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The Meaning of Hexagram #7

Also called "The Army"

I Ching Hexagram #7

Hexagram #7: Earth over Water

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I Ching Hexagram #7

Even with powerful allies and armies, no success is possible if leadership wavers. Good leadership requires public strength, but more importantly: private discipline. Remember to treat your allies well, and support the greater good. Success at this time will be the result of strong interpersonal ties and dedicated personal discipline. To indulge one's ego or one's own personal ambitions will fail. A unified force will succeed. The importance of clear communication is also referenced here.

NOTE: Want to know how I Ching hexagram #7, "Earth over Water", applies to questions about relationships? See our special Hexagram #7 Love I Ching interpretation.

Changing Lines in Hexagram #7

Changes in Line 1

"If the order is bad, luck is bad"

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #1 highlighted

A change in this line is a warning that preparations for conflict may be lacking. Success will be determined by careful forethought and organization. Remember that "armies must be cast in the proper order" or they will fail. Is someone out of line?

Changes in Line 2

"In the Center of the Forces"

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #2 highlighted

A change in this line is a reminder that leadership will fail if it is out of touch with day-to-day events. A leader should be surrounded by his or her forces. There is also an indication here that success will come in threes.

Changes in Line 3

"The Army in the Wagon"

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #3 highlighted

Group-leadership can be indecisive. A time is at hand where clear vision and direct leadership are required. The strong leader should be the one commanding the "wagon" and not the troops.

Changes in Line 4

"The Army Retreats"

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #4 highlighted

When confronted with superior forces, there is no shame in retreat. Only by retreating can one regroup and try again at a later time.

Changes in Line 5

"Birds in the Field."

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #5 highlighted

The birds in the field represent enemy forces which attack at random. You may find yourself facing small attacks, here and there. A series of multiple small setbacks which are difficult to avoid. Experienced leadership is necessary at this time. Age and experience beat youthful energy.

Changes in Line 6

"The Great Ruler Commands"

I Ching hexagram 7 shown with changing-line #6 highlighted

Changes in this line depict a great ruler assigning titles and obligations to those who obey him. Remember that with power comes responsibility. It is your task to make sure those who you trust are capable of bearing that trust. Look carefully at the character of the people you rely upon.

The 2 Trigrams Inside Hexagram #7

I Ching hexagram #7 is composed of two 3-line trigrams stacked above each other. The bottom three lines of hexagram #7 make up the trigram for Water, while the upper three lines make up the trigram for Earth.

Vector image of lower trigram Water in hexagram #7
Lower Trigram of Water
Vector image of upper trigram Earth in hexagram #7
Upper Trigram of Earth

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

Hexagram #7's Lower Trigram of Water

Image of hexagram #7 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 #7's Upper Trigram of Earth

Image of hexagram #7 with upper 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

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List of all possible changes for hexagram #7

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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