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63 -- Completion -- 63





Other titles: After Completion, The Symbol of What is Already Past, Already Fording, Already Completed, Settled, Mission Accomplished, Tasks Completed, After the End, A state of Climax



Legge:Completion intimates progress and success in small matters. There is advantage in firm correctness. There had been good fortune in the beginning; there may be disorder in the end.

Wilhelm/Baynes: After Completion. Success in small matters. Perseverance furthers. At the beginning good fortune, at the end disorder.

Blofeld:After Completion -- success in small matters! Persistence in a righteous course brings reward. Good fortune at the start; disorder in the end. [Perhaps persistence may help to lessen the disorder that threatens to come upon us after some initial success.]

Liu: Completion. Success in the small. It benefits to continue. Good fortune at first; disorder in the end.

Ritsema/Karcher:Already Fording. Growing: the small. Harvesting Trial. Initially significant. Completing: disarraying. [This hexagram describes your situation in terms of an important move from one position to another. It emphasizes that actively proceeding with the crossing is the adequate way to handle it...]

Shaughnessy:Already Completed: Receipt; slightly beneficial to determine; initially auspicious, in the end disordered.

Cleary (1):Settlement is developmental, but it is minimized. It is beneficial to be correct. The beginning is auspicious, the end confused.

Cleary (2): Settlement is successful, even in small matters … etc.

Wu: Mission Accomplished indicates a small degree of pervasiveness and the advantage of being persevering. It is characterized by goodness in the beginning, but tumult in the end.

The Image

Legge: The image of water above fire formsCompletion. The superior man, in accordance with this, thinks of the evil that may come, and guards against it in advance.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Water over fire: the image of the condition in After Completion. Thus the superior man takes thought of misfortune and arms himself against it in advance.

Blofeld: This hexagram symbolizes water above fire. The Superior Man deals with trouble by careful thought and by taking advance precautions.

Liu: Water above fire symbolizes Completion. The superior man ponders danger and takes precautions against it.

Ritsema/Karcher: Stream located above fire. Already Fording. A chun tzu uses pondering distress and-also providing-for defending-against it.

Cleary (1): Water is above fire,Settled.Thus superior peopleconsider problems and prevent them.

Wu: There is water above fire; this is Mission Accomplished. Thus the jun zi conceives ways to prevent disaster.



Confucius/Legge: Progress and success in small matters, with advantage in firm correctness. The dynamic and magnetic lines are correctly arranged, each in its proper place. There has been good fortune in the beginning because the magnetic second line is in the center. In the end there is a cessation of effort, and disorder arises. The course that led to rule and order is now exhausted.

Legge: The two written Chinese characters translated here as Completion represent two ideas -- the symbol of being past or completed, and the symbol of crossing a stream -- with a secondary meaning of helping and completing. When combined, the two characters express the idea of successful accomplishment. The hexagram denotes the kingdom finally at rest -- the vessel of state has been brought safely across the great and dangerous stream, the distresses of the realm have been relieved and its disorders rectified. Small things need to be completed: the new government must be consolidated and its ruler must, without noise or clamor, go on to perfect what has been wrought with firm correctness and without forgetting the inherent instability of all human affairs. That every line of the hexagram is in its correct place, and has its proper correlate emphasizes the intimation of progress and success.

The K'ang-hsi editors compare this hexagram and the next with number eleven, Harmony, and number twelve, Divorcement, observing that the goodness of Harmony is concentrated, as here, in the second line. Disorder after completion is inevitable. All things move on with a constant process of change. Disorder succeeds to order, and again order to disorder.



Judgment: All's well that ends well, but the new cycle demands as much willpower as the last. Make no drastic choices during a transition.

The Superior Man anticipates conflict and is prepared for it in advance.

The sixty-third hexagram is the reference hexagram which depicts the correlation of properly matched dynamic and magnetic lines. On the basis of this figure, all of the other hexagrams (except the first and second, which are their "parents"), are compared. Yet, despite the fact that every line is in its proper place, not one of them has an easy auspice, and both the Judgment and Image are subdued and cautionary. The general idea is that as long as we draw breath in this spacetime dimension, our lives and Work are incomplete. Cycles complete themselves, certainly, but Completion in that sense is the "completion" of the full moon, which as soon as it reaches maximum brilliance immediately begins to wane.

Among those engaged in psycho-spiritual work, there is a great deal of energy focused on "enlightenment," and the natural desire of each aspirant to attain that state of consciousness as soon as possible. Many there are who wander from one conception of the Work to another in the hope that this particular discipline, or that particular Guru will provide the transcendent answer that the last one didn't.

This is a very deceptive illusion, because the chances that any given individual will attain perfect enlightenment in any given lifetime are probably miniscule to the point of insignificance. (How many truly enlightened beings have you ever met in your life?)

But the first signs of this symbolism are far from indicating that unity has been attained. Just as alchemy has a great many procedures, ranging from the "work of one day" to the "the errant quest" lasting for decades, so the tensions between the psychic pair of opposites ease off only gradually; and, like the alchemical end- product, which always betrays its essential duality, the united personality will never quite lose the painful sense of innate discord. Complete redemption from the sufferings of this world is and must remain an illusion ... The goal is important only as an idea; the essential thing is the opus which leads to the goal: that is the goal of a lifetime. In its attainment "left and right" are united, and conscious and unconscious work in harmony.
Jung-- Psychology of the Transference

The Work is a slow, organic process of transforming unconscious forces, which demands almost superhuman levels of discipline to accomplish. One can make a great deal of progress in one lifetime, but the Work can not be said to be complete until physical death “completes” it -- at that point, assuming the ego has acquired enough strength of will, perhaps one can facilitate a "permanent" synthesis of the forces one has spent a lifetime in training. Death is the doorway back to our Source, and if we enter that doorway consciously and correctly we can consolidate a great deal of power which will serve us well in the next cycle, in whatever dimension that cycle may take place.

It is even doubtful whether a man can arrive at the summit of all perfection as long as he lives in an imperfect physical form, because the imperfections of the form hamper the spirit, and only a spirit that has outgrown the necessity to live in a physical form may be said to have arrived at that high degree of perfection at which a perfect knowledge of self, and consequently a perfect knowledge of the universe is obtained.
F. Hartmann --Paracelsus: Life and Prophecies


Legge: The first line, dynamic, shows its subject as a driver who drags back his wheel, or as a fox which has wet his tail. There will be no error.

Wilhelm/Baynes: He brakes his wheels. He gets his tail in the water. No blame.

Blofeld: He brakes the wheel of his chariot and gets the rear part wet -- no error!

Liu: The brake to the wheel. The tail gets wet. No blame.

Ritsema/Karcher: Pulling back one's wheels. Soaking one's tail. Without fault.

Shaughnessy: Dragging his ribbon, wetting his tail; there is no trouble.

Cleary (1): Dragging the wheel, wetting the tail, there is no fault.

Cleary (2): Dragging the wheels – it is right that there be no problem.

Wu: The wheels are pulled back. The tail is immersed in water. There will be no error.



Confucius/Legge: As we may rightly judge, there will be no mistake. Wilhelm/ Baynes: According to the meaning, there is no blame in this. Blofeld: Since we manage to stop at the right moment we are not to blame for what happens. Ritsema/Karcher: Righteous, without fault indeed. Cleary (2): (None.) Wu: In principle there is nothing wrong.

Legge: Line one, the first of the hexagram, represents the time immediately after the successful completion of something -- a time for resting and being quiet. For a season at least, all movement should be hushed. Hence we have the symbolism of a driver trying to stop his carriage, and a fox who has wet his tail, and will not attempt the stream again.


Siu: At the outset, the man is not caught in the intoxication of the masses during a great transition. The general pressure finally overwhelms him. However, this occurs only at the last minute, after he has successfully completed the enterprise.

Wing: As you move forward with your plans, the pressure starts to build and you feel an urge to reconsider. You must face the fact that you will be affected by the events that you have inexorably set into motion, but not detrimentally, as you are generally correct.

Editor: Wilhelm, Blofeld and Liu all use the image of brakes to stop a wheel. If the hexagram is turned upside down it becomes number sixty-four, Before Completion or Unfinished Business,and this line becomes number 64:6 which has a similar message. Even the fox is mentioned. The image is one of avoiding danger by holding back.

The contented man meets no disgrace;

Who knows when to stop runs into no danger --

He can long endure.

Lao Tzu

A. Stop pushing -- hold and consolidate your position.

B. "Leave well enough alone."


Legge: The second line, magnetic, shows its subject as a wife who has lost her carriage-screen. There is no occasion to go in pursuit of it. In seven days she will find it.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The woman loses the curtain of her carriage. Do not run after it; on the seventh day you will get it.

Blofeld: The lady loses the blind from her chariot window. She should not go in search of it, for she will recover it in seven days.

Liu: A lady loses her carriage curtain. Without seeking it, it will be regained within seven days.

Ritsema/Karcher: A wife losing her veil. No pursuit. The seventh day: acquiring.

Shaughnessy: The wife loses her hair; do not follow, in seven days you will get it.

Cleary (1): A woman loses her protection. Do not pursue; you will get it in seven days.

Cleary (2): A woman loses her protection. Let her not give chase: she will find it in seven days.

Wu: A woman has lost the curtain of her carriage. There is no need to look for it. After seven days it will be found.



Confucius/Legge: The course pursued is that indicated by the central position of the line. Wilhelm/Baynes: As a result of the middle way. Blofeld: Restraint or moderation will be rewarded. Ritsema/Karcher: Using centering tao indeed. Cleary (2): Because of her balanced course. Wu: Because she take a middle course.

Legge: The second line is magnetic and in her proper place. With her dynamic correlate in line five, she might be expected to take action, but she is central and correct – a lady who has lost her carriage screen. She will not advance further so soon after success has been achieved, but keeps herself in hidden retirement. Let her not seek the screen. The seven days is a cycle of completion running its course -- then a new period when action will be proper shall have commenced.



Siu: The man is not accorded the protective confidence of his superiors. In his desire to achieve something, he is tempted to seek it and draw it to himself. He should not do so, but should remain patient and faithful. What is truly his will come to him eventually.

Wing: You are suddenly exposed, whether by your own hand or by circumstances beyond your control. Do nothing. Don't try to cover up, or attempt to make a case for your position. This time of conspicuousness will soon pass.

Editor: The image of the hexagram suggests a high water mark -- the point at which a cycle is completed. Beyond this point is the beginning of a whole new cycle. The second line is the ruler of the hexagram -- a magnetic, receptive, yin line who remains fully devoted to the dynamic yang line, her husband, in the fifth place. A magnetic force is vulnerable during a period of completion -- it must remain in place until the synthesis is complete and the next cycle begins.

When a patient begins to feel the inescapable nature of his inner development, he may easily be overcome by a panic fear that he is slipping helplessly into some kind of madness he can no longer understand. More than once I have had to reach for a book on my shelves, bring down an old alchemist, and show my patient his terrifying fantasy in the form in which it appeared four hundred years ago. This has a calming effect, because the patient then sees that he is not alone in a strange world which nobody understands, but is part of the great stream of human history, which has experienced countless times the very things that he regards as a pathological proof of his craziness.
Jung -- Alchemical Studies

A. An image of temporary vulnerability: take no action until the situation matures.


Legge: The third line, dynamic, suggests the case of Kao Tsung who attacked the Demon region, but was three years in subduing it. Inferior men should not be employed in such enterprises.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The Illustrious Ancestor disciplines the devil's country. After three years he conquers it. Inferior people must not be employed.

Blofeld: The Illustrious Ancestor (namely, the Emperor Wu Ting, 1324 BC) carried out a punitive expedition in Kuei Fang (literally, the Land of the Devils) and conquered it after three years -- men of mean attainments would have been useless! [The Land of Devils was probably a territory inhabited by non-Chinese tribes. The implication is that only a man of outstanding capability should attempt any difficult task now.]

Liu: The emperor Kao Tsung chastised the barbarian country and conquered it in three years. The inferior man should no longer be employed.

Ritsema/Karcher: The high ancestor subjugating souls on-all- sides. Three years-revolved controlling it. Small People, no availing of.

Shaughnessy: The High Ancestor attacks the Devil-land, in three years conquering it; the little man should not use it.

Cleary (1): The emperor attacks the barbarians, and conquers them after three years. Do not employ inferior people.

Wu: Gao Zong took military actions against Guifan. After three years, he quelled the rebellion. Little men should not be trusted.



Confucius/Legge: He was three years in subduing it -- enough to make him weary. Wilhelm/Baynes: This is exhausting. Blofeld: His taking three years to conquer it indicates great fatigue. [Even if we do feel capable of undertaking an extremely difficult task, we must expect it to occupy us for so long as to make us feel exhausted.]Ritsema/Karcher: Weariness indeed. Cleary (2): He is weary. Wu: It was a tiresome campaign.

Legge: The dynamic third line at the top of the lower trigram suggests the idea of one undertaking a vigorous enterprise. The writer thinks of Kao Tsung, one of the ablest sovereigns of the Shang dynasty (B.C. 1364-1324), who undertook an expedition against the barbarian hordes of the cold and bleak regions north of the Middle States. His enterprise was successful, but it was tedious, and the line concludes with a warning.


Siu: A correct subjugation policy is essential after the conquest. Inferior people, of no value at home, should not be sent to govern the colonies. Protracted struggles usually follow, and small men are inadequate to the task.

Wing: The attainment of a highly ambitious goal is possible. It will take a long time and will leave you spent. If it is worthwhile to you, success is indicated. However, be cautioned to employ only the most qualified persons in your endeavor.

Editor: In psychological terms, the Demon region is the unconscious psyche, and no new synthesis can take place therein until all of its autonomous complexes have been pacified and integrated. The will of the ego is the last line of defense against their constant pressure. Only one who has undertaken the Work can truly appreciate how exhausting it is -- a fact made more ominous by the realization that one can win most of the battles and still lose the war. "Inferior men should not be employed" means that it is a task not to be lightly undertaken by anyone.

When an individual in some contretemps discovers this primitive force alive within him, like a ruthless and cold-blooded daemon, he must find some method by which it can be transformed into a different kind of spirit, if he is to avoid a regression to a level of civilization far below his conscious standard.
M.E. Harding -- Psychic Energy

A. Conquer your demons -- the integration of unbalanced forces is a long and exhausting process.


Legge: The fourth line, magnetic, shows its subject with rags provided against any leak in her boat, and on guard all day long.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The finest clothes turn to rags. Be careful all day long.

Blofeld: Amidst the fine silk are ragged garments -- be cautious throughout the livelong day!

Liu: One has silk clothes but wears rags. Be cautious all day. [This line indicates that you can expect to have enough money to live comfortably.]

Ritsema/Karcher: A token: possessing clothes in-tatters. Completing the day, a warning. [Token, HSU: halves of a torn piece of silk which identify the bearers when joined.]

Shaughnessy: The short coat has jacket wadding; in winter days be warned.

Cleary (1): With wadding to plug leaks, one is watchful all day.

Cleary (2): There are rags in fine cloth – be alert all the time.

Wu: Rags are used to plug leaks. This is a matter of concern all day long.



Confucius/Legge: She is on guard all the day -- she is in doubt about something.

Wilhelm/Baynes: There is cause for doubt. Blofeld: This indicates that doubt and suspicion are now prevalent. Ritsema/Karcher: Possessing a place to doubt indeed.

Cleary (2): There is doubt. Wu: There are doubts.

Legge: Line four is magnetic and has advanced into the trigram symbolizing Water and Peril. She will be cautious and prepare for evil.



Siu: Evils are occasionally uncovered but quickly glossed over during periods of prosperity and cultural advance. The man is not complacent about such readily hidden defects and takes earnest steps toward their correction.

Wing: Elements of decay can be found in the situation of your inquiry. Watch your step.

Editor: Wilhelm, Blofeld and Liu all juxtapose the image of rags with clothing, or fine silk. The message is to not be deluded by what seems to be a favorable situation. Maintain constant awareness and make your choices with extreme care. Regardless of appearances you're in a position of risk.

Complexes that are not granted reality by consciousness and are not dealt with as "powers" to be taken seriously, but are dealt with by repression, tend to take hold in an unadapted, primitive, regressive, compulsive and destructive fashion. This results in what we call neurotic or psychotic disturbances.
E.C. Whitmont -- The Symbolic Quest

A. Something valuable is threatened -- extreme care is called for.


Legge: The fifth line, dynamic, shows its subject as the neighbor in the east who slaughters an ox for his sacrifice; but this is not equal to the small spring sacrifice of the neighbor in the west, whose sincerity receives the blessing.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The neighbor in the east who slaughters an ox does not attain as much real happiness as the neighbor in the west with his small offering.

Blofeld: In terms of benefits, the neighbor to the east gained less from sacrificing an ox than the neighbor to the west obtained from carrying out the spring sacrifice.

Liu: The eastern neighbor sacrificed an ox; the western neighbor made a simple offering, but he received the blessing. [Many will succeed in small undertakings but fail in grand schemes.]

Ritsema/Karcher: The Eastern neighbor slaughters cattle. Not thus the Western neighbor's dedicated offering. The substance: acquiescing-in one's blessing.

Shaughnessy: The eastern neighbor kills an ox to sacrifice; it is not as good as the western neighbor's spring sacrifice in really receiving its blessing; auspicious.

Cleary (1): Slaughtering an ox in the neighborhood to the east is not as good as the ceremomy in the neighborhood to the west, really receiving the blessing.

Cleary (2): ... The genuine get the blessings.

Wu: The neighbor on the east side slaughters an ox. What he does is less rewarding than the neighbor on the west side, who makes simple offerings in the summer and receives an abundance of blessings.



Confucius/Legge: The large sacrifice of the eastern neighbor cannot equal the small sacrifice of the western neighbor because the latter is in harmony with the times. Wilhelm/Baynes: The eastern neighbor, who slaughters an ox, is not as much in harmony with the time as the western neighbor. The latter attains true happiness: good fortune comes in great measure. Blofeld: Because the former's sacrifice (though bigger) was less timely. The benefits obtained by the neighbor to the west betoken that good fortune is on its way to us. [This is one of the favorite themes of the Book of Change, namely the importance of timeliness. A small effort at the right time will win for us more benefit than a gigantic effort at the wrong time.] Ritsema/Karcher: Significant, the great coming indeed. Cleary (2): Good fortune comes in great measure. Wu: There comes great fortune.

Legge: The neighbor in the east is line five, and the neighbor in the west is line two -- his correlate. Five is dynamic, and two is magnetic, and magnetic passivity is more likely to be patient and cautious under the prevailing circumstances. They are compared to two men sacrificing. The one presents valuable offerings, the other very poor ones, but the second excels in sincerity, and his small offering is the more acceptable.



Siu: Men are deceived by what the eyes see, but the gods are swayed by what the heart conceals.

Wing: This is an inappropriate time for ostentatious exhibitions of personal success and grandeur. Look for true happiness in the simplicity of your life. You will achieve more by small efforts than by large displays of power.

Editor: The superior neighbor is the magnetic line two in the middle of the trigram of Clarity, who understands the true difference between form and substance. The inferior neighbor is the dynamic and ego-centric line five in the middle of the trigram of Peril, who acts on his own initiative and wastes his effort. The image teaches the difference between acting from the ego or the Self: between pushing the river and flowing with it.

More acceptable is the character of one upright of heart than the ox of the evildoer ... The god is aware of him who acts for him.
Instruction for king Meri-ka-re -- Egypt, C. 2000 B.C.

A. A modest but sincere effort is superior to a great show of force. Small increments of real advancement are worth more than illusions of completion.

B. Complexity fails; simplicity succeeds.

C. The situation requires a modest condescension of power or display of allegiance, not a grandiose expression of martyrdom.


Legge: The sixth line, magnetic, shows its subject with even her head immersed. The position is perilous.

Wilhelm/Baynes: He gets his head in the water. Danger.

Blofeld: His head gets wet -- trouble!

Liu: His head gets wet. Danger. [Avoid evil persons lest you yourself become tainted.]

Ritsema/Karcher: Soaking one's head. Adversity.

Shaughnessy: Wetting his head; danger.

Cleary (1): When the head gets wet, one is in danger.

Cleary (2): Getting the head wet is dangerous.

Wu: The fox immerses his head in water. Perilous.


Confucius/Legge: How could such a state continue long? Wilhelm/Baynes: How can one endure this for long? Blofeld: But this sort of trouble can scarcely last long. [We must expect some trouble but perhaps not very serious and not likely to endure.] Ritsema/Karcher: Wherefore permitting lasting indeed? Cleary (2): How can one last long? Wu: How long can it last?

Legge: The topmost line is magnetic and on the outermost edge of the trigram of Peril. Her action is violent and dangerous, like that of one attempting to cross a ford and being plunged over her head in the water.

Anthony: We “look back” when we presume that the struggle is over, that we can relax and enjoy the situation. We must be firm and go forward, or the work will be undone.



Siu: Needless violence and self-glorification upon completion of a difficult undertaking cause the man to fall back into misfortune.

Wing: You have initiated significant action. Do not assume that things will follow their course while you simply watch and wait. This type of attitude is both vain and perilous. You have created responsibilities for yourself. Shirking them will invite grave danger.

Editor: Wilhelm's commentary suggests the idea of not turning back after making a dangerous transition. The situation has not yet been consolidated and can easily deteriorate: what might be Completion can instead become an aborted synthesis and a regression to a lower level. Alternately, Legge’s image of the line with “even her head immersed” suggests wooly-headedness – you aren’t seeing things clearly. This prevents a transition to a clear state of consciousness. Symbolically to have one’s head immersed in water portrays thought overwhelmed by emotion.

Another said, "I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home." Jesus said to him, "Once the hand is laid on the plow, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9: 61-62

A. You have passed the point of no return in the current cycle of growth -- regression now portends disaster.

B. You've gone too far to turn back now.

C. Your incomprehension prevents illumination in the matter at hand.

D. Emotions prevent clear thinking.

March 26, 2001, 3/20/09