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I-Ching – Hexagram 29

Copyright to Michael Doherty’s book I Ching: A Unique Interpretation of the I Ching

Hexagram 29

The Deep


Key Characteristics:

The Abyss, Danger, Water, Caution, Correct Action.



This hexagram shows the trigrams of Water over Water. Its message is to teach us how to respond to difficult and dangerous situations. It advises us to flow through them, like pure water, maintaining our purity, in the certain knowledge that we will transcend the situations and gain good fortune. But as always, outcomes depend on our thoughts and actions. The advice is to maintain correct conduct and especially not to compromise our principles in any way. Each trigram represents danger, thus here we have a doubling of danger. Because of the repetition of danger, we grow accustomed to it. The idea of water shows us the correct way to behave in dealing with danger. Water flows without avoiding the holes, the cracks, the falls: it flows on through the dangers but never loses its essential nature. It is water before the dangers and water afterwards. This is the way to act.


Outer World:

You must face the difficulties ahead. You must act in accordance with your essential nature. You must flow through the situation, dealing with each part as you meet it. You must be consistent in following the ways of the Wise. In this way, you will be an example for how others should behave in times of difficulty, and by doing this you will have a beneficial effect on your associates, your family and your environment.

Inner World:

By sticking resolutely to your principles, everything will fall into place, and you will experience inner growth. Remember, we only grow during difficult times. Ensure that you act according to your principles all the time, and not just when it suits you. You can be an inspiration and example to all, guiding them into the correct actions to take when they are facing difficulties. thus order follows and danger is contained. This is what just one person can achieve.



Perhaps you or your partner use crises to enliven your relationship. If you can deal with these crises without sacrificing your principles, then there is little harm, provided that you are both in agreement, but to use extremes to bring passion to your relationship can be dangerous because the ways of the Wise are never extreme. Consider this carefully. If you cannot remain within the ways of the Wise, then you may have to consider whether or not the relationship is a positive one, with all that this implies.


Accept the situation as if you chose it. You did. Don’t try to escape it. Learn from it.



Hexagram 29 -The Changing Lines

[Like a hexagram, the bottom line is Line 1]


Line 6: Misfortune – No One Else To Blame.

It’s all collapsing at once. You are in trouble and it’s all your own doing. Your troubles will last quite a while, but they need not be permanent. This has all been caused by your inappropriate responses to situations. You have known the correct thing to do. You have been receiving guidance as to the ways of the Wise, but you knew better, and this is where it’s landed you. The solution is to recognise that ego has been in control, and return to the path.


Line 5: Stop Struggling – It Will Pass.

You are being too ambitious. Consider water flowing over an edge. It only rises as high as it needs to in order to flow over. Do the same. Do as little as possible to achieve what you want. You can’t force a solution. It will come of its own accord, at the right time.


Line 4: Don’t Be Snobbish – Help Is Help.

Help is available from an unlikely source, possibly from those whom you consider to be beneath you. Honour them and respect them. They are sincere in helping you, so be sincere in accepting their help. Equally, it may be coming from the Sage: where else? Honour, respect and sincerity are still in order. Remember, you are neither superior nor inferior to anyone. Like the rest of us, you have much to learn.

Line 3: Do Nothing – There’s Nothing You Can Do.

Whatever action you take, whichever direction you choose, the result will be worse than if you had done nothing. So do nothing. Bide your time, knowing that the situation must change. A way through will appear. During this time, don’t become anxious or depressed. Remain detached and confident, because then the Creative has the space to create the solution.


Line 2: Much Danger – Some Relief.

You are facing a dangerous situation. You can’t deal with it in one go. If you try you will fail, with disastrous results. However, there are small areas where you have control. This is the time for caution, staying with the Wise, and achieving small gains where you can.


Line 1: Too Much Danger – Misfortune.

You have become accustomed to being in a dangerous or Unwise situation. You have lost your awareness of the potential hazards. You don’t even seem to care. But becoming indifferent to the dangers does not remove them. If you allow even small evils such as bad habits to occur without resisting them, you are on the road to greater deviations. Return to the ways of the Wise now.


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