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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

40: Deliverance


A period of clarity and fresh opportunity follows after a thunderstorm, or any time of extreme tension and obstacles. The storm has the effect of clearing the air and suddenly reducing atmospheric tension. Deliverance is at hand. In the wake of a storm on land, deliverance appears in the form of new color and life, which bursts forth in all the fields and flowers. In the wake of a storm at sea, deliverance takes the form of land itself.

In the field of human relations, the rain of forgiveness washes the human landscape clean after a period of enmity and error. Great clarity of purpose and renewed vigor can follow the healing of old wounds. But care must be taken not to reopen these old wounds by moving too quickly. In the same way, it is important to return to normalcy before moving ahead with new plans or projects after periods of stress.

Following the resolution of a difficult situation, your top priority is to return to normal conditions as quickly as possible. Breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t relax completely. It would be a mistake to reawaken the sleeping dogs of the immediate past before the new situation has crystallized. Look ahead. Attend to any residual matters that need resolution, and do so as quickly as possible. Make a clean sweep of the past, and move deliberately. Forgive, forget, move on, and the future will bring good fortune.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Few words are needed -- the recent obstacles are being overcome. Now there is peace; so just recuperate, and relax. This is a good time to be still.

Line 2

Whatever success you enjoy stems from your integrity, in contrast to the cunning and deceit of those around you. It may be time to take a careful look at those you are thinking of working with. In light of objective performance standards, do they measure up? Be wary of working with those who do not share your vision, or your standards. Upholding your ethics and standards of performance brings good fortune in the long arc of a career, vocation or relationship.

Line 3

In overcoming hard times, a residue of the past often lingers. When making the transition from struggle to success, take care not to bring baggage from the past with you on the journey. At the same time, avoid taking on airs and flaunting newfound good fortune. Those who wear their money on their sleeve soon have little in their pocket!

Line 4

In periods of stagnation, relationships can be formed on the basis of convenience. Since there is little challenge during such a time, not much is demanded of friends and associates. But when important action is required, only the able and trustworthy can be counted on to perform competently. Free yourself of the entanglements of random relationships of low value; good fortune comes from associating with men and women of talent and integrity. In times of great opportunity or crisis, it is better to have a weak person as an enemy than as an ally.

Line 5

Letting go of negative influences requires inner resolve and strength of character. Weak people who have attached themselves to a stronger one are not easily shaken off. The only way to free yourself from unwanted or unnecessary associations is to free yourself from them inwardly first; sooner or later, they will get the message, and fall away of their own accord. Tolerating unhealthy relationships and associations forever brings misfortune.

Line 6 (top line)

When your main obstacle is a cunning adversary, forceful removal of that person from the scene may be the only option. When such drastic measures are called for, quick, precise action is necessary. As the element of surprise may be critical to your success, discuss your plans only with those who have a real need to know. The superior man has everything he needs to accomplish such letting go. This may also apply to a bad habit or situation, or anything calling for immediate removal in order to assure your success.