by Stefan Stenudd

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I Ching Hexagram 44.
Kou / Coming to Meet


Hexagram 44

Upper trigram: Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven

Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind


The Judgement

Coming to Meet. The maiden is powerful.
One should not marry such a maiden.





The Image

Under heaven, wind:
The image of Coming to Meet.
Thus does the prince act when disseminating his commands
And proclaiming them to the four quarters of heaven.


The Lines

These texts apply only for the lines that were marked, when the hexagram was cast. Note that the lines are counted from the bottom up.


The bottom line marked means:

It must be checked with a brake of bronze.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
If one lets it take its course, one experiences misfortune.
Even a lean pig has it in him to rage around.


The 2nd line marked means:

There is a fish in the tank. No blame.
Does not further guests.


The 3rd line marked means:

There is no skin on his thighs,
And walking comes hard.
If one is mindful of the danger,
No great mistake is made.


The 4th line marked means:

No fish in the tank.
This leads to misfortune.


The 5th line marked means:

A melon covered with willow leaves.
Hidden lines.
Then it drops down to one from heaven.


The top line marked means:

He comes to meet with his horns.
Humiliation. No blame.


The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.


Comments on the Hexagram

This hexagram indicates a situation in which the principle of darkness, after having been eliminated, furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below. Of its own accord the female principle comes to meet the male. It is an unfavorable and dangerous situation, and we must understand and promptly prevent the possible consequences.

       The hexagram is linked with the fifth month [June-July], because at the summer solstice the principle of darkness gradually becomes ascendant again.

The Judgement

The rise of the inferior element is pictured here in the image of a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself and thus seizes power. This would not be possible if the strong and light-giving element had not in turn come halfway. The inferior thing seems so harmless and inviting that a man delights in it; it looks so small and weak that he imagines he may dally with it and come to no harm.

       The inferior man rises only because the superior man does not regard him as dangerous and so lends him power. If he were resisted from the fist, he could never gain influence.

       The time of COMING TO MEET is important in still another way. Although as a general rule the weak should not come to meet the strong, there are times when this has great significance. When heaven and earth come to meet each other, all creatures prosper; when a prince and his official come to meet each other, the world is put in order. It is necessary for elements predestined to be joined and mutually dependent to come to meet one another halfway. But the coming together must be free of dishonest ulterior motives, otherwise harm will result.


The Image

The situation here resembles that in hexagram 20, Kuan, CONTEMPLATION (VIEW). In the latter the wind blows over the earth, here it blows under heaven; in both cases it goes everywhere. There the wind is on the earth and symbolizes the ruler taking note of the conditions in his kingdom; here the wind blows from above and symbolizes the influence exercised by the ruler through his commands. Heaven is far from the things of earth, but it sets them in motion by means of the wind. The ruler is far from his people, but he sets them in motion by means of his commands and decrees.


The Lines

The bottom line marked
If an inferior element has wormed its way in, it must be energetically checked at once. By consistently checking it, bad effects can be avoided. If it is allowed to take its course, misfortune is bound to result; the insignificance of that which creeps in should not be a temptation to underrate it. A pig that is still young and lean cannot rage around much, but after it has eaten its fill and become strong, its true nature comes out if it has not previously been curbed.


The 2nd line from the bottom marked
The inferior element is not overcome by violence but is kept under gentle control. Then nothing evil is to be feared. But care must be taken not to let it come in contact with those further away, because once free it would unfold its evil aspects unchecked.


The 3rd line from the bottom marked
There is a temptation to fall in with the evil element offering itself-a very dangerous situation. Fortunately circumstances prevent this; one would like to do it, but cannot. This leads to painful indecision in behavior. But if we gain clear insight into the danger of the situation, we shall at least avoid more serious mistakes.


The 4th line from the bottom marked
Insignificant people must be tolerated in order to keep them well disposed. Then we can make use of them if we should need them. If we become alienated from them and do not meet them halfway, they turn their backs on us and are not at our disposal when we need them. But this is our own fault.


The 5th line from the bottom marked
The melon, like the fish, is a symbol of the principle of darkness. It is sweet but spoils easily and for this reason is protected with a cover of willow leaves. This is a situation in which a strong, superior, well-poised man tolerates and protects the inferiors in his charge. He has the firm lines of order an beauty within himself but he does not lay stress upon them. He does not bother his subordinates with outward show or tiresome admonitions but leaves them quite free, putting his trust in the transforming power of a strong and upright personality. And behold! Fate is favorable. His inferiors respond to his influence and fall to his disposition like ripe fruit.


The top line marked
When a man has withdrawn from the world, its tumult often becomes unbearable to him. There are many people who in a noble pride hold themselves aloof from all that is low and rebuff it brusquely wherever it comes to meet them. Such persons are reproached for being proud and distant, but since active duties no longer hold them to the world, this does not greatly matter. They know how to bear the dislike of the masses with composure.



Further Reading


Here I add some perspectives on this hexagram, as well as other methods to read its meaning, in additon to what Richard Wilhelm derives from it above.


Meaning of the Trigrams Combined

Each hexagram combines two trigrams, making one the upper and the other the lower. The meaning of the hexagram is mainly derived from that combination. Here's what it means for this hexagram:


Heaven upon Wind

This hexagram is a summary of the sky: From heaven comes the wind, which reaches and disturbs the world below it. Heaven is the highest and mightiest. Since it is fixed high above us, it acts by wind.

       This image is similar to the Japanese concept of kamikaze, the wind of the gods. Ultimately, according to many ancient mythologies, heaven rules all from high above. The wind is a major force at its disposal. It acts out the will of its high origin.

       Any wind is a wind of change. It creates movements in the world, movements with a direction and an outcome. Since its starting point is heaven, the direction of it is what ancient China described as tien tao, heaven's way. The wind shows heavenly intentions. Or as Taoism would have it: the way of nature, which is indifferent to human will and independent of it.

       We might want to call it chance, but in ancient Chinese cosmology there was no such thing. Any event had a purpose - human if caused by humans, heaven's if caused by natural phenomena. Anyway, this hexagrams points to processes over which we have little or no control.

       That is why this hexagram is sort of a warning signal when appearing in a reading. If heaven sends this powerful messenger to us, we should be attentive to what is being said, what path is suggested. After all, the wind is as close to contact with heaven as earthbound creatures can hope to come. The ruler speaks its mind to its subjects. We had better listen closely before doing anything at all.


Yin and Yang Significances

In this hexagram, only the bottom line is Yin (broken), whereas all the five lines above it are Yang (full). So, this is definitely a Yang dominated sign. Still, the bottom line is one of fundamental importance, wherefore it cannot be neglected.

       It is natural that Yin, like earth, is below heavenly Yang. But although heaven is traditionally regarded as so much grander in every way than the earth, the extreme unbalance between Yin and Yang is seen with some concern. That is why the hexagram speaks of caution. Something is not as it should be.

       When the earthly is suppressed by so much heavenly, then procreation and the fruition of the earth are burdened. Also, the system of the world, as well as that of any of its creatures, is disturbed by the unbalance between Yin and Yang. The world needs darkness as well as light, and cold as well as heat. Otherwise conditions may get to be extreme.

       When this hexagram appears in a reading, it is cause for pondering the matter carefully. What may seem overwhelmingly good at the light of day can prove strenuous already at the moment of dusk. Things are not as good as they seem to be in all their superficial glory. So, one should hesitate instead of jumping to conclusions, reconsider instead of hurrying to decide on the first impression.

       Read more about the polarity of Yin and Yang here:

Yin and Yang


Compare to the Reversed Trigrams

It's common to compare a hexagram to the one where the lines are the opposite: a full line is broken and a broken line full. But I find it much more interesting to compare hexagrams with the trigrams reversed: the upper trigram becomes the lower, and the lower trigram becomes the upper. That deepens the understanding of the trigrams at work - when they're not identical. Click the image to see what it means for the two trigrams of this hexagram:

I Ching Hexagram 9
The hexagram with the trigrams reversed


Compare to the Reversed Lines

You can also compare this hexagram to its opposite according to the six lines, where each broken line is full, and vice versa. In some cases it leads to the same hexagram as the one where the trigrams are switched. Here is the hexagram with reversed lines (click it to get to its webpage):

I Ching Hexagram 24
Hexagram with opposite lines


The I Ching Trigrams

Click the header to read more about the eight trigrams that are combined into the 64 hexagrams.


The 64 I Ching Hexagrams

An I Ching hexagram is composed of two trigrams. Each of the 64 hexagrams has its own name, meaning, and divinatory text. Here they all are, in the traditional order. Click on the image of an I Ching hexagram to get to its webpage.


I Ching Hexagram 1
1
Creative
I Ching Hexagram 2
2
Receptive
I Ching Hexagram 3
3
Difficulty
I Ching Hexagram 4
4
Folly
I Ching Hexagram 5
5
Waiting
I Ching Hexagram 6
6
Conflict
I Ching Hexagram 7
7
Army
I Ching Hexagram 8
8
Union
I Ching Hexagram 9
9
Taming
I Ching Hexagram 10
10
Treading
I Ching Hexagram 11
11
Peace
I Ching Hexagram 12
12
Standstill
I Ching Hexagram 13
13
Fellowship
I Ching Hexagram 14
14
Possession
I Ching Hexagram 15
15
Modesty
I Ching Hexagram 16
16
Enthusiasm
I Ching Hexagram 17
17
Following
I Ching Hexagram 18
18
Decay
I Ching Hexagram 19
19
Approach
I Ching Hexagram 20
20
View
I Ching Hexagram 21
21
Biting
I Ching Hexagram 22
22
Grace
I Ching Hexagram 23
23
Splitting
I Ching Hexagram 24
24
Return
I Ching Hexagram 25
25
Innocence
I Ching Hexagram 26
26
Taming
I Ching Hexagram 27
27
Mouth
I Ching Hexagram 28
28
Preponderance
I Ching Hexagram 29
29
Abysmal
I Ching Hexagram 30
30
Clinging
I Ching Hexagram 31
31
Influence
I Ching Hexagram 32
32
Duration
I Ching Hexagram 33
33
Retreat
I Ching Hexagram 34
34
Power
I Ching Hexagram 35
35
Progress
I Ching Hexagram 36
36
Darkening
I Ching Hexagram 37
37
Family
I Ching Hexagram 38
38
Opposition
I Ching Hexagram 39
39
Obstruction
I Ching Hexagram 40
40
Deliverance
I Ching Hexagram 41
41
Decrease
I Ching Hexagram 42
42
Increase
I Ching Hexagram 43
43
Resoluteness
I Ching Hexagram 44
44
Coming
I Ching Hexagram 45
45
Gathering
I Ching Hexagram 46
46
Pushing
I Ching Hexagram 47
47
Oppression
I Ching Hexagram 48
48
Well
I Ching Hexagram 49
49
Revolution
I Ching Hexagram 50
50
Caldron
I Ching Hexagram 51
51
Arousing
I Ching Hexagram 52
52
Still
I Ching Hexagram 53
53
Development
I Ching Hexagram 54
54
Marrying
I Ching Hexagram 55
55
Abundance
I Ching Hexagram 56
56
Wanderer
I Ching Hexagram 57
57
Gentle
I Ching Hexagram 58
58
Joyous
I Ching Hexagram 59
59
Dispersion
I Ching Hexagram 60
60
Limitation
I Ching Hexagram 61
61
Truth
I Ching Hexagram 62
62
Small
I Ching Hexagram 63
63
After
I Ching Hexagram 64
64
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