787778Hexagram 49

Breaking out of the old.

Line image

Intuitive feeling (line 2) does not flow into outer action, line 3 is yang, but identity is not accepting this situation (line 4) nor recognizing the feeling (line 5). This inactive tao is accepted by our inner being (line 6). Here is a blockage of expression which is not yet fully realized so the feeling builds up towards a sudden realization or change; the common name of the hexagram is “revolution” but this clearly refers to the preparation rather than the explosion of change itself.

Trigram image

The life force emerges hesitantly (Li), meets a rigid outer world structure (Sun) and our inactive identity (Ch’ien); here there is no activity showing, but in our ongoing inner self there is Tui, an expectation of change.

The hexagram has also been called “skin” and “moulting”, referring to the way a snake will change its outer form when the inner can no longer be contained.

The Chinese Oracle

Not before it is seen
will it be believed.
Great success.
Continuance in the way is fruitful.
regret disappears.


In this tao of preparation for change the outcome cannot quite be believed, cannot be known for certain. We have been in a compressed state for so long that the release seems incredible; yet the conditions for it are here, success will come if we continue to follow the tao and so regret will disappear.


The pattern
The bright,
belonging to the new,
needs something mature to change
before reaching fulfillment.
For humans
When he has invested himself
in his life,
he must divest himself
to start anew.
In nature
The snake
renews his skin
when the old
is no longer flexible enough
for him to grow.
In forms we make
When the old form
will not change enough
the lower revolts and destroys
to form the new.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Here is the very beginning of change towards activity, not yet defined into any form and still hidden by existing structure that it will eventually replace. If we recognize it there is relief that here at last is change coming, but it is just the first sign and not yet time for action.

The Chinese Image
Yellow oxhide.

All contained in two words. Yellow is the great activity we feel for, long for, and wish to bring about; oxhide is the container of great strength (the ox). This is our situation in a nutshell, we must contain this great urge to act prematurely.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

This is a rejection of the structure that holds us and a rejection of being confined by inactivity. We extract our feelings from the lassitude of having no energy of flow, undoing our links with present structure and so making it into past structure. As with all our manifestation, revolution starts with feeling.

The Chinese Image
When completed,
to advance brings good fortune.
No error.

The feeling must be made our own, it must be allowed to complete itself before the next stage of manifesting externally. When we proceed like this in tune with the way the life force manifests we have “success” for we are one with the life energy.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

If when in a state of transition we open up outer activity too soon we bring out the old way of doing things and put off the change. Outer activity should develop from change within which leads it, then it is in perfect order.

The Chinese Image
Movement brings misfortune.
Continuing brings danger.
After discussion three times
confidence is made into action.

Movement before we have thoroughly changed our old mode of being and thinking (this change is the three discussions) is unfortunate because we would be drawing on the same forces we have used before and are so tired of; only when a new way is firmly in our consciousness is it time to act outside in the world.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

The outer reality that we are accepting here in this line is inactive. Revolution is not basically an external phenomenon, what happens outside is a symptom of what has happened inside; realizing this we are in the right position for revolution, it comes because it already exists, not because we make it.

The Chinese Image
Regret disappears.
Belief is established.
Changing the government
brings good fortune.

Regret disappears because we now realize that revolution has its own force, comes inevitably from within, and this leads to the change in governing our actions, which used to be for the sake of the outside, the symptom, but now is given up to the tao. In the innermost interpretation this change is the revolution we are talking about.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Accepting the feeling of the tao that the old is spent enables the new to emerge, it comes out naturally and we act instinctively, which is of the whole nature.

The Chinese Image
The great man acts as a tiger would.
He acts like the oracle itself.

Changing like a tiger is to change with the natural power of this great cat; he does not doubt or falter but springs instinctively.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Revolution completes itself, so to go on revolting is to overturn what we have just created. We no longer need aggressive attitudes which have served their purpose.
The division of reality into rules to live by created the structure; seeing through the structure healed the divisions; if we remain divisive we shall find ourselves imprisoned by rules once more.

The Chinese Image
The superior man changes like a leopard.
The inferior man changes his face.
Movement brings misfortune.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.

We have a phrase “can the leopard change its spots?” This shows an unchanging character attributed to this cat. The wide seeing (superior) man does not change his mode of being but accepts the new, but the narrow mode that chooses and identifies has now to change attitude (its face).

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 44

Adapting to circumstances.

Line image

Here the life force is manifesting actively (line 1) and we are not feeling it, not involved in it, not recognizing what it is (lines 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are all yang). This unawareness is likely to lead us into misreading our situation.

Trigram image

The only trigram with any activity is that for the emerging life force, Sun, and we do not respond to this circumstance which comes to us in a rather rigid and formed shape. We cannot influence it because it has no changeability and we may not recognize its strength because of its gentleness. We need to remain alert and witness our desires rather than trying to fulfill them.

The Chinese Oracle

Sudden meeting.
The woman is powerful.
Do not marry.


The meeting is sudden because we are very unaware in this tao, like someone who is very short-sighted and suddenly recognizes something at close range. Feeling (the woman) is powerful and this feeling is emotional feeling that we have stored and now seeks activity, so it is not born out of our present circumstances but is triggered by them. It is useful to allow such feeling but useless to wed ourselves to it.


The pattern
The powerfully mature
has its activity.
Without being influenced
has influence.
For humans
He does not try to change
what is so formed,
but meeting it
he is so drawn
he must himself change.
In nature
The flow of oceans
does not yield to our swimming.
The place of planets
does not shift for our desire.
In forms we make
All forms have archetypes
they tend towards,
yet the archetype has no form.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here the silence of identity (lines 4, 5, and 6 are yang) ignores the activity of the life force and it ceases to have influence.

The Chinese Image
The wheel is held by a metal brake.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.
A lean pig leaps about.

The brake is applied; there is nothing we can do about it but follow our circumstances. Any attempt to get out of our circumstances will prove unfortunate so we need simply to experience where we are. A lean pig is an underfed pig and when we are under-stimulated we “leap about” to cause activity.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Feeling is our link between the undefined inner and manifest outer; here in this line new activity of feeling is occurring although identity is taking no notice.

The Chinese Image
There are fish in the tank.
It does not benefit the guests.
No error.

Our present identifications (the guests) are not noticing the nourishment available, but this cannot be error, it is just circumstance.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In this tao we do not have a true picture of our circumstances and in this line we act out in circumstances of which we are ignorant.

The Chinese Image
No skin on his thighs.
He walks with difficulty.
Keeping alert he makes no error.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

If our increased involvement is with a sense of outer peace all is well, but this is likely to be a search for outer activity and if it is we will search and find none.

The Chinese Image
No fish in the tank.

The tank which has or has not fish in it is our personal inner being and the fish are our personal identifications in this. Here there are no fish, the process of identifying is inactive in this tao, so if we expect something we are disappointed.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Our intuition about our circumstances as shown by line 2 is inactive; by accepting this lack of interpretive feeling, we allow life to happen to us.

The Chinese Image
A melon wrapped in leaves is hidden.
Something falls from heaven.

The melons, the gourd family of fruits, have a multitude of seeds in the fruit casing, many possibilities. These possibilities are hidden within the fruit, the fruit is hidden in the leaves, it appears that nothing is there; then suddenly from this nothing (from heaven) there is a happening. This describes how life is when we do not anticipate it.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

By accepting the energy of this tao which flows through emotional channels there is a forcing of their recognition.

The Chinese Image
He approaches with his horns.
Regret but no error.

The way emotion forces its way into recognition is often uncomfortable and causes regret, but it is necessary for it to be expressed so this is not an error.