788777Hexagram 25

Natural innocence.

Line image

The top half of the hexagram, which deals with the responses of identity, is not involved, not connected with the manifesting half, all the lines are yang. This lack of being in touch with what is going on gives us a lack of guile or calculated wisdom and we act simply with what is there—an active outer world, line 3, and an active intuitive feel for our situation, line 2. Without premeditation we meet the unexpected, and an established identity has some qualms about that.

Trigram image

The tao is experienced as a very gentle flow, shown by Sun in the place of identity and then Ch’ien for our inner being indicating an inner non-involvement. The state of innocence is both vulnerable and protected—vulnerable to being influenced by the active life force (Chên) but as it does not entangle itself with the influence it is rarely damaged; it flows by disaster with breathtaking ease. The problems we have in this tao come from identity being unable to let go and enter the flow; this is indicated by the unflowing nature of Sun which stills the outer flow, Kên.

The Chinese Oracle

Innocent integrity.
Great success.
Continuing (in the tao) brings reward.
Action without the best (innocent) motives brings misfortune.
Having goals is not favourable.


Innocence is about not knowing, not having attitudes but relying on a trust in life. Integrity is being one in this trust, not doubting that the natural flow of happenings will carry us. Continuing in this trust brings its reward of harmonious activity, for in this tao we in identity are unaware of the forces acting around us; then thought-out or non-innocent activity becomes cunning and guile which is always against something and so is misfortunate. This activity is having goals, missing fortune.


The pattern
Confusion does not disturb
those without involvement.
For humans
Purified of motive
has no need with which to fear.
holds the hand of anger smiling,
steps lightly through confusion.
In nature
When the storm roars
the animal sleeps
in its dry cave.
In forms we make
The need of form
makes ways to map.
Mapped confusion—guile.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

As the life force manifests actively here, it is easy to follow it innocently. There is no complication because innocence does not try to manipulate or identify itself anywhere but simply experiences; identity finds it easiest to do this with a new activity.

The Chinese Image
Truly innocent activity.
Good fortune.

The life force becomes active in its natural cycle so that a clear flow will appear within it which is easy to follow.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

When our feeling does not interpret the life force, we act innocently; there is no basis for planning what to do with our situation

The Chinese Image
He reaps not having sown with a thought for harvest.
He collects the third year’s harvest but did not cultivate to this end.
Advantage in every direction.

Truly innocent activity cannot be planned; the changes (third year symbolizes changing in cycles) come of their own accord although we also reap what we sow. Being like this our direction is not confined, there is advantage in any direction that happens.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

It is the nature of identity to identify the life flow and give it form. Here the outer flow is fixed and so is lost.

The Chinese Image
Unexpected calamity.
Rope, and an ox taken away.
Gain to the traveller,
loss to the resident.

The unexpected comes to us when we are not in the flow (when in the flow the unexpected is normality). By roping the ox we lose it; when we travel in the flow the unexpected is a gain, a step forward, but when we settle down we turn it into a loss because we do not want change expect that which we plan for.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

It is in this line that identity monitors our outer activity, so we may also manipulate it for our own ends.

The Chinese Image
Continuing correctly (in the tao) is blameless.

It is necessary to follow the tao, it is fine to be involved in outer activity if we do this innocently; if we see a gain for ourselves we will lose our innocence.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we absorb ourselves in the feeling of stillness from the emerging life force and hope to gain something, but the life force will move again when it will, and all we will gain by our interest in its inactivity is an entanglement in feeling stillness which creates a blockage of activity.

The Chinese Image
Unexpected illness should not be treated but will cure itself.

Illness is at base always an interruption in the flow of something, a blockage of function. Being involved in the stillness of the life force causes us to manifest it, but it will pass as the life energy flows again.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

Innocence brings on the unexpected, but to intentionally travel out to meet the unexpected is not innocence, it is a sort of cunning to defeat its unexpectedness. In the whole of this tao the harmonious is uncomplicated by desires and goals, identity is carried by the life force and has problems if it imposes its will.

The Chinese Image
Action amongst innocence (or the unexpected) brings injury.

Any action that we take through our interest in the unexpected flow is bound to be an interference with it. As in the fifth line we are acting out of discomfort and not allowing it to pass through our experience.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 53


Line image

The active emerging life force (line 1) leaves our inner being unchanged (line 6); our active intuitive feeling is ignored by our identity (lines 2 and 5), while we accept an inactive outer world (lines 4 and 3). This is not a structure to carry much flow or achievement but rather a stubborn, almost perverse, obstruction to outer change. An attitude of patience and continuation of effort is required to produce results; with this is a desire to find a place to rest from the continuing effort, shown by line 4.

Trigram image

As the life force emerges it is stilled in the image of Kên and has little flow outside (K’an). We are hesitant to act (Li) and our structured inner being is difficult to change (Sun). This unflowing tao is most usefully experienced in a docile manner; it is strong and we do best to comply with it, moving where and how it will allow. We can learn from it the strength of necessity and also that our own necessities have the strength to make progress without our forcing them. Its common name is “gradual progress”.

The Chinese Oracle

Gradual progress.
Like a maiden’s marriage,
bringing good fortune.
Continuance in the way
brings advantage.


Circumstances are too stubborn for much movement to take place, but feeling is active and is a movement we can benefit from if we can become one with it, hence the symbol of a maiden’s marriage; this will serve us better than continually reassessing our situation. Continuance is of course necessary to harvest the fruits of gradual progress.

The image common to all the lines which move is the progress of a wild goose. The goose migrates over great distances and the various images show the vicissitudes of his arrival—our own arrival in wholeness where flow is neither resisted nor pressured and so is harmonious.


The pattern
Clinging to the firm
avoids being swept away;
allows progress
where there is opposition.
For humans
Endurance gives time
for achieving ends.
A presence continued
acquires influence.
Amongst uncertainty
he remains calm and firm.
In nature
The tree on the mountain
grows tenaciously,
refusing to be uprooted.
In forms we make
That which continues
while changing
to meet circumstances
has the art of endurance.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here the life force comes to a state of rest, so activities that we are just beginning may run into difficulties as their energy peters out. If we do not push forward we may seem weak to those who do not recognize the situation but we do best to go at the pace that circumstances allow.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose
gradually approaches the shore.
The son has difficulties.
There is criticism but no error.

The wild goose approaches land and so a place to rest; renewal, however, (the son) has difficulties, young or new efforts are not supported by the life force. The lack of progress towards any completion leads to criticism but it is not our fault, it is time for gradually finishing a journey, not starting a new one.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Here our feelings become stilled by the tao and we can relax efforts towards activity. There is no need and no profit to be gained from pushing forward towards what we desire, there is enough nourishment here in our present situation to rest and renew us.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose gradually approaches rock.
Contented eating and drinking.
Good fortune.

Rock is what underlies the surface and so is symbolic of underlying truth. The truth of our situation is that we can relax and enjoy what nourishment our circumstances provide—there is no need to continue the journey at present.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In a tao that has so little flow it is not an advantage to set out on new activity because it is not supported by the life energy and will not reach completion. Identity’s need for activity tempts us to move, activity is its food, but here it will lead us astray.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches a dry land.
The man goes out and does not return.
The woman is with child but does not give forth.
It is time to ward off evil.

The goose has gone too far, its natural habitat is near water and here it approaches dry land; we identify too far into a defined world where values are fixed, dry so unflowing, so the defining element in us (the man) is projected into our circumstances and is lost there. The flowing and feeling element in us could give birth to new experience but cannot bring it forth because we identify our outer self as the source of action and ignore the womb where growth occurs “of itself”. The evil is this narrow attitude.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

In this line we are less interested in holding off activity, we allow it to be what comes, so we may find that there is a way, in which case we can take advantage of it, or we may find that there is not and we must be prepared to carry on. Persisting in this mode of being we ride life, allowing it to take us on its way, and we learn lessons about our desire for security.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches a tree.
It may find a branch to land on.
No error.

Geese do not live in trees; identity may visit identified places but they are not its home either. This visiting is not an error but neither is it a home-coming.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

As our intuitive state is active (line 2) this recognition of it restores the flow of feeling to our conscious self.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches the crest of a hill.
Three years the woman has no child, then success comes.
Good fortune.

For a goose the crest of a hill does not mean home, it is something to rise over. This images an effort and then success and the three years the woman waits for her child is a period of change, change to new feeling which allows the natural processes to complete themselves.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

By accepting the tao in our inner being we give up trying to force the pace and so we become part of this phase of gradual progress. In our bodies if a part calls attention to itself it is taken as a sign that something is wrong, it is no longer part of the organic whole but has become separate. Similarly identity is part of our whole being and the being is healthy when identity is not demonstrating its separateness.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose gradually
approaches the heights.
Its feathers are used in ritual.
Good fortune.

Heaven and spirituality are imaged as “above” so the heights are towards heaven or the inner whole reality, the state of wholeness. The goose (our identifying) disappears into this unmanifest reality leaving just an outer appearance, the feathers, as indicators of where it has gone.