|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.
45. Clustering (cuì). Gathering Together
Always choose a deal that is real taking into consideration soul and your abilities. Do not start something that does not suit your nature.
Inital text of I Ching
Gathering Together. Success. The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to see the great man. This brings success. Perseverance furthers. To bring great offerings creates good fortune. It furthers one to undertake something.
Over the earth, the lake:
The image of Gathering Together. Thus the superior man renews his weapons in order to meet the unforseen.
- If you are sincere, but not to the end, there will sometimes be confusion, sometimes gathering together. If you call out, then after one grasp of the hand you can laugh again. Regret not. Going is without blame.
- Letting oneself be drawn brings good fortune and remains blameless. If one is sincere, it furthers one to bring even a small offering.
- Gathering together amid sighs. Nothing that would further. Going is without blame. Slight humiliation.
- Great good fortune. No blame.
- If in gathering together one has position, this brings no blame. If there are some who are not yet sincerely in the work, sublime and enduring perseverance is needed. Then remorse disappears.
- Lamenting and sighing, floods of tears. No blame.
The time is favorable for large new initiatives. Support of powerful people is possible. But there is uncertainty in soul - it is good. Correlate your capabilities with your plans. Do not task beyond your strength - it can crush. Beware of honor not by rank and praise that is not deserved. Do not prevaricate, do not cheat, beware of the same from others. If you make a mistake with the choice of targets, you will have big losses. There is a chance of windfall profit - good luck attends you. Illness is possible.
This hexagram is related in form and meaning to Pi, HOLDING TOGETHER. In the latter, water is over the earth; here a lake is over the earth. But
since the lake is a place where water collects, the idea of gathering together is
even more strongly expressed here than in the other hexagram. The same
idea also arises from the fact that in the present case it is two strong lines (the
fourth and the fifth) that bring about the gather together, whereas in the
former case one strong line (the fifth) stands in the midst of weak lines.
The gathering together of people in large communities is either a natural
occurrence, as in the case of the family, or an artificial one, as in the case of
the state. The family gathers about the father as its head. The perpetuation of
this gathering in groups is achieved through the sacrifice to the ancestors, at
which the whole clan is gathered together. Through the collective piety of
the living members of the family, the ancestors become so integrated in the
spiritual life of the family that it cannot be dispersed or dissolved.
Where men are to be gathered together, religious forces are needed. But
there must also be a human leader to serve as the center of the group. In
order to be able to bring others together, this leader must first of all be
collected within himself. Only collective moral force can unite the world.
Such great times of unification will leave great achievements behind them.
This is the significance of the great offerings that are made. In the secular
sphere likewise there is no need of great deeds in the time of GATHERING
If the water in the lake gathers until it rises above the earth, there is danger of
a break-through. Precautions must be taken to prevent this. Similarly where
men gather together in great numbers, strife is likely to arise; where
possessions are collected, robbery is likely to occur. Thus in the time of
GATHERING TOGETHER we must arm promptly to ward off the unexpected.
Human woes usually come as a result of unexpected events against which we
are not forearmed. If we are prepared, they can be prevented.
The situation is this: People desire to gather around a leader to whom they
look up. But they are in a large group, by which they allow themselves to be
influenced, so that they waver in their decision. Thus they lack a firm center
around which to gather. But if expression is given to this need, and if they
call for help, one grasp of the hand from the leader is enough to turn away all
distress. Therefore they must not allow themselves to be led astray. It is
undoubtedly right that they should attach themselves to this leader.
In the time of GATHERING TOGETHER, we should make no arbitrary choice
of the way. There are secret forces at work, leading together those who belong
together. We must yield to this attraction; then we make no mistakes.
Where inner relationships exist, no great preparations and formalities are
necessary. People understand one another forthwith, just as the Divinity
graciously accepts a small offering if it comes from the heart.
Often a man feels an urge to unite with others, but the individuals around
him have already formed themselves into a group, so that he remains
isolated. The whole situation proves untenable. Then he ought to choose
the way of progress, resolutely allying himself with a man who stands nearer
to the center of the group, and can help him to gain admission to the closed
circle. This is not a mistake, even though at first his position as an outsider is
This describes a man who gathers people around him in the name of his
ruler. Since he is not striving for any special advantages for himself but is
working unselfishly to bring about general unity, his work is crowned with
success, and everything becomes as it should be.
When people spontaneously gather around a man, it is only a good. It gives
him a certain influence that can be altogether useful.. But of course there is
also the possibility that many may gather around him not because of a feeling
of confidence but merely because of his influential position. This is certainly
to be regretted. The only means of dealing with such people is to gain their
confidence through steadfastness an intensified, unswerving devotion to
duty. In this way secret mistrust will gradually be overcome, and there will be
no occasion for regret.
It may happen that an individual would like to ally himself with another, but
his good intentions are misunderstood. Then he becomes sad and laments.
But this is the right course. For it may cause the other person to come to his
senses, so that the alliance that has been sought and so painfully missed is
after all achieved.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
This period is very favorable for you. All your business will crown success. A certain invisible force strengthens your relations with people, assists to find new friends and friends, to fasten contacts which in the further anyhow will appear favorable for you. Former works and efforts will be renumerated on merits. You are pursued by the woman, she aspires to block to you a way, to prevent to realization of your intentions, to interfere with your life. Despite of it, your desires will be executed.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary