Upper trigram: Li The Clinging, Flame
Lower trigram: K'un The Receptive, Earth
Progress. The powerful prince
Is honored with horses in large numbers.
In a single day he is granted audience three times.
The sun rises over the earth:
The image of Progress.
Thus the superior man himself
Brightens his bright virtue
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:
Progressing, but turning back.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
If one meets with no confidence, one should remain calm.
The 2nd line marked means:
Progressing, but in sorrow.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Then one obtains happiness from one's ancestress.
The 3rd line marked means:
All are in accord. Remorse disappears.
The 4th line marked means:
Progress like a hamster.
Perseverance brings danger.
The 5th line marked means:
Take not gain and loss to heart.
Undertakings bring good fortune.
Everything serves to further.
The top line marked means:
Making progress with the horns is permissible
Only for the purpose of punishing one's own city.
To be conscious of danger brings good fortune.
Perseverance brings humiliation.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
The hexagram represents the sun rising over the earth. It is therefore the
symbol of rapid, easy progress, which at the same time means ever widening
expansion and clarity.
As an example of progress, this pictures a time when a powerful feudal lord
rallies the other lords around the sovereign and pledges fealty and peace. The
sovereign rewards him richly and invites him to a closer intimacy.
A twofold idea is set forth here. The actual effect of the progress emanates
from a man who is in a dependent position and whom the others regard as
their equal and are therefore willing to follow. This leader has enough clarity
of vision not to abuse his great influence but to use it rather for the benefit of
his ruler. His ruler in turn is free of all jealousy, showers presents on the
great man, and invites him continually to his court. An enlightened ruler
and an obedient servant — this is the condition on which great progress
The light of the sun rises over the earth is by nature clear. The higher the sun
rises, the more it emerges from the dark mists, spreading the pristine purity
of its rays over an ever widening area. The real nature of man is likewise
originally good, but it becomes clouded by contact with earthly things and
therefore needs purification before it can shine forth in its native clarity.
The bottom line marked
At a time when all elements are pressing for progress, we are still uncertain
whether in the course of advance we may not meet with a rebuff. Then the
thing to do is simply continue in what is right; in the end this will bring good
fortune. It may be that we meet with no confidence. In this case we ought not
to try to win confidence regardless of the situation, but should remain calm
and cheerful and refuse to be roused to anger. Thus we remain free of
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Progress is halted; an individual is kept from getting in touch with the man
in authority with whom he has a connection. When this happens, he must
remain persevering, although he is grieved; then with a maternal gentleness
the man in question will bestow great happiness upon him. This happiness
comes to him-and is well deserved-because in this case mutual attraction does
not rest on selfish or partisan motives but on firm and correct principles.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
A man strives onward, in association with others whose backing encourages
him. This dispels any cause for regret over the fact that he does not have
enough independence to triumph unaided over every hostile turn of fate.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
In times of progress it is easy for strong men in the wrong places to amass
great possessions. But such conduct shuns the light. And since times of
progress are inevitably brought to the light, perseverance in such action
always leads to danger.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
The situation described here is that of one who, finding himself in an
influential position in a time of progress, remains gentle and reserved. He
might reproach himself for lack of energy in making the most of the
propitiousness of the time and obtaining all possible advantage. However,
this regret passes away. He must not take either loss or gain to heart; they are
minor considerations. What matters much more is the fact that in this way
he has assured himself of opportunities for successful and beneficent
The top line marked
Making progress with lowered horns-i.e., acting on the offensive-is
permissible, in times like those referred to here, only in dealing with the
mistakes of one's own people. Even then we must bear in mind that
proceeding on the offensive may always be dangerous. In this way we avoid
the mistakes that otherwise threaten, and succeed in what we set out to do.
On the other hand, perseverance in such over energetic behavior, especially
toward persons with whom there is no close connection, will lead to
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:
Flame upon Earth
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.
Use the Facebook field on some of these web pages to comment the I Ching or this website.