Upper trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind
Lower trigram: Kên Keeping Still, Mountain
Development. The maiden
Is given in marriage.
On the mountain, a tree:
The image of Development.
Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue,
In order to improve the mores.
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 wild goose gradually draws near the shore.
The young son is in danger.
There is talk. No blame.
The 2nd line marked means:
The wild goose gradually draws near the cliff.
Eating and drinking in peace and concord.
The 3rd line marked means:
The wild goose gradually draws near the plateau.
The man goes forth and does not return.
The woman carries a child but does not bring it forth.
It furthers one to fight off robbers.
The 4th line marked means:
The wild goose gradually draws near the tree.
Perhaps it will find a flat branch. No blame.
The 5th line marked means:
The wild goose gradually draws near the summit.
For three years the woman has no child.
In the end nothing can hinder her.
The top line marked means:
The wild goose gradually draws near the cloud heights.
Its feathers can be used for the sacred dance.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
This hexagram is made up of Sun (wood, penetration) above, i.e., without,
and Kên (mountain, stillness) below, i.e., within. A tree on a mountain
develops slowly according to the law of its being and consequently stands
firmly rooted. This gives the idea of a development that proceeds gradually,
step by step. The attributes of the trigrams also point to this: within is
tranquillity, which guards against precipitate actions, and without is
penetration, which makes development and progress possible.
The development of events that leads to a girl's following a man to his home
proceeds slowly. The various formalities must be disposed of before the
marriage takes place. This principle of gradual development can be applied to
other situations as well; it is always applicable where it is a matter of correct
relationships of co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official.
The development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action
would not be wise. This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on
others, for here too the essential factor is a correct way of development
through cultivation of one's own personality. No influence such as that
exerted by agitators has a lasting effect.
Within the personality too, development must follow the same course if
lasting results are to be achieved. Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same
time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm.
The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have
perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling
The tree on the mountain is visible from afar, and its development
influences the landscape of the entire region. It does not shoot up like a
swamp plant; its growth proceeds gradually. Thus also the work of
influencing people can be only gradual. No sudden influence or awakening
is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite gradual, and in order to obtain such
progress in public opinion and in the mores of the people, it is necessary for
the personality to acquire influence and weight. This comes about through
careful and constant work on one's own moral development.
The bottom line marked
All the individual lines in this hexagram symbolize the gradual flight of the
wild goose. The wild goose is the symbol of conjugal fidelity, because it is
believed that this bird never takes another mate after the death of the first.
The initial line suggests the first resting place in the flight of water birds
from the water to the heights. The shore is reached. The situation is that of a
lonely young man who is just starting out to make his way in life. Since no
one comes to help him, his first steps are slow and hesitant, and he is
surrounded by danger. Naturally he is subjected to much criticism. But these
very difficulties keep him from being too hasty, and his progress is successful.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
The cliff is a safe place on shore. The development has gone a step further.
The initial insecurity has been overcome, and a safe position in life has been
found, giving one enough to live on. This first success, opening up a path to
activity, brings a certain joyousness of mood, and one goes to meet the future
It is said of the wild goose that it calls to its comrades whenever it finds
food; this is the symbol of peace and concord in good fortune. A man does
not want to keep his good luck for himself only, but is ready to share it with
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
The high plateau is dry and unsuitable for the wild goose. If it goes there, it
has lost its way and gone too far. This is contrary to the law of development.
It is the same in human life. If we do not let things develop quietly but
plunge of our own choice too rashly into a struggle, misfortune results. A
man jeopardizes his own life, and his family perishes thereby. However, this
is not all necessary; it is only the result of transgressing the law of natural
development. If one does not willfully provoke a conflict, but confines
himself to vigorously maintaining his own position and to warding off
unjustified attacks, all goes well.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
A tree is not a suitable place for a wild goose. But if it is clever, it will find a
flat branch on which it can get a footing. A man's life too, in the course of its
development, often brings him into inappropriate situations, in which he
finds it difficult to hold his own without danger. Then it is important to be
sensible and yielding. This enables him to discover a safe place in which life
can go on, although he may be surrounded by danger.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
The summit is a high place. In a high position one easily becomes isolated.
One is misjudged by the very person on whom one is dependent-the woman
by her husband, the official by his superior. This is the work of deceitful
persons who have wormed their way in. The result is that relationships
remain sterile, and nothing is accomplished. But in the course of further
development, such misunderstandings are cleared away, and reconciliation is
achieved after all.
The top line marked
Here life comes to its end. A man's work stands completed. The path rises
high toward heaven, like the flight of wild geese when they have left the
earth far behind. There they fly, keeping to the order of their flight in strict
formation. And if their feathers fall, they can serve as ornaments in the
sacred dance pantomimes performed in the temples. Thus the life of a man
who has perfected himself is a bright light for the people of earth, who look
up to him as an example.
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 Mountain
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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