Interpreting multiple lines: the answer is in your heart

Published: Sunday, 4 December 2016

In a recent post, I have explained that after obtaining the comment of 1.1.6 > 28, I was puzzled because I could not interpret it simply with the changing lines. I have changed my mind about that.

[1 > 28]

1 - Evolution28 - Abandonment


1 > 28 - Abandoning their disputes

One asks their opponents to seek an agreement.

The formation

1 - Evolution

Changing to obtain quality work.

1.1 - Inexperience - One is still too weak to act.

1.6 - One is getting into bothers.

In the making

28 - Abandonment

One goes on their own if necessary. Stick to the essential.

How is it possible to understand "One asks their opponents to seek an agreement" from the lines 1 and 6? In fact it is very simple. The line 1 represents weakness to act, and the line 6 represents too much action. They conflict each other, you cannot be too weak to act and too strong at the same time.  Thus the oracle comment, that the dispute needs to be abandoned.

Here we can interpret the comment by examining the structure of the hexagram, a method that I have learned by reading Richard Wilhelm's book, but have not practiced much.

So, are the transitional sequences necessary? As far as I can tell the transitional sequences do not conflict with the understanding of the situation. They bring a lot more information, but they are not enough to understand the situation fully. Example:


[1 > 26]

1 - Evolution26 - Checking


To succeed, the reforms must not be too shocking.

The formation

1 - Evolution

Changing to obtain quality work.

1.4 - One can confront the problems.

1.5 - One has understood the needs of the times.

In the making

26 - Checking

See that everything is alright. In this way one will find the invisible problems.

The comment on the situation is that "To succeed, the reforms must not be too shocking". We find a shock nowhere in the line comments. The only shock that we can see here is that the upper nuclear trigram of the resulting hexagram is Tchen (Thunder).

If we examine the transitional sequences we find no shock, except maybe the comment about 14.4:

Raising Transitional Sequence


1.4 - One can confront the problems.

9.5 - One must help others more so that they accept to share.

Descending Transitional Sequence


1.5 - One has understood the needs of the times.

14.4 - One does not shift away to provoke others.

It is also very difficult to elaborate about reforms. To go further we can examine the Fan Yao (derived hexagram). When 9.5 becomes 26 then the Fan Yao of 9.5 is 26.5, when 1.4 becomes 9 then the Fan Yao of 1.4 is 9.4. So let see the Fan Yao for each transitional sequence:

Fan Yao Descending Return


26.5 - One waits until the youngest return to repair.

9.4 - One needs help, and is sincere. Someone will come.

Fan Yao Ascending Return


26.4 - Controlling the other's aggressivity by yielding.

14.5 - All are accepted but one will move away from those who are asking too much.

As we can see, it is very difficult to say whether these comments are related or not to the situation. However, in this case, the ascending Fan Yao sequence seems more understandable.

I have also googled this situation and found this thread where the comment on the situation matches perfectly, because the inquirer was looking for a job in a different sector, so we can see how the recruiter wonders if this person will adapt to the new job.


It is very difficult to interpret multiple lines, even 2, because there are so many techniques. We can try using the pivot method, we can ask follow-up questions, we can study the structure, we can look at the transitional sequences and at the Fan Yao, and I am not citing all of them. Fortunately, there is something about consulting the I Ching,  an old advice coming with the hexagram 29:

If you are sincere, you have success in your heart,

And whatever you do succeeds.

-- Wilhelm/Baynes

And I have noticed that I could find comments on the situation by using the changing lines but also by reading at the transitional sequences: it's all about inspiration.



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