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HEXAGRAM 01 – Chien – The Creative



The first hexagram is made up of six unbroken lines.

These unbroken lines stand for the primal power, which is

  • light giving,
  • active,
  • strong, and of
  • the spirit.

The hexagram is consistently strong, in character, and

since it is without weakness,

its essence is power or energy.

Its image is heaven.

Its energy

  • is represented as unrestricted by any fixed conditions in space and
  • is therefore conceived of as motion.

Time is regarded as the basis of this motion.

Thus the hexagram includes also

  • the power of time and
  • the power of persisting in time, that is, duration.

The power represented by the hexagram is to be interpreted in a dual sense – in terms of

  • its action on the universe and of
  • its action on the world of men.
  • In relation to the universe, the hexagram expresses the strong, creative action of the Deity.
  • In relation to the human world, it denotes the creative action of the holy man or sage, of the ruler or leader of men, who through his power awakens and develops their higher nature. 1


THE CREATIVE works sublime success,

Furthering through perseverance. 2

According to the original meaning, the attributes (sublimity, potentiality of success, power to further, perseverance) are paired.

When an individual draws this oracle, it means

  • that success come to him from the primal depths of the universe and
  • that everything depends upon his seeking his happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in what is right.

The specific meanings of the four attributes became the subject of speculation at an early date.

The Chinese word here rendered by “sublime” means literally “head,” “origin,” “great.”

This is why Confucius says in explaining it:

“Great indeed is the generating power of the Creative; all beings owe their beginning to it. This power permeates all heaven. 3 For this attribute inheres in the other three as well.

The beginning of all things lies still in the beyond in the form of ideas that have yet to become real.

But the Creative furthermore has power to lend form to these archetypes of ideas.

  • This is indicated in the word success, and
  • the process is represented by an image from nature: “The clouds pass and the rain does its work, and all individual beings flow into their forms.” 4

Applied to the human world, these attributes show the great man the way to notable success:

“Because he sees with great clarity causes and effects, he

  • completes the six steps at the right time and
  • mounts toward heaven on them at the right time, as though of six dragons.”

The six steps are the six different positions given in the hexagram,

which are represented later by the dragon symbol.

Here it is shown that the way to success lies in

  • apprehending understanding and
  • giving actuality to the way of the universe (Tao), which, as a law running, through end and beginning, brings about all phenomena in time.

Thus each step attained forthwith becomes a preparation for the next.

Time is no longer a hindrance but the means of making actual what is potential.

The act of creation having found expression in the two attributes – sublimity and success,

the work of conservation is shown to be a continuous actualization and differentiation of form.

This is expressed in the two terms

  • “furthering” (literally, “creating that which accords with the nature of a given being”) and
  • “persevering” (literally, “correct and firm”).

“The course of the Creative alters and shapes beings until each attains its true, specific nature, then

it keeps them in conformity with the Great Harmony.

Thus does it show itself to further through perseverance.”

In relation to the human sphere, this shows how

the great man brings peace and security to the world through his activity in creating order:

“He towers high above the multitude of beings, and all lands are united in peace.”

Another line of speculation goes still further in separating the words “sublime,” “success,” “furthering” “perseverance,” and parallels them with the four cardinal virtues in humanity.

1)To sublimity, which, as the fundamental principle, embraces all the other attributes, it links love.

2) To the attribute success are linked the mores, which regulate and organize the expressions of love and thereby make them successful. 5

3) The attribute furthering is correlated with justice, which creates the conditions in which each receives that which accords with his being, that which is due him and which constitutes his happiness.

4) The attribute perseverance is correlated with wisdom, which discerns the immutable laws of all that happens and can therefore bring about enduring conditions.

These speculations, already broached in the commentary called Wen Yen, 6 later formed the bridge connecting the philosophy of the “five stages (elements) of change,” as laid down in the Book of History (Shu Ching) with the philosophy of the Book of Changes, which is based solely on the polarity of positive and negative principles. In the course of time this combination of the two systems of thought opened the way for an increasingly intricate number symbolism. 7


The movement of heaven is full of power.

Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.

Since there is only one heaven, the doubling of the trigram Ch’ien, of which heaven is the image, indicates the movement of heaven.

One complete revolution of heaven makes a day, and the repetition of the trigram means that each day is followed by another.

This creates the idea of time.

Since it is the same heaven moving with untiring power, there is also created the idea of duration both in and beyond time, a movement that never stops nor slackens, just as one day follows another in an unending course.

This duration in time is the image of the power inherent in the Creative.

With this image as a model,

the sage learns how best to develop himself so that his influence may endure.

He must make himself strong in every way,

by consciously casting out all that is inferior and degrading.

Thus he attains that tirelessness,

which depends upon consciously limiting the fields of his activity.


Nine at the beginnings means:

Hidden dragon. Do not act.

In China the dragon has a meaning altogether different from that given it in the Western world.

The dragon is a symbol of the electrically charged, dynamic, arousing force that manifests itself in the thunderstorm.

  • In winter this energy withdraws into the earth;
  • in the early summer it becomes active again, appearing in the sky as thunder and lightning.

As a result the creative forces on earth begin to stir again.

Here this creative force is still hidden beneath the earth and therefore has no effect.

In terms of human affairs, this symbolizes a great man who is still unrecognized.

Nonetheless he remains true to himself.

He does not allow himself to be influenced by outward success or failure, but confident in his strength, he bides his time.

Hence it is wise for the man who consults the oracle and draws this line to wait in the calm strength of patience.

The time will fulfill itself.

One need not fear lest strong will should not prevail;

the main thing is not to expend one’s powers prematurely in an attempt to obtain by force something for which the time is not yet ripe.


HEXAGRAM 44 – Kou – Coming to Meet



This hexagram indicates a situation in which the principle of darkness,

after having been eliminated,

furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below.

Of its own accord the female principle comes to meet the male.

  • It is an unfavorable and dangerous situation, and
  • we must understand and promptly prevent the possible consequences.

The hexagram is linked with the fifth month [June-July],

because at the summer solstice

the principle of darkness gradually becomes ascendant again.



The maiden is powerful.

One should not marry such a maiden.

The rise of the inferior element is pictured here in the image of

a bold girl who

  • lightly surrenders herself and
  • thus seizes power.

This would not be possible if the strong and light-giving element had not in turn come halfway.

  • The inferior thing seems so harmless and inviting that
    • a man delights in it;
  • it looks so small and weak that
    • he imagines he may dally with it and come to no harm.

The inferior man rises only because the superior man

  • does not regard him as dangerous and so
  • lends him power.


  • he were resisted from the first,
  • he could never gain influence.

The time of COMING TO MEET is important in still another way.

Although as a general rule the weak should not come to meet the strong,

there are times when this has great significance.

  • When heaven and earth come to meet each other, all creatures prosper;
  • when a prince and his official come to meet each other, the world is put in order.

It is necessary for elements predestined to be joined and mutually dependent

to come to meet one another halfway.

But the coming together must be free of dishonest ulterior motives,

otherwise harm will result.


Under heaven, wind: The image Of COMING TO MEET.

Thus does the prince act when

  • disseminating his commands And
  • proclaiming them to the four quarters of heaven.

The situation here resembles that in hexagram 20, Kuan, CONTEMPLATION (VIEW).

  • In the latter the wind blows over the earth,
  • here it blows under heaven;

in both cases it goes everywhere.

There the wind

  • is on the earth and
  • symbolizes the ruler taking note of the conditions in his kingdom;

here the wind

  • blows from above and
  • symbolizes the influence exercised by the ruler through his commands.
  • Heaven is far from the things of earth, but
    • it sets them in motion by means of the wind.
  • The ruler is far from his people, but
    • he sets them in motion by means of his commands and decrees.