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I Ching Hexagram #12:

Stagnation

How to interpret "Stagnation"

This ominous hexagram symbolizes heaven and earth out of balance. Creative energies are flowing the wrong way, and little is accomplished. Ideas and projects stagnate, and enthusiasm disappears. Those who are not worthy of accomplishment are on the rise. Lesser men and women dominate the scene. Wise men note that the situation is dangerous and withdraw into introspection, modesty and meditation. Very little of value can be accomplished at this time.

Changes in Line 1

"When Grass is Uprooted, Other Plants Follow"

A change in this line at the base of the hexagram reminds us that forces that affect one person, also affect surrounding people. In difficult times, many are affected.

Changes in Line 2

"They Suffer and Endure"

A change in this line suggests that the only course of action is to "stick it out". Many will seek alternate paths, but they are equally dangerous. Those who are both wise and great will give no outward sign of discomfort or duress. They will walk bravely through this time and await a change in fortune.

Changes in Line 3

"The Shame is Theirs"

This changing line has an interesting meaning and suggests that one who has risen to power illegitimately will become shamed. The shame will either be a direct result of their climb to success, or will come about during their time at the top. Once shamed, lesser people who have risen to great heights, will quickly fall.

Changes in Line 4

"Act With the Command of the Highest"

This changing line reminds us that the way to move forward from a period of stagnation is to stick to one's core beliefs and principles. If one acts with the highest of intentions at all times, one will turn the course of the tide and begin to move forwards again.

Changes in Line 5

"Stagnation Gives Way"

All things must come to pass, and this fortunately true of times of stagnation as well. This changing line suggests that an individual (a man or a woman) will break the stagnation, and bring about a period of positive change.

Changes in Line 6

"Motion Resumes"

After a long period of standstill there is new movement. The ice is thawing and new life is emerging where there was none before. A period of rejoicing as energy returns, creativity blossoms and relationships flourish.


A note on iFate's I Ching translation: This is not a direct translation of the original "Book of Changes" from 1000 BC. While multiple translations of the original text are available, they include many archaic references and can be difficult to understand for 21st century readers. iFate uses our own modern rewritings (two different editions) of the "Book of Changes" which makes interpreting I Ching readings far simpler. For iFate's additional contemporary re-writing of the original text, see our "Love I Ching" translation.

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