Upper trigram: Chên The Arousing, Thunder
Lower trigram: K'an The Abysmal, Water
Deliverance. The southwest furthers.
If there is no longer anything where one has to go,
Return brings good fortune.
If there is still something where one has to go,
Hastening brings good fortune.
Thunder and rain set in:
The image of Deliverance.
Thus the superior man pardons mistakes
And forgives misdeeds.
These texts apply only for the lines that were marked, when the hexagram was cast. Note that the lines are counted from the bottom up.
The bottom line marked means:
The 2nd line marked means:
One kills three foxes in the field
And receives a yellow arrow.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
The 3rd line marked means:
If a man carries a burden on his back
And nontheless rides in a carriage,
He thereby encourages robbers to draw near.
Perseverance leads to humiliation.
The 4th line marked means:
Deliver yourself from your great toe.
Then the companion comes,
And him you can trust.
The 5th line marked means:
If only the superior man can deliver himself,
It brings good fortune.
Thus he proves to inferior men that he is in earnest.
The top line marked means:
The prince shoots at a hawk on a high wall.
He kills it. Everything serves to further.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
Here the movement goes out of the sphere of danger. The obstacle has been
removed, the difficulties are being resolved. Deliverance is not yet achieved;
it is just in its beginning, and the hexagram represents its various stages.
This refers to a time in which tensions and complications begin to be eased.
At such times we ought to make our way back to ordinary conditions as soon
as possible; this is the meaning of "the southwest." These periods of sudden
change have great importance. Just as rain relieves atmospheric tension,
making all the buds burst open, so a time of deliverance from burdensome
pressure has a liberating and stimulating effect on life. One thing is
important, however: in such times we must not overdo our triumph. The
point is not to push on farther than is necessary. Returning to the regular
order of life as soon as deliverance is achieved brings good fortune. If there
are any residual matters that ought to be attended to, it should be done as
quickly as possible, so that a clean sweep is made and no retardations occur.
A thunderstorm has the effect of clearing the air; the superior man produces
a similar effect when dealing with mistakes and sins of men that induce a
condition of tension. Through clarity he brings deliverance. However, when
failings come to light, he does not dwell on them; he simply passes over
mistakes, the unintentional transgressions, just as thunder dies away. He
forgives misdeeds, the intentional transgressions, just as water washes
The bottom line marked
In keeping with the situation, few words are needed. The hindrance is past,
deliverance has come. One recuperates in peace and keeps still. This is the
right thing to do in times when difficulties have been overcome.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
The image is taken from the hunt. The hunter catches three cunning foxes
and receives a yellow arrow as a reward. The obstacles in public life are the
designing foxes who try to influence the ruler through flattery. They must be
removed before there can be any deliverance. But the struggle must not be
carried on with the wrong weapons. The yellow color points to measure and
mean in proceeding against the enemy; the arrow signifies the straight course.
If one devotes himself wholeheartedly to the task of deliverance, he develops
so much inner strength from his rectitude that it acts as a weapon against all
that is false and low.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
This refers to a man who has come out of needy circumstances in to comfort
and freedom from want. If now, in the manner of an upstart, he tries to take
his ease in comfortable surroundings that do not suit his nature, he thereby
attracts robbers. If he goes on thus he is sure to bring disgrace upon himself.
Confucius says about this line:
Carrying a burden on the back is the business of common man; a carriage is
the appurtenance of a man of rank. Now, when a common man uses the
appurtenance of man of rank, robbers plot to take it away from him. If a man
is insolent toward those above him and hard toward those below him,
robbers plot to attack him. Carelessness in guarding things tempts thieves to
steal. Sumptuous ornaments worn by a maiden are an enticement to rob her
of her virtue.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
In times of standstill it will happen that inferior people attach themselves to a
superior man, and through force of daily habit they may grow very close to
him and become indispensable, just as the big toe is indispensable to the foot
because it makes walking easier. But when the time of deliverance draws
near, with its call to deeds, a man must free himself from such chance
acquaintances with whim he has no inner connection. For otherwise the
friends who share his views, on whom he could really rely and together with
whom he could accomplish something, mistrust him and stay away.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
Times of deliverance demand inner resolve. Inferior people cannot be
driven off by prohibitions or any external means. If one desires to be rid of
them, he must first break completely with them in his own mind; they will
see for themselves that he is in earnest and will withdraw.
The top line marked
The hawk on a high wall is the symbol of a powerful inferior in a high
position who is hindering the deliverance. He withstands the force of inner
influences, because he is hardened in his wickedness. He must be forcibly
removed, and this requires appropriate means. Confucius says about this
The hawk is the object of the hunt; bow and arrow are the tools and means.
The marksman is man (who must make proper use of the means to his end).
The superior man contains the means in his own person. He bides his time
and then acts. Why then should not everything go well? He acts and is free.
Therefore all he has to do is to go forth, and he takes his quarry. This is how a
man fares who acts after he has made ready the means.
Here I add some perspectives on this hexagram, as well as other methods to read its meaning, in additon to what Richard Wilhelm derives from it above.
Meaning of the Trigrams Combined
Each hexagram combines two trigrams, making one the upper and the other the lower. The meaning of the hexagram is mainly derived from that combination. Here's what it means for this hexagram:
Thunder upon Water
This part of the text is being edited. It will be added shortly.
Compare to the Reversed Trigrams
It's common to compare a hexagram to the one where the lines are the opposite: a full line is broken and a broken line full. But I find it much more interesting to compare hexagrams with the trigrams reversed: the upper trigram becomes the lower, and the lower trigram becomes the upper. That deepens the understanding of the trigrams at work — when they're not identical. Click the image to see what it means for the two trigrams of this hexagram:
The hexagram with the trigrams reversed
Compare to the Reversed Lines
You can also compare this hexagram to its opposite according to the six lines, where each broken line is full, and vice versa. In some cases it leads to the same hexagram as the one where the trigrams are switched. Here is the hexagram with reversed lines (click it to get to its webpage):
Hexagram with opposite lines
Click the header to read more about the eight trigrams that are combined into the 64 hexagrams.
The 64 I Ching Hexagrams
An I Ching hexagram is composed of two trigrams. Each of the 64 hexagrams has its own name, meaning, and divinatory text. Here they all are, in the traditional order. Click on the image of an I Ching hexagram to get to its webpage.
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