887787Hexagram 56

Search for new reality.

Line image

In this structure we make our reality in feeling (lines 2 and 5 are yin) and we are not involved in the inner reality of our circumstances (line 6 is yang); the outer world does not provide a reality we can “get into” (lines 3 and 4 are both yang) so we feel but do not feel nourished. This feeling leads to a rejection of our present circumstances and the search for new situations; the common name of the hexagram is “the wanderer”, our feelings become like feelers searching for something that would be more real for us.

Trigram image

The life force emerges into stillness (Kên), makes outer structure (Sun), gives hope for a movement (Tui), and is taken hesitantly (Li) by our inner being; we seek to transform our outer reality and find circumstances that feel right for us, so we wander into different situations to find this sense of rightness. This tao comes about when we do not accept the circumstances we are in.

The Chinese Oracle

The wanderer.
Success of what is small.
Continuance brings good fortune.


The wanderer has given up his fixed home, his established reality, and searches for new experience. He is searching in what is small—in the narrow choosing reality—so his success will be there. He has a need to experience this so that he knows its truths and its limitations, so it is good fortune to persevere in it. There is no ultimate goal there, it is small, it is a passing through, a wandering.


The pattern
Stillness and maturity
searching for the new
leads to continual change.
For humans
He goes from place to place
making changes in each:
searching his death
that will enable him to live,
searching a change in himself.
In nature
When it is very dry
fire ranges across the forest
looking always for new fuel.
In forms we make
The state
engulfs other states
when its own opposition is dead.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

When there is no activity from the inner (whole) reality and we are wandering because we are, for now, ignoring the nature of the whole, our wanderings become random, our interest is in the illusion of movement and we do not find here the sense of realness we seek.

The Chinese Image
Entangling in trifling matters
brings misfortune.

We can experience the illusion without being entangled, without believing it to be totally real. Nothing is totally real except the whole, and by its nature identity cannot experience this as part of the smallness. The misfortune is losing touch with the whole.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

A feeling of unreality gives rise to the idea that circumstances are unsatisfactory and this drives the wanderer on. In this moving line this feeling becomes less active so we can rest a while in ordinary circumstances—these appear to be real again and support identity.

The Chinese Image
The wanderer is safe at an inn
and still has his valuables.
He has a loyal young servant.

An inn is a place for a temporary stay while wandering, and any wanderer’s valuables are his beliefs and principles; so we have settled into our reality and are not searching at the moment. We are helped in this by loyal feeling, a sense of realness that does not desert us; feeling is the servant of identity, providing what it needs to identify amongst; here it is tranquil (yang).

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

With an increase in outer activity the feeling of unreality in it all returns, as it must because the wanderer is not wandering purposelessly but to find a different sense of the real. When we lose our sense of purpose in outer activity it can no longer support our own sense of being real or justified.

The Chinese Image
The inn which housed the wanderer
burns down.
He loses his young servant.
There is danger.

The inn and the young servant are explained in line 2, which makes their context easy to see here. The feeling of danger is of insecurity, danger to feeling worthwhile.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Now we are interested in the idea of being inactive, doubting that all this wandering is a good idea, so we settle down where we are. Although we are accepting our outer reality as it is, unstimulating, this is not going to change anything, but to treat it as a rest is more real, for our wandering is not completed yet.

The Chinese Image
The wanderer finds shelter and rest.
He has his valuables and axe
but his heart has no joy.

Innerly our valuables are the identifications we have chosen and the axe symbolizes our defence of these; so according to the image we do not change ourselves, and as joy comes only with the flow of change we feel no joy, but we have rest.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

We are less in our feelings of wandering; wandering is not the important thing it was. Innerly wandering is searching for something outside ourselves that feels more satisfying, more nourishing; here we find that this is not the way, and this is itself a new direction for us.

The Chinese Image
He shoots a pheasant,
loses an arrow.
The end brings praise and office.

He gains nourishment (the pheasant) and loses direction (the arrow). His direction was wandering, and exchanging this for nourishment in his present situation is the end of wandering and creates an established presence (office) and recognition (praise).

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

When our outer reality becomes unsatisfactory we wander. Here in this line we are accepting wandering as a way of being and this will not be fulfilling for very long because it is not just that we are in a bad place—all outer identification feels lacking.

The Chinese Image
The bird burns up its own nest.
First the wanderer laughs
but then weeps and cries out.
He carelessly loses his cow.

The bird is a symbol of spirit or whole reality and its nest is where it raises its young; our being cannot raise more young (new experience) if we stay in outer identification; the new comes from the inner. At first, being out in defined reality seems clear and to be a solution, but nothing new comes and it becomes a repetition. When the inner is included in our sense of the real, new experience comes fresh each day, like the service of a cow—this we carelessly lose.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 28


Line image

In our inner being, line 6, we accept the activity of change that is available in our circumstances (line 1 is yin), but our intuitive feeling in line 2 is inactive and so is our outer world in line 3; identity is not interested in changing any of this (lines 4 and 5 are yang). This is a picture of stress where there is inner pressure for change but no response from the outer, manifesting self. It is too still, too rigid, has no flexibility.

Trigram image

The energy emerges formed and structured by the trigram Sun, is inactive throughout its manifestation as Ch’ien both for identity and the outer world, and has just a hope of change in Tui for our inner being. Here is a flow only at the very borders of our awareness, everything manifest is held rigid and cannot move, yet the activity of the inner is pushing it to move. When rigid structures are forced to change shape something gives way suddenly.

The Chinese Oracle

The ridgepole sags.
Movement is favourable.


We recognize excess by the stress it creates, without stress excess is felt as abundance. So here we are in a situation of stress pictured as the ridge of a roof about to give way; the ridge is where the two sides of the roof meet, and the roof is what separates us from the elements—a picture of our duality which “protects” identity from being engulfed in the great unknown reality. This “protection” is threatened, and keeping the polarities of our choices apart is threatened when they become excessive, when we or our society becomes too polarized for the flow of manifestation to happen, for the flow of manifestation is interchange between polarities.


The pattern
From the inner there is no flow.
Action is all inactivity,
Making return a beginning.
For humans
When firm and inflexible,
the only way of moving is to break.
When so gentle it changes nothing,
the only way of living is to die
into a beginning.
In nature
The wood is too ripe for budding,
too rigid for change
until it returns to earth.
In forms we make
No longer supported, must fall.
Falling, finds support.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

The stress in this tao is created by the force of the life energy from the inner acting upon rigid form in our lives (in ourselves). Here the activity is lessened and the stress limited.

The Chinese Image
Spreading white rushes underneath.
No error.

This is protection by the inner being, rushes are put under something to soften the contact, they are white because there is no selection in this action (white light is all-coloured light).

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Here the rigidity itself is loosening, we are starting to feel the life force again and this is the beginning of new feeling.

The Chinese Image
The wizened willow tree
puts out new shoots.
An old man has a young wife.
All is favourable.

The old finds a way to flow again, and it was the lack of flow that caused the excess of pressure.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In this tao identity has excessively structured duality; to act out from this projects the stress into our circumstances.

The Chinese Image
The ridgepole sags to breaking point.

The ridgepole giving way is like our giving out the stress from within us, we give way to it and the consequences to our environment are unfortunate.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

What we are accepting here in this moving line is the inactivity of our outer world, so there is less stress because we are not struggling with our rigidity. This does not change the rigidity but makes it more manageable and may mask the basic problem.

The Chinese Image
The ridgepole has support.
Good fortune.
Reliance on weak support
is unfortunate.

Reliance on masking the stresses we have would be a weak support.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Becoming aware of intuitive feeling that is inactive is to be more aware but not to have more feeling.

The Chinese Image
The wizened willow flowers.
The old woman takes a husband.
No praise. No blame.

This is widening awareness, opening up, flowering; then old feeling (from memory) comes to thought, to consciousness. These do not change things, the flowering does not change the tree and the old woman cannot have children, in other words there is no new growth.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Here we give up the struggle and become unaware of the activity pushing us towards change. When we become unaware of forces they overtake us.

The Chinese Image
Fording a river, the water rises over his head.
Misfortune. No error.

To give way to the flow is no error, only uncomfortable; it overcomes the rigidity and so changes us.