Upper trigram: Kên Keeping Still, Mountain
Lower trigram: Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
The Taming Power of the Great.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Heaven within the mountain:
The image of The Taming Power of the Small.
Thus the superior man aquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.
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:
Danger is at hand. It furthers one to desist.
The 2nd line marked means:
The axletrees are taken from the wagon.
The 3rd line marked means:
A good horse that follows others.
Awareness of danger,
With perseverance, furthers.
Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
The 4th line marked means:
The headboard of a young bull.
Great good fortune.
The 5th line marked means:
The tusk of a gelded boar.
The top line marked means:
One attains the way of heaven. Success.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
The Creative is tamed by Kên, Keeping Still. This produces great power, a
situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, Hsiao Ch'u, THE
TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL, in which the Creative is tamed by the
Gentle alone. There one weak line must tame five strong lines, but here four
strong lines are restrained by two weak lines; in addition to a minister, there
is a prince, and the restraining power therefore is afar stronger.
The hexagram has a threefold meaning, expressing different aspects of the
concept "Holding firm." Heaven within the mountain gives the idea of
holding firm in the sense of holding together; the trigram Kên which holds
the trigram ch'ien still, gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding
back; the third idea is that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and
nourishing. This last is suggested by the fact that a strong line at the top,
which is the ruler of the hexagram, is honored and tended as a sage. The third
of these meanings also attaches specifically to this strong line at the top,
which represents the sage.
To hold firmly to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this
hexagram, there is need of a strong, clear-headed man who is honored by the
ruler. The trigram Ch'ein points to strong creative power; Kên indicates
firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of
character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the
height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in
periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the
power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the
case of the strong personality entrusted with leadership by the ruler, it is an
advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one's bread by entering upon
public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great
and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.
Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and
deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen
and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine
oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this
knowledge, to give actuality to the past.
The bottom line marked
A man wishes to make vigorous advance, but circumstances present an
obstacle. He sees himself held back firmly. If he should attempt to fore an
advance, it would lead him into misfortune. Therefore it is better for him to
compose himself and to wait until an outlet is offered for release of his
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Here advance is checked just as in the third line of THE TAMING POWER OF
THE SMALL (9). However, in the later the restraining force is slight; thus a
conflict arises between the propulsive and the restraining movement, as a
result of which the spokes fall out of the wagon wheels, while here the
restraining force is absolutely superior; hence no struggle takes place. One
submits and removes the axletrees from the wagon -in other words, contents
himself with waiting. In this way energy accumulates for a vigorous advance
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
The way opens; the hindrance has been cleared away. A man is in contact
with a strong will acting in the same direction as his own, and goes forward
like one good horse following another. But danger still threatens, and he
must remain aware of it, or he will be robbed of his firmness. Thus he must
acquire skill on the one hand in what will take him forward, and on the other
in what will protect him against unforeseen attacks. It is good in such a pass
to have a goal toward which to strive.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
This line and the one following it are the two that tame the forward-pushing
lower lines. Before a bull's horns grow out, a headboard is fastened to its
forehead, so that later when the horns appear they cannot do harm. A good
way to restrain wild force is to forestall it. By so doing one achieves an easy
and great success.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
Here the restraining of the impetuous forward drive is achieved in an
indirect way. A boar's tusk is in itself dangerous, but if the boar's nature is
altered, the tusk is no longer a menace. Thus also where men are concerned,
wild force should not be combated directly; instead, its roots should be eradicated.
The top line marked
The time of obstruction is past. The energy long dammed up by inhibition
forces its way out and achieves great success. This refers to a man who is
honored by the ruler and whose principles now prevail and shape the world.
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:
Mountain upon Heaven
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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