|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.
63. Already Fording (jì jì). After Completion
Weight your efforts, act gradually, and show self-possession and self-control. Value something you have but be ready to sacrifice it for sake of great aim achieving.
Inital text of I Ching
After Completion. Success in small matters. Perseverance furthers. At the beginning good fortune, at the end disorder.
Water over fire:
The image of the condition in After Completion. Thus the superior man takes thought of misfortune and arms himself against it in advance.
- He brakes his wheels. He gets his tail in the water. No blame.
- The woman loses the curtain of her carriage. Do not run after it; On the seventh day you will get it.
- The Illustrious Ancestor disciplines the Devil's Country. After three years he conquers it. Inferior people must not be employed.
- The finest clothes turn to rags. Be careful all day long.
- The neighbor in the east who slaughters an ox does not attain as much real happiness as the neighbor in the west with his small offering.
- He gets his head in the water. Danger.
Start with small steps, hope for favorable result and do not complain of fate. Do not wait for quick results and profit. Small has been achieved and, if following the natural course of things, it will turn into something great. On the whole, the situation is favorable but it should be lived carefully. Expect some sudden changes, chaos in future. But it is for the good: destruction of old creates conditions for new, chaos precedes new creative inspiration.
This hexagram is the evolution of T'ai PEACE (11). The transition from
confusion to order is completed, and everything is in its proper place even in
particulars. The strong lines are in the strong places, the weak lines in the
weak places. This is a very favorable outlook, yet it gives reason for thought.
For it is just when perfect equilibrium has been reached that any movement
may cause order to revert to disorder. The one strong line that has moved to
the top, thus effecting complete order in details, is followed by the other lines.
Each moving according to its nature, and thus suddenly there arises again the
hexagram P'i, STANDSTILL (12).
Hence the present hexagram indicates the conditions of a time of climax,
which necessitate the utmost caution.
The transition from the old to the new time is already accomplished. In
principle, everything stands systematized, and it si only in regard to details
that success is still to be achieved. In respect to this, however, we must be
careful to maintain the right attitude. Everything proceeds as if of its own
accord, and this can all too easily tempt us to relax and let thing take their
course without troubling over details. Such indifference is the root of all evil.
Symptoms of decay are bound to be the result. Here we have the rule
indicating the usual course of history. But this rule is not an inescapable law.
He who understands it is in position to avoid its effects by dint of unremitting
perseverance and caution.
When water in a kettle hangs over fire, the two elements stand in relation
and thus generate energy (cf. the production of steam). But the resulting
tension demands caution. If the water boils over, the fire is extinguished an
its energy is lost. If the heat is too great, the water evaporates into the air.
These elements here brought in to relation and thus generating energy are by
nature hostile to each other. Only the most extreme caution can prevent
damage. In life too there are junctures when all forces are in balance and
work in harmony, so that everything seems to be in the best of order. In such
times only the sage recognizes the moments that bode danger and knows how
to banish it by means of timely precautions.
In times following a great transition, everything is pressing forward, striving
in the direction of development and progress. But this pressing forward at
the beginning is not good; it overshoots the mark and leads with certainty to
loss and collapse. Therefore a man of strong character does not allow himself
to be infected by the general intoxication but checks his course in time. He
may indeed not remain altogether untouched by the disastrous consequences
of the general pressure, but he is hit only from behind like a fox that, having
crossed the water, at the last minute gets its tail wet. He will not suffer any
real harm, because his behavior has been correct.
When a woman drove out in her carriage, she had a curtain that hid her
from the glances of the curious. It was regarded as a breach of propriety to
drive on if this curtain was lost. Applied to public life, this means that a man
who wants to achieve something is not receiving that confidence of the
authorities which he needs, so to speak, for his personal protection.
Especially in times "after completion" it may happen that those who have
come to power grow arrogant and conceited and no longer trouble
themselves about fostering new talent.
This as a rule results in office seeking. If a man's superiors withhold their
trust from him, he will seek ways and means of getting it and of drawing
attention to himself. We are warned against such an unworthy procedure:
"Do not seek it." Do not throw yourself away on the world, but wait
tranquilly and develop your personal worth by your own efforts. Times
change. When the six stages of the hexagram have passed, the new era
dawns. That which is a man's own cannot be permanently lost. It comes to
him of its own accord. He need only be able to wait.
"Illustrious Ancestor" is the dynastic title of the Emperor Wu Ting of the Yin
dynasty. After putting his realm in order with a strong hand, he waged long
colonial wars for the subjection of the Huns who occupied the northern
borderland with constant threat of incursions.
The situation described is as follows. After times of completion, when a
new power has arisen and everything within the country has been set in
order, a period of colonial expansion almost inevitably follows. Then as a
rule long-drawn-out struggles must be reckoned with. For this reason, a
correct colonial policy is especially important. The territory won at such bitter
cost must not be regarded as an almshouse for people who in one way or
another have hade themselves impossible at home, but who are thought to
be quite good enough for the colonies. Such a policy ruins at the outset any
chance of success. This holds true in small as well as large matters, because it
is not only rising states that carry on a colonial policy; the urge to expand,
with its accompanying dangers, is part and parcel of every ambitious
In a time of flowering culture, an occasional convulsion is bound to occur,
uncovering a hidden evil within society and at first causing a great sensation.
But since the situation is favorable on the whole, such evils can easily be
glossed over and concealed from the public. Then everything is forgotten and
peace apparently reigns complacently once more. However, to the thoughtful
man, such occurrences are grave omens that he does not neglect. This is the
only way of averting evil consequences.
Religious attitudes are likewise influenced by the spiritual atmosphere
prevailing in times after completion. In divine worship the simple old forms
are replaced by an ever more elaborate ritual and an ever greater outward
display. But inner seriousness is lacking in this show of magnificence;
human caprice takes the place of conscientious obedience to the divine will.
However, while man sees what is before his eyes, God looks into the heart.
Therefore a simple sacrifice offered with real piety holds a greater blessing
than an impressive service without warmth.
Here in conclusion another warning is added. After crossing a stream, a
man's head can get into the water only if he is so imprudent as to turn back.
As long as he goes forward and does not look back, he escapes this danger.
But there is a fascination in standing still and looking back on a peril
overcome. However, such vain self-admiration brings misfortune. It leads
only to danger, and unless one finally resolves to go forward without
pausing, one falls a victim to this danger.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
If suddenly you now with someone will quarrel, it is better to address to you to somebody to the third who could mediate between you. If you once have excelled - it is not necessary to give in to desire again to repeat it. Think of this: if will follow to this advice the award will be to you full realization of your desires. It is not necessary to throw now all forces on new business; it will not lead to success. Of what you dream and to what aspire - will be executed, but eventually, not at once.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary