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.
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 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.
Line 1 goes yanglife 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.
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 yangintuitive 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.
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 yinouter 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 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 yinaccepting 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.
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 yangless 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.
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 yinour 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 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.