887877Hexagram 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.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 64

Incomplete change.

Line image

Here the personal self has withdrawn from both inner and outer activity (lines 4 and 6) and we are in the peace of inactive feeling (lines 2 and 5). This uninvolvement and quiet feeling comes at the end of a cycle of involvement and the common name of the hexagram is “before completion”.

Trigram image

In this flow the energy is hesitant in our outer expression and inner being (both Li) so we will be unsure how to express in a situation that is somewhat empty and confusing. The emerging energy is low (K’an) and so is the energy in our identity (also K’an) which pictures our situation at the end of something we have been involved in, the energy has run out but it is not all completed yet and we are hesitant to invest more energy in it.

The Chinese Oracle

Before completion.
Little fox. Crossing the ice. Tail in the water.
No chosen direction is favourable now.


No chosen direction means not starting something new—for to do that we choose. The tail is in the water because the crossing is not yet complete and it is by keeping our choosing mind frozen that we can complete what we have been engaged in (when this becomes liquid the tail gets wet). So the success is in completing (the crossing) and the little fox is he who is learning to take advantage of his circumstances.


The pattern
Change is not complete.
Only part is changed.
Change is still to come.
For humans
He starts out into opposition.
He is so changed
he opposes no more.
In nature
Water enters fire,
leaving fire.
In forms we make
When existing orders
change their challengers
partial change occurs.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here we are not moving sufficiently with the tao we are in; the drive in the tao diminishes before we have completed our transition out of a habit-reality.

The Chinese Image
The little fox gets his tail wet.

We are in transition so it is essential to keep moving, if we stop to consider our position we get submerged in where we are and the transition ceases.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

With our intuitive feelings active we are more aware, and to be more aware when in transition means witnessing, not being involved in action; we just feel our situation.

The Chinese Image
He brakes the wheels of his carriage.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.

We stop our outer movement; it is this that carries us in the world and so is our carriage. Transition continues here while the old way of moving is stopped, so continuing with this is the way through.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

If we stop movement during transition we may start off in a new direction to save ourselves the effort of inner change.

The Chinese Image
The movement is not complete.
New directions are unfortunate.
The advantage comes in crossing the great water.

Change in our mode of being is not complete so to start any new movement now will be moving from our old motivations and endanger the change that is nearly complete.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

When a change is happening in our identifying pattern our old motivations turn up all sorts of new activities to keep themselves in being; these are the stumbling blocks to change.

The Chinese Image
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.
Subduing the land of Kuei (the land of the devils) took three years and great rewards were gained.

We have to continue through the change (three years symbolically is a cycle of change) continually preventing old and habitual ways from keeping their footholds. Before completion means that we are on our way in a process of change and to complete the transition we must persist.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Our intuitive feeling is quiet in this tao; we have needed to accept this quietness also so that new action did not arise. Now we are further along the path of change and do not need this vigilance.

The Chinese Image
Continuance in the way brings reward.
No regret.
The attraction of the superior man has effect.
Good fortune.

The transition has passed its doubting phase where we were subject to going back to the old ways. We now have confidence in the wider experience which is the reward of transition.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

The life energy of this tao moves to create change, and here we go with the movement, identifying in it. We need to be careful of this identifying.

The Chinese Image
Confidence and feasting is no error.
If his head gets wet confidence is lost.

Confidence and over-confidence; in the first we trust providence and in the second we trust our heads.