A turning point as the light penetrates the darkness.
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24 – Twenty-Four Fu / Return
Thunder regenerates deep within Earth’s womb:
Sage rulers recognized that the end of Earth’s seasonal cycle was also the starting point of a new year and a time for dormancy.
They closed the passes at the Solstice to enforce a rest from commerce and activity.
The ruler himself did not travel.
You have passed this way before but you are not regressing.
This is progress, for the cycle now repeats itself, and this time you are aware that it truly is a cycle.
The return of old familiars is welcome.
You can be as sure of this cycle as you are that seven days bring the start of a new week.
Use this dormancy phase to plan which direction you will grow.
You are about to experience a rebirth — about to be given another chance, a new lease on life.
You have persevered, gone the distance through an entire cycle — through the Spring of hope or new passion, through a Summer of growth and building, only to be sacrificed like the archetypal Harvest King at the Autumn reaping.
You lie dormant like seed beneath Winter snows now, healing and absorbing new energies in preparation for the new young Spring coming shortly to your life.
The idea of a turning point arises from the fact that after the dark lines have pushed all of the light lines upward and out of the hexagram, another light line enters the hexagram from below. The time of darkness is past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light. This hexagram is linked with the eleventh month, the month of the solstice (December- January).
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and fro goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram Kun is characterised by devotion; thus the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement is cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth.
All movements are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return. Thus the winter solstice, with which the decline of the year begins, comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of the young light, and it arises when six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement.
Thunder within the earth:
The image of THE TURNING POINT.
Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
At the time of solstice.
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.
The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year – a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the new year. In winter the life energy, symbolised by thunder, the Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.