...life can be translucent


Hexagrams 3 and 4


Feb 27, 1972
Reaction score
All things have a cycle. We know this by observing the world around us. The day, the seasons, a journey, an idea, and life itself. First there is creation and gestation (Hex 1 and 2), and in the end is completion (hex 63 and 64)

After birth comes Hex 3, Difficulty in the Beginning. In human life this relates to infancy. It also relates to the infancy of an idea, a project, a journey, a social movement, a relationship, or virtually everything else. The image is that of a blade of grass, sprouting out from the earth. But it could just as easily be that of a child, peaking out from behind its mother, or the first brush stroke on a new canvas.

In the beginning, everything seems possible. Of course this is only an illusion, because not everything is possible. The blade of grass can not grow into an oak tree. Yet it can grow in any number of directions which are in keeping with its nature. Or it may perish. These seeming limitless possibilities bring the feeling of chaos.
Yet there is always an order to the chaos.

A child wants to grow up quickly. This is the nature of beginnings. Yet like a child, all beginnings take time to mature. A childhood dream rarely becomes an adult reality. So we must let things mature in their own time and thus define themselves. We must have faith that all things will become clear in their own time. It is not fruitful to attempt to will ourselves (or anything else) to grow at the pace we want. It is fruitful to prepare ourselves so that we can act at the appropriate time.

There is something very attractive about beginnings. Notice that most love stories end at the beginning. The two lovers meet; have problems, then get together, then live happily ever after. Instead of the falling in love as the beginning of the relationship, it has become the end. This fantasy is the nature of being young. The desire to have it decided quickly, happily, and forever.
When things are new, when life is new, it is impossible to do everything by oneself. We must realize our limitations and ask for assistance. This comes easily to a small child; it comes less easily to "big strong men". But if order is to come from seeming chaos, it is necessary for all.

After Difficulty at the Beginning, comes Youthful Folly (hex 4).
The picture is that of a child, repeatedly asking questions. This is a good and natural thing. The best way for us to find out that which we do not know is to ask. If however we do not listen to the answers, and repeatedly ask, then we achieve nothing.

This hexagram deals with the nature of learning. If we wish to learn we have to be open to it. If we are full of what we already know, then it is useless. There is a Zen story that illustrates this principle. A student goes to a Zen master and asks for teaching. He tells the master of all that he has learned. The Zen master pours the prospective student a cup of tea, but instead of stopping when the cup is full keeps pouring until the cup overflows and goes all over the table. The student shouts "stop, the cup is full, no more can go in." The master says "Yes, your cup is full, no more can go in."

Nothing can happen until there is room for it to happen. This is true of information, relationships, projects, and ideas. There must be space for something to fill. If there is not space, then any answer that we receive will not make any sense.

We must have the proper attitude. We must suspend our disbelief. We must relieve ourselves of doubt. We must realize that we do not know the answer. If we do this we can receive an answer. If we do not, then the teacher should realize the futility of the situation and not bother to answer.

In Hexagram three, the lines relate to the following.
Nine at the beginning has to do with the start of the start. We must have patience that things will sort themselves out if we stay true to our course. If we realize that we cannot do everything ourselves, and that it is proper to have help (either from other humans or from inspiration) then we can accomplish our goals. This line connects with Hex 8, Holding Together. This refers to holding to the truth. If we do this, we can join with helpers in a meaningful and lasting way. It is important to be sincere and humble, for then others will come willingly.

Six in the second place refers to false alternatives. This line warns us of taking the convenient answer to problems before we have given proper thought. The first idea that presents itself may seem to be right, especially if we are in a hurry. This solution may not be wrong, but it is always best to wait until we have given ourselves time to be sure. This could be as simple as "sleeping on it", or as long lasting as a complete cycle, ten years. This line links directly with hex 60, Limitation. We have to accept the limitations of circumstance, the limitation of time, and the limitation of timing. Only in waiting for things to mature is this possible.

Six in the third place refers to a time when we are in uncharted waters, lost in an unfamiliar place. In such a time it is necessary not to lose sight of our higher power, and ask for guidance. This line links with hex 63, After Completion, in which we are warned to be cautious in expansion. The situation has improved dramatically, but it is not a time for overconfidence.

Six in the fourth place refers to a time of opportunity. The situation is right to do something, but we still can only do so if we find assistance. In such a situation it is right to seek assistance, even if it means humbling ourselves to some extent. This is linked to hex 17, Attachment. This is attachment to the higher power, which is the help we have accepted.

Nine in the fifth place refers to obstacles. These are not obstacles that one can force one?s way through. Everything thing we say or do is likely to be misinterpreted. We must proceed cautiously. We must focus on gaining power and strength from within first, and then we will be able to navigate around the obstacles. This is linked to hex 24, Return, where returning to the path, after straying is recommended.

Six at the top refers to the tragedy of giving up. Not so much to giving up one?s goal (though that too) but giving up on the path.
This line connects with hex 42, Increase, which talks of a time when things are remarkably good. At first one might think that these are unrelated, but that is not true. In all the hexagrams that point to a time when things are good, it is explicitly and implicitly conveyed that in these times it is especially important to be cautious not to rest. It is when times are good that we get the impression that ?we have it made?. That is the moment when we lose our grip on what we have accomplished...

In hex 4, six at the bottom refers to finding order out of the chaos. It is a time to find a context for what seems to be random events. A time to find laws that govern a multitude of events. It is easy to look at everything as an individual event. But when one notices the pattern of things, through contemplation and observation, then the world becomes more understandable. This is linked to hex 41, decrease where consolidation is praised.

Nine in the second place points to the correct way to deal with people with less understanding. Trying to force knowledge or understanding on someone is useless. All people will learn when the time and circumstance are right. No one can learn unless the time and circumstance is right. So by taking care of one?s own business and doing the work necessary for one?s own self improvement one leaves the space for others to respond appropriately. This is linked to hex 23, Splitting Apart, in which it is even clearer that only through self improvement can the situation be furthered.

Six in the third place describes the difference between learning and information. We all ?know? things. But knowing does not stop us from ignoring the reality of things whenever it suits our purpose.
It is only when we understand and take the information to heart that it becomes learning. When we act from information, it is like a maiden throwing herself at a man, or a student throwing himself at a teacher. There is the semblance of a proper relationship, but it is only a semblance, not a real relationship. This line links with hex 18, Work on what has been spoiled, which advises us that it is within our power to change our attitude and correct a decaying situation.

Six in the fourth place refers to the dangers of the mind. The mind is a powerful thing. It can convince us of almost anything. We can live in a dream world of almost any creation. We can convince ourselves that through thought, anything can be accomplished. But this cuts us off from the cosmic, which can only enter if we ask and let it. In times when we reject the cosmic, preferring our own thoughts, the cosmic will simply let us do this, until such time as we realize that our thoughts cannot alone accomplish what we want. This is linked to hex 64, Before Completion, which points to a time when we must not give up in the face of difficult obstacles.
Strength of will can only take us so far. It is only when we realize this and accept the help that is always available that we can achieve our path.

Six in the fifth place describes the proper way to learn. If one is truly humble and unassuming one can receive the wisdom of another, including the Sage. It is always easier to teach a novice than it is to teach an intermediate. The novice realizes that he does not know and is open. The intermediate believes that he already does know, and basically has to unlearn what he thinks he knows before he can learn more. This line is linked to hex 59. Dispersion, which speaks of the dispersion of the ego into religious ritual. This sacrifice of individualism to the cosmic leads to furthering one's path.

Six at the top refers to a time when we have not heeded the warning signs and thus have to accept the fruits of our obstinacy. A wise person once said, "Sometimes one has to follow a dead-end road to the very end to make sure that it is really a dead-end."
It is not always enough to see the signs. Sometimes we just for some reason can not accept what the Sage, or others are telling us. In such cases the results are painful or disappointing or both. But the pain or disappointment is not the end, because we have hopefully learned something from the experience. This line is linked with hex 7, The Army, which points to the need for strength to overcome obstacles. We need to marshal our forces to correct our attitude and obstinacy.


Clarity Supporter
Dec 1, 1971
Reaction score
Thank you, Wanderer, for sharing your thoughts. Great in-depth analysis with lot of intuition. Looking forward to see the other hexagrams elucidated. Hope I am able to contribute as soon as possible, too.




Nov 24, 1971
Reaction score
that was wonderful! I love the way you linked your interpretations of the lines to the other hexagrams. You made the connections so much clearer.

Everyone else, if I didn't praise your excellent contributions as well, it is probably because I missed reading them. :cool:



Nov 16, 1971
Reaction score
Hello Wanderer-
I'm enjoying these postings.
Are you intending to keep this up?
I'm setting up a folder in hopes of collecting all 32 pairs.

Office 17622,
PO Box 6945,
United Kingdom

Phone/ Voicemail:
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).