48: The Well

Throughout all the cultures of the world, the well has served as a symbol for that which sustains life and provides a constant, inexhaustible source of nourishment. Human nature is basically the same: the passage of time cannot add to its dimensions, nor take anything away. Still, just as the well can be deepened to produce clearer water, we can enrich our lives by delving deeply within, to tap our essential nature and reach the true source of spiritual nourishment.

Beware of shallow thinking. Like a little learning, it can be dangerous. The image of the well suggests that going further within produces greater clarity. Be patient, and you will penetrate your problems—and your own nature—as deeply as you can. Self-development is key to reaching down to tap the clear water. If you do not lower your bucket into the depths, you’re likely to come up empty. Remember: when greater depth is sought, lessening the speed of normal operations may be required. A shallow carelessness in the process of meeting deeper needs can be self-defeating or even dangerous.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Drinking from a muddy well leads to misfortune. The mind easily becomes confused when it is preoccupied with trivialities or phantom images. Plumb the source. Live your life fully and plunge in deeply—but don’t dive in too far or over your head too quickly. Foolhardy endeavors are a waste of time.

Line 2

The water in the well is clear, but it is not being used. This illustrates the situation of a person who possesses talents that are being ignored. Others will begin to neglect you when you neglect what is best in yourself. At a time such as this, nothing significant can be accomplished, even when bad fortune isn’t indicated.

Line 3

The well is clean, but not being used. This is a shame; for like an abandoned well, your abilities are not being recognized—to your own dissatisfaction and to the detriment of others. If someone in a high position (or perhaps the highest and best part of yourself) recognizes your abilities, then you can shift direction and still gain magnificent good fortune.

Line 4

The walls of the well are currently being lined with stone, so the time is not yet ripe to lower the bucket. There are times when the priority in life is to put details in order and take care of infrastructure, saving profound exploration for another time. Currently, it is more important to gain discipline in small things, so that you will be able to profit from your self-improvements in the future.

Line 5

The well is fed from a clear, cool spring. This represents a good and honest character that is as clean and refreshing as spring water. Though this line points to profit, advancement, and success, the water is not yet drawn; so the potential is not fully realized. It’s not enough to have access to a good well; for it to be of real value, you must drink from it. In other words, you must walk your path. You can only claim knowledge through actual experience.

Line 6 (top line)

You draw from the well without hindrance because you have grown to be as dependable as it is. Supreme good fortune is yours, for you possess the qualities necessary for success. Just like a well brimming with fresh water, your openness and generosity benefit everyone, including yourself.