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51-- Shock/Thunder -- 51





Other titles: The Arousing, Thunder, The Symbol of Startling Movement, Shake, The Beginning of Movement, Shocking, The Thunderclap, Action, Motion, Sudden Change, Surprise! "The necessity to keep tranquil in the midst of upheaval." -- D.F. Hook



Legge:Shock intimates ease and development. When the time of movement which it indicates comes, the subject of the hexagram will be found looking out with apprehension, and yet smiling and talking cheerfully. When the movement like a crash of thunder terrifies all within a hundred miles, he will be like the sincere worshipper who is not startled into dropping his ladle and cup of sacrificial spirits.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Shock brings success. Shock comes --oh, oh! Laughing words -- ha, ha! The shock terrifies for a hundred miles, and he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.

Blofeld: Thunder -- success! Thunder comes with a terrible noise, laughing and shouting in awesome glee and frightening people for a hundred miles around. The sacrificial wine is not spilt. [This suggests that the holder of the sacrificial vessel is not easily alarmed or else that he is very wise and able to distinguish between the apparently dangerous and the truly dangerous.]

Liu: Thunder. Success. Thunder comes -- ho ho! Speaking and laughing -- ha ha! It shocks and terrifies for a hundred miles. But one does not drop the spoon or chalice.

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake, Growing. Shake coming: frightening, frightening. Laughing words, shrieking, shrieking. Shake scaring a hundred miles. Not losing the ladle, the libation. [This hexagram describes your situation in terms of a disturbing and inspiring shock. It emphasizes that rousing things to new activity, the action of Shake is the adequate way to handle it. To be in accord with the time, you are told to: stir things up!]

Shaughnessy:Thunder: Receipt; thunder comes so renewingly; laughter and talk yaya; thunder alarms one hundred miles; not losing the ladle or goblet.

Cleary (1): Thunder is developmental. When thunder comes, there is alarm, then laughter. Thunder startles for a hundred miles, but one does not lose the spoon and wine.

Cleary (2):Thunder comes through. Etc.

Wu:Motion indicates pervasiveness. When Motioncomes, it frightens people. Later, it makes people talk and laugh. Its majesty reaches one hundred li in all directions. There is no misplacement of the ladle or sacrificial wine.


The Image

Legge: The image of Thunder, being repeated, forms Shock. The superior man, in accordance with this, is fearful and apprehensive, cultivates his virtue, and examines his faults.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Thunder repeated: the image of Shock. Thus in fear and trembling the superior man sets his life in order and examines himself.

Blofeld: This hexagram symbolizes continuous thunder. The Superior Man in fear and trembling seeks to improve himself.

Liu: Thunder doubled symbolizes shock. The superior man contemplates himself with fear and caution.

Ritsema/Karcher: Reiterated thunder. Shake. A chun tzu uses anxious fearing to adjust inspecting.

Cleary (1):Traveling thunder reverberates. Thus superior people cautiously practice introspection.

Cleary (2): Repeated thunder reverberates.Developed people practice introspection with caution.

Wu: One thunderclap after another constitutes hexagram Motion. Thus the jun zi reflects and rectifies for fear of being wrong.



Confucius/Legge: His feeling of dread leads to happiness because he is thereby made to adopt proper laws for himself. The movement startles the distant and frightens the near, yet he makes the proper sacrifices the same as always.

Legge: Shock consists of the trigram for Thunder doubled. (This trigram also represents Movement and the Eldest Son.) The hexagram therefore symbolizes a crash or peal of thunder, and combined with the idea of movement shows a sudden change taking place in the kingdom. The lesson is the conduct to be pursued in a time of sudden change through an awareness of danger and the proper regulation of oneself.

A successful issue is predicted if the dynamic first line can be superior to the two magnetic lines above him. It is in the idea of the hexagram that he should be moving and advancing. Although sensible of the danger, he is confident and self-possessed -- so much so that he can calmly perform his religious duties during the prevailing chaos. This is proper behavior for the eldest son, who must eventually assume the duties of his father.

Anthony: In the I Chingshock means being subjected to unsettling events. It also means perceiving and reacting to these events … perceiving, in any of these changes, that a new set of limits, or deprivations, has been placed on our life which seems to restrict or even penalize us. This sense of being projected by events into a sort of emotional trap is what this hexagram calls “Fate.” Acknowledgement of this fate, or trap, and the imperative – to find the way out – is one of the purposes of shock. As far as the I Ching is concerned, there is only one way out – to undergo spiritual development.



Judgment: During sudden changes, adjust your tempo and move ahead, remembering that while conditions may alter, the goal remains the same.

The Superior Man double-checks his premises, confronts his weak spots and adheres to the rules and ideals of the Work.

The image here is one of a sudden, dramatic release of energy, power and force. To receive this hexagram without changing lines can refer to almost any abrupt, startling or unexpected situation. Sometimes it is the oracle's way of saying: "Surprise!” It can also be a kind of reprimand for asking a dumb or inappropriate question -- the oracle is "shocked” by your temerity, ignorance, etc. In such instances there is often an element of wry humor in the situation -- usually at the ego's expense. On rare occasions, it is possible to receive this hexagram as a warning about an upcoming event which has no bearing on the question posed. Should you receive such an oracle, be extremely vigilant – as always, the advice to the superior man in the Image suggests the proper course.

A true test of devotion to the Work is to maintain one's will under all circumstances. The world may be falling apart around us, but the adept does not ruin the performance of his sacrifice: the ego continues the Work regardless of conditions, and keeps a cool head under all circumstances.

Have no fear of sudden terror

or of assault from wicked men,

since Yahweh will be your guarantor,

He will keep your steps from the snare.

Proverbs 3: 25-26

Both Yahweh and Christ are what Jung calls "god images” which exist in one form or another in every human psyche, whether it is consciously religious or not. The god image is synonymous with the Self, and the implication of the above quotation from Proverbsis that as long as the ego remains devoted to the Work -- in I Chingterms: "maintains the sacrifice” -- it is under the protection of the Self.

The Perfect Man is godlike. Though the great swamps blaze, they cannot burn him; though the great rivers freeze, they cannot chill him; though swift lightning splits the hills and howling gales shake the sea, they cannot frighten him. A man like this rides the clouds and mist, straddles the sun and moon, and wanders beyond the four seas. Even life and death have no effect on him, much less the rules of profit and loss!
Chuang Tzu


Legge: The first line, dynamic, shows its subject, when the movement approaches, looking out and around with apprehension, and afterwards smiling and talking cheerfully. There will be good fortune.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Shock comes -- Oh, Oh! Then follow laughing words -- Ha, Ha! Good fortune.

Blofeld: Thunder comes with a mighty roar which changes to noisy glee -- good fortune!

Liu:Thunder comes -- ho ho! Later there are smiles and happy words -- ha ha! Good fortune.

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake coming: frightening, frightening. After laughing words, shrieking, shrieking. Significant.

Shaughnessy: Thunder comes so renewingly; afterwards laughter and talk yaya; auspicious.

Cleary (1): When thunder comes, alarm; afterward, laughter. Auspicious.

Wu: When motion comes, it frightens people. Later, it makes people talk and laugh. This is auspicious.



Confucius/Legge: That feeling of dread leads to happiness because he adopts proper laws for his course. Wilhelm/Baynes: Fear brings good fortune. Afterward one has a rule. Blofeld: Its frightening roar causes fear which leads to happiness; its noisy glee is followed by good order. [Fear is often a good mentor; by causing us to change our ways it leads to happiness.]Ritsema/Karcher: Anxiety involving blessing indeed. Afterwards possessing by- consequence indeed. Cleary (2): Fear brings fortune. Afterward there is a model. Wu: Fear leads to blessings. Law and order will follow.

Legge: What is said on line one is little more than a repetition of the principal part of the Judgment. The line is dynamic in a dynamic place, and gives a good auspice.



Siu: At the outset, an unexpected movement causes the man to be apprehensive. But he soon smiles with confident relief as the ordeal passes.

Wing: An unexpected event may frighten you. You may see it as dangerous, and all the feelings that accompany danger will rise up in you. Yet the ordeal will end, bringing you great relief. Good fortune is indicated.

Editor: Blofeld's note on the Confucian commentary sums up the meaning of the line best: "Fear is often a good mentor; by causing us to change our ways, it leads to happiness.” When this is the only changing line, the new hexagram becomes Number sixteen, Enthusiasm, giving us an altogether energetic and action-oriented image.

When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the west, it comes with terror like a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm.
Black Elk

A. Powerful forces suddenly upset the status-quo. The way is cleared for something new. Remain calm.

B. A surprise causes one to re-arrange one's thinking. Fear is followed by relief.

C. Image of "A close call."


Legge: The second line, magnetic, shows its subject, when the movement approaches in a position of peril. She judges it better to let go the articles in her possession, and to ascend to a very lofty height. There is no occasion for her to pursue after the things she has let go; in seven days she will find them.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Shock comes bringing danger. A hundred thousand times you lose your treasures and must climb the nine hills. Do not go in pursuit of them. After seven days you will get them back again.

Blofeld:Thunder approaches -- trouble is at hand! Sadly he lets go of his valuables and fleeing sets foot among the nine hills. He should not search for them; in seven days he will regain them.

Liu: Thunder comes, causing danger. You will lose a great deal of your wealth, then climb nine hills without searching for it. After seven days you will regain it.

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake coming: adversity. A hundred-thousand lost coins. Climbing tending-towards the ninth mound. No pursuit. The seventh day: acquiring.

Shaughnessy:Thunder comes so dangerously; one loses cowries; sacrificing to the nine peaks; do not follow, in seven days you will get it.

Cleary (1):Thunder comes: dangerous thoughts. Losing valuables, you climb nine hills: Don’t chase it – you’ll get it in seven days. [Mounting strength with weakness, arbitrary imagination gets too high, and one tries to do what one cannot do. This is losing basic sense and acting on dangerous thoughts … It is fortunate if you maintain rectitude when you are weak, not daring to act arbitrarily…]

Cleary (2):Thunder comes – dangerous. Remembering that you have lost your treasure, you climb nine hills. But do not pursue it; in seven days you will get it.

Wu: He encounters severe movements and presumes to have lost his precious possessions. He climbs up a hill that has nine winding passes, There is no need to search for his possessions. He will recover them after seven days. [He climbs up to high ground to distance himself from the movement below.]



Confucius/Legge: A magnetic line is mounted on a dynamic one. Wilhelm/Baynes: It rests upon a firm line. Blofeld: That the approach of thunder presages trouble is indicated by the position of this yielding line over a firm one. Ritsema/Karcher: Riding a solid indeed. Cleary (2): The danger of thunder coming is mounting the unyielding. Wu: Because he rides on a yang. [The weak second six “rides” on the strong first nine and finds what a perilous situation he is in.]

Legge: The peril in line two is suggested by her position immediately above line one. The rest of the symbolism is obscure, and Chu Hsi says he does not understand it. The subject of the line does what she can to get out of danger, and finally, as is signified by the central position of the line, the issue is better than could have been expected. On the symbolism of "seven days," Ch'eng-tzu says: "The places of a hexagram amount to six. The number seven is the first of another hexagram. When the movement symbolized by Shock has gone through its cycle, things will be as they were before."



Siu: An uprising endangers the man. He accepts the material losses and ascends to lofty heights inaccessible to the threatening forces. After the shock and upheaval have subsided, his property will be restored without his fighting for it.

Wing: A cataclysmic upheaval can cause you great losses. Do not try to resist or fight the forces, since this is impossible. Instead, remove yourself from the dangerous situation. Become inaccessible. In time you will recoup your losses.

Editor: Symbolically, the symbolism is not obscure at all: the basic idea is to transcend your habitual responses and view them from a higher perspective. When things have settled down again, losses will prove to be illusory.

Verily destruction is the foundation of existence,

And the tearing down thou seest

Is but the assembling of material

for a greater structure...

Deluded are they who say,

"Man liveth by the Mercy of the Lord."

Know ye

That the balance of Mercy and Severity

Is the continuance of every life,

Yea, and of this whole universe.

P.F. Case -- The Book of Tokens

A. A new situation renders old methods obsolete.

B. Detach yourself from your accustomed responses and wait for the situation to mature. Losses are imaginary.


Legge: The third line, magnetic, shows its subject distraught amid the startling movements going on. If those movements excite her to right action, there will be no mistake.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Shock comes and makes one distraught. If Shock spurs to action one remains free of misfortune.

Blofeld: Thunderous impetuosity -- to emulate it at this time will not give rise to harm. [The Superior Man usually acts calmly and carefully, but there are times when impetuosity serves a good purpose or, at the very least, does no particular harm.]

Liu: Thunder comes causing a terrified manner. But if one is cautious, one remains free of disaster.

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake: reviving, reviving. Shake moving without blunder.

Shaughnessy: Thunder is so slow; thunder moves without inspection.

Cleary (1): Frightened by thunder; wary action is free from trouble.

Cleary (2): The thunder is faint. Act vigorously, and there will be no trouble.

Wu: He is frightened and uneasy because of the movement, but will not incur misfortune for his undertakings.



Confucius/Legge: Her position is unsuitable to her. Wilhelm/Baynes: The place is not the appropriate one. Blofeld: Thunderous impetuosity is indicated by the unsuitable position of this line. Ritsema/Karcher: Situation not appropriate indeed.

Cleary (2): The position is not appropriate. Wu: His position is improper.

Legge: Line three is magnetic in a dynamic place, but if she moves on to the fourth place, which would be correct for her, the issue will not be bad.

Anthony: The shock of encountering our fate, which seems unbearably harsh, causes emotional trauma. It is as if we are suddenly and irrevocably put into a bad predicament with no options. This negativism, however, means we are still under the effects of shock. If we can withdraw from this negative view, we will see that there are workable and correct means out of the problem. We need to be open-minded in order that the options can become visible. First, we must “keep still” within, refusing to look at the negative images, or listen to the voices of our inferiors.



Siu: The startling strokes of fate bring mental conflict to the man. He should retain presence of mind. If he tailors his responses appropriately, he will overpower these external blows.

Wing: An external blow of fate will put to a test your inner strength. Try, at all costs, to maintain your composure. Look for an avenue of change that will alleviate the danger.

Editor: Wilhelm comments: "The word su, here rendered by ‘distraught,’ denotes literally the reviving movements of insects still stiff after their winter sleep.” Ritsema/Karcher translate SU as: "Regain vital energy, courage or strength; bring to life, cheer up; relief; lit.: herb whose smell revives weary spirits. The doubled character intensifies this quality.” The image is one of groggy confusion during a time demanding decisive action: "Wake up and smell the coffee!” Wilhelm also mentions that the line has reference to a foreordained or fated situation -- the shock of fate. The idea is that your fate is demanding that you get moving, that you wake up from your torpor and take action in accordance with the goals of the Work.

The marvel is that there is not a perpetual state of war within the psyche, for each of these elements is endowed with energy and so cannot die. Fortunately for our sanity, many of these irreconcilable elements lie deep within the unconscious, locked in primordial sleep; those which may have stirred are shut away in separate compartments. But as life progresses and an increase of consciousness is achieved, the inner conflicts awaken, and the problem of reconciling the oppositions they reveal has to be undertaken as a serious and urgent task.
M.E. Harding -- Psychic Energy

A. Wake up and resolve your confusion.

B. Get a move on -- drastic circumstance demand drastic responses.


Legge: The fourth line, dynamic, shows its subject, amid the startling movements, supinely sinking deeper in the mud.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Shock is mired.

Blofeld: After the thunderstorm, the paths are muddy.

Liu:Thunder causes mire. [Even with a humble manner, a person can achieve nothing during this time. If birth time and zodiac symbols are not favorable, one will be involved in trouble.]

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake: releasing the bog.

Shaughnessy: Thunder is followed by mud.

Cleary (1):Thunder gets bogged down.

Wu: He has gotten himself into muddy ground.



Confucius/Legge: The light in him has not yet been brilliantly developed. Wilhelm/

Baynes: It is not yet brilliant enough. Blofeld: This implies muddled thinking. Ritsema/Karcher: Not-yet shining indeed. Cleary (2):Thunder getting bogged down is not illuminating. Wu: He cannot bring himself to a bright spot.

Legge: The fourth line is dynamic in a magnetic place, and is pressed by the magnetic lines on either side, hence he is seen as supinely sinking in the mud. Compare what Confucius says about him with hexagram 21:4 -- "His light has not yet been sufficiently displayed.”



Siu: The man is unable to make progress against an unyielding situation and remains trapped by its stubborn resistance.

Wing: The Shocking event will reduce you to immobility. This comes about because of a befuddled mind, confused and unprepared. You cannot make any progress under the circumstances.

Editor: The image is of one who is trapped in obtuseness and ambiguity, as in mud. Muddy: Unclear, as in: "This is as clear as mud.” Note that no value judgment is attached to the line. Meditation on the similarities between this line and 21:4 is useful.

But as the mind matures its principles tend to harden and gradually become fixed, and it becomes unable to accept fresh material which will not fit easily into the existing structure. Thus it loses contact with the dynamism of reality. Its enclosing walls of dogmatic opinion become unable to adapt to changing circumstances, and if faced with a major challenge of ideas it can only collapse, leaving the bewildered mind within to cope as best it may with the apparent chaos that surrounds it. The lesson here is that any structure is only defensible as long as it remains flexible and capable of evolution; life itself is in a state of constant flux and no merely human construction can hope to survive if it cannot adapt.
A. Douglas -- The Tarot

A. You are immobilized by ignorance and lack of clarity.

B. The time calls for action, but your inertia bogs you down.

C. Ambiguity emasculates action -- wait for the situation to clarify.


Legge: The fifth line, magnetic, shows its subject going and coming amidst the startling movements of the time, and always in peril; but perhaps she will not incur loss, and find business which she can accomplish.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Shock goes hither and thither. Danger. However, nothing at all is lost. Yet there are things to be done.

Blofeld: Thunder comes and goes alternately -- trouble is at hand! Careful thought will avert loss, but there are affairs needing attention.

Liu: Thunder going back and forth brings danger. No great loss. Something remains to be achieved.

Ritsema/Karcher:Shake going, coming adversity. Intention without losing possesses affairs.

Shaughnessy: Thunder goes and comes so dangerously; there is no loss, there is service.

Cleary (1): Actively mulling over dangerous plans. No loss; there is concern.

Cleary (2): Thunder goes and comes – dangerous. On reflection there is no loss; there is something to do.

Wu: Either advance or retreat is precarious. There will be no big loss, only small problems.



Confucius/Legge: Her doings are full of risk, but must be undertaken in her central position. Far will she be from incurring any loss. Wilhelm/Baynes: One walks in danger. The "things to be done" are in the middle, hence nothing at all is lost. Blofeld: The first sentence implies that danger threatens our activities. That affairs need our attention is indicated by this central line of the upper trigram. There will be no important losses. Ritsema/Karcher: Exposed moving indeed. One's affairs located-in the center. The great without losing indeed. Cleary (2): This is acting in peril. Wu: This means that any undertaking will be risky… Problems will be solved through compromise.

Legge: Line five is magnetic in a dynamic place where the action of the hexagram is concentrated. Hence she is always in peril, but her central position indicates safety in the end.



Siu: The man is exposed to repeated shocks and continuing peril. As long as he maintains a central position, safety is assured in the end.

Wing: The shocks will continue and you will be faced with constant troubles and difficulties. You can survive the times if you actively change with the changes, thus remaining centered internally and externally.

Editor: Although there is no relationship of correspondence, this line is similar to line three. Psychologically interpreted, the idea is that the ego is responsible for the Work in spacetime, and it is never easy -- every choice you make is a judgment call.

The practice of shock therapy shatters the distorted ego complex to the point of extinction; contact can then be reestablished with the hope of forming new patterns.
E.C. Whitmont -- The Symbolic Quest

A. "Roll with the punches" and keep your head.

B. Don't allow unsettled conditions to divert you from the Work. Do what the situation requires.


Legge: The sixth line, magnetic, shows its subject, amidst the startling movements of the time, in breathless dismay and looking around her with trembling apprehension. If she takes action, there will be evil. If, while the startling movements have not reached her own person and her neighborhood, she were to take precautions, there would be no error, though her relatives might still speak against her.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Shock brings ruin and terrified gazing around. Going ahead brings misfortune. If it has not yet touched one's own body but has reached one's neighbor first, there is no blame. One's comrades have something to talk about.

Blofeld: Thunder brings disorder and people stare about them in terror. Advancing at this time brings misfortune. The thunder affects not ourselves but our neighbors -- no error. [We are not to blame for the trouble afflicting them; but, as the commentary on this line indicates, they may think we are to blame and plan reprisals.] A marriage causes gossip.

Liu:Thunder causes trembling and frightened looks. Undertaking -- misfortune. It will not threaten your own body, but it might your neighbor. No blame. There will be gossip about marriage.

Ritsema/Karcher: Shake: twining, twining. Observing: terrorizing, terrorizing. Chastising: pitfall. Shake: not tending-towards one's body, tending-towards one's neighbor. Without fault. Matrimonial allying possesses words.

Shaughnessy: Thunder is so clapping; looking so scared; to be upright is inauspicious. Thunder is not in his body, but in his neighbor; in going there is no trouble. In confused slander there is talk.

Cleary (1):Movement uneasy, gaze unsteady – an expedition will bring misfortune. The action is not in oneself but in the neighbors; there is no blame. Association involves criticism.

Cleary (2):Thunder is faint; the look is shifty. An expedition leads to misfortune.

The thunder does not reach you, but is in the vicinity. There is no blame. Association involves criticism.

Wu: He is wavering in mind and looking anxiously right and left. It will be foreboding to have undertakings. If he can prepare himself well, he will not be affected by the thunderclap that impinges on his neighbor. However, he will be criticized for initiating marriage.


Confucius/Legge: Amid the startling movements she has not found out the course of the due mean. Though evil threatens, she will not fall into error. She is afraid of being warned by her neighbors. Wilhelm/Baynes: He has not attained the middle. Misfortune, but no blame. One is warned by the fear for one's neighbor. Blofeld: That thunder brings disorder is indicated by the failure of the middle line of the upper trigram to win supremacy over this top line. Although misfortune arises, we are not to blame. Fear of our neighbors makes us cautious. Ritsema/Karcher: Center not-yet acquired indeed. Although a pitfall, without fault. Dreading the neighbor, a warning indeed. Cleary (2): The thunder is faint – balance has not been attained. Though there is misfortune, there is no blame. Fear nearby is a warning. Wu: “He is wavering,” because he lacks self-confidence. Despite the perilous situation, he will be free from error if he can learn a lesson from his neighbor.

Legge: Line six is magnetic, and must abide the concluding terrors of the movement. Action on her part is sure to be evil. If she were to take precautions, she might escape with only the censure of her relatives.



Siu: The man has not yet found a moderate course of behavior. He is dismayed at the startling events of the times. Action will lead only to evil under such conditions. He should withdraw, taking appropriate precautions, before the shock has affected him personally. His associates may speak against him, but he should not be concerned.

Wing: The times are full of Shocking occurrences which bring disorder to all of society. You cannot combat the times alone, and all those affected are too confused to react appropriately. Retreat is the best course, although it may bring criticism from others who do not comprehend your actions.

Anthony: We must not let shocking events cause us to vilify the Sage, Fate, God, or the people who have wronged us. Shock brings an end to the old, but also a beginning to the new, even though we encounter many dangers to get there. Meanwhile, we must withdraw from the negative effects of shock.

Wu: If he can learn from the experience of his neighbor and rectify his personal life, he will greatly lessen his losses.

Editor: The "neighbor” in the warning is the fifth line, described as coping with shock reasonably well, though unable, as ruler, to hold the entire hexagram together. Line six is advised to learn from her observation of line five's troubles to remain calm and stationary, out of the fray. In other words, by analyzing the adversity of others, one can avoid making their mistakes. Another way of conveying the same idea is to regard the "relative” who might "speak against” line six as the third line correlate who is forced by her circumstances to take action: because of this, line three is unable to understand why line six cannot support her. The clear message here is one of adopting an unconventional or independent point of view: survival now depends on not following the crowd. Blofeld, Liu, Ritsema/Karcher and Wu are the only translators who mention "gossip about marriage." Psychologically interpreted, this can mean stress connected with any synthesis of thought and feeling -- perhaps a new attitude or belief. If this is the only changing line, the new hexagram becomes number twenty-one, Discernment, giving a hint that cold-blooded, dispassionate analysis is the best way to cope with a tricky situation.

The devastating impact of this fire can free the mind from its fetters and open the way that leads to the center; but if the conscious mind is not prepared, not strongly built on firm foundations, it may end in catastrophe. In psychological terms the outcome will be dissociation, the division of the mind against itself.
A. Douglas -- The Tarot

A. Forewarned is forearmed. Never act when confused. Differentiate the components of the situation, center your thinking, then act in your own best interests.

B. Despite contrary input (psychological or social), observation, experience and/or common sense counsel self-protection.

March 30, 2001, 4/25/06