General Meaning: A state of standstill is a state of decline. Confusion and disorder prevail. Inferior elements are on the rise, while the powers of clarity and creativity are waning. In such times, the wise take shelter in their own integrity and quietly remain faithful to their highest selves. Retreat from public activities and common exchanges until the time once again favors assertive action.
During periods of stagnation, inferior elements can rise to power. When the inmates are overrunning the asylum, summon up your fortitude, hide your worth and withdraw. Concentrate on your personal affairs with a quiet dignity, even if that means giving up short-term rewards.
Desiring to change a situation too quickly often creates extra conflict. By accepting hardship, while striving to maintain integrity, you are preparing for future growth. A seed of prosperity is often hidden inside the husk of misfortune.
45: Coming Together
General Meaning: The power of gathering together is represented by a rally, where each individual’s strength is magnified by the power of their community. History has shown that mass movements can bring about stable, ordered and durable conditions for the better. This hexagram may be pointing to an auspicious time for large undertakings. But the guiding force of your shared vision is essential to hold the forces of unity together, and keep them advancing toward a common goals and values.
Another image for this situation is that of a lake filling with water. Just as the fullness of the lake can bring good fortune to all in its sphere, it can also overflow, leading to calamity. Thus in a time of gathering together it is essential that precautions against excesses be considered along with efforts to advance along a clearly-charted course. Much of human misfortune comes from unexpected events for which we are ill prepared; when gathered together with others, we are both more powerful and, in some ways, also more vulnerable.
Any time of unified coming together is a time of great potential. But the potential can be both positive and negative. Everything is magnified when people unite around a central shared purpose. When many people unite behind a single goal or strong vision, it is wise to take personal precautions to protect your own reasonable self-interests, because these can easily be lost in the crowd.
23: Splitting Apart
General Meaning: All is not what it seems. Sometimes, reality is like a hall of mirrors. Intrigues multiply like summer flies, and there are signs of discontent all around. This is a time of illusion and disillusion, disintegration, distrust and deception.
When you find yourself trapped in a hall of mirrors, sometimes it is necessary to retrace your steps. Return to the familiar; take solace in what is firm and secure. There is no blame in holding back on progress now; indeed, it is your responsibility to keep your strength intact for the period of resurrection, which follows disintegration as surely as dawn follows the night.
Discretion is the better part of valor. Good timing is especially important. Learn to focus on the essence of the problem and choose the proper moments for action, thereby avoiding futile effort. Be particularly attentive at such a time as this for changes that signal it’s time to retreat.
In the realm of personal relations, disillusionment is generally painful and confusing. When in the midst of such a phase, it is wise to avoid undertaking any bold new moves, and it is especially important not to jump to conclusions
1: Creative Power
GENERAL MEANING: The atmosphere is ripe with imagination, inspiration and energy, symbolized by the flying dragon. The dragon is an ancient symbol of an electrically charged, dynamic, arousing force that bodes well for creative initiatives. If your goals are in alignment with the greater good, your actions will meet with success, but this can only happen if you apply yang energy in a positive way. This hexagram, which consists of all yang lines, indicates a good time to take a leadership role, because Creative Power is with you now. But be forewarned: success turns to failure if you let strength turn to arrogance.
Believe in your vision and persevere; everything around you will flourish. Call upon Creative Power and let it work through you. Stay focused on your goals. Do not let yourself be distracted, or you may lose the power available to you now. And remember that when taking action, successful results require good timing.
10: Treading Carefully
General Meaning: People of ability find their way and make progress even in difficult circumstances. Consider your steps carefully when you are surrounded by changing forces. Weak and strong forces (or people) can co-exist when the weaker element does not impose upon the stronger, when the weaker maintains good humor and avoids taking bold action. When treading among sleeping tigers — or slippery stones — step gingerly and don’t stumble.
In the company of strong, brash people, rushing wildly ahead brings misfortune. Now is not a good time for taking the initiative; rather, try getting by with a little grace and good humor. In the court of a powerful king, the jester often has more power than the prince.
Consult the Oracle
Within each of us lies an oracle to whom we can turn for guidance. Imagine entering a dimly lit room. Your oracle – a wise woman – sits at the other side of a table. You approach her and describe your dilemma. She asks you to pick three magick cards out of her fanned out deck and lay them face-down on the table. Smiling, she begins to turn the cards over, revealing images and words that reflect on your situation. As she does so the room becomes brighter and you realize what it is that you need to do next. You thank your oracle and leave.