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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

44: Liaison


An attraction is strong, but the relationship may not be destined to last. A coming together of disparate forces may not be what it seems. An apparently harmless, but potentially dangerous element has attracted attention and is pulling on a stronger one. One image for this is of a bold but immature young girl who uses her charms to gain influence with a powerful man. The man dallies with her, thinking that it can do him no harm. Ha, famous last thoughts! When power shifts into the hands of those who are not prepared for it, harm comes to all parties. Still, you need not fear meetings with those whose positions are different from your own, as long as you are free of ulterior motives.

Be wary of temptations that arise because of your position, or your connection to someone in an important position. Generally, it is best to combat such temptations by nipping them in the bud before they can flower. As soon as a dangerous liaison presents itself, be on guard and speak up. On the other hand, there are times when the meeting of the yielding and the strong turn out to have been opportunities for positive and constructive relationships. The difference between careless connection and a relationship of depth lies in the motives of one’s heart. How sincere are you in this?

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

As soon as it becomes clear that an inferior element has crashed your party, show that distraction to the door. In social situations, one relatively weak person can disrupt the lives of many good people; and such a party-crasher may have many derelict relations. The intrusion of inferior forces is analogous to a small, unhealthy craving which, if not checked in time, can become a destructive obsession.

Line 2

Here, the inferior force is held at bay through gentle means. There will be good fortune -- if you can pull it off. The image is that of a viral epidemic which is contained through quarantine rather than through a massive program of vaccinations and other aggressive measures.

Line 3

There is danger of your being influenced by a weakness within yourself, but circumstances are temporarily preventing it. As much as you might like to indulge a certain petty desire, don’t do it -- at least not right now. Indecision, in such a situation, can be helpful, if it leads to insight and proper action in the long run.

Line 4

It is not smart to turn your back on the more lowly people; you may need their support sometime in the future. When people of small influence have good intentions, it is best to keep them on your side in case their support should ever be needed. Seemingly unimportant people have a way of becoming significant eventually.

Line 5

Strong personalities can often find a way of exerting control over weaker ones without even seeming to act. You do not need to bring attention to your attributes, but simply allow events to take their natural course. This is skillful leadership, and a sign of true power.

Line 6 (top line)

Those who have been sitting quietly on the mountaintop can find the tumult of the city unbearable. The mere suggestion of reentering the active arena can be repulsive after times of peaceful withdrawal. On the other hand, holding yourself aloof from normal concerns or activities can open you to criticism and reproach. If you feel a need to stay removed, don’t let it bother you. When your work is done, your time is your own. Take quiet time if you need it. You can ignore the expectations of others when charting your own course.