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The Meaning of Hexagram #4

Also called "Youthful Inexperience"

I Ching Hexagram #4

Hexagram #4: Mountain over Water

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I Ching Hexagram #4

Inexperience is a double edged sword. It leads one to make mistakes, but the mistakes are necessary in order to learn. Do not feign knowledge. Seek out experience and ask what you do not know. Over time, all gaps in knowlege will be filled.

NOTE: Wondering how I Ching hexagram #4, "Water below Mountain", can be applied to questions about love, marriage and dating? See iFate's special Love I Ching interpretation for hexagram #4

Changing Lines in Hexagram #4

Changes in Line 1


I Ching hexagram 4 shown with changing-line #1 highlighted

Firmness and discipline is vital to development. But remember to remove the shackles of discipline because too much leads to negative developments.

Changes in Line 2

"Show tolerance to the Fool"

I Ching hexagram 4 shown with changing-line #2 highlighted

The person who has a strong character exercises patience and resolve in dealing with those who act rashly and stupidly. Act with inner strength, and extreme tolerance and the issues at hand will be resolved. When others act emotionally it will fall to you to keep a cool head.

Changes in Line 3

"To Lose Posession of Self"

I Ching hexagram 4 shown with changing-line #3 highlighted

This line references strength of character and resolve within relationships. One should stay true to one's commitments and not waiver in the face of materialistic opportunity. An unfaithful man or woman may be referenced here.

Changes in Line 4

"The Foolish Chains of Ignorance"

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

Ignorance can bind one as tightly as physical chains. Only through knowledge and experience can we achieve true freedom. This line suggests that regrets are on the horizon. A lack of experience causes hardship and mistakes. Sometimes allowing one to make mistakes is the only way to learn.

Changes in Line 5

"Youthful Inexperience Brings Luck"

I Ching hexagram 4 shown with changing-line #5 highlighted

Beginners luck reminds the wise that wisdom alone is not the path to achieving one's goals. Beginners can often make up for their lack of wisdom with enthusiasm and new ideas. A young person may be surprisingly helpful. Do not be afraid to try new things at this time. A new approach.

Changes in Line 6

"Transgressions do not Further One"

I Ching hexagram 4 shown with changing-line #6 highlighted

There comes a time when foolishness must be punished -- or when those who are foolish must be left to their own misery. Remember though, that one's response should be measured, and not the result of emotion. To over-react with a loss of control is to be foolish as well.

The Two Trigrams Inside Hexagram #4

Hexagram #4 is built out of two 3-line trigrams stacked on top of each other. The bottom three lines of hexagram #4 make up the trigram for Water, while the top three lines make up the trigram for Mountain.

Vector image of lower trigram Water in hexagram #4
Lower Trigram of Water
Vector image of upper trigram Mountain in hexagram #4
Upper Trigram of Mountain

NOTE: In general terms, the hexagram's upper trigram symbolizes external forces, and the lower trigram symbolizes internal forces.

Hexagram #4's Lower Trigram of Water

Image of hexagram #4 with lower trigram highlighted

The fluid and forever-changing trigram of water is also sometimes called the trigram of the 'Gorge' or of the 'Abysmal'. Water itself is shapeless and liquid — symbolizing shifting realities and random outcomes. This fluid trigram is often an indication of uncertainty or sudden shifts. The water trigram is associated with the moon's cycles and with the direction north.

Hexagram #4's Upper Trigram of Mountain

Image of hexagram #4 with upper trigram highlighted

The looming and majestic trigram of the mountain represents stillness and something immobile. The trigram of mountain is powerful, silent and eternal. Simultaneously, its effect is calming and non-combative. The trigram of mountain may also represent a 'third son' or the direction of northeast.

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List of all possible changes for hexagram #4

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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