|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.
8. Grouping (bǐ). Holding Together
If people want to agree and unite, gods take their side the.
Inital text of I Ching
Holding Together brings good fortune. Inquire of the oracle once again whether you possess sublimity, constancy, and perseverance; Then there is no blame. Those who are uncertain gradually join. Whoever comes too late meets with misfortune.
On the earth is water:
The image of Holding Together. Thus the kings of antiquity bestowed the different states as fiefs and cultivated friendly relations with the feudal lords.
- Hold to him in truth and loyalty; This is without blame. Truth, like a full earthen bowl: thus in the end good fortune comes from without.
- Hold to him inwardly. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- You hold together with the wrong people.
- Hold to him outwardly also. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- Manifestation of holding together. In the hunt the king uses beaters on three sides only and foregoes game that runs off in front. The citizens need no warning. Good fortune.
- He finds no head for holding together. Misfortune.
The sign is positive. Do not resist one who seeks to get closer to you. Be careful not to be late – hurry up! Delay is equal to denial. The path of convergence can be difficult and time consuming. Do not be afraid of bad luck. Follow the rules and arrangements, and avoid omissions and misunderstanding. Rely on help and support of trusted people. Do not seek to occupy a dominant position. But when it is necessary, you can show firmness. Use experience; do not let knowledge become useless.
The waters on the surface of the earth flow together wherever they can, as for
example in the ocean, where all the rivers come together. Symbolically this
connotes holding together and the laws that regulate it. The same idea is
suggested by the fact that all the lines of the hexagram except the fifth, the
place of the ruler, are yielding. The yielding lines hold together because they
are influenced by a man of strong will in the leading position, a man who is
their center of union. Moreover, this strong and guiding personality in turn
holds together with the others, finding in them the complement of his own
What is required is that we unite with others, in order that all may
complement and aid one another through holding together. But such
holding together calls for a central figure around whom other persons may
unite. To become a center of influence holding people together is a grave
matter and fraught with great responsibility. It requires greatness of spirit,
consistency, and strength. Therefore let him who wishes to gather others
about him ask himself whether he is equal to the undertaking, for anyone
attempting the task without a real calling for it only makes confusion worse
than if no union at all had taken place.
But when there is a real rallying point, those who at first are hesitant or
uncertain gradually come in of their own accord. Late-comers must suffer the
consequences, for in holding together the question of the right time is also
important. Relationships are formed and firmly established according to
definite inner laws. Common experiences strengthen these ties, and he who
comes too late to share in these basic experiences must suffer for it if, as a
straggler, he finds the door locked.
If a man has recognized the necessity for union and does not feel strong
enough to function as the center, it is his duty to become a member of some
other organic fellowship.
Water fills up all the empty places on the earth and clings fast to it. The social
organization of ancient China was based on this principle of the holding
together of dependents and rulers. Water flows to unite with water, because
all parts of it are subject to the same laws. So too should human society hold
together through a community of interests that allows each individual to feel
himself a member of a whole. The central power of a social organization
must see to it that every member finds that his true interest lies in holding
together with it, as was the case in the paternal relationship between king and
vassals in ancient China.
Fundamental sincerity is the only proper basis for forming relationships.
This attitude, symbolized by a full earthen bowl, in which the content is
everything and the empty form nothing, shows itself not in clever words but
through the strength of what lies within the speaker. This strength is so great
that it has power to attract good fortune to itself from without.
If a person responds perseveringly and in the right way to the behests from
above that summon him to action, his relations with others are intrinsic and
he does not lose himself. But if a man seeks association with others as if he
were an obsequious office hunter, he throws himself away. He does not
follow the path of the superior man, who never loses his dignity.
We are often among people who do not belong to our own sphere. In that
case we must beware of being drawn into false intimacy through force of
habit. Needless to say, this would have evil consequences. Maintaining
sociability without intimacy is the only right attitude toward people, because
otherwise we should not be free to enter into relationship with people of our
own kind later on.
Here the relations with a man who is the center of union are well established.
Then we may, and indeed we should, show our attachment openly. But we
must remain constant and not allow ourselves to be led astray.
In the royal hunts of ancient China it was customary to drive up the game
from three sides, but on the fourth the animals had a chance to run off. If
they failed to do this they had to pass through a gate behind which the king
stood ready to shoot. Only animals that entered here were shot; those that
ran off in front were permitted to escape. This custom accorded with a kingly
attitude; the royal hunter did not wish to turn the chase into a slaughter, but
held that the kill should consist only of those animals which had so to speak
voluntarily exposed themselves.
There is depicted here a ruler, or influential man, to whom people are
attracted. Those who come to him he accepts, those who do not come are
allowed to go their own way. He invited none, flatters none--all come of
their own free will. In this way there develops a voluntary dependence
among those who hold him. They do not have to be constantly on their
guard but may express their opinions openly. Police measures are not
necessary, and they cleave to their ruler of their own volition. The same
principle of freedom is valid for life in general. We should not woo favor
from people. If a man cultivates within himself the purity and the strength
that are necessary for one who is the center of a fellowship, those who are
meant for him come of their own accord.
The head is the beginning. If the beginning is not right, there is no hope of a
right ending. If we have missed the right moment for union and go on
hesitating to give complete and full devotion, we shall regret the error when
it is too late.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Now all worst already behind. But unresolved there were still some difficult problems. The success will accompany you, only if you will operate in cooperation with other people that is why do not avoid common causes, try to participate in them. It is not necessary to neglect and the duties. Be true to itself, in fact mutual understanding and respect as is necessary in relations between people loving each other, as well as between the teacher and the pupil. Listen to advice of the friends, and the heads; performance of your desires depends on this in many respects. Absolutely improper time for gamblings.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary