I-Ching Hexagram 18 – Ku – Work on What Has Been Spoiled

Hexagram-18-KuThe trigram above – KEN – Keeping Still, Mountain
The trigram below – SUN – The Gentle, Wind

General: The problems of the past should be addressed so that the future can be approached with confidence.

Love: Any differences of opinion with your partner should be resolved at this time.

Business: Take the time to assess any damage caused by past problems and deal with them. Doing so now will help avoid stagnation in the present and future.

Personal: Bad habits and/or phobias may be holding you back. Now is the time to confront and overcome them.

The Chinese character ku represents a bowl in whose contents worms are breeding. This means decay. it has come about because the gentle indifferece of the lower trigram has come together with the rigid inertia of the upper, and the result is stagnation. Since this implies guilt, the conditions embody a demand for removal of the cause. Hence the meaning of the hexagram is not simply “what has been spoiled” but “work on what has been spoiled.”

What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work. It is not immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, that has caused the state of corruption, but rather the abuse of human freedom. Work toward improving conditions promises well, because it accords with the possibilities of the time. We must not recoil from work an danger – symbolized by crossing of the great water – but must take hold energetically. Success depends, however, on proper deliberation. This is expressed by the lines, “Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days.” We must first know the causes of corruption before we can do away with them; hence it is necessary to be cautious during the time before the start.

Then we must see to it that the new way is safely entered upon, so that a relapse may be avoided; therefore we must pay attention to the time after the start. Decisiveness and energy must take the place of the inertia and indifference that have led to decay, in order that the ending may be followed by a new beginning.

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