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Preface: The Unfolding of the Changes
Beloveds, Love. In the beginning, there is nothing. Nothing creates Nothingness. Nothingness creates a Nothingness impregnated with potential. This Pregnant Nothingness gives birth to All. The All divides itself into the One and the Two. These give way to Enlightenment. Enlightenment expands into the Sun, Fire, Water, Air, Earth and the Moon. These various elements contract into the World. Love Swami
Introduction The I Ching is an ancient and profound system of divination comparable to the Tarot or the Runes; and like these, it is much more than the simple fortune-telling device that most use it for today. Its success is indicated by the fact that it is one of the most ancient sacred texts to continue in uninterrupted use to this day; it is at least 3000 years old. It is, in its essence, a system of classification, of self-analysis, that allows its student to obtain a greater understanding of the nature of external reality and his interior self. When adequately studied, the I Ching allows one to engage in deep contemplation and to receive practical advice to the challenges of the moment. In spite of this, there are certain challenges faced by the student of the I Ching, particularly the western student; whether he is a beginner, someone versed in western mysticism, or someone who has attempted to study eastern mysticism. Issues of time, distance, and translation have all acted as barriers to many would-be students of this worthwhile system.
The first challenge with the I Ching is a straightforward issue of translations. There are a great many translations of the I Ching, some better than others, and many are truly good. Of particular note are the translations by Legge (published 1882, which was deeply flawed due to issues with correct translations of the time) which was one of the earliest; Wilhelm (published in 1923, translated to English in 1951, which suffered from being a translation of a translation and being excessively academic), Aleister Crowley (not published in his lifetime, suffering from translation issues due to the limitations of his time, and remade in a poetic format not original to the I Ching), Blofeld (1965, perhaps the best mystical translation though still loaded down with commentary); as well less regular interpretations like Ma Deva Padma’s beautiful I Ching deck, the “Tao Oracle” (2002). In general, these and other translations tend to have one of two problems: either they have a serious academic focus, leading to translations that put more emphasis on literal translation and on providing the full Confucian commentaries (which can be very rewarding to read but can also be intimidating to the beginner and is not designed to be practical for actual use), or they tend to be watered-down or diluted versions of the I Ching, perhaps “made simple”, but not made more useful for it. On the subject of Confucian Commentaries: the regular text of the I Ching is actually rather small, but over the centuries it has had commentary after commentary heaped on top of it. The most significant of these are allegedly Confucius’ own commentaries. These can at times be deeply illuminating, but they are still ultimately Confucius’ own statements about the text, based on the philosophy he sought to promote. But subsequent commentaries have at times become part of the “official” text (that is, the book that is usually translated into English), and of course on top of this most translators feel the need to add their own particular commentaries in the forms of additional explanation or extensive footnotes. While this can be very good for the sake of in-depth academic study, they can at times be confusing for the purpose of practice; more importantly, they will tend to corral the mind into one particular direction of understanding the written verses, sometimes causing the would-be I Ching user to avoid opening up his awareness to receive a more intuitive application of his reading to his own use. If you are spoon-fed the meaning of a line of the I Ching, it reduces the likelihood that you will be open to understanding the possible implications in a way more open to your own situation in the context of the moment you make the reading. The opposite problem from spoon-feeding is the fact that many lines in the I Ching are unintentionally rendered more obscure or incomprehensible than they should be, due to a sometimes too-literal translation of the text. While there are several truly good literal and technical translations of the I Ching, there are few if any that do a good job of what could be called the “Symbolic Translation”. The symbolism of the I Ching is a language that is sometimes foreign to the western experience. While Symbols are universal, the way different cultures express and order these symbols are variable, and this can create difficulties in understanding. On the most superficial level of this phenomenon, there are a number of verses in the literal translation of the I Ching that are in fact figures of speech, common and understandable to someone familiar with Chinese culture, but that would not automatically be understandable to someone who is not. But at a more fundamental level, the usual translations of the most basic elemental symbolism of the I Ching is framed in the historical “ordering” of the elements in eastern mysticism; which are not quite the same as those of western mysticism. This is not to say that both cultures use different symbols, it is that the way they express this symbolism is different, and if you translate these expressions literally, you end up
“Heaven” and “Earth” respectively. Now, “heaven” is not a poor choice of word for the Chien trigram (you could use “celestial”, or “sky”, or even “phallus” in its function as the symbolic masculine). The use of “Earth” for Kun, on the other hand, creates a number of problems; thinking about it makes it clear that the “Earth” referred to is “the world” (juxtaposed with Chien’s “heaven”), but using the word “earth” confuses this trigram with the concept of the “Earth Element”, one of the four basic elements.
as “Mountain”. A student of western mysticism who is familiar with western alchemy, astrology, the tarot, the kabbalah or other western systems of metaphysics might not realize that the trigram for “Mountain” is supposed to represent the same symbolic concept as the “Earth element” found in alchemical earth, the Taurus sign, the suit of coins, etc. This version of the I Ching is not meant to be a new literal translation; rather, it is a rewriting of the I Ching, based on the goal of creating a version of that sacred book that focuses only on the fundamental core of the I Ching text, avoiding including all of the commentaries. Likewise, it will remain true to the essential spirit of the system for organizing reality that the I Ching expresses, but will present the text and components of the I Ching in a way that is more directly relatable to the language in which western mysticism expresses these symbols. A sincere effort has been made to keep only the most essential expression of each line of the text, never adding any material that isn’t absolutely necessary, and when necessary rephrasing verses that make reference to “figures of speech” into plain English. In this way, it is my hope that this version of the I Ching will be ideal for use to the actual practitioner; to the individual who actually wants to use the I Ching for contemplation and self-inquiry as well as divination practice.
Chapter 1: The Basic Structure of the I Ching Tao, Yang and Yin The structure for understanding the I Ching begins with the Tao. The Tao is the term for the pure force of the universe. It is whole, eternal, and ineffable. It is said in the Tao Te Ching, the masterpiece on the subject written by the master Lao Tzu, that “whatever can be described is not the Tao”. The basic way to think of the Tao is to think of it as the concept of zero. It is emptiness, but also eternity. The Tao itself can be seen at a variety of levels: as pure emptiness, as an emptiness that has a quality of emptiness, as an emptiness that has the quality of fullness (that is, an emptiness that is “pregnant with potential”), or as a vast fullness. At that final level of understanding, of a vast fullness, one can at first understand this Tao as a completely undefined fullness, just full with a pure energy. Beyond that, one can understand this “full Tao” as containing within it the forces of all opposites; that is the Tao as the “union of opposites”.
It is from this Tao that actual opposites emerge; and at their most basic, they are the positive and negative, the yes and the no, the black and white, light and dark, male and female, up and down, strong and weak, creative and receptive. In other words, they are the primordial opposites. In the metaphysics of the I Ching, the term for these two forces are “yang” and “yin”. The “Yang” is the basic positive force. It is represented in the I Ching by a single straight unbroken line; thus, it is the 1. The “Yin” is the basic negative force. It is represented in the I ching by a single line broken into two parts by a gap in the middle. It is these lines, the unbroken Yang and broken Yin lines, that make up all the trigrams of the I ching. The Trigrams “Trigram” is the basic term for the symbols that represent the disparate elements that form the building blocks of the universe (as organized in the I Ching). They are called “trigrams” because they consist of three lines, each line being either a “yin” or “yang”. As the Yang is 1, and Yin is 2, the subsequent elements that are composed of combinations of these must have 3 parts. This is because two lines of pure yin would just be yin, two lines of pure yang would just be yang, and the two lines composed of yin and yang would be just “yin and yang”. In order for there to be something truly new that is born of the mixture of Yin and Yang, it is necessary for there to be a synthesis, a mix of three parts, that (excepting the two extremes of three pure yin lines or three pure yang lines) consist of an unequal mixture of the two forces (so that every mixed trigram will have either more yin or more yang). Likewise, the presence of three lines means that the location of the yin or yang lines (which is on top, which is on the bottom and which is in the middle) becomes important and creates difference. The end result is the creation of eight trigrams, which represent eight fundamental forces in the alchemical universe of the I Ching. They are as follows: “Chien”: Heaven Chien is the trigram traditionally translated as “Heaven”. It is pure Yang, unbroken. It is the celestial power, all the energy of creating, strong, the cold force, the masculine, the phallus, light, the Father. It is the quality of forcefulness. “Kun”: The World Kun is the trigram traditionally translated as “earth”, but its meaning is “the world” (the opposite of Chien, which is “heaven”). Kun is pure Yin, broken lines. It is the worldly power, all the content of creation, weak, the hot force, the feminine, the yoni, darkness, the Mother. It is the quality of spaciousness. “Li”: The Sun Li has traditionally been translated as “fire”, but this is the concept of pure primordial fire, not the lesser elemental fire. Thus, the best translation is one that has sometimes been used: “The Sun”. It is sometimes also referred to as “lightning”. It is the trigram associated with Summer (when the Sun is at its strongest), beauty, the power of clinging. Because it is a single weak line between two strong ones, it is referred to as the Middle Daughter. Its quality is radiance.
“Kan”: The Moon Kan has been traditionally translated as “water”, but in the same way that Li represents primordial fire, Li represents primordial water, thus another translation that has been attributed to it is one I find more appropriate: “The Moon”. It is also referred to sometimes as the cloud, or the pit. It can represent “danger”, because of its hidden power (a strong line surrounded by weak lines). It is associated with Winter (when the sun is at its weakest), the characteristic of enveloping; and because of the strong line in the middle it is called the “Middle Son”. Its quality is deepness. “Chen”: The Fire Element The trigram “Chen” is traditionally translated as “thunder”, but its quality is that of the alchemical element of Fire. It is the active and moving force, the force of dynamic power, the arousing or energetic force. It is correspondent to springtime, the time of rising force. Because of its single strong line at the bottom (the first line of the trigram, because in the I Ching the lines are always read from the bottom to the top), it is called the Eldest Son. Its quality is vibration. “Tui”: The Water Element The trigram “Tui” is traditionally translated as “lake”, but its quality is that of the alchemical element of Water. It is the deep and still force. It corresponds to Autumn, when nature is slowing down. It is also sometimes translated as “a marsh”; it has the quality of the rain, of joy and relaxed pleasure. Because of its broken line at the top, it is called the Youngest Daughter. Its quality is openness. “Sun”: The Air Element The trigram “Sun” is traditionally translated as “wind”, but its quality is that of the alchemical element of Air. It is sometimes also translated as “wood”, which is correspondent in Taoist alchemy to some of the concepts of the Air element. It has a gentle quality, but insistent. Because of its weak line at the bottom, it is called the Eldest Daughter. Its quality is consideration. “Ken”: The Earth Element The trigram “Ken” is traditionally translated as “mountain”, but its quality is that of the alchemical element of Earth. It is the immovable solid power, and has the quality of stubbornness and stuckness. Because of its strong line at the top, it is called the Youngest Son. Its quality is attachment. Thus it can be understood that the unfolding of the Trigrams follows logical patterns which are worthy of countless hours of contemplation, and which important similarities to systems found in the west (such as the Kabbalah). The 0 of the Tao becomes the 1 and 2 of the Yang and Yin lines; these lines in their purest form express as the forces of Heaven and the World (the creative power and the creation). Mingling, these forces become the Sun and the Moon (the balance of the weak in the strong, and the balance of the strong in the weak). Then they express themselves as the four elements, representing less balanced mixtures of weak and strong forces. Fire is the “eldest son” force, a strong base with weak middle and top. Water is the “eldest daughter” force, a weak top with a strong base and middle. Air is the “youngest daughter” force, a weak bottom with a
strong middle and top; and Earth is the “youngest son”, a strong top with a weak base and middle. These eight forces, the Trigrams, combine with each other, mingling to form 64 different combinations representing different states. Here is where the expression of the I Ching reaches its peak and most practical function: it describes any situation or state of the moment as a combination of two main influences, one below and the other above, interacting with one another to create the particular conditions in a person’s life.
Chapter 2: How to Use the I Ching The first and crucial piece of advice for “using” the I Ching is ridiculously common sense, but which nevertheless many would-be I Ching practitioners seem to fail to consider: if you want to develop a good working relationship with the I Ching, you should read the entire I Ching. It is surprising how many people have tried to make regular use of the I Ching, performing I Ching divinations, without actually having read the text from cover-tocover. This is just as ill-advised as trying to use the Tarot for Tarot readings without first looking at all of the cards and getting to know them! It may be that the excess of commentaries and the sometimes complicated language used in other versions of the I Ching have acted as a barrier, causing some practitioners to experience some intimidation when it comes to actually reading the whole of the text. Nevertheless, this is an essential condition to getting to know and understand the I Ching. In addition to this, it is a good idea for a practitioner to spend time considering the Trigrams, how they interact with each other. Look at the lines that make up a Trigram; whether it has two broken lines, or two unbroken lines (or is completely broken or solid); and how this compares to the other trigrams. When you compare two trigrams, is only one line different, or two, or are all three different (making the trigrams direct opposites to each other)? How does this relate to the symbolism associated with that Trigram? Consider how those symbolisms interact: what images does it evoke in you to imagine Air in the bottom and Earth on the top (or vice-versa); or Sun on the top and the World on the bottom? Do two forces together sound complementary or oppositional? Do they look complementary side-by-side, or not so much? All of these are things to consider and keep coming back to. Even as you continue to read the I Ching, and contemplate the trigrams (and you should continue to come back to these practices for as long as you intend to keep using the I Ching), you can begin to perform “divinations” with the I Ching. Like all divinations, the I Ching does not so much predict the future, as it takes a really good look at the present: understanding the present, what forces affect it, allows one to get a good idea not only of where one is, but of where one is going. It is important while performing I Ching readings to remember that the reading is a kind of diagnosis of your state; it is about your current relationship with existence. The literal translation of the word “I Ching” is “The Book of Changes”; this is because the I Ching system recognizes that existence is a constant state of flow and flux, nothing is ever static for very long; you are always moving, life is always moving around you. So just as two three-line trigrams unite into a six-line hexagram, that hexagram is in the process of changing, slowly or quickly, into another hexagram. Most readings will have one or more “changing lines”, points of particular importance in the current situation
because they represent where change is happening. These are lines that are presently weak but about to become strong, or presently strong but about to become weak; they will change the trigram they belong to into a different trigram, one element becomes another, and the overall situation evolves into a new hexagram. Thus any I Ching reading will (usually) involve three stages of interpretation: first, of the hexagram that represents the situation as it currently stands; second, of the changing lines and those specific details that are most important in the present situation; and third, the “future” hexagram that represents where the situation is moving toward. It is possible for a hexagram to have no “changing lines”; this is a sign of a situation that is particularly stable for the moment, with little motion in the short term or opportunity to change. I Ching Reading Methods There are several methods for creating an I Ching reading. In the oldest uses of the hexagram, turtle shells were used to divine the component lines. Later on, a complex system of counting yarrow stalks was utilized. The modern methods tend to make use of coins, and some practitioners make use of more intuitive methods to create an I Ching reading. For the purpose of this text, I will describe three relatively simple methods. All methods begin with the same essential process: in the first place, it is strongly advised to present a question to the I Ching. This question can be almost anything, but it is often advisable (especially for beginners!) to present the question in the form of a question answerable as “yes/no” or “good/bad”: “Should I do x” or “is it a good idea to do x” are good ways to frame a question; generally it is better to ask this way than to present the question in a garbled way with conflicting options (ie. “should I do x or y”?), because this divided attention can sometimes lead to muddled answers. It is a very good idea to make a “ritual” out of an I Ching reading, performing the reading in a quiet place, facing a certain direction (east is often recommended), lighting an incense stick, or washing your hands prior to the reading. Note that none of these have any essential power, they are all meant simply to help you to get into the proper mental state of attention, to send a message to yourself that you are about to do something important that requires you to show up and be aware; none of them are strictly required, if you wished to you could do a reading in a busy street facing any direction with dirty hands while smoking a cigarette. The essential part is to put one’s self into the proper inner space. For that reason, what is very strongly recommended is at the very least to pause and spend a few moments in silent meditation, paying attention to your posture and breathing, before beginning the reading. If you are an initiate, you can bring your guru to mind, or a deity, or a mandala, or the OM, before you begin.
Method I: The Three-Coin Method The first method presented for creating an I Ching reading involves using three coins. Any three coins can be used, but these should if at all possible be special coins that you have permanently set aside to use for I Ching readings. For the sake of balance, it is strongly advised that all three coins be the same type of coin (the same size and shape). Each coin should have two clearly distinct sides, which for the purpose of description will here be described as “heads” and “tails” (if the coin you use is not clearly
identifiable as such, you should designate one side as the “head” and the other as the “tail”). With paper and writing implement ready, you should hold all three coins in your hands for a moment, then drop or gently toss them in front of you: If two out of three coins come up “heads”, that is a regular “Yang” (unbroken) line. Draw a straight line as the bottom of your page. If two out of three coins come up “tails”, that is a regular “Yin” (broken) line. Draw a split line at the bottom of your page. If all three coins come up “heads”, that is a “changing Yang” line. Draw a straight line at the bottom of your page and put a mark or an “x” next to it, to note that it is a changing line. If all three coins come up “tails”, that is a “changing Yin” line. Draw a split line at the bottom of your page, and put a mark or an “x” next to it, to note it is a changing line. Repeat this process five more times, to finish drawing six lines, one above the other, until you’ve drawn a full six-line hexagram (consisting of two trigrams, one above the other).
Method II: The Six-Coin Method This method is less sophisticated than the first method, but can be used if one wants a faster drawing or to answer a simpler question: Take six coins (or alternately, six flat sticks with one side marked somehow to differentiate the “yang” side from the “yin” side). Toss the coins (or sticks) in front of you, and then line them up in order of distance; the coin that fell closest to you is the “base” of the hexagram, the next-closest is the second line, the next one after that the third line, etc. until you have created a hexagram of six lines, giving you a simple hexagram to refer to your question. This method does not inherently produce a hexagram with any changing lines; you can include one or more changing lines by making one of the six coins different from the others (meaning that coin will mark the “changing line”), or by putting a mark on one of the coins or sticks to indicate the same. Alternately, you can use an intuitive method to determine the changing line(s) if necessary.
Method III: The Intuitive Methods There are several less-structured methods to perform an I Ching reading. One simple way is to have sixty-four cards with a hexagram drawn on each; drawing one at random will provide you with the hexagram to answer your question (optionally, a second card drawn can represent the “future” hexagram, with the differences between the two hexagrams revealing which lines from the original hexagram drawn are the changing lines). If you have neither coins nor sticks nor cards, you can use less orthodox methods of determining a hexagram. If you are in a crowded area, you could observe the people that pass by you: if a man walks by, it indicates a Yang (solid) line; while a woman walking by indicates a Yin (broken) line. You can make use of some particular characteristic pre-determined at the start of the reading to determine if any of the lines are changing lines (for example, if instead of an adult man or woman, it’s a boy or girl who walks
past you). Alternately, look at a watch: if the minute-hand is somewhere in the first ten minutes of the hour, there is no changing line; if it is between the 10th and 19th minute, then the 1st line is the “changing line”; if it is between the 20th and 29th minute, the 2nd line is the “changing line”; if between the 30th and 39th minute, the 3rd line is the changing line, etc. If you have great confidence in your intuition, you could simply choose to empty your thoughts until the image of a solid or a broken line appears to you, and draw that as your first line; then repeat the process for the 2nd to 6th lines; likewise using your intuition to envision the changing line or lines. Note: mathematicians will note that each of the above methods will produce different statistical probabilities of whether a line will be a changing line or not. This is not of particular importance; use the method that you feel most comfortable with, or are able to use in any given situation. The I Ching is trustworthy enough that whichever method you use will be appropriate to the situation, assuming that you allow your mind and your fears to get out of the way.
How to Read the Hexagrams Each I Ching hexagram corresponds to a single chapter of the I Ching text. Once you have determined the hexagram (and changing lines), look up the appropriate chapter of the I Ching that matches this hexagram (a table is provided below for quick reference to the chapters by cross-referencing the component trigrams). Once you have found the appropriate section, the first step is to look at the title of the section, and consider the nature of the trigrams that make up that hexagram; which trigrams are involved, and which is below and which is above. After that, read the basic description of the hexagram. After the basic description, six oracles are provided, which correspond to the six lines (remember: they are read from bottom-to-top, so that line number 1 is the line at the very bottom of the hexagram, and line number 6 is the line at the very top of the hexagram!). For the purpose of the reading, you should read and consider ONLY the individual lines that were marked as “changing lines” in your reading. These changing lines are the most essential part of the reading; while the general description explains your present situation, the “changing lines” describe the specific interaction of yourself and the situation; in other words, what you should be particularly careful to do or to avoid, or how the general situation affects you. In any case where it seems that a “changing line” contradicts the general description, assume that the “changing line” takes precedence; in some situations, things could be generally bad but there are specific elements that are good for you (or vice-versa). Sometimes in readings with more than one changing line it may appear that two or more changing lines contradict each other; in those cases you should pay attention to each of the changing lines, and consider whether they represent different steps that need to be taken, or different short-term developments. Assume that in most cases, the lower changing lines represent earlier developments or steps, while the higher changing lines represent later developments or steps. After studying the changing lines, draw a new hexagram from the old one, where any line in the old hexagram that was marked as a “changing line” is now changed into its new form. For example, if the lower trigram of your hexagram was the “Moon” trigram
Looking up the section for this new hexagram, read its title and consider its component elements; then read its general description only. This “future” hexagram describes where the situation is going, giving you an impression of the longer term developments that will arise, and possibly a general idea of the ultimate resolution of your question. A Guide to Common Phrases and Words in I Ching Hexagrams There are several words or phrases that are repeated in multiple I Ching Hexagrams. These have particular meanings, and the following is an attempt to list and explain some of them: “Base (people)”: The opposite of “Great men” or “the Good”, the “Base” refers to the class of people who are of poor moral quality; vile or ignorant people, people who are treacherous, crude or violent. “Blame/Fault”: When misfortune occurs, it is usually a product of your own choices leading directly or inadvertently to that misfortune. “Blame” or “Fault” appearing in a reading refers to a situation where your actions were particularly and directly responsible for the misfortune that comes to pass. On the other hand “No blame” or “no fault” means that the misfortune was unavoidable as part of the flow of things and could not be helped. Sometimes, “no blame” implies that if you take a particular course, you will be able to avoid being badly judged by others. “Blessed/Blessing”: Being “blessed” or receiving a “Blessing” refers to good fortune that comes along unexpectedly, or not due to your own direct actions. “Criminals”/ “Rebels” / “evil-doers”: In the I Ching, these terms refer to those who are generically acting against either the natural course of things, or your own interests if you are acting naturally. “Cross the (great) River”: Crossing the river generally refers to a journey, going somewhere as part of trying to achieve your goals. “Cross the River” can refer to a short journey, while “Cross the Great River” will usually refer to a longer journey. “Don’t cross the river” or similar phrases suggest that you should not go anywhere, and usually that it will be better to wait and bide your time, or to let the solution come to you. “Foreign/Foreigners/outsiders”: This refers to people or groups outside of your normal circle. It can mean someone who is literally foreign, but it can also signify someone who is merely a stranger or from some other social group. “Gain”: The term “Gain” in the I Ching means that you advance in your goals. “Gentle Success”: This means things will go well, but either slowly or only in relatively moderate measure.
“Goal”: Having a goal means having some kind of organized plan or destination. If it is “good to have a goal”, that means that it’s a good policy to be organized and have a plan for where you want to go. If its “bad to have a goal” or “no goals are possible”, it means that at this time trying to make plans is ill-advised because the situation is too stuck or chaotic. “Good Luck/Bad Luck”: Having “luck” or “Good luck” means that there is good fortune due to your own actions being natural and going with the flow of existence; its lucky, but because of your choices. “Bad luck” refers to misfortune, that sometimes appears to be unexpected or not your fault, and is sometimes unavoidable, but that is ultimately a result of the path you are taking. “Great Man”: The “Great Man” in the I Ching can refer to two things: a man of great importance or powerful position in relation to the question asked, or a man of great moral quality and wisdom. Often it means both at the same time. In a reading, “seeing a great man” means going to get help or advice from someone who matches this description. Note that by no means does a “Great Man” have to be of the male gender. The “King” or “Prince” which are often referred to in hexagrams usually refers to men of power or influence in the matter at hand; and these usually (but not always) also have good and virtuous qualities. Like the “Great Man”, the “King” or “Prince” can refer to people of either gender. There is also the term “Queen Mother”, which is as above but would most usually refer to a female individual. “King”: see “Great Man”. “Marriage”: The word marriage might refer to literal marriage, but it can also refer to any kind of union: romance, a partnership, people coming together. “No Mistake”: This phrase appearing in a hexagram refers to a situation where you have acted naturally. Whether good or bad luck follow, you are reassured that you have been moving in the right direction overall. “Official”: Someone in a position of official authority. “Ox/Ox-hide”: The ox is seen as a sign of both strength and prosperity. Gaining or losing an ox means gaining or losing prosperity. Something made of “ox hide” is particularly strong and resistant. “Prince”: see “Great Man”. “Pushing”: This word refers to making a continued effort. “Right Pushing”/ “Pushing Rightly” / etc.: This phrase means making a continued effort, but in a “right” direction. Generally this means acting in harmony with the natural flow of things, and also pushing for a noble or proper purpose. “Sacrifice”: The term “sacrifice” in the I Ching has two meanings. In the first case, it refers to performing proper rituals; this can include meditation, divination, or spiritual rituals, but it can also mean going through the right and correct processes or taking proper steps. Secondly, “sacrifice” usually also means having to give something up; in
China ritual practices usually involved some serious costs and expenditures. The oracle may not necessarily refer to money, however, it could be a sacrifice of time, or of more abstract things. To “sacrifice blood” means to make a particularly serious “sacrifice”, getting involve in very serious processes or giving up something very serious. “See a Great Man”: Going to, or seeking advice or help from, a “Great Man” (see the entry on “Great Man” for more information). “Shame/Shameful”: In the I Ching, when something brings “shame” or is “shameful” it implies public embarrassment, usually because some socially improper behaviour will become too visible to others. However, the I Ching often implies that this is not a very serious problem, and often it may be worth the embarrassing situation if what you are doing is right or helpful. “Superiors”: Anyone who would be in a position of authority over you, particularly regarding the question presented. The term “Lord” is essentially the same in this case. “Will”: Your true inner will; this refers not to what you merely may want at any given time, but to your true sense of inner purpose. “Women”: there are several lines in the I Ching which suggest that a given oracle has different meanings depending on whether the person making the question is male or female. In some cases, the I Ching suggests that something is “good luck for women, bad luck for men”; in others it may say “right pushing is good for women”. This generally implies that under the circumstances of the reading, the situation may be better for a woman than a man. However, the reason why this would be so must be considered: in the Chinese culture, what was “good luck” (or “bad luck”) for women would have to do with matters related to the home, to stable relationships, and to the security brought about by social contracts. Thus if a person, regardless of gender, would find themselves benefited by the conditions that the I Ching is describing that would create this good (or bad) luck, they should assume it applies to them. In some cases, there are certain social activities (like gossip) that in Chinese culture was considered tolerable when practiced by women (though still unbecoming) but that would be intolerable if practiced by men. People in our society receiving a reading related to these sorts of activities will need to consider how it would apply to their situation based on the social conventions of our time.
Reference Table for the Hexagrams The following table simplifies the process of looking up which section or chapter of the I Ching corresponds to the hexagram drawn from a reading. In the table, the top row corresponds to the trigram of three lines at the top places of your hexagram, while the left-hand row corresponds to the bottom trigram. The number on the table where the rows intersect is the number corresponding to the section of the I Ching where the hexagram formed by the two trigrams is found. For example, if your I Ching reading generates three solid lines at the bottom (the “Heaven” trigram) and three broken lines at the top (the “World” trigram), the chapter of the I Ching where the hexagram formed by these lines can be found is chapter number 11.
^ | Bottom trigram
Chapter 3: The Text of The I Ching
Hexagram 1: Chien – Creation
Heaven and Heaven make Creation. Description: Success! Pushing brings gain, if in a right course.
The Lines: 1. The Dragon is hidden, avoid acting! 2. The Dragon is out of his cave, its time to see Great Men. 3. Keep busy! All day, and watchful at night. Danger - no mistake. 4. The Dragon tries to fly over the abyss, no mistake! 5. The Dragon flies across the sky, to visit Great Men. 6. The proud Dragon will regret. (if all the Dragons are changing, in motion, the Universe is blessed)
Hexagram 2: Kun - Passive
The World and the World are passive. Description: Passive is gentle success. The mare is a sign of good luck, peaceful and rightly pushing. If the Great Man has a goal, he may go wrong, but will find his way, with friends in the West and the South. Friends in the East and North will be lost. The Lines: 1. Frost on the ground means ice later. 2. Straight and wide, prosperity comes without effort. 3. Hide talent and beauty: early failures, but victory in the end. 4. Stoic and quiet: no blame, no praise. 5. The (rich) golden robe brings gentle good luck. 6. Warring dragons spill black and yellow blood in the wilderness. (if all the World is changing, in motion, then do not give up: your will shall be made constant)
Hexagram 3: Chun - Challenge
The Moon and Fire make challenge. Description: Challenge, then gentle success. Continue pushing rightly, do not look for new goals or locales. Consolidate things as they are.
The Lines: 1. In chaos, better to stay still. Build up your Will. 2. Moving back and forth, no progress is made. The damsel plays "hard to get" for ten years. 3. Without a guide, the hunter is lost in the woods. The Great Man knows to stay still. 4. Moving back and forth, waiting for marriage. When it comes, it will be prosperous. 5. Troubles in conceiving; pushing for small things is good, but for large things, woe. 6. He runs around, back and forth, what a drama queen!
Hexagram 4: Meng - Immaturity
Earth and Moon are immature. Description: When the immature seek out the wise, it will at first be helpful; but don't ask twice! No more explanation will he provide. Do not do more readings on this matter. The lines: 1. Correct and bind the youth, but not too much. 2. Gentle with the immature - take a wife, have a son. Inheritance will come. 3. Don't choose a wife that lusts after rich men. 4. Stubborn immature idealism causes harm. 5. Pure youthful innocence will bring good luck. 6. To deal with the immature, you must do what is right; you cannot try to fix a wrong with another wrong.
Hexagram 5: Hsu - Pause
The Moon and Heaven unite to pause. Description: Pause, and others' trust will bring shining success. Pushing rightly will bring luck; cross the river.
The Lines: 1. Stay on the borderland, pause. Be constant and you will be safe. 2. Pause on the shore, it'll be scandalous, but lucky in the end. 3. Pause in the mud, and evil approaches. Don't get stuck, or you'll be hurt. 4. Pausing in blood, things will pass and you'll rise from the pit. 5. Pause at the feast, but keep to the right path for gain.
6. Enter the cave. Three uninvited guests arrive; showing hospitality to them is lucky.
Hexagram 6: Sung - Struggling
Heaven and Moon unite in struggling. Description: Confidence met with struggle; care makes things work for a while, but disaster at the end. Visit a Great Man; don't cross the river.
The Lines: 1. Don't push too hard or long; speak little, things will work out. 2. Overwhelmed, retreat! His three hundred family members also escape. 3. Rely on ancient virtues. Right pushing means trouble at first, better later. Do not seek public office. 4. Overwhelmed, retreat and trust heaven. Peaceful pushing brings good luck. 5. Conflict, then great luck! 6. The sash of honour given today is lost tomorrow. Gained in strife, it brings little respect.
Hexagram 7: Shih - The Army
The World and the Moon are an army. Description: Pushing the right path, good luck and freedom from mistakes for those in positions of authority. The Lines: 1. Armies need discipline. If not, corruption, then disaster follows. 2. The general with his army is lucky. He is honored three times by the King! 3. An army of corpses: disaster, defeat!
4. The army retreats, and regroups: no mistake. 5. Beasts in the field. Watch your words. One son leads the armies, the other carries bodies. Pushing leads to doom. 6. The Prince takes command, all is well. Lesser men can't lead, or disaster follows.
Hexagram 8: Pi - Union
The moon and the world are in union. Description: Union! Luck. Do a second I Ching reading for great value. The anxious come together. The lazy lag, and face disaster. The Lines: 1. Be confident. Uniting will happen, faultlessly. Windfall forthcoming. 2. Unification proceeds from within your circle. Right pushing is auspicious. 3. Union with evil-doers brings suffering. 4. Union with one outside your circle; right pushing brings auspiciousness. 5. The King loses his prey, not from treason but by not alerting the people. Pushing with fairness brings gain. 6. Trying to unite without a head means disaster.
Hexagram 9: Hsiao Chu - Small Nourisher
Air and Heaven make small nourishment. Description: Small nourishment. Success. Dense clouds from the west, but no rain.
The Lines: 1. Come back to this path, and no blame. 2. Making yourself go back brings luck.
3. The axle of the carriage breaks; man and wife fight. 4. Blood and terror is avoided by confidence. 5. Confidence ties others' hearts to you. Use it to enrich your neighbours. 6. Rain, a time to rest. Virtue increases. Pushing is trouble for women. Don't go out at the full moon.
Hexagram 10: Lu - Stepping
Heaven and Water unite in stepping. Description: He steps on the tiger's tail, but isn't bitten. Success! The Lines: 1. Be simple, and move forward. No mistake! 2. Hermits walk peacefully. Right pushing brings luck. 3. One-eyed men see and lame men walk, but not well; step on a tiger's tail and get bitten! Obey your lord. 4. Step on a tiger's tail, but don't even breathe! Use caution, and good luck follows. 5. Step softly, pushing could cause trouble. 6. Watch your step, heed the signs; gentle good luck will be yours.
Hexagram 11: Tai - Peace
The World and Heaven unite in peace. Description: Peace. All is as it should be. The Base decline, and the Great and Good grow. Good luck, and success. The Lines: 1. Pull up grass and you get its root. It is good to go ahead with plans, more than just thinking. 2. Great clarity; you can cross rivers without boats. Continue through, cleave to friends, stay centered.
3. The steep follows the flat; don't lose heart, persist! No mistake. An eclipse is sometimes blessed. 4. Always on call, blocked by those around him from wealth, he stays loyal. 5. The King's daughter is given to wed; happiness and good luck due to impartiality. 6. The city wall falls. Do not fight, just keep order. Though this is right, you will be blamed.
Hexagram 12: Pi - Stuckness
Heaven and the World unite in stuckness. Description: Stuckness due to the wicked. Bad omen for Great Men, but keep pushing rightly. The Great and Good decline, the Base rise up. The Lines: 1. Pull on grass, and you get its root. Right pushing gibes good luck and success. Stay loyal. 2. The Base win by flattery, but the Great Man keeps worrying for the Kingdom instead of favours. 3. He hides his shame. 4. Following Superiors' orders, he cannot go wrong. His comrades are also famed and blessed. 5. Stuckness ending, fortune for the Great Man, but danger persists. He must be strong! 6. Stuckness ends, followed by great joy.
Hexagram 13: Jen - Lovers/Friends
Heaven and the Sun make lovers and friends. Description: Lovers in the open, success! Cross the river. The Great Man benefits, if he continues to push rightly. The Lines: 1. The lover met in public - no harm. 2. The lover is family - trouble!
3. Throwing his sword in the bush, he runs away! Unhappiness for three years (because he did not fight). 4. Unable to beat the foe, he defends the wall. Good luck! 5. The lovers start with weeping, and end in laughing. Others help to bring them together. 6. The beloved is sent far away, no blame in seeking another.
Hexagram 14: Ta Yu - Great Holdings
The Sun and Heaven make great holdings. Description: He who has much - great success! Riches and virtues. The Lines: 1. Stay away from wrong; thus there is no blame, even in trouble. 2. The wagons are full; if you have a goal, leaving now cannot fail. 3. A Prince can get wealth from the King, but the small man can only be hurt to try. 4. No pride, humility in success - no mistake. 5. Confidence brings society and respect. Dignity is a great wealth. 6. Protected by heaven, good luck and success in all endeavours.
Hexagram 15: Ch'ien - Humility
The World and Earth are humble. Description: Humility brings success. Great Men can take things to completion.
The Lines: 1. The Great Man, with humility and discipline, will ford the river - good luck. 2. The sound is heard in the heart, humbly. Right pushing brings good luck.
3. The Great Man, hardworking and humble, bears fruit in his efforts - good luck! 4. Auspiciousness to those whose humility is nurtured. 5. Be modest about wealth with neighbours. Attacking outlaws, everything is in your favor. 6. The call comes. Armies march now to pacify the cities for the king, and the good.
Hexagram 16: Yu - Certainty
Fire and the World unite in certainty. Description: Certainty benefits those who build empires, and send out armies!
The Lines: 1. Men too tired to wake with the alarm; bad omen! 2. Certain as a rock, right pushing will bring good luck before the day's end. 3. Hesitation and doddering brings regret. 4. Great results from certainty; have no doubt. Why would it hurt to befriend officials? 5. Illness foretold, but short-lasting and not fatal. 6. Crazy hesitations! Luckily, a change occurs, so no blame is incurred.
Hexagram 17: Sui - Following
Water and Fire unite in following. Description: Follow. Gentle success. Right pushing brings gain and no mistake.
The lines: 1. The powerful change. Right Will brings good luck. Leave home, mingle, results follow.
2. Following the new, he loses the old. 3. Following the old, he loses the new, but this gains the desired. Make no move, be determined. 4. Following a deceiver would bring misfortune. But if you are true, no harm comes. 5. Certainty in following - good luck! 6. Take the initiative, people follow you. Your superiors must go do penance.
Hexagram 18: Ku - Repair
Earth and Air unite in repairing. Description: What has decayed augurs gentle success. Cross the river. What came before will come again. The Lines: 1. Children fix the errors of their fathers. The dead are free of blame, evil is repaired. 2. Taking responsibility for mother's errors will not be too serious. 3. Taking responsibility for father's errors may bring regret, but no blame. 4. Excusing your father's errors will eventually cause regret. 5. Taking responsibility for your father's errors, you will win praise. 6. Serve your Will, more than any King or Prince's commands.
Hexagram 19: Lin - Convergence
The World and Water are converging. Description: Convergence. Gentle success! Right pushing brings gain, but in the 8th month, bad luck! The Lines: 1. All converges - right pushing brings gain.
2. All converges - good luck! Nothing bad; problems are only an illusion. 3. Good will, but nowhere to go. It is good to keep looking; don't settle! 4. Perfect convergence - no mistake. 5. Wise convergence, like a Prince - good luck! 6. Magnanimous, good natured, hide away the Will of your heart - no error.
Hexagram 20: Kwan - Contemplating
Air and the World unite in contemplating. Description: Contemplating. The purification done, the ritual has not yet begun. You have committed yourself; sincerity brings respect.
The Lines: 1. Contemplating childishly is to be expected from base men, but unlucky for Great Men. 2. Spying through keyholes is advantageous to women (though shameful!). 3. Contemplate your life, to judge whether to go forth or retreat. 4. Contemplate the Kingdom's state before deciding whether to become a guest of the King. 5. The Great Man is not wrong to contemplate the people's actions. 6. Nor is it wrong for the Great Man to contemplate his own life.
Hexagram 21: He - Chewing
Sun and Fire make chewing. Description: Chewing. Success! A good time for legal processes. The Lines: 1. The villain's feet are shackled, they can't walk. No error in this!
2. Chewing food, stuffing your face - no mistake. 3. Chewing dry meat, he's poisoned, but not harmed for long. No error. 4. Chewing dry meat, he bites on an arrow. Stay strong in the face of long difficulties. 5. Chewing dry meat, he swallows a coin. Staying determined brings trouble, but no error. 6. The stupid and deaf man is put in stocks - bad luck! Distrust your judgment.
Hexagram 22: Pi – Adornment
Earth and Sun unite in Adornment. Description: Adornment. Success. Small gain from having a goal (but not worth it if it involves any potential trouble). The Lines: 1. Well adorned, he leaves his carriage to walk, to not have to rely on others. 2. Adorn your beard, if your superiors wish it. 3. His adornments shine - following the right Will to the very end brings luck. 4. Adorned in white, he delays, but it is for the good cause of betrothal, in spite of suspicions to the contrary. 5. Strolling adorned in the garden, but wearing a poor belt - disgrace! But a blessing later comes by chance! 6. Simple adornment - no mistake.
Hexagram 23: Po - Shedding
Earth and the World are shedding. Description: Shedding. No goal or destination can be worthy now. The Lines: 1. He sheds subordinates, and finds no foundations of trust. Bad luck! 2. He sheds off friends, no loyalties found! Bad luck!
3. Shed off all above and all below - no error! 4. He sheds the very mattress of his bed, terrible bad luck! 5. The palace maids receive favours - free from blame despite troubles. 6. Good advice given, even though you know it won't be followed. The Great gain in public favour, the base and useless lose their house.
The World and Fire unite in returning. Description: Return! Success. Coming and going is safe. Friends come - no error. They leave after seven days. It is good to have a goal. The Lines: 1. Returning from closeby, before going too far. No regret, gentle good luck. 2. Return blessed by heaven - good luck, from treating others kindly. 3. Frequent return - trouble, but not your fault. 4. Leaving together, but finding it necessary to return alone (to not go astray). 5. Returning for a good cause - no regret. Examine yourself. 6. Confused return, bad luck! Disaster and harm. The army is defeated. Disaster for at least ten years.
Heaven and Fire make integrity. Description: Integrity. Gentle success. Right pushing brings reward. Opponents of the good are harmed and have no place to go. The Lines: 1. Continue with integrity, good luck! 2. Don't count profits before the harvest. It is good to have a goal.
3. Unexpected calamity. The wanderer finds an ox, the farmer lost an ox. 4. Right pushing, accomplishments and no error. 5. Unexpected illness, but it is best not to treat it. 6. Unexpected journeys would bring harm, it is better not to go anywhere.
Hexagram 26: Ta Chu - The Great Nourisher
Earth and Heaven unite in great nourishment. Description: The Great Nourisher smiles on right pushing. Good luck from not "eating in". Cross the Great River. The Lines: 1. Trouble, threat. Stop all activities, even to try stopping trouble. 2. A broken wheel, no blame. 3. A fast horse! Endure in hardships, gain. Do not get caught up with defenses, advance! 4. Yoke the Ox - good luck, happiness. 5. Gelded boar's tusk – a good luck charm, by chance. 6. Following heaven's way.
Hexagram 27: Yee - Eating
Earth and Fire unite in eating. Description: Eating. Right pushing for good luck. Watch people feeding others, and what they seek to eat for themselves. The lines: 1. You Abandon your sacrificial augury, and still you want to be spoon fed Truth! Bad luck. 2. Abandoning society, eating on mountaintops, separate from humanity - bad luck.
3. He tries to give up eating - bad luck! He's useless for ten years and goes nowhere. Perverse. 4. Eating on the mountaintop, Enlightened - good luck. His gaze is like a Tiger's! 5. Normal ways have been abandoned. Right enduring will bring luck to those who stay still. Don't go. 6. Eating brings trouble and luck. Cross the Great River, chance will favour you.
Hexagram 28: Ta Kuo - Excess (weight)
Water and Air unite in excess. Description: The beam sags and can't hold. It is good to have a goal or path. Success! The Lines: 1. With gentility, make mats from fine reeds. No error! Do things well. 2. The old tree grows new branches. The old man can marry the young girl. All is favorable. 3. The beam sags, not being well supported. Bad luck! 4. The beam gets propped up, blame is avoided. It is good luck that it didn't break. 5. The old tree blossoms. The old woman marries a boy; not good, not bad, just embarrassing. 6. Crossing the river, he almost drowns. Bad chance, but no fault.
Hexagram 29: K'an - The Pit
Moon and Moon are a pit. Description: The pit - dangerous! Discipline the mind then all will be well, and you will win respect. The Lines: 1. Pit upon pit, he falls and is lost. Bad luck. 2. Danger in the pit, you can gain small things, but you'll still be in a pit.
3. Grave danger near the pit of pits. If you fall in a crack, you can't help yourself. 4. Wine and a food-basket are given to you in the pit; free from blame until the very end. 5. The pit has water, but not enough to drown you. 6. Bound with black rope and surrounded by thorns. For three years he will fail to gain anything.
Hexagram 30: Li - Flaming Majesty
Sun and Sun make flaming majesty. Description: Flaming majesty. Right pushing gains. Success! Caring for gentle livestock - good luck.
The Lines: 1. Approach respectfully, pay reverence. No error. 2. Golden sunlight - gentle good luck. Follow the middle way. 3. Sunset, young men stay quiet, old men sigh. Bad luck. Majesty fades. 4. It comes quickly! But then it flames out, fading away fast. 5. Tears extinguish sighs - good luck, thanks to help from the ruler. 6. The King is blessed. He crushes the rebel leaders, but forgives the peasants.
Hexagram 31: Hsien - Feelings
Water and Earth are feelings. Description: Attraction. Success! Right pushing rewards. It is good luck to take a wife.
1. Feelings in your toe - worrying about peripheral matters. 2. Feeling in your legs - resist the urge to move - bad luck! 3. Feeling in the loins. He clings so close to women that it’s shameful, under their control. 4. Right pushing brings good luck - but only close friends follow you, because you dither. 5. Feeling (tingling) in your spine - no chance to act yet, but no fault. 6. Feeling in the jaws, don't talk so much!
Hexagram 32: Heng - Persistence
Fire and Air make persistence. Description: Persistence, success, free from mistakes. Right pushing rewards. Have a goal!
The Lines: 1. Lust of result is bad luck, for it will get you stuck. 2. Regret vanishes, you stay true to the middle path. 3. Failing to keep virtue, disgrace! No one could stand his inconsistency. 4. No prey in the fields, you are hunting in the wrong place. 5. Making a virtue of marital loyalty: good luck for women, bad luck for men. 6. Persisting in violent efforts, bad luck!
Hexagram 33: Tun - Retreat
Heaven and Earth unite in retreating. Description: Retreat. Success! Pushing in small things wins gain. The Lines: 1. Retreat to the edge - trouble. It is useless to seek any goal.
2. Tied by ox-hide, nothing could untie it! Powerful Will. 3. Retreat under pressure causes woe. Good luck to those who help servants and concubines. 4. Right retreat, good luck for the Great Man; bad luck for the base men (who were feeding off of him). 5. Orderly retreat. Right pushing brings good luck. Organize your aims. 6. Early retirement. Excellent! But only if you're sure it’s the time.
Hexagram 34: Ta Chuang - Great Power
Fire and Heaven make great power. Description: Great power. Pushing the right brings gain, in spite of all the challenges.
The Lines: 1. Power in the toes, very external and limited. Advance would bring bad luck, no matter how sure you think you are. 2. Right pushing brings good luck! 3. Base men use their power if Great Men do not. Pushing now brings serious issues, you may be tricked. 4. Right pushing brings luck and no regret. Entanglements fall away and great forward motion looms. 5. Sacrificing blood for a petty reason - no blame, but it is not advised. 6. Entangled, you can get nowhere, but this will lead to good luck.
Hexagram 35: Chin - Advance
The Sun and the World unite in advancing. Description: Advance. The Prince receives gifts of royal horses and three audiences; well deserved!
The Lines: 1. Advancement seems challenged, but right pushing brings luck. Be generous to those who mistrust you. 2. With sad advancement, right pushing brings good luck. A small happiness, thanks to the Queen Mother. 3. All in agreement - no regret! 4. Climbing fast and quick, pushing would have serious consequences. 5. Regret leaves. Be free of lust of losing or gaining. Seek a goal, all is well. 6. Trying to dominate enemy cities, whether things go well or badly, pushing too far would cause ignominy.
Hexagram 36: Ming - Dark Injury
The World and Sun unite in dark injury. Description: Darkening; right pushing in light of hardship brings reward.
The Lines: 1. Darkness slows progress. Work without food for three days; your Lord will comment. (fulfill your) Duty. 2. Injured in his leg, but he takes a horse, easing his troubles. Good luck! 3. At war in the South, he captures the rebel leader, but is injured. Avoid crazy pushing. 4. Injuring the left side, he sees the other's dark heart! 5. The Prince was injured, but right pushing was rewarded. 6. Endless dark! Having risen so high, he falls to the farthest depths.
Hexagram 37: Chia Jen - Household
Air and Sun make a household.
Description: The family. For women, persistence brings gain.
The Lines: 1. The household is well-defended. No regrets. Unfailing determination. 2. Nothing works on the outside, but in the home right pushing brings gain. 3. Family fights; regret can lead to luck. 4. A rich home - great luck! 5. The King's household is his nation - good luck to respect Superiors and care for Subordinates. 6. Confidence inspires others; good luck in the end.
Hexagram 38: Kuei - Separated
The Sun and Water unite in separating. Description: The separated - good luck only in small things.
The Lines: 1. Regret goes. The lost horse will return on its own, even in evil places. Don't go looking for it. 2. In the small path, he bumps into his Lord. No fault, for you were on your appointed path. 3. They damage his cart, and cut off his nose. Bad start! But troubles will come to an end, in time. 4. Lonely for a long time, she finds a fine and caring husband. No error! 5. Regret passes! The chief eats well, and the plan is blessed. Proceed! 6. Ugly pigs and frightening demons, on the path. Put aside your bow, this slight delay presages good look!
Hexagram 39: Chien - Trouble
The Moon and the Earth are trouble. Description: Trouble. The West and South are good directions, East and North bad. See the Great Man. Right pushing brings good luck.
The Lines: 1. Leaving brings trouble; returning earns praise. Wait. 2. The King's man meets trouble after trouble, but in no way is it his fault. 3. Going forward would bring trouble, turn back! Good luck for women, inner happiness. 4. Going forward would bring trouble, while returning he makes good connections. 5. Severe trouble! But then friends arrive. 6. Continuing brings trouble, returning brings great results. You should seek a Great Man.
Hexagram 40: Hsieh - Shooting
Fire and the Moon unite in shooting. Description: Shooting. West and South are good. If there's no point in staying put or going forward, turn back! If there is a point in going forth, make haste!
The Lines: 1. No error! 2. A golden arrow kills three foxes with one shot. Right pushing brings gain. 3. Carrying many things (showing off), robbers attack him. Pushing would be bad luck, and pretension! 4. A bad shot. Trust a friend who arrives. 5. The Great Man shoots true! Lesser men must trust him, though they often take him for granted. 6. The Prince's shot kills a hawk, freeing him from base men. All is well.
Earth and Water are losing. Description: Loss, but confidence; gentle good luck, no mistakes. Have a goal. For the sacrifice, any small thing will suffice; be moderate.
The Lines: 1. It is not wrong to rush away after work, but make sure your superiors approve. 2. Pushing rightly brings gain, but going anywhere would bring bad luck. Build up! 3. Three leave together, one is lost. One leaves alone, he gains a companion. Best go alone than in bad company! 4. Reducing ills speeds good luck along. No mistake. 5. A superior enriches you and insists upon it. Gentle good luck. 6. Gain, without making others lose. No error. Push rightly, good luck. Have a goal. Gain followers, but seek not family.
Hexagram 42: Yi - Gaining
Air and Fire make gaining. Description: Gain. Have a goal. Cross the Great River.
The Lines: 1. Do great works now - gentle good luck, no mistake. 2. A foreigner enriches you, insisting upon it. Right pushing brings luck. Earlier good works bring you gain. 3. An unfortunate means to gain, but done sincerely - no blame. Visiting the Prince, bring your documentation of office. 4. He swears loyalty to the Prince. It is good to be given a great task. 5. Be sincere and kind, but ask few questions. Gentle good luck. Be confident.
6. He didn't help the outsiders, so they struck at him for his hypocrisy. Bad luck!
Hexagram 43: Kuai - Resolve
Water and Heaven unite in resolve. Description: Resolve. A declaration at the King's court; too much honesty is dangerous. Making a declaration before your own city, it is unseemly to be armed. Have a goal.
The Lines: 1. Setting out with strength, forward. But if you fail, it will be shameful. Be certain! 2. Being armed, he doesn't fear noises in the night. 3. Showing off, bad luck. The Great Man has resolve; a little mud on the way is no blame. 4. Being lashed, he walks uncertainly. Help is humiliating; distrusting, he stupidly refuses. 5. Weakly but determined, he pushes the middle way. He does well enough. 6. Bad luck, without warning. We lack resolve.
Hexagram 44: Kou - Encounters
Heaven and Air make encounters. Description: Encounters. Women hold power. Do not marry.
The Lines: 1. A strong brake on the wheel. Pushing rightly brings luck, but those without a goal will see bad luck. 2. Fish in the bag, but he doesn't share! Failing in his duty. 3. He's been lashed, and limps, but still walks proud. Trouble, but no great mistake. 4. No fish in the bag - bad luck, the people are no help.
5. Beauty hidden away, heaven drops down a blessing. 6. Butting its head against a wall, exhausted. Regret, but no mistake.
Hexagram 45: Ts'ui - Gatherings
Water and The World are gathering. Description: Gathering - success! The King is in the temple. See Great Men for success. Right pushing rewards. Making great sacrifices - good luck! Have a goal.
The Lines: 1. If sincerity fails, gathering and dispersal alternate. Crying, but a friendly hand brings laughter. Advance! 2. Gathering brings luck and no mistake. Confident, gain by making a sacrifice. 3. A sad gathering. No good goal. Advancing would be no mistake, but slight regret. 4. Great good luck, no mistake. 5. His rank gathers people, no mistake. But he can't gain their trust. He'll have to work hard to show virtue. 6. Sighs and distress, but no mistake.
Hexagram 46: Sheng - Rising
The World and Air unite in rising. Description: Rising - great success! It is essential to see a Great Man, removing doubts. Going South brings good luck.
The Lines: 1. Sure to be promoted - great good luck! 2. Piously he performs the summer ritual; sacrifice brings happiness.
3. Promoted to a position in a large city. 4. The King sacrifices on the mountain; good luck, no mistake. (do your) Duty. 5. Rising step by step, right pushing brings luck. 6. Rising in the dark. Right pushing for gain, but loss of wealth.
Hexagram 47: Kun - Hardship
Water and Moon are hardship. Description: Hardship, then success, if you push rightly. Good luck for the Great, free from mistakes. Words are said, but will create no trust.
The Lines: 1. Tangled in branches, entering a dark vale. Three years without finding anyone. 2. Drunken when the official arrives! Time to make a sacrifice! Advance would be unlucky. 3. On rocky ground, only thorns under you; you get home to find your wife gone. Bad luck! 4. Taking a golden carriage, but arriving late. Shame, but not for long, as others stand with you. 5. Hands and feet are cut off by the official, but joy may come in time. Offer sacrifice! 6. Tangled up and slipping, he regrets. If you're regretful, advancing will bring luck.
Hexagram 48: Ching - The Well
The Moon and Air unite in a well. Description: The well. You can move a city, but you can't move its well. The well stays steady, but sometimes the rope is short, or the bucket breaks - bad luck.
The Lines: 1. Muddy water at the bottom, no animals come to drink. Give up.
2. Infested water, and the bucket leaks, double bad luck! 3. The well is cleaned, but no one comes to drink, sadly. The wise King shares his fortune. 4. The well is being repaired - delay, but hopeful! 5. The water is icy cool, all is well! 6. The well-rope is found. Certainty and good luck; great achievement.
Hexagram 49: Ko - Revolution
Water and The Sun unite in revolution. Description: Revolution. Only when finished will people trust in it. Gentle success. Right pushing brings gain, regret vanishes.
The Lines: 1. In difficulty. For strength, use ox-hide leather. 2. Once the revolution is complete, then progress follows. No error, unexpected good fortune. 3. Advancing now would be bad luck, pushing to trouble. When you hear (talk) of revolution three times, act! 4. Regret leaves, certainty is gained. A change of government brings good luck. 5. A Great Man makes change brilliantly; he is so certain, that divination is unnecessary. 6. The Great Man makes change gracefully, lesser men turn to his side. Don't advance, right pushing where you are brings gain.
Hexagram 50: Ting - Sacrificial Bowls
The Sun and Air make sacrificial bowls. Description: A sacrificial bowl - great success!
1. Turn over the bowl to dump rotted meat. No shame to take a concubine for procreation. 2. The bowl is solid, you are cautious. Enemies are in trouble and can't hurt you - good luck! 3. The bowl-handles are broken; it is hard to move it! We waste good food. But rains come, wash away regrets, and bring luck. 4. The bowl's legs snap. The Prince's food is dropped and his robes are stained. Bad luck for you! 5. The bowl has golden handles - right pushing brings gain. 6. The bowl has jade handles - great luck! Everything is going your way.
Hexagram 51: Chen - Thunder
Fire and fire make thunder. Description: Thunder - success. Great noise, laughter and joyful shouting. Some are scared, but the holder of the sacred cup does not spill the wine.
The Lines: 1. Thunder, great noise, feasting - good luck. 2. Thunderstorm coming. He drops his goods and heads for the hills. Do not seek them, they will return in seven days. 3. Sudden thunder - acting with such haste will do no harm. 4. After the storm, muddy roads. Muddy thoughts. 5. Unpredictable thunder - trouble! Careful thought and awareness needed to avoid loss. 6. Thundering chaos, people fear. Advance brings bad luck. We avoid thunder but our neighbours are hit. Marriage brings gossip. No mistake.
Hexagram 52: Ken - Stopping
Earth and Earth are stopping. Description: Keep the back straight, you free the body. Walking in the courtyard, but free of distractions. Meditate - no mistake.
The Lines: 1. Stop the toes - no mistake. Push rightly without hesitation. Stay where you are, gain. 2. Still the legs! You will be unable to save your followers, if you do not wait. 3. Stilling the sex makes the spine too stiff, and suffocates the heart - trouble! 4. Still all of yourself - no mistake! 5. Still the jaw. Watch (organize) your words, to avoid regret. 6. The highest stillness - good luck!
Hexagram 53: Chien - Gentle Momentum
Air and Earth unite in gentle momentum. Description: Gentle momentum. A girl's marriage brings luck. Right pushing gains.
The Lines: 1. The maiden moves slowly toward the river; the young son is in trouble. Gossip, but no blame. 2. The maiden moves slowly toward the rock. Good food, and good luck (material prosperity). 3. The maiden moves slowly to dry land. The husband leaves, and does not come back. Pregnancy complications. Bad luck. It is the right time to punish criminals. 4. The maiden moves slowly toward the tree, nurturing and gentle. 5. The maiden slowly climbs the hill. Ultimately, undoubtedly good luck and fulfillment. 6. The maiden moves slowly to the city: she is dressed for great duties, chaos cannot prevail!
Hexagram 54: Kwei Mei - The Eligible Maiden
Fire and Water unite in an eligible maiden. Description: The maiden eligible for marrying, fire and water clash. Advancing brings bad luck. No goal is presently favorable. The Lines: 1. The girl marries to become a concubine. The man walks, but is lame. They aid each other good luck! 2. One-eyed men still see, meditators have discipline, nothing unusual. 3. A girl goes from servant to concubine; some improvement. 4. The girl grows old delaying marriage, but marries in the end. 5. The younger princess dresses more humbly than her bridesmaids; noble! Good luck near to the full moon. 6. The woman's basket is empty, no goal is favourable. Nothing of value.
Hexagram 55: Feng - Waning Richness
Fire and the Sun make waning richness. Description: Richness - success! The Sun-King inspires, but the Sun is at its peak; do not be sad that it (naturally) begins to wane.
The Lines: 1. Meeting a fellow Prince, he stays ten days, but no more. This earns respect. Proper. 2. Stuck. The Sun looks small. Going now would bring ills and doubts. But trust is rising - good luck! 3. Rain so strong that it is dark at noon-time. He breaks his right arm; no mistake, but (efforts are) useless. 4. Stuck. The Sun looks small. Meeting a fellow Prince – good luck. Now is the time to act. 5. The storm clears. Beautiful sky! Unexpected blessing, fame won - good luck!
6. He builds a great wall around his treasure- house. No one comes to visit him for three years - bad luck.
Hexagram 56: Lu - The Traveler
Sun and Earth unite in the traveler. Description: Traveler - gain in small things. Pushing in travels brings good luck.
The Lines: 1. Worrying about unimportant things, the traveler brings disaster upon himself. 2. The traveler gets to the inn with his pockets full. He gains a loyal young servant. 3. The inn burns down, the servant's loyalty is lost; pushing brings trouble. The traveler was reckless. 4. Traveler gets money for his costs, but he is still joyless. 5. Hunting, he loses an arrow, but gains praise and titles from superiors. Small loss, great gain. 6. A bird burns its own nest. The traveler laughs, but later cries. Carelessness leads to loss bad luck.
Hexagram 57: Sun – Surrender
Air and Air make surrender. Description: Willing surrender. Success in small things. Have a goal, visit the Great Man. The Lines: 1. Hesitating in battle, back and forth. The right pushing of warriors brings advantage. 2. Surrendering excessively. Consulting with crazy wizards. Good luck, no mistake, despite the chaos.
3. Surrendering too often - shameful, (he has) no true Will. 4. Regret leaves! Three types of prey are caught in the open field. Solid results. 5. Right pushing, gain. Regret leaves, all is well. A bad start, (but a) good end. Good for three days before and three days after. 6. Surrendering excessively. He loses his traveling money - pushing brings bad luck.
Hexagram 58: Tui – Bliss
Water and Water are bliss. Description: Bliss. Success. Right pushing brings gain.
The Lines: 1. Untroubled bliss and harmony - luck! 2. Certainty, bliss; good luck and absence of regret. 3. Expecting bliss - bad luck! (have no expectations) 4. Foolishly trying to plan future bliss, anxious and troubled, but happiness comes from a blessing. 5. Trusting in what is crumbling leads to problems. 6. The glitter of bliss - unenlightened!
Hexagram 59: Huan - Banishing
Air and the Moon unite in banishing. Description: Banishing - success. The King goes to the temple (for security). Cross the Great River. Right pushing brings gain. The Lines: 1. Helping others with horse-like strength. Good luck, agreement, co-operation. 2. In chaos, go to the temple; regret will be banished. 3. Banish self-referencing (self-obsessed) thought - no regret. 4. Banishing worry and illness, the King commands! He shares wealth with the people. No fault. 5. Banishing evil and injury, keeping it at bay. No fault.
Hexagram 60: Chieh - Restraint
The moon and water are restrained. Description: Restraint - success. But do not restrain too harshly for too long.
The Lines: 1. Restrained, he doesn't leave his outer wall; no mistake. 2. Restrained. He doesn't leave the inner walls, missing chances. Bad luck! 3. Regretting a lack of restraint - no mistake. Good judgment. 4. Restraint and peace - success! 5. Voluntary restraint first - good luck. Then (later) it is time to move and win praise. 6. Harsh restraint - pushing brings bad luck. Regret; the road wanes. But later, regret leaves.
Hexagram 61: Gong Fa - Divine Law
Air and water unite in divine law.
Description: Sincerity, certainty. Lucky dolphins (spotted) as you cross the Great River. Right pushing brings gain.
The Lines: 1. (receiving an) Official Title - good luck. Any other path would cause worry. Stand alone. 2. Birds sing, their chicks follow. Share wealth with others; follow nature's law. 3. Having made an enemy, he dithers about what to do. Have courage! 4. Horses stray, just before the full moon, going free their own way. No mistake. 5. Certainty generates momentum - no mistake! 6. Bragging to the heavens - hubris! Continuing brings bad luck.
Hexagram 62: Hsiao Kuo - Small Gains
Fire and Earth unite in small gains. Description: Small gains - success. Right pushing brings gain. Small goals are possible to achieve now, not great ones. High-flying birds sing out of tune. The humble, and not the strong, now have great luck.
The lines: 1. The flying bird augurs bad luck; nothing to be done. 2. In the cemetery, he sees his mother's ghost. He can't reach the Prince, blocked by the official. 3. Unless he takes care, one of his subordinates will kill him - bad luck! 4. Harassing someone now instead of passing on by would be a mistake. Danger to go forth, be cautious! Do not act (yet), but stay determined. 5. High dark clouds from the west, too high, no rain. The prince shoots and kills someone in a cave! 6. Instead of harassing (his opponent) he smugly passes on by. The bird escapes. Natural and man-made bad luck and injury.
Hexagram 63: Chi Chi - After Ending
The Moon and the Sun unite after ending. Description: After ending. Success in small things. Right pushing brings gain. Good luck at first, chaos in the end.
The Lines: 1. The chariot wheel breaks, getting (you) wet. No mistake. 2. The lady loses her chariot-drapes. She shouldn't seek them out; restraint will restore them after seven days. 3. The Great Emperor invaded barbarian lands and conquered them in three years. Tiring, but lesser men would never be able to accomplish it. 4. Rags hidden in fine silk. Be cautious and suspicious. 5. Sacrificing at the wrong time, the eastern man gains less (though he offered more) than the western man (who sacrificed less, but at the right time). 6. His head gets wet, trouble! But not for long.
Hexagram 64: Wei Chi - Before Ending
The Sun and the Moon unite before ending. Description: Before ending - success! The little fox gets its tail wet before he can finish crossing the ice. No goal is favorable now.
The Lines: 1. Its tail gets wet, embarrassing! Failing to appreciate chances. 2. Halting the chariot, to then go forth (later). Right pushing brings good luck. 3. The ford is unfinished, advancing brings bad luck; later, crossing the great river brings gain. 4. Right pushing brings gain, regret vanishes. Conquering barbarian lands takes great work, but
three years later the King grants his generals vast lands. 5. Right pushing brings luck and absence of regret. The Great Man shares and wins people's trust. 6. Those who have the people's trust can feast, but getting their heads wet through excess they will lose that trust.
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