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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

17: Following


Following brings supreme success. You may not be able to change the direction of the wind, but by frequently adjusting your sails, you can arrive at your destination and manifest a joy that inspires others to follow you.

Those who would acquire a following must speak the language of their followers. Those who would be loved must become the imagined lover of their beloved. Those who would prosper must bend with the pressures of the world. In matters of principle, stand firm; in matters of style and taste, swim with the current. If guile or self-aggrandizement enters the equation, resistance will be what follows. Focus on the common good in order to remain unharmed.

In the affairs of humanity, change is constant and old ideas are continually discarded in favor of new ones. Only by being adaptable to the demands of the times can a great leader emerge. Only by adjusting to changing circumstances can one prosper in the world of commerce. Remain flexible, and you will gain the confidence of those around you. Bend and you shall not break.

Activity and rest in balance will serve the situation well and help you to maintain a state of healthy energy, minimizing both internal and external resistance to your goals.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

When a person of vision undertakes a great challenge, he or she must sometimes change objectives in the course of events. When these changes grow out of sincere communication with those of different opinions, good fortune can follow. But care must be taken, not to become a mere weather vane of current opinion. Carry your convictions out into the crowd. Stay open to the ideas of others, but hold your ground on matters of integrity.

Line 2

Choose your associates carefully. If you have incompetent people around you, the time may have come to dismiss them, or at least distance yourself from them. At the same time, be wary of associating only with the strong and powerful. The moon shines brightly in a sea of small stars, but vanishes with the rising of a single sun.

Line 3

As you move through life, opportunities arise to develop associations with powerful, distinguished or worthwhile persons. Associating with good people brings good fortune. But each new connection with someone important requires an equal and opposite diminishing of a relationship you have with someone less important. The stouthearted leave behind what is inferior and superficial, and accept the challenges of developing new relationships.

Line 4

It often happens that as a person attains a position of influence, he or she attracts a chorus of flatterers who use their supposed loyalty to gain personal advantage. Be wary of such flatterers. Their influence is subtle, but can be very destructive. Flattery is most effective with the immodest, those with large egos. Hold your ego in check during times of success, and you will be able to see through the insincere intentions of subordinates. Not being able to see parasites for what they are is a precursor to misfortune.

Line 5

Set your compass toward what is beautiful and true, have confidence in your intuition, and sail out into the glistening sea. Perseverance furthers and good fortune ensues.

Line 6 (top line)

It may be time to seek the counsel of someone wiser and more experienced. Be receptive to advice from a person you respect, and make the proper adjustments. If he or she agrees to work actively on behalf of your cause or enterprise, supreme good fortune awaits. Another possibility here is that through understanding and respect, you are the one joined by a follower, with whom a supportive bond is formed.