|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.
47. Confining (kùn). Oppression
Life - is itself a reason for joy, regardless of side it turns to you.
Inital text of I Ching
Oppression. Success. Perseverance. The great man brings about good fortune. No blame. When one has something to say, it is not believed.
There is no water in the lake:
The image of Exhaustion. Thus the superior man stakes his life on following his will.
- One sits oppressed under a bare tree and strays into a gloomy valley. For three years one sees nothing.
- One is oppressed while at meat and drink. The man with the scarlet knee bands is just coming. It furthers one to offer sacrifice. To set forth brings misfortune. No blame.
- A man permits himself to be oppressed by stone, and leans on thorns and thistles. He enters his house and does not see his wife. Misfortune.
- He comes very quietly, oppressed in a golden carriage. Humiliation, but the end is reached.
- His nose and feet are cut off. Oppression at the hands of the man with the purple knee bands. Joy comes softly. It furthers one to make offerings and libations.
- He is oppressed by creeping vines. He moves uncertainly and says, "Movement brings remorse". If one feels remorse over this and makes a start, good fortune comes.
There comes a time of decline. Your forces are exhausted, and now there is no desire to get down to business and move forward. Look for support in your soul. Beware of losing direction and spend energy on unnecessary worries and complaints, fear of losing freedom. Strive for solitude, focus on the inner life. Appreciate the time of enforced idleness - it is the best time to sort out internal problems, to find peace of mind and accumulate energy. There are rumors, idle gossip - do not worry, they are groundless. Pay attention to your health.
The lake is above, water below; the lake is empty, dried up. Exhaustion is
expressed in yet another way: at the top, a dark line is holding down two light
line; below, a light line is hemmed in between two dark ones. The upper
trigram belongs to the principle of darkness, the lower to the principle of
light. Thus everywhere superior men are oppressed and held in restraint by
Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to
success if they; befall the right man. When a strong man meets with
adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the
source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who
lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if
adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in
time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great
man brings about goof fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the
time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no
effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and
sparing of words.
When the water has flowed out below, the lake must dry up and become
exhausted. That is fate. This symbolizes an adverse fate in human life. In
such times there is nothing a man can do but acquiesce in his fate and remain
true to himself. This concerns the deepest stratum of his being, for this alone
is superior to all external fate.
When adversity befalls a man, it is important above all things for him to be
strong and to overcome the trouble inwardly. If he is weak, the trouble
overwhelms him. Instead of proceeding on his way, he remains sitting under
a bare tree and falls ever more deeply into gloom and melancholy. This
makes the situation only more and more hopeless. Such an attitude comes
from an inner delusion that he must by all means overcome.
This pictures a state of inner oppression. Externally, all is well, one has meat
and drink. But one is exhausted by the commonplaces of life, and there
seems to be no way of escape. Then help comes from a high place. A prince-
in ancient China princes wore scarlet knee bands- is in search of able helpers.
But there are still obstructions to be overcome. Therefore it is important to
meet these obstructions in the visible realm by offerings and prayer. To set
forth without being prepared would be disastrous, though not morally wrong.
Here a disagreeable situation must be overcome by patience of spirit.
This shows a man who is restless and indecisive in times of adversity. At
first he wants to push ahead, then he encounters obstructions that, it is true,
mean oppression only when recklessly dealt with. He butts his head against a
wall and in consequence feels himself oppressed by the wall. Then he leans
on things that have in themselves no stability and that are merely a hazard
for him who leans on them. Thereupon he turns back irresolutely and
retires into his house, only to find, as a fresh disappointment, that his wife is
not there. Confucius says about this line:
If a man permits himself to be oppressed by something that ought not to
oppress him, his name will certainly be disgraced. If he leans on things upon
which one cannot lean, his life will certainly be endangered. For him who is
in disgrace and danger, the hour of death draws near; how can he then still
see his wife?
A well-to-do man sees the need of the lower classes and would like very
much to be of help. But instead of proceeding with speed and energy where
their is need, he begins in a hesitant and measured way. Then he encounters
obstructions. Powerful and wealthy acquaintances draw him into their circle;
he has to do as they do and cannot withdraw from them. Hence he finds
himself in great embarrassment. But the trouble is transitory. The original
strength of his nature offsets the mistake he has made, and the goal is
An individual who has the good of mankind at heart is oppressed from
above and below (this is the meaning of the cutting off of nose an defeat). He
finds no help among the people whose duty it would be to aid in the work of
rescue (ministers wore purple knee bands). But little by little, things take a
turn for the better. Until that time, he should turn to God, firm in his inner
composure, and pray and offer sacrifice for the general well-being.
A man is oppressed by bonds that can easily be broken. The distress is
drawing to an end. But he is still irresolute; he is still influenced by the
previous condition and fears that he may have cause for regret if he makes a
move. But as soon as he grasps the situation, changes this mental attitude,
and makes a firm decision, he masters the oppression.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Now for you time when it is not necessary to be accepted to something has come. This hexagram - one of four worst. It is necessary to wait some time, to put in order the ideas. Very probably, that the hand of the help to you will be stretched by the person whom you well know also which occupies high enough position; do not reject his advice. In fact now to you it is very poorly trusted in own forces. But circumstances will change for the better, and this period of bad luck will end.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary