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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

64: Nearing Completion

Nearing Completion

The situation is incomplete, but the chaos of the past is slowly giving way to order, and the goal is in sight. Nevertheless, you are still treading on thin ice. The way ahead is unobstructed, the goal is clear, but a cautious and careful attitude is still essential, lest you slip and fall.

Nearing Completion is the last hexagram of the I Ching. It suggests that the ever-spinning wheel of life never reaches a final conclusion. Just as a hidden sadness resides in the heart of true euphoria, just as the seeds of great achievement often sprout in a caldron of adversity, so too no end is ever really complete without a new beginning stirring inside it. Though we divide life into categories in order to understand and manage it, experience itself is seamless. With this reading, the Tao’s timeless sixty-four-spoked wheel of change is ready to spin onward, ever evolving, ever staying the same.

The situation represented by this reading can be compared to that of taking a lengthy trek over a high mountain. At some point before reaching the peak, you can see in detail exactly how much farther you have to travel. You will have a good idea what it will take to reach the top, because of the climbing experience you’ve accumulated thus far. However, when you do reach the peak, which has been in sight for quite a long period of sustained effort, you will have done only that. You will have reached the top — achieving your initial goal — but now you must still descend the other side. This last critical segment is what remains before completion.

You may have little information and no experience of what it’s like descending the other side of the mountain. All your attention has been focused on the path going up. The coming situation may seem very strange to you, unlike anything that you have experienced before. The other side of the mountain is where all of the true mysteries reside. Proceed carefully, cautiously, alertly, and you will reach your goal.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

In periods of chaos, there is a natural tendency to become anxious, throw caution to the wind and rush to the end. Like the young fox that dashes ahead as it nears its goal, one will be treading on thin ice if an attempt is made to escape problems too quickly. Hold back a little and spare yourself humiliation.

Line 2

The time is not yet ripe for direct action. Patience is advised, but don’t let a period of waiting degenerate into mere idleness. This is the patience of an engine that is running but currently in neutral gear. Be ready and waiting, keep your eyes on the prize, but do not move before you get a green light.

Line 3

A transition from harmful entanglements to a clean success is possible, but you may currently lack adequate strength to complete the undertaking. When caught in such a situation, enlist the aid of others to help you toward the goal. Failure to do so would court disaster.

Line 4

Inevitably, as chaos gives way to a new order and troubles dissolve themselves in the clarity of a fresh solution, new struggles will develop. This line refers to a situation where forces of decadence are threatening. You must either advance strongly and firmly, or face humiliation and defeat. Take heart, and enter the fray. All of your skills, talents, and influence will be needed, and to engage all of yourself is a great benefit in itself.

Line 5

The rascals have been routed, and victory is close at hand! Just as the sun shines sweetest after a hard rain, so the victory is all the more joyous by contrasting it with troubles and failure. Bask for a time in the glory of the successful struggle, and then move ahead carefully toward what now can be yours. The time is ripe for great achievement.

Line 6 (top line)

There is a refreshing new sense of well-being that comes from an end to conflicts with others or within yourself. Celebrate and enjoy, but don’t overdo it lest your vision and confidence be lost. While a glass of wine can evoke the pleasant glow of success, an entire bottle puts out the light.