Upper trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind
Lower trigram: K'an The Abysmal, Water
The king approaches his temple.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
The wind drives over the water:
The image of Dispersion.
Thus the kings of old sacrificed to the Lord
And built temples.
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:
He brings help with the strength of a horse.
The 2nd line marked means:
At the dissolution
He hurries to that which supports him.
The 3rd line marked means:
He dissolves his self. No remorse.
The 4th line marked means:
He dissolves his bond with his group.
Supreme good fortune.
Dispersion leads in turn to accumulation.
This is something that ordinary men do not think of.
The 5th line marked means:
His loud cries are as dissolving as sweat.
Dissolution! A king abides without blame.
The top line marked means:
He dissolves his blood.
Departing, keeping at a distance, going out,
Is without blame.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
Wind blowing over water disperses it, dissolving it into foam and mist. This
suggests that when a man's vital energy is dammed up within him (indicated
as a danger by the attribute of the lower trigram), gentleness serves to break
up and dissolve the blockage.
The text of this hexagram resembles that of Ts'ui, GATHERING TOGETHER
(45). In the latter, the subject is the bringing together of elements that have
been separated, as water collects in lakes upon the earth. Here the subject is
the dispersing and dissolving of divisive egotism. DISPERSION shows the
way, so to speak, that leads to gathering together. This explains the similarity
of the two texts.
Religious forces are needed to overcome the egotism that divides men. The
common celebration of the great sacrificial feasts and sacred rites, which gave
expression simultaneously to the interrelation and social articulation of the
family and state, was the means of employed by the great ruler to unite men.
The sacred music and the splendor of the ceremonies aroused a strong tide of
emotion that was shared by all hearts in unison, and that awakened a
consciousness of the common origin of all creatures. In this way disunity was
overcome and rigidity dissolved. A further means to the same end is co-
operation in great general undertakings that set a high goal for the will of the
people; in the common concentration on this goal, all barriers dissolve, just
as, when a boat is crossing a great stream, all hands must unite in a joint task.
But only a man who is himself free of all selfish ulterior considerations, and
who perseveres in justice and steadfastness, is capable of so dissolving the
hardness of egotism.
In the autumn and winter, water begins to freeze into ice. When the warm
breezes of spring come, the rigidity is dissolved, and the elements that have
been dispersed in ice floes are reunited. It is the same with the minds of the
people. Through hardness and selfishness the heart grows rigid, and this
rigidity leads to separation from all others. Egotism and cupidity isolate men.
Therefore the hearts of men must be seized by a devout emotion. They must
be shaken by a religious awe in face of eternity-stirred with an intuition of the
One Creator of all living beings, and united through the strong feeling of
fellowship experienced in the ritual of divine worship.
The bottom line marked
It is important that disunion should be overcome at the outset, before it has
become complete-that the clouds should be dispersed before they have
brought storm and rain. At such times when hidden divergences in temper
make themselves felt and lead to mutual misunderstandings we must take
quick and vigorous action to dissolve the misunderstandings and mutual
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
When an individual discovers within himself the beginnings of alienation
from others, of misanthropy and ill humor, he must set about dissolving
these obstructions. He must rouse himself inwardly, hasten to that which
supports him. Such support is never found in hatred, but always in a
moderate and just judgment of men, linked with good will. If he regains this
unobstructed outlook on humanity, while at the same time all saturnine ill
humor is dissolved, all occasion for remorse disappears.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
Under certain circumstances, a man's work may become so difficult that he
can no longer think of himself. He must set aside all personal desires and
disperse whatever the self gathers about it to serve as a barrier against others.
Only on the basis of great renunciation can he obtain the strength for great
achievements. By setting his goal in a great task outside himself, he can
attain this standpoint.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
When we are working at a task that affects the general welfare, we must leave
all private friendships out of account. Only by rising above party interests can
we achieve something decisive. He who has the courage thus to forego what
is near wins what is afar. But in order to comprehend this standpoint, one
must have a wide view of the interrelationships of life, such as only unusual
The 5th line from the bottom marked
In times of general dispersion and separation, a great idea provides a focal
point for the organization of recovery. Just as an illness reaches its crisis in a
dissolving sweat, so a great stimulating idea is a true salvation in times of
general deadlock. It gives the people a rallying point-a man in a ruling
position who can dispel misunderstandings.
The top line marked
The idea of the dissolving of a man's blood means the dispersion of that
which might lead to bloodshed and wounds, i.e., avoidance of danger. But
here the thought is not that a man avoids difficulties for himself alone, but
rather that he rescues his kin-helps them to get away before danger comes, or
to keep at a distance from an existing danger, or to find a way out of a danger
that is already upon them. In this way he does what is right.
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:
Wind 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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