The name of Hexagram 14 is Great Possession, and the character for ‘possessing’ also means ‘offering’ – suggesting that the two ideas are not so far apart as they might seem.
Interpreting this one, I’m often reminded of MoliÃ¨re’s play, The Miser. (Or was this in Plautus’s original, The Pot of Gold?) The miser has kept a pot of gold buried in his garden for years, sneaking off to gloat over it when no-one’s looking. Of course, one day someone is looking, and the hoard is stolen, and he bewails his fate. Some witty character offers the consolation that he still has a dank hole in the ground to gaze down, so what has he really lost?
The same is true for all kinds of great possession, not just the shiny metal kind. Some top sports coach once said that he achieved his great results by going through his teams every year and throwing out all those who had ‘great potential’. Having skills undeveloped or gifts ungiven is a little like having the crock of gold buried at the bottom of the garden.
The Judgement of Great Possession says only,
Creating success from the source.’
‘Source’ and ‘creating success’ – yuan and heng – are the first two words of the Yijing (after the name of the first hexagram, that is). The next two, completing the creative process, are li, ‘harvest’, and zhen, ‘constancy’ or ‘determination’. (It’s interesting to observe the ways the authors use and re-use this formula.) Great Possession represents the beginning of the creative process. Everything needed for success is there – but with no guarantee of how it will be used.