878778Hexagram 47

Exhaustion of activity.

Line image

Our outer responses (lines 4 and 5) are quiet and so is our intuitive feeling (line 2), so although there is activity to be experienced shown in lines 1 and 3 we are not responding to it. This pictures the common name of the hexagram, which is “exhaustion”. Our inner being is accepting the activity of the emerging tao so activity will return, but for now we have exhausted our responses to our circumstances.

Trigram image

Energy emerges into manifestation in the image of K’an; low energy, low flow. In the outer world it is tentative (Li) and enters a structured identity (Sun); all this is a weak energy flow, although in the inner being there is an expectation of activity (Tui) for future outer action.

The direction in which we have been going has lost its impetus, has become exhausted. Identity itself only feels exhausted when it is identified with an exhausted activity such as this and is not able to let it rest.

The Chinese Oracle

Exhaustion restricts,
leads to success
through continuance by the great man.
No error, but words spoken are not believed.


Continuing to see reality more widely and less restricted by the choices of desire is the way of the great man which opens to new ways where energy is flowing. We have identified ourselves in something where the life force is exhausted but words will not be believed because identification, by its very nature, restricts our sight in reality so that where we identify, that alone is real. Our conscious mind can understand but does not have much say in where we identify.


The pattern
Basic forces of opposition
change into the firm
through exhaustion
of their activity.
For humans
He misunderstands exhaustion,
“building walls” is exhausted
not the builder.
If he continues higher
he is pretending.
In nature
When the seas boil
in fissures of fire
this is too extreme
for the delicate tissues of life;
but when this force is spent,
life begins.
In forms we make
The completion of a form
is always the condition
for the start of another.
Exhaustion is its signal.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here we have not changed our role, we see activity diminishing and our tiredness will not leave us until we can change. Resting is not for the purpose of allowing new efforts of the same sort we have been making, it is to empty ourselves of that effort so as to become new again; re-newed.

The Chinese Image
Naked branches in a dark valley.
For three years nothing happens.

The leafless tree is a winter tree and a dark valley is a night-time valley; the activity has gone out of the life force and until this changes, nothing can happen (the symbol three is of change and the year is a complete cycle).

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

When we are very tired we seek not only rest but also relief from tension and this leads us to relax restrictions that we normally impose upon ourselves—we indulge. When we open our feeling in this tao this is probably what we do.

The Chinese Image
Exhaustion and too much meat and drink.
The man with the scarlet sash is just coming.
Sacrifice furthers.
Activity brings misfortune
but there is no error.

Compensating ourselves for our circumstances is indulgence. If we are to benefit from the next turn of events (the man with the scarlet sash, an important one) this activity should be sacrificed or we miss, which is misfortune, but if we have not eyes to see it, it cannot be an error.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Here we withdraw from outer activity, but as our outer activity is our contact with the “other” we isolate ourselves; when we do this our circumstances appear to oppose us.

The Chinese Image
Exhausted by rock.
Leans upon thorns.
Enters his house and does not see his wife.

Exhaustion by rock; rock underlies the surface soil as truth underlies appearances, and truth represents “what is”; here we are exhausted by battling against what is, not accepting our circumstances, and so pain ourselves unnecessarily. In our personal self, our house, we are not aware of our intuitive feeling (the wife) and so do not see our circumstances as the truth would see it.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

We turn our attention to outer activity to find something new, recognizing that what we were doing is exhausted.

The Chinese Image
A slow arrival, exhausted in a golden carriage.
Some humiliation but he arrives.

Gold is an outer value and here we are carried by outer values, always looking for the new within these same values and so always exhausted; but continually looking for the new will eventually lead us to new values, a change in us. This is why the arrival is slow.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we come to experience our exhaustion of feeling; if we can witness this without trying to act upon it we may see that it is our chosen tao that is exhausted, not our being which belongs to the great tao and is never exhausted.

The Chinese Image
His nose and feet are cut off.
Opposition to the man with the scarlet sash.
Joy come slowly.
Sacrifice is needed.

The nose leads the direction we face and the feet lead the direction we take; both are frustrated, cut off. We are in opposition to a greater truth, our truth is too small and when we cease our attachment to it, joy, flow, will return.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If we had let go earlier we would not be exhausted; here we are too exhausted to accept the energy of the life force.

The Chinese Image
Exhausted by entanglement with creepers.
Moves unsurely and says he regrets it.
If the regret is genuinely felt his movements bring good fortune.

The creeping plants hold us only because we entangle ourselves with them (we say of habits that they grow on us). Not knowing how our desires creep into actions we cannot act with decision to dissociate ourselves from them. Feeling the regret genuinely is to feel the actual situation, not just regretting the discomfort we are in.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 37

Nourishing relationships.

Line image

The activity here is in our intuitive feeling (line 2) and acceptance of an inactive outer world (line 4), so spontaneous feeling will be evident and it will be somewhat enclosed or protected. The common name of the hexagram is “the family” and it may refer to an enclosed unit of the external family or to our internal unit of different identifying parts in our personal self.

Trigram image

In the trigrams forming “the family” it is not surprising to find Li and K’an alternating and maturing at the top in Sun (Li is elemental female surrounded by elemental male and K’an is the converse). The energy flow is hesitant and with doubt as different elements try to merge together while keeping their separate identities, eventually maturing into a structure as a family does and also as our personal identity does.

The Chinese Oracle

The family.
The importance of the woman develops.


The central value of the female element is both growing and causing development in the whole, the family. It is the female attributes that become important, the feeling mode that creates the family as a unit, although of course the wife is central in the family also.


The pattern
Opposites alternate in harmony,
gently maturing.
For humans
The taming of fire made home.
The fire of opposites dancing together
becomes life rhythm.
The young and hesitant grow mature.
The fluid pattern of family life
grows firm, even rigid.
In nature
Sun and rain.
nature grows and ripens.
In forms we make
The ordering of things
so each plays its part
establishes order in the whole.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Activity from within is the essence and harmony in relationship, it comes from the shared reality and so is not in contest. Here it is activity that is shared and so helps to develop relationship.

The Chinese Image
The family is enclosed (regulated).
Regret disappears.

Enclosure separates the unit from the “other”, it creates the unit. The search for “the other” is satisfied so regret disappears in the relationship of complementary parts.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

We are not looking for new feeling from the life force, not making feeling out of it but attending to daily matters.

The Chinese Image
She does not attend to separate matters
but to the preparation of food.
Continuance in this brings good fortune.

If intuitive feeling is active it is interpreting the life force to guide the growth of identity but here identity has all it requires within it (within the family) and attending to this brings the good fortune.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Forming the whole, whether in family or personal self, requires activity to be within an enclosed structure. Here the activity tends to go outside.

The Chinese Image
When family members are at variance the confrontation may bring regret and danger but then good fortune.
If the woman and children do not take this seriously there is regret.

Confrontation comes when partners in relationship strengthen their separate role and relate outside. Only the separate can relate yet relating brings separate parts together, so confrontation is a basic need in relating; if, however, feeling does not take this fact seriously the structure of relationship is no longer enclosed and for the “family” this causes regret.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we are becoming less concerned with a lack of outer activity, we are not looking for nourishment there because it already exists inside. This is to be centred.

The Chinese Image
Enriching the family.
Great good fortune.

The enrichment is from turning inwards so it is not about external wealth but the flow of internal relationships in feeling.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Our intuitive feeling attracts our attention. There is a looking around for new identification which is threatening to the family.

The Chinese Image
The king’s influence comes to his family.
Do not be troubled.
Good fortune.

The king rules and holds the kingdom together, so here the worry of independent parts breaking up the unit of interrelationship is unfounded.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

The life force emerging into relationship (line 1) is yang, which is to say undefined energy, and here we are trusting in this, basing our being upon it. We trust the bonds which make the parts whole without questioning how or why, which lays the foundation for sound sharing of outer experience and makes it possible to share within ourself. It is necessary for sharing parts to recognize their common root—their part in it.

The Chinese Image
Arrayed like a king.
Good fortune in the end.

Sincerity being within the family it grows an identity, we identify within it, and this is like a king because it rules the way we are; when the parts identify in the whole (in this case the family) they no longer need to be stating their separateness and this is the good fortune at the end of the formation of the family.