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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

18: Repairing the Damage

Something is starting to rot, and it is time to repair the damage. In the world of human affairs, indulgence and corruption grow like weeds in an untended garden; they must be faced squarely, and rooted out through bold action. Eliminating corruption — and the sloppiness that easily leads to corruption — is one of the most ennobling of all human enterprises, and can clear the way for fresh, new beginnings. Such efforts at repair lead to supreme success.

It is a time to be lean and efficient. The weeds must be rooted out now, before the whole garden is lost. Fighting decay, indifference and corruption is not a simple matter; all steps must be evaluated carefully, and planning should precede action. Resist the temptation to strike out prematurely. Gather strength behind you, and marshal your inner resources, because arresting decay is no simple matter. When you do act, pay close attention to the process. Make your strike as precise and clear as the path of the surgeon’s knife.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Excessive reliance on tradition has produced some rot, but it is not deeply rooted. Repair can be achieved without too much effort, even though some danger is always present. Remain alert to the risks inherent in change and you will be able to avoid possible damage. Repair in itself is not a panacea. Restorative efforts must be watched carefully, particularly in the early stages, to see that the previous rot is not contaminating them as well.

Line 2

In attempting to repair difficult situations that involve long-standing relationships, a certain lightness of spirit is called for. Among friends and intimates, a well-timed jest can be an effective lance. Righteous indignation, on the other hand, is more like a crude bomb -- one that is liable to blow up in your face.

Line 3

Everyone makes mistakes; everyone wants to correct them, but only the wise know when and how to stop fixing. What’s done is done; you cannot unring the bell. At the same time, it is better to be too energetic in trying to rectify past errors than to have no conscience at all.

Line 4

Sloppiness is beginning to show itself, but you may be too weak right now to take much effective action. What is now starting to spoil might decay further, unless you begin to turn things around now. Gather resources and prepare remedial action.

Line 5

You are able, with some help, to sort out problems resulting from neglect. You can’t do it all by yourself, but with the help of trustworthy supporters, you will be able to bring about a reform or usher in a new beginning. Support for your effort will not come easily, but eventually others will praise you for it.

Line 6 (top line)

Not all important work takes place in the day-to-day world. Stopping to let the world go by and using the time to cultivate personal growth, can be of great value -- not only to you, but to others as well. Remember that, when withdrawing from events, it is essential not to fall into the trap of sitting idly by and criticizing the actions of others.