General Meaning: The most successful general is not the one that triumphs in battle, but the one who is able, through strength of a resolute discipline and the personal power that results from that, to achieve victory without spilling blood. This is why for the effective leadership of any organization the key virtues are clarity, decisiveness and conscientiousness. The most effective team or partnership marches with a single purpose — a dedication to a common goal that is held dear by all. Otherwise, even with an excess of external discipline, unpopular wars are seldom winnable.
Let power be held in check by the acceptance of a common discipline, and submission to a higher authority. Look to the common good. When life is in balance, evil impulses are checked by human decency; parents die before their children; leaders lead and followers follow. If you hold or aspire to a position of leadership, remember that the true leader speaks to and captures the hearts of the people and articulates a clear, simple vision that unites them as a team.
In the realm of government, the relationship between the army and state is critical. Only when the state is economically prosperous can the army be strong. Only when the army is disciplined can the state be protected from disruptive outside forces. For this balance to be preserved, government must be steady, and mild toward its own people. When balancing strong complementary forces, modesty and generosity at the center can be a magnetic force that keeps relationships intact. Coordination of all elements is essential for success at this time.
Your personal power is strong today. You may find yourself starting a new endeavor, or engaging n a new pursuit that is based in self-expression or spirituality. You’re connected with the world today, and it may be a good idea to jot it all down on paper.
About the Number 1
Masculine, Creative, Independent, Aggressive
General Meaning: Overview is a time for composure and contemplation. As a result of profound introspection, a hidden force reveals itself, and may influence others without their being aware of it. Do not underestimate the power of such a subtle force. Like the wind blowing across the treetops, its presence is perceived through the effect it has on everything it touches.
Shallow wells rarely strike water and shallow minds often come up empty. The ability to keep still and simply observe deepens resolve and attracts good fortune. Discern the difference between what is deep and what is surface within yourself — and you will be able to distinguish between the two in the world as well.
During a period between events, the practice of stillness with awareness is fruitful. Only by observing and absorbing the true nature of things — by apprehending the rhythms and cycles that guide all creation — can we discover the laws that apply to our own individual lives. Examine yourself and the overall situation — not just with the thought of discovering truth, but with the vision of concentrating your personal power.
34: Great Vigor
General Meaning: Congratulations! There is strength and vigor in this situation — like a ram who has knocked down a fence to free himself from captivity. This points to a time when a powerful force comes into its own and achieves influence.
When a leader finally comes into power, his or her personal strength usually has peaked. Great strength is required in climbing to the mountaintop, but once at the summit, the support of others is needed to maintain that lofty position. A shift in attitude becomes necessary. Raw strength must be tempered by wisdom; to maintain power, a strong leader must learn to give it away, to share it with others. Only then will his or her position be secure, for she will not only be the possessor of power, but the source of it as well.
If you find yourself in a high or strong position, it is especially important to act responsibly and react with care. Your personal power must not be allowed to degenerate into raw force that rides roughshod over everything in its path. A strong sense of responsibility to the collective good of all is the key to the successful exercise of strength. By following what we intuitively know to be for the greater good, we avoid reckless abuses of power that in the end undermine the source of our strength. Arrogance always contains the seeds of its own undoing.
30: Clinging Like Fire
General Meaning: Flames cling to their source of fuel in order to keep the fire burning. Likewise, in the human world, emotional attachment results from everything that radiates light or warmth is dependent upon something else. Through these dependencies we can see that all things are related, each thing to the other. Awareness of your own dependency on others is the key that unlocks the door to your true place in the world. No woman is an island.
Fire is also a symbol of liberation — sending out crackling molecules that fly away from home. Paradoxically, by clinging to what is balanced and true, we gain inner freedom.
Given perseverance on your part, this hexagram indicates success. In spite of challenges, cling to what is luminous in yourself, in others, and in life itself, never forsaking your belief in what is right. When events seem foreboding, or people seem oppressive, remember the good that has been and is yet to be. Holding to this idea is to cling to the power of the light and love within you.
36: Darkening of the Light
General Meaning: When light becomes dim, it may be wise to become invisible. The image is of fresh darkness, the period after the sun has gone down or the fire has gone out. There is still much activity left over from the light of day, while movements in the outer world become more dangerous. Even the smallest sound, the faintest glow of light, can attract unwanted attention.
When the darkness of stupidity reigns, it is best that your own brilliance stay ‘hidden under a bushel basket.’ That is, your thoughts and efforts should be quiet and self-contained, and protected, as much as possible, from disruptive influences.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be swept along on the current of conventional wisdom when dangerous uncertainties exist. Try not to become too depressed or anxious; this period will pass. Just endure it for now and inwardly preserve your self-confidence, while outwardly remaining cooperative and flexible. The time to assert yourself will come. Avoid looking too far ahead if you have not yet achieved your goals. That only feeds regret and longing, which can eat away at your inner resources.
Be cautious and reserved. Control yourself. Do not needlessly awaken dormant forces of opposition. During dark, unsettled periods, it is best to step gingerly around the sleeping dogs.
3: Difficulty at the Beginning
General Meaning: Difficulty at the beginning. The birth of anything new – including any new venture or relationship — is an entry into the realm of the unknown. Strange new feelings can seem to be rushing upon you, and confusion can easily take over. But even chaos is full of potential if you harness it properly. Don’t rush things. Do not let events overwhelm you. Stay calm and persevering, but do take the first step. And get whatever help you can.
Challenges lie ahead. Now is a time to gather your strength and find courage. Like a newborn fawn, the opportunity for rapid development is real, but only by being determined can the fawn rise to its feet and survive to grow to full stature. Keep going despite difficulties and you will manifest the success you desire. One primary challenge is maintaining personal clarity. Avoid lunging at seemingly perfect solutions; wait until a good practical course of action becomes clear. Do not start a new venture before thinking it through. A careless step in the beginning can easily cause events to spin out of control later. Enlist the aid of experienced people.
48: The Well
General Meaning: Throughout various cultures and political systems of the world, the well has served as a universal symbol for that which sustains life and provides a constant, inexhaustible source of life-giving nourishment for mankind.
Like the well, human nature is the same around the world. The passage of time does not change its essential dimensions, nor take anything away. Still, just as a well can be deepened to produce clearer, cleaner water, so can we enrich our lives by delving deeply within — into our natural selves, or souls.
Beware of shallow thinking. Like a little learning, it can be dangerous. The image of the well suggests that along with depth comes clarity. Be patient, and penetrate both your problems and your own nature to the core. If you do not lower your bucket to the depths, you’re very likely to come up empty. When greater depth is desired, a lessening of speed is often required.
64: Nearing Completion
General Meaning: The situation is incomplete, but the chaos of the past is slowly giving way to order, and the goal is in sight. Nevertheless, you are still treading on thin ice — the way ahead is unobstructed, the goal is clear, but a cautious and careful attitude is essential, lest you slip and fall.
Nearing Completion is the last hexagram of the I Ching. It suggests that the ever-spinning wheel of life never reaches an absolute conclusion. Just as a hidden sadness resides in the heart of true euphoria, just as the seeds of great achievement often sprout first in a cauldron of adversity, so too no end is ever really complete without a new beginning stirring inside it. Though we divide life into categories in order to understand and master it, experience itself is seamless. With this reading, the 64-spoked, timeless wheel of change is ready to spin onward, ever evolving, ever staying the same.
A situation that is represented by this reading can be compared to that of taking a lengthy trek over a high mountain. At some point before reaching the peak, you can see in detail exactly how much farther you must travel. You will have a good idea what it will take to reach the top, because of the climbing experience you’ve accumulated thus far. However, when you do reach the peak, which has been in sight for quite a long period of sustained effort, you will have done only that. You will have reached the top — achieving your initial goal — but you must still descend the other side. This last critical segment is what remains before completion.
You may have little information and no experience of what it’s like descending the other side of the mountain. All your attention may have been focused on the route up. The coming cycle may seem very strange to you, unlike anything that you have experienced before. The backside of the mountain is where all of the true mysteries reside. Proceed carefully, cautiously and alertly — then you will reach your goal.