|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.
31. Conjoining (xián). Influence
Opposite spirits are allied, so harmony is born.
Inital text of I Ching
Influence. Success. Perseverance furthers. To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.
A lake on the mountain:
The image of Influence. Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him by his readiness to receive them.
- The influence shows itself in the big toe.
- The influence shows itself in the calves of the legs. Misfortune. Tarrying brings good fortune.
- The influence shows itself in the thighs. Holds to that which follows it. To continue is humiliating.
- Perseverance brings good fortune. Remorse disappears. If a man is agitated in mind, and his thoughts go hither and thither, only those friends on whom he fixes his conscious thoughts will follow.
- The influence shows itself in the back of the neck. No remorse.
- The influence shows itself in the jaws, cheeks, and tongue.
Softness tames force. Harmony, a reasonable compromise is in business. Feelings and thoughts are pure, elation is growing. You can proceed without fear of a new business. Any union, marriage, friendship, partnership are auspicious. Rely on relatives in difficult situations. Focus on the experience and advice of someone wiser.
The name of the hexagram means "universal," "general," and in a figurative
sense "to influence," "to stimulate." The upper trigram is Tui, the Joyous; the
lower is Kên, Keeping still. By its persistent, quiet influence, the lower, rigid
trigram stimulates the upper, weak trigram, which responds to this
stimulation cheerfully and joyously. Kên, the lower trigram, is the youngest
son; the upper, Tui, is the youngest daughter. Thus the universal mutual
attraction between the sexes is represented. In courtship, the masculine
principle must seize the initiative and place itself below the feminine
Just as the first part of book 1 begins with the hexagrams of heaven and
earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins with the
hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social
The weak element is above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each
other, so that they unite. This brings about success, for all success depends on
the effect of mutual attraction. By keeping still within while experiencing joy
without, one can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within
proper bounds. This is the meaning of the added admonition, "Perseverance
furthers," for it is perseverance that makes the difference between seduction
and courtship; in the latter the strong man takes a position inferior to that of
the weak girl and shows consideration for her. This attraction between
affinities is a general law of nature. Heaven and earth attract each other and
thus all creatures come into being. Through such attraction the sage
influences men's hearts, and thus the world attains peace. From the
attractions they exert we can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and on
A mountain with a lake on its summit is stimulated by the moisture from
the lake. It has this advantage because its summit does not jut out as a peak
but is sunken. The image counsels that the mind should be kept humble and
free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up
counseling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone
A movement, before it is actually carried out, shows itself first in the toes.
The idea of an influence is already present, but is not immediately apparent to
others. As long as the intention has no visible effect, it is of no importance to
the outside world and leads neither to good nor to evil.
In movement, the calf of the leg follows the foot; by itself it can neither go
forward nor stand still. Since the movement is not self-governed, it bodes ill.
One should wait quietly until one is impelled to action by a real influence.
Then one remains uninjured.
Every mood of the heart influences us to movement. What the heart desires,
the thighs run after without a moment's hesitation; they hold to the heart,
which they follow. In the life of man, however, acting on the spur of every
caprice is wrong and if continued leads to humiliation. Three considerations
suggest themselves here. First, a man should not run precipitately after all the
persons whom he would like to influence, but must be able to hold back
under certain circumstances. As little should he yield immediately to every
whim of those in whose service he stands. Finally, where the moods of his
own heart are concerned, he should never ignore the possibility of inhibition,
for this is the basis of human freedom.
Here the place of the heart is reached. The impulse that springs from this
source is the most important of all. It is of particular concern that this
influence be constant and good; then, in spite of the danger arising from the
great susceptibility of the human heart, there will be no cause for remorse.
When the quiet power of a man's own character is at work, the effects
produced are right. All those who are receptive to the vibrations of such a
spirit will then be influenced. Influence over others should not express itself
as a conscious and willed effort to manipulate them. Through practicing such
conscious incitement, one becomes wrought up and is exhausted by the
eternal stress and strain. Moreover, the effects produced are then limited to
those on whom one's thoughts are consciously fixed.
The back of the neck is the most rigid part of the body. When the influence
shows itself there, the will remains firm and the influence does not lead to
confusion. Hence remorse does not enter into consideration here. What
takes place in the depths of one's being, in the unconscious mind. It is true
that if we cannot be influenced ourselves, we cannot influence the outside
The most superficial way of trying to influence others is through talk that has
nothing real behind it. The influence produced by such mere tongue wagging
must necessarily remain insignificant. Hence no indication is added
regarding good or bad fortune.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
The luck and success should accompany now to you owing to that sincere condition in which you stay. You now " on a wave " success. Here - here there will be some the unexpected events very favorable for you, almost each your step will bring success. Results will be those, that you and do not imagine now; it will introduce rest and the world in your soul. However after all excitements and experiences you, probably, will need to leave for a short while from affairs and to have a rest.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary