...life can be translucent


The Beginning Line

Feb 19, 2010
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Lately my focus has been on figuring out the basic structures of the I Ching's Hexagrams. I am not quite where I want to be with my understanding of how the hexagrams are built.

I was thinking maybe this could be a thread where we can tell what the first line of a hexagram means or is ment to symbolize. I don't actually mean specific lines from a specific hexagram. More just an overall meaning for that spot in all 64 hexagrams.

From my understanding: I know that the first TWO lines are Earthly related,
and the first THREE lines are internal.

I was wondering if anyone could hone in for me and pinpoint just the first lines meaning.

Take Care,


Clarity Supporter
May 30, 2006
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I guess you never looked up my Dimensions chapter. That's all in the Ban Xiang and Yao Wei sections.


May 3, 1971
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Hello answered questions

The prototype for discovering the underlying meaning of any line is found in the first two hexagrams. For any yang line of line one the prototype is found in the underlying meaning of line one in hexagram one. For any yin line of line one, the prototype is found in the underlying meaning of line one of hexagram two. The same can be said for all lines.

Some time ago, I think I put samples of this online. I will try to do that again soon.



Clarity Supporter
Jun 3, 2006
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To understand the meaning of the first line of any hexagram, I find it useful to consider that this line is describing the circumstances BEFORE one has entered the situation the hexagram is defining. Thus if Hexagram 1 is about Creating, line one of hexagram one is about the moment before creating, how to be before one gets involved or takes any action to create anything. So at line 1.1 the advice is to pause and NOT create. (Sort of an admonishment to be careful what you wish for because once you intend it, it will manifest!)
In line one of The Receptive we are advised what one has to do before one can enter the receptive state - 2.1 Quiet down, CHILL out, put all those 1.6 high flying fantasies to rest, then you will be able to 2.2, see what is real.

The yang (solid lines) in the first place tend to advise there is a need for INNER restraint, restraining ones yang energy before moving forward. The yin (broken lines) tend to advise there is an OUTER restraint and the necessity of waiting for a stronger motivation, or greater clarity, before moving forward.

I found it was useful to just say "Before" - and then the name of the hexagram - and then the first line, to see the meaning more clearly. Thus,

1.1 Before you start - Creating - Do not act,

2.1 Before you can be - Receptive - Cool down.

3.1 Before taking on - Difficulty at the Beginning - Ask for assistance.

4.1 Before experiencing - Youthful Folly - Let go of mommy's hand.

5.1 Before feeling you are - Waiting - Be in the Now.

6.1 Before getting involved in- Conflict - Do not perpetuate the affair.

7.1 Before setting forth with - The Army - Be sure it is in proper order.

8.1 Before attempting - Holding Together with others - Be sure your attitude is sincere.

9.1 Before experiencing - The Taming Power of The Small - Return to the way, your own single path.

10.1 Before - Treading on The Tail of The Tiger - Keep conduct simple and progress without blame.

11.1 Before - Peace - Undertakings bring good fortune.

12.1 Before - Standstill - Perseverance brings good fortune and success.

13.1 Before - true Fellowship with Men - Fellowship with men in a general sort of way, "at the gate."

14.1 Before accumulating - Possession in Great Measure - Have no relationship with what is harmful (least you accumulate more of the same.)

15.1 Before - Modesty - Keep even expectations of modesty modest.

16.1 Before - Enthusiasm can bring people together - Don't brag or show enthusiasm about just yourself.

17.1 Before - Following anyone - Meet lots of different people.

18.1 Before - Decay sets in - Things can be put right more easily.

19.1 Before -being drawn to Approach - One must persevere in what is right. (Not be swept off one's feet.)

20.1 Before - Contemplation - One has no mature understanding.

21.1 Before - Biting Through obstacles - Consider obstacles could be there for a reason, nature's way of preventing more trouble.

22.1 Before - experiencing Grace - One must leave the carriage and walk.

23.1 Before - complete Splitting Apart - There are signs of difficulties ahead.

24.1 Before - needing to Return - One hasn't gone too far off track.

25.1 Before you've experienced - The Unexpected harsh facts of life - Ignorance is bliss.

26.1 Before - The Taming Power of The Great - that is, before charging out into the world and discovering all the awful stuff that can happen out there - it's better to compose yourself and to wait until an outlet is offered for release of stored up energies.

27.1 Before finding some way of - Providing Nourishment - You lost your Magic Tortoise, your instinctive ability to nourish yourself.

28.1 Before taking on - Preponderance of the Great, a great challenge - use caution, Spread white rushes underneath.

29 1 Before one falls into - The Abysmal pit - One grows used to what is dangerous and becomes numb to warning signs.

30.1 Before - Clarity - Mixed signals.

31.1 Before - Influence - No influence.

32.1 Before - Duration - No duration.

33.1 Before - Retreating - Don't start anything new, don't try to move forward.

34.1 Before - The Power of The Great (is with you) - Don't make any heavy bets.

35.1 Before - Progress - Persevere and remain calm. ("He not busy being born is busy dying," Bob Dylan)

36.1 Before - Darkening of The Light - you are still visible, lower your wings, try not to attract attention and keep going.

37.1 Before experiencing - Family - each member must know their place, play their role.

38.1 Before - Opposition - Do not oppose, let things run their course.

39.1 Before meeting- Obstruction - don't go towards it, back off and figure out how to deal with it.

40.1 Before needing - Deliverance/ Forgiveness - one is without blame. ("I'm sorry." "Hey, no problem!")

41.1 Before accepting - Decrease - Consider how much decreasing others is a good idea.

42.1 Before accepting - Increase - one must dedicate the increase to achieving something great.

43.1 Before - Break-through - resistance is still strong and When one goes and is not equal to the task, One makes a mistake.

44.1 Before - Coming to Meet - It must be checked with a brake of bronze.

45.1 Before - Gathering Together - There will sometimes be confusion, sometimes gathering together. If you call out, then with one grasp of the hand you can laugh again.

46.1 Before - Pushing Upward - inspiration, spiritual affinity with the rulers above, brings great good fortune.

47.1 Before - Oppression appears outwardly - it may overtakes one inwardly, one may sit oppressed under a bare tree and stray into a gloomy valley.

48.1 Before - The Well is in good working order - One does not drink the mud of the well. No animals come to an old well.

49.1 Before - Revolution - One should keep one's impulses to change carefully controlled, as if wrapped in the hide of a yellow cow.

50.1 Before - The Caldron is useful - the legs are upturned to remove stagnating stuff.

51.1 Before - Shock - well, there is no before, no way to anticipate it, that's why it's called Shock! - oh, oh!

52.1 Before - KEEPING Still - one IS still. No blame.

53.1 Before - Developing Partnership - one is single, There is danger and talk but no blame.

54.1 Before becoming - The Marrying Maiden - She is a servant without status.

55.1 Before - Abundance - clarity meets energy and which then creates it.

56.1 Before - Wandering - The wanderer busys himself with trivial things, he draws down misfortune upon himself. (I think of a scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin, getting ready to leave home is uncertain what to pack and finally heads out the door half dressed carrying a collection of inappropriate things including a chair.)

57.1 Before - The Gentle spreads his commands abroad and carries out his undertakings -it first appears one is just advancing and retreating. The perseverance of a warrior is necessary to get beyond this stage.

58.1 Before - Joyousness is shared with friends - there must be Contented joyousness within oneself.

59.1 Even Before the need for - Dispersion - it is important to dissolve misunderstandings.

60.1 Before - Limitations are imposed from without - choosing for oneself not to go out the door and the courtyard is without blame.

61.1 Before - Inner Truth - prepare to be open to truth. (Can one handle the truth?)

62.1 Before taking on even a small challenge - The Preponderance of the Small - wait until you are up to it. The small bird meets with misfortune through flying.

63.1 Before - After Completion - He brakes his wheels. He gets his tail in the water. No blame. (Stopping at the exact moment of completion, before there is an after completion, a sudden stop risks getting rear-ended.)

64.1 Before - Before Completion - He gets his tail in the water. Humiliation. (Stopping before completing)

--well, you get the idea!
Last edited:
Feb 19, 2010
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rosada - Thank you. What you posted is very interesting and stripped down. I like it. It focused right in on the core of what each first line means. Seeing that makes the bigger picture more clear.

heylise and bradford - Thank you for the links. I have looked at both of them over the weekend and found them really interesting and useful. It was exactly what I was striving to figure out. And thanks to both of you for taking the time and devotion to make those pages/books. :hug:

Take Care,

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