Hexagram Forty-six—Social Stature

Rising through the social strata brings changes to a person's life. It may also change who the person is.

The first line, yin, shows one who is welcome in higher circles.

The second line, yang, shows a sincere person who makes offerings that are accepted in sacrifice. This is the correct course of action.

The third line, yang, shows one rising into an empty city. This means there will be no opposition.

The fourth line, yin, shows a king who asks the subject to present offerings on the high mountain. The subject carries this out successfully.

The fifth line, yin, shows its subject walking up the royal stairs. This signifies successful completion of a project.

The sixth line, yin, shows one who walks up the stairs, but unable to see the path. Sudden, dizzying fortune can blind one to possible consequences. The situation can be saved if the person maintains constant vigilance.

Hexagram Forty-six Commentary

This hexagram shows the mood of success and rising social status. Each line offers a vision of what success is like. Once climbing the social ladder, the introduction points out, one of the first things to expect is, "The position allows this person to associate with others of similar, high status."

The subject of the first line, yin, is welcomed into higher social circles.

The subject of the second line, yang, learns the customs and makes appropriate offerings. In today's world it might involve reciprocating gestures such as picking up the bill when it's the subject's turn, or accepting invitations and arriving with an appropriate gift.

The subject of the third line, yang, rises into an "empty city." This is an idiom for no opposition, and refers to taking a city in warfare with no local inhabitants to fight. In modern terms we might say, "the world is their oyster."

The fourth line, yin, shows a leader who makes a prestigious offering. The subject of this line reciprocates with appropriate offerings.

The subject of the fifth line, yin, walks up the royal stairs. This symbolizes successful completion of a cycle.

The sixth line, yin, explains the potential danger of rising social status. It says the subject walks up the stairs but is unable to see the path. It implies that rising social status may make some people dizzy, to where they feel invincible, and immune to consequences for bad behavior.

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 in 2000. It is also available at Amazon: