|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.
27. Swallowing (yí). Mouth Corners
There is no life without food, but from overly abundant meal more harm than good. This is true both for the physical and spiritual sides of life.
Inital text of I Ching
The Corners of the Mouth. Perseverance brings good fortune. Pay heed to the providing of nourishment and to what a man seeks to fill his own mouth with.
At the foot of the mountain, thunder:
The image of Providing Nourishment. Thus the superior man is careful of his words and temperate in eating and drinking.
- You let your magic tortoise go, and look at me with the corners of your mouth drooping. Misfortune.
- Turning to the summit for nourishment, deviating from the path to seek nourishment from the hill. Continuing to do this brings misfortune.
- Turning away from nourishment. Perseverance brings misfortune. Do not act thus for ten years. Nothing serves to further.
- Turning to the summit for provision of nourishment brings good fortune. Spying about with sharp eyes like a tiger with insatiable craving. No blame.
- Turning away from the path. To remain persevering brings good fortune. One should not cross the great water.
- The source of nourishment. Awareness of danger brings good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water.
Be persistent to happiness. Observe moderation in all things - greed and excess are harmful to everyone. Pay attention to the material, but not at the expense of the spiritual. Do not rely on help from outside; you will have to work at your own risk. Do not try to pick your teeth or bite off more than you can chew.
This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; above and below are firm lines
of the lips, and between them the opening. Starting with the mouth, through
which we take food for nourishment, the thought leads to nourishment
itself. Nourishment of oneself, specifically of the body, is represented in the
three lower lines, while the three upper lines represent nourishment and
care of others, in a higher, spiritual sense.
In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people
should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own nourishment
in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to
observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he
cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man
fosters and takes care of superior men, in order to take care of all men
through them. Mencius says about this:
If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe
what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has
superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure
important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the
superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts
of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his
nature is a superior man.
"God comes forth in the sign of the Arousing": when in the spring the life
forces stir again, all things comes into being anew. "He brings to perfection in
the sign of Keeping Still": thus in the early spring, when the seeds fall to
earth, all things are made ready. This is an image of providing nourishment
through movement and tranquillity. The superior man takes it as a pattern
for the nourishment and cultivation of his character. Words are a movement
going form within outward. Eating and drinking are movements from
without inward. Both kinds of movement can be modified by tranquillity.
For tranquillity keeps the words that come out of the mouth from exceeding
proper measure, and keeps the food that goes into the mouth from exceeding
its proper measure. Thus character is cultivated.
The magic tortoise is a creature possessed of such supernatural powers that it
lives on air and needs no earthly nourishment. The image means that a man
fitted by nature and position to live freely and independently renounces this
self-reliance and instead looks with envy and discontent at others who are
outwardly in better circumstances. But such base envy only arouses derision
and contempt in those others. This has bad results.
Normally a person either provides his own means of nourishment or is
supported in a proper way by those whose duty of privilege it is to provide for
him. If, owing to weakness of spirit, a man cannot support himself, a feeling
of uneasiness comes over him; this is because in shirking the proper way of
obtaining a living, he accepts support as a favor from those in higher place.
This is unworthy, for he is deviating from his true nature. Kept up
indefinitely, this course leads to misfortune.
He who seeks nourishment that does not nourish reels from desire to
gratification and in gratification craves desire. Mad pursuit of pleasure for the
satisfaction of the senses never brings one to the goal. One should never (ten
years is a complete cycle of time) follow this path, for nothing good can come
In contrast to the six in the second place, which refers to a man bent
exclusively on his own advantage, this line refers to one occupying a high
position and striving to let his light sine forth. To do this he needs helpers,
because he cannot attain his lofty aim alone. With the greed of a hungry tiger
he is on the lookout for the right people. Since he is not working for himself
but for the good of all, there is no wrong in such zeal.
A man may be conscious of a deficiency in himself. He should be
undertaking the nourishment of the people, but he has not the strength to do
it. Thus he must turn from his accustomed path and beg counsel and help
from a man who is spiritually his superior but undistinguished outwardly. If
he maintains this attitude of mind perseveringly, success and good fortune
are his. But he must remain aware of his dependence. He must not put his
own person forward nor attempt great labors, such as crossing the great water.
This describes a sage of the highest order, from whom emanate all influences
that provide nourishment for others. Such a position brings with it heavy
responsibility. If he remains conscious of this fact, he has good fortune and
may confidently undertake even great and difficult labors, such as crossing
the great water. These undertakings bring general happiness for him and for
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Try to look at itself from; whether it seems to you, what you speak too much and eat too much? It is not necessary to gossip about others, this you harm not only to them, but first of all to yourselves. Stop to complain about destiny. Now you do not need to see a doctor. In your life shortly there will be changes, to them be ready.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary