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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

2: The Receptive

The Receptive

Great receptivity attracts exceptional bounty. A natural responsiveness attracts success through support and perseverance, rather than through bold action. Thus, the wise person demonstrates strength like a powerful but gentle mare. This hexagram, consisting of all yin lines, represents a power of the feminine principle that has not been honored in our modern world, but such receptivity is much more powerful than we think and most auspicious.

The receptive force is sensual and subtle and can be missed by too much thinking, talking and planning. When spring comes, does the grass “plan” to grow? This is a time to concentrate on realities rather than potentials — with how to respond to a situation rather than how to direct it. The mature feminine allows herself to be guided by a higher power and is skilled at graceful acceptance. In a strong spiritual way, her quiet contribution is effective and brings success.

Do not be overly assertive. If you try to direct things now, you are liable to become confused or alienated. Opening up to receive what you attract should be your primary concern. Take your time. Draw strength from carefulness and you will be doubly fortunate. Focus more on feeling than on action. Be broad and deep in your attitude so that you accept everything that comes with grace and equanimity. Be receptive and spacious like the ocean; let the river of changes flow to you. You might allow a partner to take the lead for now. Strive for a natural responsiveness that is based on inner strength rather than outer show. You will be able to go further now by letting go of control, rather than forging ahead under your own steam. Receptive power comes through an alignment with the Creative, not opposition to it.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Something in your situation (or relationship) is foreboding, like the first frost of autumn that warns of the deadly cold of winter. Heed small warning signs that you may see at this time. Prepare yourself. Gather firewood now, and you will be prepared to fend off the fiercest cold. Watch for signs of approaching decay.

Line 2

Let movement and stillness meet. When action springs naturally from inner calm, and proceeds to harmonize with external creative forces, all is well. Good results are achieved without contrivance, complex intentions or great effort. Let nature serve as a reminder of how, without artificiality, everything good comes to pass.

Line 3

Leave the pursuit of fame and praise to others. Focus on accepting yourself. Freedom from vanity is a powerful advantage. Do not display your virtue for all to see, but nurture it within yourself. Attempt to be of service, and your life will improve by itself. Allow fruit to ripen slowly. Quiet perseverance is called for now.

Line 4

If things are not going well, be reserved. Act with caution. It’s possible that an antagonistic force has been aroused against you, causing whatever you do to be misunderstood. Avoid challenging such force right now; that would only bring about hateful retaliation. On the other hand, also avoid the appearance of capitulation, which could allow the force to gather strength against you. Maintain your reserve and caution, and lose yourself either in solitude, or in the tumult of the crowd. Try not to let yourself be a target.

Line 5

When called to play an important role in a project or relationship, success comes from reliability and discretion. Be polite and kind, and you will secure greater influence. Discretion is essential at this time. If you are genuine without making a show of it, good fortune follows.

Line 6 (top line)

Beware of troublesome relationships or confusion over personal boundaries. Do not try to gain a position to which you may not be truly entitled. When boundaries are not clearly defined, both dogs and nations quarrel. If you attempt to change your role at this time, a bloody battle may ensue. Slow down. Do not act until roles and responsibilities have been made clear.