|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.
54. Converting The Maiden (guī mèi). The Marrying Maiden
Becoming a victim of circumstances, try to save yourself from inside. Everyone has something that nobody else can infringe, regardless of power they possess.
Inital text of I Ching
The Marrying Maiden. Undertakings bring misfortune. Nothing that would further.
Thunder over the lake:
The image of the Marrying Maiden. Thus the superior man understands the transitory in the light of the eternity of the end.
- The marrying maiden as a concubine. A lame man who is able to tread. Undertakings bring good fortune.
- A one-eyed man who is able to see. The perseverance of a solitary man furthers.
- The marrying maiden as a slave. She marries as a concubine.
- The marrying maiden draws out the allotted time. A late marriage comes in due course.
- The sovereign I gave his daughter in marriage. The embroidered garments of the princess were not as gorgeous as those of the servingmaid. The moon that is nearly full brings good fortune.
- The woman holds the basket, but there are no fruits in it. The man stabs the sheep, but no blood flows. Nothing that acts to further. A late marriage comes in due course.
It is not the happiest period of your life. Circumstances dictate the terms. There is no freedom of action - no joy and satisfaction. You'll have to sacrifice your desires for the sake of duty, or simply follow someone else's will. To a large extent, the situation is determined by social status. Perhaps the turning point of the situation comes to a full moon. Anyway, do not let trample your soul, otherwise you get in captivity for a long time.
Above we have Chên, the eldest son, and below, Tui, the youngest daughter.
The man leads and the girl follows him in gladness. The picture is that of the
entrance of the girl into her husband's house. In all, there are four
hexagrams depicting the relationship between husband and wife. Hsien,
INFLUENCE, (31), describes the attraction that a young couple have for each
other; Hêng, DURATION (32), portrays the permanent relationships of
marriage; Chien, DEVELOPMENT (53), reflects the protracted, ceremonious
procedures attending THE MARRYING MAIDEN, shows a young girl under
the guidance of an older man who marries her.
A girl who is taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave
with special caution and reserve. She must not take it upon herself to
supplant the mistress of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to
The same is true of all voluntary relationships between human beings.
While legally regulated relationships based on personal inclination depend in
the long run entirely on tactful reserve.
Affection as the essential principle of relatedness is of the greatest
importance in all relationships in the world. For the union of heaven and
earth is the origin of the whole of nature. Among human beings likewise,
spontaneous affection is the all-inclusive principle of union.
Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves.
This symbolizes the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every
relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns
may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements.
Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we
permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the
day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that
endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer
relationships of people.
The princess of ancient China maintained a fixed order of rank among the
court ladies, who were subordinated to the queen as are younger sisters to the
eldest. Frequently they came from the family of the queen, who herself led
them to her husband.
The meaning is that a girl entering a family with the consent of the wife
will not rank outwardly as the equal of the latter but will withdraw modestly
into the background. However, if she understands how to fit herself into the
pattern of things, her position will be entirely satisfactory, and she will feel
sheltered in the love of the husband to whom she bears children.
The same meaning is brought out in the relationships between officials. A
man may enjoy the personal friendship of a prince and be taken into his
confidence. Outwardly this man must keep tactfully in the background
behind the official ministers of state, but, although he is hampered by this
status, as if he were lame, he can nevertheless accomplish something through
the kindliness of his nature.
Here the situation is that of a girl married to a man who has disappointed
her. Man and wife ought to work together like a pair of eyes. Here the girl is
left behind in loneliness; the man of her choice either has become unfaithful
or has died. But she does not lost the inner light of loyalty. Thought the
other eye is gone, she maintains her loyalty even in loneliness.
A girl who is in a lowly position and finds no husband may, in some
circumstances, still win shelter as a concubine.
This pictures the situation of a person who longs too much for joys that
cannot be obtained in the usual way. He enters upon a situation not
altogether compatible with self-esteem. Neither judgment nor warning is
added to this line; it merely lays bare the actual situation, so that everyone
may draw a lesson from it.
The girl is virtuous. She does not wish to throw herself away, and allows the
customary time for marriage to slip by. However, there is no harm in this;
she is rewarded for her purity and, even though belatedly, finds the husband
intended for her.
The sovereign I is T'ang the Completer. This ruler decreed that the imperial
princesses should be subordinated to their husbands in the same manner as
other women (cf. Hexagram 11, six in the fifth place). The emperor does not
wait for a suitor to woo his daughter but gives her in marriage when he sees
fit. Therefore it is in accord with custom for the girl's family to take the
We see here a girl of aristocratic birth who marries a man of modest
circumstances and understands how to adapt herself with grace to the new
situation. She is free of all vanity of outer adornment, and forgetting her rank
in her marriage, takes a place below that of her husband, just as the moon,
before it is quite full, does not directly face the sun.
At the sacrifice to the ancestors, the woman had to present harvest offerings
in a basket, while the man slaughtered the sacrificial animal with his own
hand. Here the ritual is only superficially fulfilled; the woman takes an
empty basket and the man stabs a sheep slaughtered beforehand-solely to
preserve the forms. This impious, irreverent attitude bodes no good for a
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
It is necessary for you always and in all to be cautious, especially in affairs love. Try to perceive all event easy and coolly, differently you can get in very unpleasant position. Execution of desires is delayed. It is not necessary vanities. Now for you such time when it is better to wait and think. And at the same time it is the period when incomes exceed charges. Any more behind mountains more positive stage, and the nearest weeks it is necessary to devote itself to its preparation.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary