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Thread: Four moving lines - how do I begin to interpret it?

  1. #1


    Hi all,

    Without going into all the details, I feel in need of a change in my life, and a new direction. I have just done a reading, and have got the following:

    40 (Loosening/Deliverance) with four moving lines - 1, 3, 4 and 5. When all these transformations are done, I get hexagram 5, Attending.

    However, I'm puzzled as to how to put all these moving lines together to make some kind of coherent whole and how to discern points of action from this.

    Any ideas?


  2. #2


    Oh yes, I just want to add that I find the hexagram describes my deepest feelings perfectly, it's knowing how to deal with 4 out of 6 lines moving that I find difficult. It's finding a good way to come away from the interpretation with a useful first step - as it says in the Karcher translation - be up and doing and greet the new day.


  3. #3


    Hi, Euan!
    I'm not experienced with interpreting for another person, but here are some thoughts:

    First of all, congratulations on receiving such a powerful, heartening hexagram. I love 40. I, too, have received 40 at key moments of radical transformation in life. It sounds as if the Yi is definitely speaking right to your situation - time for liberating yourself from whatever is past and moving into a new direction. But this will not simply happen of its own accord: as I read it (and this is especially clear in certain translations), a key message of 40 is that you need to take the correct action to effect the liberation. As Wilhelm says (paraphrasing here): if there's somewhere to go, then go there; if there's no where to go, then return home. The point is: assess the situation and take appropriate action.

    Now, the fact that you got four changing lines suggests that there is lots of dynamism in this situation. The line readings probably have all sort of interesting, useful advice on particular points of your situation. Or (another way of interpreting multiple lines), they may be telling a story, narrating various stages that you may pass through (beginning with the bottom lines and moving up). Alas, without knowing any specifics of your circumstances, I can't say what the advice or the story might be! But I'll try a generic approach:

    Line 1: Wilhelm is terse here: Without blame. Some commentators interpret this as meaning: nothing to do right now, don't rock the boat, sit tight.

    Line 3: Here we have someone carrying a burden on his back, yet riding in a carriage. It makes no sense -- and this line is about going about something the wrong way, not behaving correctly or sensibly, and reaping embarrasment as a result.

    Line 4: This line is about freeing yourself from something (perhaps a base impulse or companion), and suggests that true companions will appear.

    Line 5: Wilhelm says: "If only the superior man can deliver himself, it brings good fortune. Thus he proves to inferior men that he is in earnest." Here is Lise's commentary, which I find interesting: "A free mind cannot be bound and does not bind others. But everyone will follow him of his own free will. In order to make others listen to you, honor them for what they are, and give them the freedom to be what they are."

    The relating hexagram of 5 Waiting is quite striking -- whereas 40 is a sort of "carpe diem" hexagram, 5 is very much "bide your time" -- but watchfully, and very much on the lookout for the right time to act. This could be where you will be after the stages of 40, or it could be where you are right now as you contemplate the liberation of 40.

    Well, without knowing any of your circumstances, that's the best I can do. If you would like to share some more details, it might be easier to fit these things together. Either way, I hope this helps a little!

  4. #4
    candid Guest


    Hi Eubi,

    Sorry its taken so long to comment on your reading. I read it yesterday and drew a blank. After reading it again this morning, there's a small amount of light on it.

    The subject of several change lines has been discussed here before and there were a number of relevant thoughts expressed. But I think that when we have a forum as this, most of us like to hear something current and expressed relative to the particular question they ask. However, since you didn't really describe your question its a bit difficult to help you apply it.

    Several change lines can be confusing. I don't eliminate or replace them as some seem to suggest. I take them as meaning one of two things, sometimes both. First, it expresses a progression. Changes which unfold either in actually or just in your thought process. Second, it may be offering choices which you yourself are free to make. Or both.

    Your reading expressed that you are delivering yourself from something, someone or both. You are in a position to cut yourself free from a disintegrating influence. Is that influence coming from yourself or someone else? In either case, it is you who does the cutting off or setting free. Based on my gut, I'm suggesting its an inner deliverance. Its a letting go and returning to a state of calm readiness. This is supported by 5.

    I think 5 isn't so much the future of 40 but more the backdrop. What to do while you are waiting. The joyess mood in 5 helps to overcome the obstacle, which you are being delivered from. Whatever the burden is, let it go. If you try and make progress the burden will only hold you back. In line five, you must first break association with a negative influence inwardly. Once a point of inner detachment has been realized, you will be at liberty (delivered) to depart from it.

    This is obscure, I know. Best I can do with it at this time. Does it connect?


  5. #5
    candid Guest


    Suzy, I love your interpretation! Seeing you posted it just before I sent mine.

  6. #6


    Hi Candid and Suzy,

    I really appreciate both your responses, and think that the hexagram is in fact very interesting and helpful in describing things as they stand.

    My situation is this. I am effectively jobless right now, I quit a job I had been in for 4 1/2 years in November, and have been doing temp work since then. In the last two weeks I've managed to obtain two days of work, which is not sustainable. Thankfully, I had a tax rebate which is seeing me through this slightly rocky patch. So, standing still is not really an option for me. There is a special kind of stress that comes from being 'underemployed' if you know what I mean, and part of the reason why I left my last job was that I had felt that my talents and abilities were being unused.

    Add to that various bits of turbulence in my personal life too - an engagement which has broken up thanks to a long distance separation from my girlfriend, and illness in the family which is leaving me with a compulsion to move back and be near them. I also believe that in my search for a more fulfilling occupation, moving back to where my family live (Manchester) will offer far more than where I live now (Bradford).

    I have been working in an office for some time, and have finally realised all along that I really don't like office work, and the mentality that it requires. My real desire is to work in the field of textiles, my passion is knitwear design and hand spinning, and I'd like to get into small scale hand weaving also. I would also be prepared to continue to take part time office work to sustain me in the short term. My craft work is admired by those who see it, but I still don't have the confidence to really sell myself and my work.

    Anyway, onto what the Yi has told me. I am going from the Stephen Karcher book, which I found in a bookshop yesterday and which I already really love. I have his book "How to Use the I Ching", now I have his translation of the complete work.

    So, I start with Hexagram 40 - Loosening/Deliverance. An apt term if ever there was one. Untying knots and liberating energy seems to describe beautifully how I have been to date willing to accept a poor but secure position ahead of a less secure but meaningful one.

    Since even the poor position is no longer secure, I don't have that option any more. I don't want to descibe my situation as desperate, because that implies that I don't have anywhere to go. I do, but the hard bit is getting up and doing it!

    The thing I found most puzzling was getting four moving lines, and Suzy, your desciption of a dynamic situation is a good one.

    Taking each in turn:

    Initial six - without fault. Karcher further goes on to say 'act on your plans - be vigorous'. A reasonable request for me, I think!

    Six at third - there is a difference between the Karcher I Ching, and the "How to Use the I Ching" book. The latter says 'you are acting above yourself and this invites danger'. To me this indicates than when I have a new and more exciting life, there is a chance that I'll think - yes! More money! More security! and go on a spending spree. I've got to be careful and so make sure that any changes are lasting and sustainble.
    The I Ching translation simply implies being committed and holding fast to what I believe. This I know is very important.

    Nine at fourth: Break from what you usually depend on. The meaning of this is very clear to me, which is that I now need to cut away from old habits that have been holding me back.

    Six at fifth: If you trust the tao, you will find a way out of a difficult situation. A beautifully elegant way of putting it.

    In "How to Use the I Ching" describes the nuclear hexagram as the hidden possibility that this is all part of a process which is already under way. In other words, I couldn't go back to how I was, even if I wanted to. Perhaps this process in fact started back in November when I left my insurance job.

    Incidentally, I tried changing each line in turn to see which hexagrams I 'moved though'. This I found interesting, and I got the following in turn:

    Transforming line 1 only: 54: Converting the Maiden - this talks about choice or transformation over which you have no control and realisation of hidden potential. The desciption of desire and compulsion is an apt one for me right now.

    Add line 3: 34: Great Invigorating - talking about having a firm purpose, focussing strenth and going forward.

    Add line 4: 11: Pervading - talking about prospering, great abundance and harmony.

    Finally add line 5: Attending - attending to what is needed and having patience.

    It seems to descibe a cycle - realising potential, moving forward, prosperity and then the need for patience and focus. I can understand how in a creative context, the need for patience and to wait for right moments is going to be just as important as the creative process itself. I may be talking off my head here, but this seems to describe a process in which I may soon be a part.

    Anyway, in this aim, I realise that I need to talk to others and discuss my ideas and to find ways in which my talents can, at long last, be put to use.

    Any other thoughts are most welcome. Apologies for rambling!


  7. #7


    Not rambling at all -- thank you so much for sharing more details. I can see now that 40 is indeed an incredible fit for your situation.

    Euan, I hope I'm not inserting my own inclinations into this too much, but as I was reading your post, Richard Gill's one-line summary of hex 40 kept playing in my mind: "Liberation comes, if you will seize your chance." I kept wanting to say to you: Go for it! That's not to imply that major life and career changes are easy -- they are most definitely not, and require lots of courage and hard work. Please don't think I'm suggesting you just sail into craft work with no thought to practicalities. What I am saying is, it sounds to me like your "carpe diem" moment has arrived. Seize your chance.

    With the new information you've provided, I would offer the following reading: 5 is where you have been, waiting, watching, contemplating the big change. That moment has now arrived. Liberation will come, if you seize your chance. In the strange way that life sometimes has of arranging things, your safe fall-back position is now no longer so safe. It's almost as if the Fates are forcing you to move forward into a different way of being. Set yourself free -- from dependence on the old, safe way; from fear of following your true path. I agree that the "dependence" referred to seems to be about your old office job. I note that it could also refer to the girlfriend relationship that has ended; perhaps that is part of the past you need to free yourself from. After all, truer companions will appear! The peasant riding in the carriage of line 3 now seems that it could be an emotionally apt description of you doing the office job -- perhaps as an artist/craftsman you subconciously feel yourself to be "above" that kind of work (I certainly have felt that way in my own jobs!), or perhaps others imagine that that is how you see yourself and resent you for it. I'm just tossing out ideas here.

    Euan, please bear in mind that I'm very inexperienced with the I Ching compared to some of the folks on this forum, so perhaps you should take my comments with a grain of salt! But I do feel, from my heart, that the Yi is being very encouraging -- literally. Have "courage" -- and seize your chance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 1970
    swamp in river delta in Holland


    I have no time to read these two last mails now, but I will post mine anyway. If there are things repeated or contradictions, I will mail again tomorrow.

    I always see the whole hexagram as 'me'. Me in a special time. Every line is a part of what I can do, or of what I am, what the situation means for me, and many moving lines is just as confusing as having two legs, two arms, a head, eyes, and a lot more. More than 6 items, so a hexagram is not that complicated.

    The Chinese had names for the lines, but I will name them more for this our time.
    Bottom line: actions, impulsive reactions, what you can 'do', creativity. Hands and feet.
    Line 2: contacts, especially horizontal ones but also with people one looks up to. Care, joy together.
    Line 3: emotions, the heart. Anger, fear, love, hope.
    Line 4: decisions, choices, thinking, the mind.
    Line 5: also contacts, but this time 'structured' ones, leading, organizing, developing yourself or others.
    Top line: spirit, mental inspiration, wisdom, lunacy.
    I forgot probably many things, did this in 5 minutes. But once you get the picture, it is not difficult to find your own images.

    Changing lines 1,3,4,5: so obviously you don't have to worry about close relations (2), and your spirit (6) is OK too.
    Actions (1): don't bother too much. It changes to the marrying maiden, and there the bottom line says, lame is good enough for walking. Take everything easy, nothing big is asked for, just do what you feel like doing or what you easily can.
    Emotions (3): keep them steady, and appropriate for each situation. Excitement and jumping up all the time will ruin your road to release.
    Choices (4): relax, and don't be suspicious because it will make you misjudge situations. Changes to 7, to an army which does not fight, but encamps.
    Your leader-mind (5): get rid of rigid mental structures if you have any. Be free and let free.

    'There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.'
    < Leonard Cohen >

  9. #9


    Further to what&#39;s going on here... I went for an interview yesterday for a temporary office job, and today discovered that they had turned my application down. The reason they cited was that after studying my CV &#40;resume if you&#39;re American&#41; they decided that I would be bored. The irony is that I was instead offered a two week stint filing at a large firm of solicitors in Bradford city centre, which I turned down because I would genuinely be bored. It would appear to be down to me now to make things happen!

    By the way, I got the book &#34;The Laws of Change&#34; by Jack Balkin yesterday from Amazon. It&#39;s a beautiful hardback book, and I think could be one that I end up using very much. There&#39;s a very interesting discussion on the subject of hexagram 40 line 3, and the matter of &#39;carrying a burden on one&#39;s back&#39;.



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