|There were "old" features in your gua (hexagram). It means that you have two hexagrams. The first one — is something that the Book tells you at the moment, the second is something it warns you about.
33. Retiring (dùn). Retreat
Before a big leap think and make the run, departing from the starting line a few steps.
Inital text of I Ching
Retreat. Success. In what is small, perseverance furthers.
Mountain under heaven:
The image of Retreat. Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance, not angrily but with reserve.
- At the tail in retreat. This is dangerous. One must not wish to undertake anything.
- He holds him fast with yellow oxhide. No one can tear him loose.
- A halted retreat is nerve-wracking and dangerous. To retain people as men- and maidservants brings good fortune.
- Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man and downfall to the inferior man.
- Friendly retreat. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- Cheerful retreat. Everything serves to further.
If we talk about the great, then now it is the moment of transition between the willingness to act and action itself. Prudence, balance, clarification of objectives and its comparison with internal need (higher aspiration) are necessary - a temporary escape from the action itself. Feel free to act - according to your will, without coercion. Intentions must be kept secret. It is time for positive solution of only minor problems, but even here caution is necessary.
The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats to security, so that the
dark cannot encroach upon it. This retreat is a matter not of man's will but of
natural law. Therefore in this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way
to behave in order not to exhaust one's forces.
In the calendar this hexagram is linked with the sixth month (July-August),
in which the forces of winter are already showing their influence.
Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing.
In this case retreat is the right course, and it is not to be confused with flight.
Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas retreat is a
sign of strength. We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we
are in full possession of power and position. Then we shall be able to
interpret the signs of the time before it is too late and to prepare for
provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death
struggle. Thus we do not simple abandon the field to the opponent; we make
it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in single acts of
resistance. In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the counter-
movement. Understanding the laws of a constructive retreat of this sort is
not easy. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.
The mountain rises up under heaven, but owing to its nature it finally comes
to a stop. Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the
distance and remains out of reach. This symbolizes the behavior of the
superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as
the inferior man comes forward. He does not hate him, for hatred is a form
of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object. The
superior man shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a
standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve.
Since the hexagram is the picture of something that is retreating, the lowest
line represents the tail and the top line the head. In a retreat it is
advantageous to be at the front. Here one is at the back, in immediate contact
with the pursuing enemy. This is dangerous, and under such circumstances
it is not advisable to undertake anything. Keeping still is the easiest way of
escaping from the threatening danger.
Yellow is the color of the middle. It indicates that which is correct and in line
with duty. Oxhide is strong and not to be torn.
While the superior men retreat and the inferior press after them, the
inferior man represented here holds on so firmly and tightly to the superior
man that the latter cannot shake him off. And because he is in quest of what
is right an so strong in purpose, he reaches his goal. Thus the line confirms
what is said in the Judgment: "In what is small" --here equivalent to "in the
inferior man" -- "perseverance furthers."
When it is time to retreat it is both unpleasant and dangerous to be held back,
because then one no longer has freedom of action. In such a case the only
expedient is to take into one's service, so to speak, those who refuse to let one
go, so that one may at least keep one's initiative and not fall helplessly under
their domination. But even with this expedient the situation is far from
satisfactory--for what can one hope to accomplish with such servants?
In retreating the superior man is intent on taking his departure willingly and
in all friendliness. He easily adjusts his mind to retreat, because in retreating
he does not have to do violence to his convictions. The only one who suffers
is the inferior man from whom he retreats, who will degenerate when
deprived of the guidance of the superior man.
It is the business of the superior man to recognize in time that the moment
for retreat has come. If the right moment is chosen, the retreat can be carried
out within the forms of perfect friendliness, without the necessity of
disagreeable discussions. Yet, for all the observance of amenities, absolute
firmness of decision is necessary if one is not to be led astray by irrelevant
The situation is unequivocal. Inner detachment has become an established
fact, and we are at liberty to depart. When one sees the way ahead thus
clearly, free of all doubt, a cheerful mood sets in, and one chooses what is
right without further thought. Such a clear path ahead always leads to the
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Try to constrain itself a little; believe, that you only will win from this. At present persistence and persistence will not bring any advantage. This hexagram is very favorable for interesting rest and entertainments; take advantage of this time to consider the plans for the future. However do not hasten to carry out them, the present period of uncertainty yet will not end. Use it for meditation, quiet contemplation and reflection is better.
21. Gnawing Bite (shì kè). Biting Through
Nothing in life is unique. Be able to see the essence of events and do not try to fight the forced inactivity. When idle the external, internal is active. The more active and indiscriminate actions are, the more firmly teeth are tightened; you will be bogged down in a situation and incur losses.
Inital text of I Ching
Biting Through has success. It is favorable to let justice be administered.
Thunder and lightning:
The image of Biting Through. Thus the kings of former times made firm the laws through clearly defined penalties.
- His feet are fastened in the stocks, so that his toes disappear. No blame.
- Bites through tender meat, so that his nose disappears. No blame.
- Bites on old dried meat and strikes on something poisonous. Slight humiliation. No blame.
- Bites on dried gristly meat. Receives metal arrows. It furthers one to be mindful of difficulties and to be persevering. Good fortune.
- Bites on dried lean meat. Receives yellow gold. Perseveringly aware of danger. No blame.
- His neck is fastened in the wooden cangue, so that his ears disappear. Misfortune.
Something tends to destroy the harmony. Clenched teeth have a dual character: on the one hand - the restoration of unity (with force), on the other - the destruction of 'grinding'. Do not fear. It is good time to take advantage of strife. Prejudices are destroyed, thoughts converge. But there is no freedom of action. Cases are suspended. If you make a mistake at work - you will fall into a millstone: finally lose your freedom, or will suffer significant damage, experience pain.
This hexagram represents an open mouth (cf. hexagram 27) with an
obstruction (in the fourth place) between the teeth. As a result the lips cannot
meet. To bring them together one must bite energetically through the
obstacle. Since the hexagram is made up of the trigrams for thunder and for
lightning, it indicates how obstacles are forcibly removed in nature.
Energetic biting through overcomes the obstacle that prevents joining of the
lips; the storm with its thunder and lightning overcomes the disturbing
tension in nature. Recourse to law and penalties overcomes the disturbances
of harmonious social life caused by criminals and slanderers. The theme of
this hexagram is a criminal lawsuit, in contradistinction to that of Sung,
CONFLICT, which refers to civil suits.
When an obstacle to union arises, energetic biting through brings success.
This is true in all situations. Whenever unity cannot be established, the
obstruction is due to a talebearer and traitor who is interfering and blocking
the way. To prevent permanent injury, vigorous measures must be taken at
once. Deliberate obstruction of this sort does not vanish of its own accord.
Judgment and punishment are required to deter or obviate it.
However, it is important to proceed in the right way. The hexagram
combines Li, clarity, and Chên, excitement. Li is yielding, Chên is hard.
Unqualified hardness and excitement would be too violent in meting out
punishment; unqualified clarity and gentleness would be too weak. The two
together create the just measure. It is of moment that the man who makes
the decisions (represented by the fifth line) is gentle by nature, while he
commands respect by his conduct in his position.
Penalties are the individual applications of the law. The laws
specify the penalties. Clarity prevails when mild and severe
penalties are differentiated, according to the nature of the crimes.
This is symbolized by the clarity of lighting. The law is strengthened
by a just application of penalties. This is symbolized by the terror
of thunder. This clarity and severity have the effect of instilling
respect; it is not that the penalties are ends in themselves.
The obstructions in the social life of man increase when there is a
lack of clarity in the penal codes and slackness in executing them.
The only to strengthen the law is to make it clear and make penalties
certain and swift.
If a sentence is imposed the first time a man attempts to do wrong, the
penalty is a mild one. Only the toes are put in the stocks. This prevents him
from sinning further and thus he becomes free of blame. It is a warning to
halt in time on the path of evil.
It is easy to discriminate between right and wrong in this case;
it is like biting through tender meat. But one encounters a
hardened sinner, and, aroused by anger, one goes a little too
far. The disappearance of the nose in the course of the bite
signifies that indignation blots out finer sensibility. However,
there is no great harm in this, because the penalty as such is
Punishment is to be carried out by someone who lacks the power and
authority to do so. Therefore the culprits do not submit. The matter at issue
is an old one-as symbolized by salted game-and in dealing with it difficulties
arise. This old meat is spoiled: by taking up the problem the punisher arouses
poisonous hatred against himself, and n this way is put in a somewhat
humiliating position. But since punishment was required by the time, he
remains free of blame.
There are great obstacles to be overcome, powerful opponents are to be
punished. Though this is arduous, the effort succeeds. But it is necessary to
be hard as metal and straight as an arrow to surmount the difficulties. If one
knows these difficulties and remains persevering, he attains good fortune.
The difficult task is achieved in the end.
The case to be decided is indeed not easy but perfectly clear. Since we
naturally incline to leniency, we must make every effort to be like yellow
gold-that is, as true as gold and as impartial as yellow, the color of the middle
[the mean]. It is only by remaining conscious of the dangers growing out of
the responsibility we have assumed that we can avoid making mistakes.
In contrast to the first line, this line refers to a man who is incorrigible. His
punishment is the wooden cangue, and his ears disappear under it-that is to
say, he is deaf to warnings. This obstinacy leads to misfortune.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Something torments you, you feel unfortunate. Try to undertake any new business, and your business will go better, and gradually diligent work will lead you to the big success. You are inclined to consider yourselves as a victim of injustice. But if you will constantly think of how such could happen,-it will not help business. All we make weight of mistakes; obviously, in what you were mistaken also. But try to not lose courage and learn the necessary lesson of that has happened. It is not necessary to despair, as just now circumstances favour to performance of your desire. Gather; remain are quiet and judicious.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary