Start over. Whatever past efforts proved fruitless, just try again. Rely on your discipline and gratitude.
A reading for the year 2021
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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 NAME of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth – hence the meaning, “difficulty at the beginning.”
The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting, which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Chên is the Arousing (51); its motion is upward and its image is thunder. The upper trigram K’an stands for the Abysmal (29), the dangerous. Its motion is downward and its image is rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill the air. But the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.
Difficulty at the beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.
TIMES OF GROWTH are beset with difficulties. They resemble a first birth. But these difficulties arise from the very profusion of all that is struggling to attain form. Everything is in motion: therefore if one perseveres there is a prospect of great success, in spite of the existing danger. When it is a man’s fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark. Hence he must hold back, because any premature move might bring disaster. Likewise, it is very important not to remain alone; in order to overcome the chaos he needs helpers. This is not to say, however, that he himself should look on passively at what is happening. He must lend his hand and participate with inspiration and guidance.
Clouds and thunder:
The image of difficulty at the beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.
CLOUDS AND THUNDER are represented by definite decorative lines; this means that in the chaos of difficulty at the beginning, order is already implicit. So too the superior man has to arrange and organise the inchoate profusion of such times of beginning, just as one sorts out silk threads from a knotted tangle and binds them into skeins. In order to find one’s place in the infinity of being, one must be able both to separate and to unite.