outsider, outside influence, sudden unexpected change)
4-way away + vertical near + vertical near + horizontal away + horizontal
Greek upward-moving downward-moving the lintel when coming in (unknown)
Greek trigram aphrodite / venus (001) ares / mars (100) zeus / jupiter (110) zeus / jupiter (011)
Ilm-al-raml joy, beard bearded, reversed inner threshold outer threshold
Geomantia joy sadness, small transversion dragon's head (ascending lunar node) dragon's tail (descending lunar node)
Sikidy king, strength spouse, stubbornness, tears evil thoughts, arguments, trials, bad destiny, wars, children slave, cold words, a type of fate
Ifa double coming of good luck accident, honor difficulties in work sudden trouble/wealth
Igbo Afa double forest difficulties thing struggled for villain thing standing outside
Igbo Afa single future, high, joy, authority, god relatives, war, truth, firmness breath, life, survive, escape authority, visitor, nature force
I Ching trigram mountain, stillness, immovability (001) thunder, arousing, excitation, revolution, division (100) lake, swamp, joy, satisfaction, stagnation (110) wind, gentle, gentle penetration, flexibility (011)
I Ching hexagram stripping, splitting apart, flaying (000001) returning (100000) displacement, resoluteness, break-through (111110) coupling, meeting (011111)
I Ching hexagram (alt.) viewing, looking up (000011) nearing, approach, forest (110000) great invigorating, power of great, great maturity (111100) retiring, retreat, yielding (001111)

The Societies

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Modern binary 0010 (2) 0100 (4) 1101 (13) 1011 (11)
Visual interpretations clashing swords, turned glass glass, scales of justice vulva, woman with exaggerated breasts, execution cross, mouth sword, erect phallus, scarce beard, fish, drop of water
Unified semantics WAR: violence (-> death, blood, red), campaign (-> march, booty, managing to escape), aggressive feelings (-> anger, passion, feelings overcoming wisdom, settle disputes by force). LAW: wisdom (-> intelligence, knowledge, careful planning, wisdom overcoming aggressive feelings), superficial harmony (-> purity, white), justice (-> punishment, captured criminals, legal trouble). PEACE: harmony (-> innocence, passivity, beauty), unity of people (-> fellowship, consensus, shared wealth), peaceful talk (-> settle disputes by talking, truth, talk, storytelling). CRIME: rebellion (-> robbers, misfortune, illness), young men (-> workers, passion, aggression) water (-> rain, river, fish, harvest, accumulating)
4-way rough + unfair rough + fair gentle + unfair gentle + fair
Greek redness of war (unknown) minor, male scarce, female
Greek trigram (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart)
Ilm-al-raml redness whiteness solid beardless
Geomantia red white, shining white girl, measure from face boy
Sikidy joy, ghost, riches, clothes diviner, crowd, heartbreak, thievery riches, love, favorable day, land/earth robber, misfortune, workers, harvests
Ifa double health, prosperity accept advice peace, consensus prosperity despite enemies
Igbo Afa double run, escape handcuffed, in trouble (bad) talk accident
Igbo Afa single run, escape, journey, war trouble, female, wisdom talk, story water, river, struggle, tears
I Ching trigram (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart) (no counterpart)
I Ching hexagram grouping, holding together, alliance (000010) leading, army, troops (010000) great possessing (111101) concording/gathering people, fellowship with men (101111)
I Ching hexagram (alt.) enthusiasm, excess (000100) humbling, modesty (001000) small accumulating/harvest, taming power of small (111011) treading, continuing (110111)
I Ching hexagram (alt.) clustering, finished (000110) ascending, pushing upward (011000) great accumulating, taming power of great, potential energy (111001) without embroiling, innocence, pestilence (100111)

Fields explained

Shape: The "lines of stones" representation of the four-bit binary array.

Modern binary: The bottom-up translation of the array into modern binary notation. Single markers are interpreted as 1, double markers as 0.

Visual interpretations: Some possible visual interpretations for the binary array.

Unified semantics: My own non-scientific guess of an "original" or "defiltered" meaning of the combination. Derived from the rest of the fields in this table. I've aimed at sensible pairs of opposites whenever possible.

4-way: A simplification of the meaning using a set of two dichotomies. Each row is assigned a dichotomy pair of its own.

Greek: The associations of the shape from Greek manuscript 2419, as given by van Binsbergen.

Greek trigram: The associations of the corresponding three-bit combination from Codex Harleianus 5596, as given by van Binsbergen.

Ilm-al-raml: The associations of the shape in the Arabic Ilm-al-raml system, as given by van Binsbergen.

Geomantia: The associations of the shape in European Geomancy, as given by van Binsbergen.

Sikidy: The associations of the shape in the Madagascan Sikidy system, as given on the website http://www.serenapowers.com/sikidy.html

Ifa double: The associations of the double nybble in the Yoruba Ifa system, as given by Manfredi.

Igbo Afa double: The associations of the double nybble in the Nri-Igbo version of the Afa system, as given by Manfredi.

Igbo Afa single: Common associations of the single nybble in the nybble pairs of Igbo Afa and some other related systems. Derived by myself from the 256-entry table given by Manfredi.

I Ching trigram: The associations of the corresponding three-bit combination from the Chinese tradition.

I Ching hexagram: The I Ching associations of the corresponding six-bit combination, using the interpretations listed in Wikipedia.

Sources

van Binsbergen, Wim: The astrological origin of Islamic geomancy, 2004.

Manfredi, Victor: Afa, the Nri-Igbo counterpart of Ifa, 2010.

Wikipedia: List of hexagrams of the I Ching (as accessed in 2011-05-25).

Serena's Guide to Divination: Sikidy (as accessed in 2011-05-25).