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Yi Jing [I Ching]: The Book of Changes

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Hexagram 54

Guī Mèi [The Marrying Maiden]

  Original Translation
The Image Thunder over the lake.
Zhèn (The Arousing, Thunder) above, Duì (The Joyous, Lake) below.
The Judgment Guī Mèi indicates that (under the conditions which it denotes) action will be evil, and in no wise advantageous.

By Guī Mèi (the marrying away of a younger sister) the great and righteous relation between heaven and earth (is suggested to us). If heaven and earth were to have no intercommunication, things would not grow and flourish as they do. The marriage of a younger sister is the end (of her maidenhood) and the beginning (of her motherhood).

We have (in The Judgment the desire of) pleasure and, on the ground of that, movement following. The marrying away is of a younger sister.

'Any action will be evil:'--the places (of the lines) are not those appropriate to them. 'It will be in no wise advantageous:'--the weak (third and fifth lines) are mounted on strong lines.

(The trigram representing the waters of) a marsh and over it that for thunder form Guī Mèi. The superior man, in accordance with this, having regard to the far-distant end, knows the mischief (that may be done at the beginning).
Line 1

The first NINE, undivided, shows the younger sister married off in a position ancillary to the real wife. (It suggests the idea of) a person lame on one leg who yet manages to tramp along. Going forward will be fortunate.

'The younger sister is married off in a position ancillary to that of the real wife:'--it is the constant practice (for such a case). 'Lame on one leg, she is able to tramp along:'--she can render helpful service.

Line 2 The second NINE, undivided, shows her blind of one eye, and yet able to see. There will be advantage in her maintaining the firm correctness of a solitary widow.
'There will be advantage in maintaining the firm correctness of a solitary widow:'--(the subject of the line) has not changed from the constancy (proper to a wife).
Line 3 The third SIX, divided, shows the younger sister who was to be married off in a mean position. She returns and accepts an ancillary position.
'The younger sister who was to be married off is in a mean position:'--this is shown by the improprieties (indicated in the line).
Line 4 The fourth NINE, undivided, shows the younger sister who is to be married off protracting the time. She may be late in being married, but the time will come.
(The purpose in) 'protracting the time' is that, after waiting, the thing may be done (all the better).
Line 5 The fifth SIX, divided, reminds us of the marrying of the younger sister of (king) Tî-yî, when the sleeves of her the princess were not equal to those of the (still) younger sister who accompanied her in an inferior capacity. (The case suggests the thought of) the moon almost full. There will be good fortune.
'The sleeves of the younger sister of (king) Tî-yî, when she was married away, were not equal to those of her (half-)sister, who accompanied her:'--such was her noble character, indicated by the central position of the line.
Line 6 The sixth SIX, divided, shows the young lady bearing the basket, but without anything in it, and the gentleman slaughtering the sheep, but without blood flowing from it. There will be no advantage in any way.
'(What is said in) the sixth SIX, (divided),about there being nothing in the basket' shows that the subject of it is carrying an empty basket.
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