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The Meaning of Hexagram #40

Also called "Deliverance"

I Ching Hexagram #40

Hexagram #40: Thunder over Water

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I Ching Hexagram #40

"Freedom from hardship" is the meaning of this welcome hexagram. Some challenges will still lie ahead, but the stage has been set for success. You have disentangled yourself from opposing forces. Your projects, ideas and dreams are destined to come to fruition. This is a time to rally your support base, and clear the air of any tensions and grievances. This is a time to forgive and forget. Let worries wash away like water.

NOTE: Want to know how I Ching hexagram #40, "Water below Thunder", applies to love and romantic relationship questions? See our popular Love I Ching interpretation for hexagram #40

Changing Lines in Hexagram #40

Changes in Line 1

"Proceeding with Courage and Heart"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #1 highlighted

Progress is steady, like a new leaf growing toward the sky. Keep charging ahead. Rest and recuperate if you need to.

Changes in Line 2

"Shooting the Golden Arrow"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #2 highlighted

The arrow signifies the straight course ahead. Be firm and true. Rejoice in both small and large steps. Inner strength carries you forward better than outer strength.

Changes in Line 3

"Letting go of Burdens"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #3 highlighted

Don't try to carry too heavy a load. Diversification is the key here. This is especially true with finances. Don't put all your eggs in one basket

Changes in Line 4

"Letting go of old Support Teams"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #4 highlighted

If someone who once offered support to you no longer serves your plight, it is time to sever the tie. Letting go of a someone who once was a strong ally opens the way to find even stronger allies

Changes in Line 5

"Freedom from Bondage"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #5 highlighted

This line signifies a time of true liberation, a time of inner liberation. The wise person recognizes their freedom within their prison cell walls, and thus realizes internal peacefulness regardless of outer circumstances.

Changes in Line 6

"Releasing the Unwise Hawk"

I Ching hexagram 40 shown with changing-line #6 highlighted

This line is a call for you to free yourself from anyone who has betrayed you. Here, the hawk symbolizes an unwise person who has somehow managed to finagle themselves into a high position. Such a person is clearly not a friend to have around. Send them flying on.

The Trigrams Inside Hexagram #40

Hexagram #40 is made of two 3-line trigrams layered over and under each other. The lower 3 lines of hexagram #40 form the trigram for Water, while the top 3 lines form the trigram for Thunder.

Vector image of lower trigram Water in hexagram #40
Lower Trigram of Water
Vector image of upper trigram Thunder in hexagram #40
Upper Trigram of Thunder

NOTE: In general terms, the hexagram's upper trigram references external energies, while the lower trigram references internal energies.

Hexagram #40's Lower Trigram of Water

Image of hexagram #40 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 #40's Upper Trigram of Thunder

Image of hexagram #40 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 #40

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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