787888Hexagram 36

Effort through resistance.

Line image

We feel and accept the quietness of the life force (lines 2 and 6) and of our outer world (line 4). Feeling will be dominant as there is no other activity for us to identify, lines 1 and 3 being yang. So this is about feeling a lack or failure of identification and as this distinguishing we do is the “light” of our intelligence the common name of the hexagram is “darkening of the light”.

Trigram image

With a hesitant emerging energy (Li) which falls to a low in the outside world (K’an) there is not much to please our identifying function (identity), but this dearth of material causes changes in us, perhaps even traumatic ones (Chên) which create a free flow of activity in our inner being (K’un).

The inner and outer views of this tao are very different, it is developing a great movement in our inner being which will be nourishing, but the outer identified experience is a frustration of activity. If we identify ourselves with what we can do, therefore, this will be a hard tao, but if we can go with this inner movement it is very beautiful and approaches a major transition.

The Chinese Oracle

Darkening of the light.
Continuance in the way despite difficulty.
Advantageous realizations.


The light of identity comes from something to identify, which at present is not available. As in hexagram 29 we must not give ourselves up for lost just because we have lost our freedom; there we lost it in identification with polarity, here we lose it because we are no longer supported by that polarity which was our guiding light for distinguishing the real. Our motivation fails here, our sense of the real, and by continuing, not seeking a new motivation but in “the way” which is being within our present circumstances, we find a beauty we had not expected; it was obscured by the brightness of our personal light. The opportunity here is to find that we can see in the darkness—reality is real even if we do not shine our light upon it (defining it in our own terms).


The pattern
Outward movement of the life force
is opposed but not quenched.
Its work in the opposition itself
is creating life
to the benefit of the world.
For humans
He cannot achieve his purpose,
turns his frustration
to lasting benefit for others.
In nature
Earth-fire under water does not shine.
The seas boil, new islands appear.
In forms we make
Efforts are absorbed
by fluidity of form.
Continuing the effort
enables unexpected forms to appear.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

The inner activity shown here draws our motivation inwards and the outer energy is depleted.

The Chinese Image
He flies with drooping wings.
The superior man, in his cycle,
goes without food for three days.
The people speak of it.

Motivated parts of our identity, the people, do not like the situation, but the wide view is that one must go with the cycle and experience all its aspects.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Here we feel the life force less and have some confusion, so we ride life, we ride on the acceptance in this tao which enables us to act without owning the action.

The Chinese Image
Injured in the left thigh.
Strength in the horse gives relief.

The left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain where immediate, whole action dominates; the thigh gives power to the knee joint as we run and leap. These together with injury show that our ability to move instinctively in our circumstances is impaired. We are helped by allowing ourselves to be carried.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In this tao the light, the identification, becomes inner so the Chinese image speaks of the increasing outer activity of this line as a rebel.

The Chinese Image
The light is darkened
during a hunt to the south.
The rebel leader is captured.
Excess should be avoided.

The hunt is for identification and the south stands for the high noon of activity, so we have this rebel identification in the outer place; what leads this is the desire to be in control of circumstances and the tao does not support this. If, however, we take outer activity itself as the evil this is excessive.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Our outer world is inactive. We withhold our identification even from this inactivity and experience something that is most inner.

The Chinese Image
He enters the left side of the belly;
reaches mind in darkness.
Leaves the gate and courtyard.

Entering the centre of the instinctive there is no sense at all (no light of reason). Reason in the mind is the contained reality that we leave here; it is not that we become unreasonable but we enter a reality undefined, unfenced, outside the gate and courtyard.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Here we become less involved because the feeling is too painful. This tao has a transitory nature because outer expression cannot be held for a long time without stress developing from the essential need to manifest, and if this is blocked we must feel less or break through the blockage. This moving line indicates that we cannot easily experience the silence any longer but we have this way of withstanding it by withdrawing attention.

The Chinese Image
Darkening of the light
like that of prince Chi.
Persistence although wounded.

Prince Chi lived at a time of outer despotism and he hid his convictions in order to preserve them. Here we do likewise. When wounded we are unable to give battle.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

This tao of inner experience is supported largely by this line 6 accepting the quietness of the emerging life force in line 1. Here this acceptance goes and inner reality is inaccessible to us, the beauty is not seen and the tao takes on its aspect of a blockage to progress.

The Chinese Image
No light, only darkness.
First he rose to heaven
then fell into the earth.

When our inner being fails to accept the implications of wholeness, which include the sacrifice of identifying, we go back to the identified state to start a new cycle of growth, like a seed falling from a flower into the earth. We still need that experience.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 40

Release from indecision.

Line image

Here is an absence of direct knowledge of the life force and an absence of interest in the outer world, lines 2 and 4 are yang while all the other lines are yin. Identity is aware of the quiet state of feeling (line 5) so we are not stressed either from inner feeling or outer activities.

Trigram image

The manifesting flow oscillates between K’an and Li and so does not have a direction; however the trigram about the inner being is Chên which has a decisive energy and great flow, this releases us from the indecision we have been in. The common name of the hexagram is “deliverance” or “release”; release comes from separating our being from the seeking and doing that was fuelling the see-saw.

The Chinese Oracle

The south and west are favourable.
If there is no activity to be accomplished
there is good fortune in returning.
If there is activity unfinished
a speedy end is favoured.


The south and west is where the sun traverses the sky as it goes from full activity to rest, so completing activity is favoured here if there is still something uncompleted.


The pattern
A new way leads out of
insecurity and vacillation.
Release from indecision.
For humans
Taking both.
Allowing tension through him,
not dodging it,
he comes to decision
and is released.
In nature
Torrential rain—mud.
Baking sun—rock.
Torrents again—mud.
between earth and heaven
flashes lightning and is no more.
Delicate tendrils, messengers,
can feel their way again.
In forms we make
Uncertainty of direction
is oscillation faster than complete action.
Taking both damps vibrations.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

When beset with polarity we are in stress, choosing yet unable to make a choice and changing our choice even before putting it into effect. Here in this line the life force becomes quiet and this gives choice a rest.

The Chinese Image
No error.

It is the life flow emerging more quietly and lessening the stress, it is not our doing and cannot possibly be an error, but when beset by choice we are always overconscious of error.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Greater activity of our intuitive feeling enables us to find direction in the life force.

The Chinese Image
He kills three foxes.
One yellow arrow.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.

Yellow is an active colour (almost in the middle of our visible spectrum), applied to an arrow which indicates a chosen direction—we have chosen an active direction; this direction is between extremes, being given as “one” which is the whole or middle way of unchoosing. This direction ends the vacillation of choice which deprived us of identifying, in the same way a fox deprives man of his nourishment (three foxes because continual change of choice was the problem).

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

To obtain freedom of flow identity needs to act out without identifying itself in the movement. Here in the line we seem to be confused about this and expect the life force to carry us out of stress without our taking part at all.

The Chinese Image
Riding in a carriage and carrying property he invites robbers.
Continuance brings misfortune.

We want to be carried yet we do not want to let go; not allowing activity is still controlling it.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

To become involved in outer activity is to make it our own; this gives entanglement, not deliverance. Only when we take ourselves out of the equation do we see that it balances.

The Chinese Image
Free yourself from your toes,
then the friend will come with trust.

The toes lead our steps and our steps are our personal way. The friend with trust is the life flow itself; willful activity causes the flow of circumstances to appear untrustworthy.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

We are no longer trying to discern the life force and so in a tao of release we allow it to be what it will.

The Chinese Image
The superior man alone
can free himself.
Good fortune.
Smaller men can only follow.

We cannot be released by following something, for we are attached to what we follow. It is necessary to be alone and open to be free; separating from attachment enables us to be free.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Here identity chooses not to choose, which is release as the stress was in the choice.

The Chinese Image
The prince shoots an arrow,
kills a hawk on a high wall.
All is favourable.

The hawk sits on a high wall choosing what he will catch. High up is symbolically the head and a wall is a boundary and barrier, so we have been choosing from our position of defining which confines the choice; here the prince (identity) takes a direction (shoots an arrow) which kills the chooser.