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The Meaning of Hexagram #16

Also called "Approval"

I Ching Hexagram #16

Hexagram #16: Thunder over Earth

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I Ching Hexagram #16

Hexagram number 16 with only one solid line indicates approval and enthusiastic support for actions and decisions. One strong line exists among many weaker supporting lines. In matters involving group decisions, consensus will be reached, and a single point of view will be shared among many. In personal matters, a choice will be respected, admired or obeyed. Unity is referenced here. Many act as one, because the one acts with confidence and clear leadership.

NOTE: Wondering how I Ching hexagram #16, "Earth below Thunder", applies to love and romantic relationship questions? See our special Love I Ching interpretation for hexagram #16

Changing Lines in Hexagram #16

Changes in Line 1

"Approval Expressed"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #1 highlighted

Satisfaction should sometimes be kept to oneself. To take pleasure in things such as the misfortune of others brings misfortune in itself.

Changes in Line 2

"Firm as Stone"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #2 highlighted

Approval can be used as a form of flattery. One who seeks approval often opens oneself up to manipulation and negative external forces. A change in this line suggests that a firmness of resolve will win the day. Be wary of placing too high a value on the approvals of others. Instead, value inner resolve.

Changes in Line 3

"Approval Sought (Seeking Satisfaction)"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #3 highlighted

To seek approval while doing nothing to earn it is a fool's errand. Approvals must be earned, and those who expect something for nothing will be deeply disappointed. Prepare to work for approvals which are sought.

Changes in Line 4

"Do Not Doubt"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #4 highlighted

This is the only unbroken line in the hexagram of "Approval". It represents one whose approval is sought after. A change in this line represents a potential loss of confidence, or a movement away from this status as the "giver of approvals". The message here is to remain confident. Your original path is true.

Changes in Line 5

"A Chronic Complaint"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #5 highlighted

Problems persist and refuse to go away. And yet the problems do not prevent forward action. Health problems may be referenced here.

Changes in Line 6

"Seeking Wrong Approval"

I Ching hexagram 16 shown with changing-line #6 highlighted

Seeking pleasure and approval in a place which has no merit will lead one to misfortune. One has become obsessed with the wrong thing. A reversal of goals or a shifting of priorities is recommended. The current course is a dead-end because its goal has no merits.

The Two Trigrams Within Hexagram #16

I Ching hexagram #16 is built out of two 3-line trigrams mounted on top of each other. The bottom three lines of hexagram #16 form the trigram for Earth, while the top three lines form the trigram for Thunder.

Vector image of lower trigram Earth in hexagram #16
Lower Trigram of Earth
Vector image of upper trigram Thunder in hexagram #16
Upper Trigram of Thunder

NOTE: In general terms, the hexagram's upper trigram points to external forces, while the lower trigram points to internal forces.

Hexagram #16's Lower Trigram of Earth

Image of hexagram #16 with lower trigram highlighted

The evenly divided trigram of Earth sometimes known as the trigram of the Receptive. Its characteristic traits are powerful devotion and a resilient bowing to external forces. The trigram of Earth may also reference the state of 'motherhood' or traditional female forces. The three unbroken lines may also indicate the direction of southwest

Hexagram #16's Upper Trigram of Thunder

Image of hexagram #16 with upper trigram highlighted

The enigmatic trigram representing thunder is an energetic mix of power and mystery. According to Chinese lore, thunder is often associated with the might and mystery of dragons. The trigram of thunder is also called the "The Arousing" and points to intent, motion and initiative. It is a building block of unbridled energy and forward progress. It may also refer to an 'eldest son' or the map direction north.

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List of all possible changes for hexagram #16

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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