Hexagram Forty-nine—Times of Change

Hexagram Forty-nine, means great change through necessity. When changes are brought about by those above, as in government, statesmen should first make a case for change, then the people will adapt more easily.

The first line, yang, shows a person bound with the hide of a yellow ox and unable to take action. The ties are meant to slow down changes that may be happening prematurely.

The second line, yin, shows one who makes changes when the proper time has come.

The third line, yang, shows one who tends to act recklessly, causing misfortune. If this person takes the time to contemplate and discuss changes with others, then things will work out better.

The fourth line, yang, shows one who takes the time to confirm their plans with advisors, and thus learns to slow down and make careful considerations. This mood of careful planning will help people accept changes.

The fifth line, yang, shows that powerful people make changes just as the tiger changes its stripes. They are methodical and gain the faith and well wishes of everyone involved.

The sixth line, yin, shows that advanced people make changes just as the leopard changes its spots. They act with solid reasoning, not just to please superiors. This is auspicious.

Hexagram Forty-nine Commentary

This hexagram discusses change from above. If there's a good reason for change, sharing it with the people will help ease them through it. That's why we need leaders who will explain their reasoning before they make major changes.

The subject of the first line, yang, is "bound with the hide of a yellow ox," symbolizing his or her resistance. Things may be happening prematurely. This person slows things down so they can happen in the proper order.

The subject of the second line, yin, makes changes when the proper time comes. This is correct.

The subject of the third line, yang, acts recklessly and causes problems. It would be better to consult with others, then go forward.

The subject of the fourth line, yang, has learned all these lessons, and has the ability to slow down and make good decisions. This gives people faith in the process and makes it easier to accept change.

The fifth line, yang, says people who handle things correctly "make changes just as the tiger changes its stripes." These people are deliberate and gain the people's trust and blessings. It's an art known only to tigers and powerful people.

The sixth line, yin, verifies the message of the previous line and offers another metaphor with additional details. It says advanced people "make changes just as the leopard changes its spots." They use grounded reasoning, and do their work sincerely, not just to impress superiors.

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: