Hexagram Seventeen—Natural Cycles
This hexagram discusses cycles where it is auspicious to begin new projects. Great advantage comes from being firm, yet flexible, just as the natural seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall come and go in a different, but inevitable pattern each year. Day and night also provide a natural, but varied cycle.
The first line, yang, shows a change in one's responsibilities and activities. It is an opportunity to prove oneself to others.
The second line, yin, shows a person of age and experience who becomes fearful like a child. Perhaps it is time the subject asserts more responsibility and uses the adult qualities they possess.
The third line, yin, denotes an adult who denies the inner child, who pushes aside their sense of wonder and imagination. Once the hard work of the day is done, allow some time for fun. This will refresh and enliven the spirit.
The fourth line, yang, shows one who becomes too materialistic, obsessed with the gains of hard labor. This is an unfortunate situation, since the real happiness of success will be lost. Realizing the situation, one can strive to change it.
The fifth line, yang, shows a sincere person who works hard to achieve inner, as well as outer happiness. This brings success.
The sixth line, yin, shows one who is bound to duty, as if in a pact with the gods. Success will be limited, since this person is not really free.
Hexagram Seventeen Commentary
Like the last hexagram, Hexagram Seventeen describes the attitude for an auspicious beginning to a new project. The attitude of this hexagram is flexibility. The introduction describes the natural flux and change of the world: "seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall come and go in a different, but inevitable pattern each year. Day and night also provide a natural but varied cycle."
The first line, yang, says when change comes, it is beset to remain dedicated. Take change as "an opportunity to prove oneself to others."
The second line, yin, shows an experienced older person who is intimidated by change. The advice is to act maturely and take responsibly.
The third line, yin, shows a person who has turned brittle and lost the sense of wonder and delight the world offers. The line advises such a person to take time off when the day's work is done, to allow time for fun. This will replenish the spirit.
The fourth line, yang, warns against materialism. People who focus too much on money as the sign of success will lose track of what makes life meaningful. Realizing this flawed attitude, try to change it.
The fifth line, yang, shows the successful attitude of balance. It's a sincere person "who works hard to achieve inner, as well as outer happiness."
The sixth line, yin, shows a person who is overly strict with life, "as if in a pact with the gods." This person may fulfill their duty successfully, but this attitude limits the person's sense of fulfillment. The line concludes, "Success will be limited, since this person is not really free."
To the reader: Most of the hexagrams have at least one line that predicts bad results, but that does NOT mean you are fated to that result. The hexagrams illustrate different attitudes, so study the actions and reactions to learn the attitudes that will lead to better outcomes.
The I Ching teaches you to flow with changes and create positive change from the inside through conscious living. Your future is in your hands. Consult the I Ching for ideas that lead to clear thinking and positive mental attitude. Reading the I Ching helps you take the time to reflect on your attitudes and ideas. Continue asking until you feel positive about your course.
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A note about this interpretation of the I Ching: Nori Muster wrote this version of the I Ching in 1994 and put it online at Surrealist.org in 2000. It is also available at Amazon: