|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.
39. Limping (jiǎn). Obstruction
Happy is one who knows when to stop and change direction. It is impossible for a person to argue with a will of Heaven.
Inital text of I Ching
Obstruction. The southwest furthers. The northeast does not further. It furthers one to see the great man. Perseverance brings good fortune.
Water on the mountain:
The image of Obstruction. Thus the superior man turns his attention to himself and molds his character.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming meets with praise.
- The king's servant is beset by obstruction upon obstruction, but it is not his own fault.
- Going leads to obstructions; Hence he comes back.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming leads to union.
- In the midst of the greatest obstructions, friends come.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming leads to great good fortune. It furthers one to see the great man.
The situation creates an obstacle for further progress. It can be overcome after an unfortunate situation is resolved. If you try to get around it now – you will wastee energy, expose yourselves to more danger. Your advantage is to anticipate the danger and stop. Beware the wiles of enemies, do not enter a fight. Ask for help from a great man. Be firm. Accept the will of Heaven, and everything will change.
The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep,
inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by obstacles; at
the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping still, there is
implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The hexagram represents
obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can and should be
overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to overcoming
The southwest is the region of retreat, the northeast that of advance. Here an
individual is confronted by obstacles that cannot be overcome directly. In
such a situation it is wise to pause in view of the danger and to retreat.
However, this is merely a preparation for overcoming the obstructions. One
must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself under the
leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in
removing the obstacles. This requires the will to persevere just when one
apparently must do something that leads away from his goal. This
unswerving inner purpose brings good fortune in the end. An obstruction
that lasts only for a time is useful for self-development. This is the value of
Difficulties and obstructions throw a man back upon himself. While the
inferior man seeks to put the blame on other persons, bewailing his fate, the
superior man seeks the error within himself, and through this introspection
the external obstacle becomes for him an occasion for inner enrichment and
When one encounters an obstruction, the important thing is to reflect on
how best to deal with it. When threatened with danger, one should not strive
blindly to go ahead, for this only leads to complications. The correct thing is,
on the contrary, to retreat for the time being, not in order to give up the
struggle but to await the right moment for action.
Ordinarily it is best to go around an obstacle and try to overcome it along the
line of least resistance. But there is one instance in which a man must go out
to meet the trouble, even though difficulty piles upon difficulty: this is when
the path of duty leads directly to it-in other words, when he cannot act of his
own volition but is duty bound to go and seek out danger in the service of a
higher cause. Then he may do it without compunction, because it is not
through any fault of his that he is putting himself in this difficult situation.
While the preceding line shows the official compelled by duty to follow the
way of danger, this line shows the man who must act as father of a family or
as head of his kin. If he were to plunge recklessly in to danger, it would be a
useless act, because those entrusted to his care cannot get along by themselves.
But if he withdraws and turns back to his own, they welcome him with great
This too describes a situation that cannot be managed single-handed. In such
a case the direct way is not the shortest. If a person were to forge ahead on his
own strength and without the necessary preparations, he would not find the
support he needs and would realize too late that he has been mistaken in his
calculations, inasmuch as the conditions on which he hoped he could rely
would prove to be inadequate. In this case it is better, therefore, to hold back
for the time being and to gather together trustworthy companions who can be
counted upon for help in overcoming the obstructions.
Here we see a man who is called to help in an emergency. He should not seek
to evade the obstructions, no matter how dangerously they pile up before
him. But because he is really called to the task, the power of his spirit is strong
enough to attract helpers whom he can effectively organize, so that through
the well-directed co-operation of all participants the obstruction is overcome.
This refers to a man who has already left the world and its tumult behind
him. When the time of obstructions arrives, it might seem that the simplest
thing for him to do would be to turn his back upon the world and take refuge
in the beyond. But this road is barred to him. He must not seek his own
salvation and abandon the world to its adversity. Duty calls him back once
more into the turmoil of life. Precisely because of his experience and inner
freedom, he is able to create something both great and complete that brings
good fortune. And it is favorable to see the great man in alliance with whom
one can achieve the work of rescue.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Alas, but this one of the worst hexagrams. The more efforts you apply, the appear rejected back further. It is difficult to tell, why, but at present fate your destiny does not interest. Is better to plunge now into study, reading, scientific activity, it is simple in whirlpool of house affairs, and in them to find calm. Probably, that a little your friends will support to you. Try to track the charges: during this bad period you can remain without means.