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18 -- Repair -- 18





Other titles: Work On What Has Been Spoiled, The Symbol of Destruction, Decay, Arresting of Decay, Work after Spoiling, Fixing, Rectifying, Corrupting, Branch, Degeneration, Misdeeds "Can refer to heredity and psychological traits.” -- D. F. Hook



Legge: Successful progress is indicated for those who properly repair what has been spoiled. It is advantageous to cross the great stream. One should consider carefully the events three days before the turning point and the tasks remaining for three days afterward.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Work On What Has Been Spoiled has supreme success. It furthers one to cross the great water. Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.

Blofeld:Decay augurs sublime success and the advantage of crossing the great river (or sea). [I.e. of going on a journey or of going forward with one's plans.] What has happened once will surely happen again (literally, "three days before the commencement; three days after the commencement"). [It would have been hard to make sense of these words, were it not that the Confucian Commentary on the Text clearly explains them; hence the liberty I have taken with the Text.]

Liu: Work after spoiling. Great success. It is of benefit to cross the great water. Before starting, three days. After starting, three days. [This hexagram implies that, although conditions are bad now, improvement can be expected.]

Ritsema/Karcher: Corrupting, Spring Growing. Harvesting: wading the Great River. Before seedburst three days, after seedburst three days. [This hexagram describes your situation in terms of disorder, perversion and putrefaction. It emphasizes that letting things rot away so they become obsolete is the adequate way to handle it...]

Shaughnessy: Branch: Prime auspiciousness; receipt. Beneficial to ford the great river; preceding jia by three days, following jia by three days.

Cleary (1): Correcting degeneration is greatly developmental. It is beneficial to cross great rivers. Three days before the start, three days after the start. [The way to correct degeneracy is not in empty tranquility without action; it is necessary to work in the midst of great danger and difficulty, to act in the dragon’s pool and the tiger’s lair. Only then can one restore one’s original being, cultivating it into something indestructible.]

Cleary (2): From degeneration comes great development, etc.

Wu: Misdeeds is great and pervasive. It will be advantageous to cross the big river. It would be advisable to begin an undertaking three days before Jia and examine the ongoing progress three days thereafter.


The Image

Legge: The image of wind below the mountain forms Repair. The superior man, in accordance with this, stimulates the virtue of the people.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The wind blows low on the mountain: the image of Decay. Thus the superior man stirs up the people and strengthens their spirit.

Blofeld: This hexagram symbolizes wind blowing at the foot of a mountain. The Superior Man, by stimulating people's hearts, nourishes their virtue.

Liu: Wind blowing around the foot of the mountain symbolizes Work after Spoiling. The superior man encourages people to cultivate virtue.

Ritsema/Karcher: Below mountain possessing wind. Corrupting. A chun tzu uses rousing the commoners to nurture actualizing-tao. [Actualize-tao: ...ability to follow the course traced by the ongoing process of the cosmos... Linked with acquire, TE: acquiring that which makes a being become what it is meant to be.]

Cleary (1): There is wind in the mountains; degeneration. Thus superior people rouse the people and nurture virtue.

Cleary (2): … Leaders thus arouse the people to nurture virtue.

Wu: There is wind at the foot of the mountain; this is Misdeeds. Thus the jun zi arouses the people and nurtures his own virtue.



Confucius/Legge: The dynamic trigram is above, and the magnetic trigram is below. Pliancy is below, and Stopping above: these suggest troubled conditions verging on ruin. But Repair brings order to all under heaven, and he who advances will encounter the business to be done. The end of confusion is the beginning of order; such is the procedure of heaven.

Legge: Repair means the performance of painful but necessary duties. It shows a situation in which things are going to ruin, as if through poison or venomous worms. In order to justify the auspice of progress and success, the duty of the figure is to rectify this and restore conditions to health. This will require a major effort, such as crossing the great stream, and the careful differentiation of the causes of the problem, as well as the measures taken to fix it. The attribute of the lower trigram is Pliancy, and the upper represents Stoppage or Arrest. Hence, the feeble pliancy of decadence is stopped cold by the immovable mountain. The three days before and after the turning point symbolize the careful attention and differentiation necessary for any rectification to succeed.

On the Image, Ch'eng-tzu says: "When the wind encounters the mountain, it is driven back, and the things about are all scattered in disorder; such is the emblem of the state denoted by Repair." The nourishing of virtue appears especially in line six -- all the other lines belong to the helping of the people.



Judgment:Repair means to set your house in order. Analyze your choices before the renovation and evaluate their consequences afterward.

The Superior Man orders his thoughts and feelings, reforms old attitudes, and strengthens his will. (Psychologically, to "stimulate the virtue of the people" (Legge) is to rectify the components of a complex.)

To imagine any truly objective state of perception we must include all that exists: the entire cosmos. Each differentiation of this, from atom to galaxy, is one slice out of an infinite whole. As a portion of the entirety, we are always linked with our ancestors in an infinite web of relationships which includes our family history, our racial-cultural-historical heritage and Homo sapiens as a species. Though seldom aware of them, it is useful to remember these links. Emanating from an unfathomable complexity, their karmically-charged morphogenetic fields are constantly shaping our lives. It follows that, although we perceive ourselves as separate from our ancestors, the separation is a subjective experience which is true only in a temporally limited sense.

Every line of Repair, except two and six, shows a son dealing with the troubles caused by his father. This reminds us of the biblical curse:

For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Exodus 20: 5

The father archetype has a wide range of meanings: this extends from the Primal Spirit ("God the Father"), to a prior cause or intent in the psyche which has engendered a present condition. Psychologically interpreted, it is this latter reading which usually applies. If a "father" symbolizes the cause, then a "son" is the effect. If the effect is imperfect, then to rectify it is also to rectify the original intent.

To a large extent our lives consist of well-intentioned but misguided choices which create less than perfect consequences. To modify our attitude or behavior so that it corrects errors in our original intent is to "deal with the troubles caused by the father."

For example: In a misconceived expression of affection, a parent allows his child unrestricted access to candy. As a consequence of this choice, the kid's teeth become rotten, and the only logical way to correct the original error is to now curtail his intake of sugar. The fact that this new choice will create stress in the relationship between parent and child is just a consequence of the original choice and has no bearing at all on what is correct in the situation.

In some situations this hexagram may be interpreted as a response to a karmic chain of cause and effect:

To harmonize with the Wisdom Teachings, the scripture should read that the karma of the "father" is visited upon the "child" unto the fourth incarnation, not generation. The mistakes you made in the last four incarnations may be visited upon you in the form of karma flowing out of the heart seed atom in the present incarnation. Thus what you "fathered," or created, in your last incarnation may be the source ("parent") of your karma today. You are a child of that parent today. You have inherited from that parent -- the you of the past, not your physical parents -- all of your characteristics, weaknesses and strengths.
Earlyne Chaney -- The Mystery of Death and Dying

The interpretation of any oracle response can only be as profound as our minds are prepared to accept. As moderns we find it difficult to empathize with "ancestor worship," yet properly understood, it can provide useful insights into the Work. In the unconscious realm all time is immediate, not sequential, and the Objective Psyche consists of a non- temporal web of forces shading from personal to universal. This means that if we have a complex engendered in us by our father, for example, we can reasonably assume that he was passing on what he received from his own parents. In this way, the unresolved complexes of the ancestors shape our own personalities: they live in and through us right now, even if they had their birth in forefathers long forgotten. This is a kind of near-immortality: individuals may die, but beliefs, attitudes, complexes live as long as they have receptive vessels to inhabit. (This is probably the engine of karma.) To the extent that an ancestral chain of causality still motivates our choices, we are totally responsible for "setting right what has been spoiled by the father."


Most people have some level of unfinished business with their parents: psychologists would have little to do if this weren't true. It can be a healing ritual to set up an altar to a deceased parent and meditate there on the stresses that still remain between you. To approach the situation without judgment, to realize (non-logically) that forces pre-existing you provoked the condition as much as your parent did, will elicit much insight. Be especially aware of the presence of the past and the illusion of linear time. (Is it possible somehow to be your own great-grandfather?) Ancestor “worship” of this sort can be profoundly therapeutic.


Legge: The first line, magnetic, shows a son dealing with the troubles caused by his father. If he is an able son, the father will escape the blame of having erred. The position is perilous, but there will be good fortune in the end.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Setting right what has been spoiled by the father. If there is a son, no blame rests upon the departed father. Danger. In the end good fortune.

Blofeld: Children exist to rectify the mistakes wrought by their fathers; hence the departed are made free from blame -- trouble ending in good fortune!

Liu: If the mistakes of the father are corrected by the son, no blame. There is danger, but in the end, good fortune.

Ritsema/Karcher: Managing the father's Corrupting. Possessing son-hood. Predecessors without fault. Adversity, completing significant.

Shaughnessy: The stem father's branch; there is a son crafty; there is no trouble; danger; in the end auspicious.

Cleary (1): Correcting the father’s degeneracy; if there is a son, the deceased father is without blame. Danger, but in the end it turns out well.

Cleary (2): Dealing with the degeneration of the father, if there is a child, the late father has no blame. It is dangerous but turns out well.

Wu: He attends to the affairs of his father. He is a capable son. His father will be free from blame. It is a difficult task, but it will be good in the end.



Confucius/Legge: He has entered into the work of his father. Wilhelm/ Baynes: He receives in his thoughts the deceased father. Blofeld: This implies assuming responsibility for their mistakes. Ritsema/Karcher: Intention receiving the predecessors indeed. Cleary (2): Consciously taking up after the late father. Wu: He intends to continue his father’s business.

Legge: Line one is magnetic, with a magnetic correlate in line four -- what can be done here to remedy the state of decay? But the line is the first of the hexagram, and the decay is not yet great. By heeding the cautions of the text, he can succeed. He has entered into the work of his father, and brings it about that his father is looked on as blameless.



Siu: At the outset, wrongs have arisen which are not yet deeply rooted and can be remedied. But reforms are associated with dangers, which should be understood.

Wing: In order to avoid decay, it is necessary to change a traditional and rigid structure that is affecting your life. You may feel that this is too radical an undertaking. It is true that this kind of change is fraught with danger, but if you are cautious while making the reform you will meet with success and renewed growth.

Editor: This line doesn't lend itself to use of the usual gender symbolism. Wilhelm translates the Confucian commentary in terms of receiving the departed father in one's thoughts; Blofeld renders it as taking responsibility for the father's errors. Ritsema/Karcher render "adversity” as: “Danger, threatening, malevolent demon ... It indicates a spirit or ghost that seeks revenge by inflicting suffering upon the living. Pacifying or exorcizing such a spirit can have a healing effect.” This can refer to any unresolved stresses creating instability in the situation. Psychologically, the idea is that new insights modify old errors. If they are formulated carefully, further error is avoided and one has created a useful new foundation. Sometimes the line can refer to having misinterpreted a previous oracle.

Lord Naoshige said, "An ancestor's good or evil can be determined by the conduct of his descendants." A descendant should act in a way that will manifest the good in his ancestor and not the bad. This is filial piety.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo --The Book of the Samurai

A. Rectify a past mistake.


Legge: The second line, dynamic, shows a son dealing with the troubles caused by his mother. He should not carry his firm correctness to the utmost.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Setting right what has been spoiled by the mother. One must not be too persevering.

Blofeld: Assuming responsibility for the mistakes of our mothers cannot be too serious.

Liu: In correcting the mistakes of the mother, one must not be too persistent.

Ritsema/Karcher: Managing the mother's Corrupting. Not permitting Trial.

Shaughnessy: The stem mother's branch; one may not determine.

Cleary (1): Correcting the degeneracy of the mother, it is improper to be righteous.

Wu: He attends to the affairs of his mother. He should not be insistent.



Confucius/Legge: In dealing with the troubles caused by his mother he holds to the course of the due mean. Wilhelm/Baynes: He finds the middle way. Blofeld: At best a middle course is advisable. Ritsema/Karcher: Acquiring centering tao indeed. Cleary (2): attaining balance. Wu: He proceeds with moderation.

Legge: The fifth line ruler is magnetic, while line two is dynamic. Thus the symbolism takes the form of a son dealing with the prevailing decay induced by his mother. But a son must be very gentle in all his dealings with his mother, and especially so when constrained by a sense of duty to oppose her course.



Siu: The man is gentle in dealing with his mother, even when duty bound to oppose her. When restoring what has been spoiled by weakness, gradualness is required.

Wing: You have become aware of past mistakes that must be rectified. Here you must proceed with great sensitivity, since the changes in your life could hurt those dear to you.

Editor: In psychological symbolism, a female represents emotional or feeling components within the psyche. A "mother" then, would be the source of an emotional attitude which, in the context of this hexagram, needs to be modified or changed. In correcting outmoded or inappropriate feelings one must proceed with care because emotional/instinctual forces cannot be altered as quickly as we can change our minds. (It is a commonplace in psychology that mental insights mean nothing if the emotions involved refuse to conform.) Often the line can refer to the proper way of responding to another's sensitive mood or attitude.

As in childhood development, which recapitulates human historical development in consciousness, the psychic detachment from the mother towards the father is intimately bound up with the growth of individuality. Consciousness strives to become separate from the maternal involvement, and aspires toward the outside world represented by the father.
Gareth Knight -- A History of White Magic

A. Rectify an emotional response. Control your feelings, but don't crush them.

B. Be sensitive in the way you handle an emotional situation.


Legge: The third line, dynamic, shows a son dealing with the troubles caused by his father. There may be some small occasion for repentance, but there will not be any great error.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Setting right what has been spoiled by the father. There will be a little remorse. No great blame.

Blofeld: Making ourselves responsible for the mistakes of our fathers may involve some regret but not much blame.

Liu: In correcting the mistakes of the father, there is slight remorse. No great blame.

Ritsema/Karcher: Managing the father's Corrupting. The small possesses repenting. Without the great: fault.

Shaughnessy: The stem father's branch; there is a little regret; there is no great trouble.

Cleary (1): Correcting the degeneracy of the father, there is a little regret but not much blame.

Wu: He attends to the affairs of his father. There will be small regrets, but no big error.


Confucius/Legge: In the end there will be no error. Wilhelm/Baynes: In the end there is no blame. Blofeld: In the end we shall be free from blame. Ritsema/Karcher: Completing without fault indeed. Cleary (2): In the end there is no blame. Wu: He will be blameless in the end.

Legge: Line three is dynamic, but not central, so that he might well go to excess in his efforts. But this tendency is counteracted by his place in the trigram of Humble Submission. (Pliancy.)



Siu: The man proceeds too energetically in correcting past errors. This results in some discord and distress. But a trifle too much energy is preferable to a trifle too little, and no great blame will ensue.

Wing: You are anxious to rectify the mistakes of the past and move vigorously into the future. Your actions may be hasty and you will be judged inconsiderate by others, but in the end you will not suffer for it.

Editor: The image suggests the normal rectification of an error.

Anyone who has ever been through such a psychic experience knows what an immense relief this can be, how much more bearable, for example, it is for a son to conceive the son-father problem no longer on the plane of individual guilt -- in relation, for example, to his own desire for his father's death, his aggressions and desires for revenge -- but as a problem of deliverance from the father, i.e., from a dominant principle of consciousness, that is no longer adequate for the son: a problem that concerns all men and has been disclosed in the myths and fairy tales as the slaying of the reigning old king and the son's accession to his throne.
J. Jacobi -- Complex, Archetype, Symbol

A. Image of an easily rectified mistake.


Legge: The fourth line, magnetic, shows a son viewing indulgently the troubles caused by his father. If he goes forward, he will find cause to regret it.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Tolerating what has been spoiled by the father. In continuing one sees humiliation.

Blofeld: Tolerating the mistakes of our fathers would occasion us regret in the course of time.

Liu: Continuing to tolerate the mistakes of the father brings humiliation.

Ritsema/Karcher: Enriching the father's Corrupting. Going: visualizing abashment.

Shaughnessy: The bathed father's branch; going to see is distressful.

Cleary (1): Forgiving the degeneration of the father; if one goes on, there will be shame.

Cleary (2): Indulging the degeneration of the father, if you go on you will experience shame.

Wu: He shows compassion in the affairs of his father. If he attends to them, he will make error.



Confucius/Legge: If he advances he will not succeed. Wilhelm/Baynes: He goes, but as yet finds nothing. Blofeld: In that case, we should fail to rectify them. Ritsema/Karcher: Going: not-yet acquiring indeed. Cleary (2): If you go on you will not attain anything. Wu: He will have nothing to gain by attending to them.

Legge: Line four is magnetic in a magnetic place, which intensifies passivity. Hence the caution about going forward.



Siu: Indulgence of decay leads to regret.

Wing: The situation has been less than harmonious for quite some time, yet this condition of discord has been tolerated. Under these circumstances things will continue to degenerate.

Editor: Line four doesn't lend itself to the usual gender symbolism. The image is one of passive and permissive tolerance of error. To allow things to continue under these conditions will ensure that they get worse. The line can sometimes refer to a state of complacent ignorance of the true situation. If your assumptions are incorrect in the first place, then your query is by definition inappropriate: re-think the question to discover the error.

Psychic inertia is also evident in our resistance to any form of change in conditioned patterns, no matter how promising or favorable it may be. Any psychoanalyst knows from dealing with "resistance" that every basic psychological change entails a deathlike experience for the ego. New possibilities produce so much anxiety that the most destructive past adaptations seem safer and inspire more confidence.
E. C. Whitmont -- The Symbolic Quest

A. Passive indulgence in an old weakness leads to failure.

B. You think things are OK, but they're not: rectify a past error.

C. "A stitch in time saves nine."


Legge: The fifth line, magnetic, shows a son dealing with the troubles caused by his father. He obtains the praise of using the fit instrument for his work.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Setting right what has been spoiled by the father. One meets with praise.

Blofeld: Assuming responsibility for the mistakes of our fathers will win us praise.

Liu: Correcting the mistakes of the father leads to recognition.

Ritsema/Karcher: Managing the father's Corrupting. Availing- of praise.

Shaughnessy: The stem father's branch; use a cart.

Cleary (1): Correcting the degeneracy of the father, using praise.

Cleary (2): Dealing with the degeneration of the father, the action is praised.

Wu: He attends to the affairs of his father. He has reputation at his disposal.



Confucius/Legge: He is responded to by the second line with all of his virtue. Wilhelm/Baynes: He receives him in virtue. Blofeld: Because to take them upon ourselves is a virtue. Ritsema/Karcher: Receiving uses actualizing-tao indeed. [Actualize-tao: Ability to follow the course traced by the ongoing process of the cosmos ... Linked with acquire, TE: acquiring that which makes a being become what it is meant to be.]Cleary (2): Because one takes up after him with virtue. Wu: He succeeds with virtue.

Legge: The magnetic fifth line is the seat of the ruler, but its proper correlate is the dynamic second line -- the strong minister to whom the work of the hexagram is delegated.



Siu: With the assistance of able helpers, the man reverses the process of decay of former times. He is praised for it.

Wing: You are in a position to assume the responsibility for a long-needed reform. Do it. Those around you will be supportive of your efforts and you will be honored with praise and recognition.

Editor: Line five does not lend itself to the usual gender symbolism. The dynamic second line deals with feelings (the mother), and the magnetic fifth line deals with thoughts or conscious attitudes (the father). The Confucian commentary describes these correlate lines as uniting to attain symmetry. Ritsema/Karcher translate this as facilitating the unfolding of essence (tao). This suggests an overall rectification of thoughts and feelings to attain balance. The other translations emphasize that one obtains recognition and praise for this, suggesting a major accomplishment in the development of the Work.

Inasmuch as ordering activity and emotional receptivity are felt as belonging to the masculine and feminine principles respectively, the first life contacts with father and mother set the basic patterns for the development of our assertiveness and our feeling. When there are problems in these areas they must be confronted and consciously re-examined in terms of these original encounters before a further development can become possible.
E. C. Whitmont -- The Symbolic Quest

A. Put some thought into your feelings, or: bring compassion into your thinking.

B. Rectify your thoughts and feelings: revise a limiting belief.


Legge: The sixth line, dynamic, shows us one who does not serve either king or feudal lord, but in a lofty spirit prefers to attend to his own affairs.

Wilhelm/Baynes: He does not serve kings and princes, sets himself higher goals.

Blofeld: He does not serve the King or the nobles -- what he does is even loftier than that. [In other words, if we directly serve the will of heaven; by doing so we act as sages who may safely do whatever they feel is worth doing.]

Liu: By not serving kings and princes, one gains higher recognition.

Ritsema/Karcher: Not affairs, kingly feudatories. Honoring highness: one's affair.

Shaughnessy: Not serving king or lord, but highly elevating his virtue; inauspicious.

Cleary (1): Not serving kings and lords, one makes one’s concerns loftier.

Wu: He does not engage himself in the affairs of kings or princes. He keeps a lofty lifestyle of his own.



Confucius/Legge: But his aim may be a model to others. Wilhelm/Baynes: Such an attitude may be taken as a model. Blofeld: This indicates that our own will can be our law. [provided we are acting from the highest motives.] Ritsema/Karcher: Purpose permitted by-consequence indeed.

Cleary (2): One’s will can serve as a model. Wu: His aspiration will be admired.

Legge: Line six is dynamic, with no proper correlate below. Hence it suggests the idea of one outside the sphere of action who takes no part in public affairs, but cultivates himself instead.



Siu: The man does not serve his lord, but lets the world go by and cultivates his own character in solitude. In so doing, however, he creates something valuable for the future of mankind.

Wing: It is possible for you to transcend the entire situation. You do not have to deal with the mundane details of specific social problems. Instead, you may concern yourself with universal goals and personal or spiritual development. Caution: Viewing the world with a cynical or condescending eye, however, will distort your growth, so watch your attitudes carefully.

Editor: One of the most important precepts of the Work is a clear recognition that you can only measure your position and progress against an inner standard. The expectations and apparent achievements of others count for absolutely nothing. You aren't running a race with the world, but striving to beat your own record. One who has taken responsibility for the Work must be prepared to go where its dictates demand, despite what is considered "normal" or "proper" according to contemporary standards. Ritsema/ Karcher's translation of the Confucian commentary ("Purpose permitted by-consequence indeed"), means that one's determination to go it alone is mandated by a deep inner principle. That such an idea occurs in the hexagram of Repair suggests bolstering one's resolve to accept this lonely burden. Blofeld's version of the Confucian commentary ("This indicates that our own will can be our law") is too easily perverted, even with his cautionary note.

Indeed the Gnostics knew something, and it was this: that human life does not fulfill its promise within the structure and establishments of society, for all of these are at best but shadowy projections of another and more fundamental reality. No one comes to his true selfhood by being what society wants him to be nor by doing what it wants him to do. Family, society, church, trade and profession, political and patriotic allegiances, as well as moral and ethical rules and commandments are, in reality, not in the least conducive to the true spiritual welfare of the human soul. On the contrary, they are more often than not the very shackles which keep us from our true spiritual destiny.
S. A. Hoeller -- The Gnostic Jung

A. Your duty is to serve a transcendent ideal.

B. "Mind your own business."

June 24, 2001, 4/23/06