|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.
53. Infiltrating (jiàn). Development
Moving slowly, we can achieve more. Unhurried ride provides an opportunity not only to reach a distant goal, without riding a horse to death and breaking the wagon, but also allows much to see and learn.
Inital text of I Ching
Development. The maiden is given in marriage. Good fortune. Perseverance furthers.
On the mountain, a tree:
The image of Development. Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue, in order to improve the mores.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the shore. The young son is in danger. There is talk. No blame.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the cliff. Eating and drinking in peace and concord. Good fortune.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the plateau. The man goes forth and does not return. The woman carries a child but does not bring it forth. Misfortune. It furthers one to fight off robbers.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the tree. Perhaps it will find a flat branch. No blame.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the summit. For three years the woman has no child. In the end nothing can hinder her. Good fortune.
- The wild goose gradually draws near the cloud heights. Its feathers can be used for the sacred dance. Good fortune.
Forces were set in motion. But this is only the beginning. Do not hurry time and events – way will be long, motion will be unhurried. Know how to wait patiently. Difficulties would be overcome if the effort is made. In relations with other be well-balanced, cautious. Keep the fight by the rules, look for peaceful solutions, do not be lazy to long negotiations - and then prevail over a rival. Personal relations are developing smoothly, in love - harmony.
This hexagram is made up of Sun (wood, penetration) above, i.e., without,
and Kên (mountain, stillness) below, i.e., within. A tree on a mountain
develops slowly according to the law of its being and consequently stands
firmly rooted. This gives the idea of a development that proceeds gradually,
step by step. The attributes of the trigrams also point to this: within is
tranquillity, which guards against precipitate actions, and without is
penetration, which makes development and progress possible.
The development of events that leads to a girl's following a man to his home
proceeds slowly. The various formalities must be disposed of before the
marriage takes place. This principle of gradual development can be applied to
other situations as well; it is always applicable where it is a matter of correct
relationships of co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official.
The development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action
would not be wise. This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on
others, for here too the essential factor is a correct way of development
through cultivation of one's own personality. No influence such as that
exerted by agitators has a lasting effect.
Within the personality too, development must follow the same course if
lasting results are to be achieved. Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same
time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm.
The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have
perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling
The tree on the mountain is visible from afar, and its development
influences the landscape of the entire region. It does not shoot up like a
swamp plant; its growth proceeds gradually. Thus also the work of
influencing people can be only gradual. No sudden influence or awakening
is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite gradual, and in order to obtain such
progress in public opinion and in the mores of the people, it is necessary for
the personality to acquire influence and weight. This comes about through
careful and constant work on one's own moral development.
All the individual lines in this hexagram symbolize the gradual flight of the
wild goose. The wild goose is the symbol of conjugal fidelity, because it is
believed that this bird never takes another mate after the death of the first.
The initial line suggests the first resting place in the flight of water birds
from the water to the heights. The shore is reached. The situation is that of a
lonely young man who is just starting out to make his way in life. Since no
one comes to help him, his first steps are slow and hesitant, and he is
surrounded by danger. Naturally he is subjected to much criticism. But these
very difficulties keep him from being too hasty, and his progress is successful.
The cliff is a safe place on shore. The development has gone a step further.
The initial insecurity has been overcome, and a safe position in life has been
found, giving one enough to live on. This first success, opening up a path to
activity, brings a certain joyousness of mood, and one goes to meet the future
It is said of the wild goose that it calls to its comrades whenever it finds
food; this is the symbol of peace and concord in good fortune. A man does
not want to keep his good luck for himself only, but is ready to share it with
The high plateau is dry and unsuitable for the wild goose. If it goes there, it
has lost its way and gone too far. This is contrary to the law of development.
It is the same in human life. If we do not let things develop quietly but
plunge of our own choice too rashly into a struggle, misfortune results. A
man jeopardizes his own life, and his family perishes thereby. However, this
is not all necessary; it is only the result of transgressing the law of natural
development. If one does not willfully provoke a conflict, but confines
himself to vigorously maintaining his own position and to warding off
unjustified attacks, all goes well.
A tree is not a suitable place for a wild goose. But if it is clever, it will find a
flat branch on which it can get a footing. A man's life too, in the course of its
development, often brings him into inappropriate situations, in which he
finds it difficult to hold his own without danger. Then it is important to be
sensible and yielding. This enables him to discover a safe place in which life
can go on, although he may be surrounded by danger.
The summit is a high place. In a high position one easily becomes isolated.
One is misjudged by the very person on whom one is dependent-the woman
by her husband, the official by his superior. This is the work of deceitful
persons who have wormed their way in. The result is that relationships
remain sterile, and nothing is accomplished. But in the course of further
development, such misunderstandings are cleared away, and reconciliation is
achieved after all.
Here life comes to its end. A man's work stands completed. The path rises
high toward heaven, like the flight of wild geese when they have left the
earth far behind. There they fly, keeping to the order of their flight in strict
formation. And if their feathers fall, they can serve as ornaments in the
sacred dance pantomimes performed in the temples. Thus the life of a man
who has perfected himself is a bright light for the people of earth, who look
up to him as an example.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Moving forward, carefully think over each step and then success will not change to you and in the further. If, not giving in on arrangements, you not begin to advance event, the happiness and success will be your satellites. The turtle has less chances to come to finish of the first, than at a hare. You in the beginning of a long way. Financial business will recover, and the patience and judiciousness will be renumerated eventually by performance of desires.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary