Hexagram 9, line 3

輿說輻. 夫妻反目.

Yu 輿: a chariot, but also the box of the chariot:

Shuo 說: loan for tuo 脫, ‘fall off’ or ‘remove’. It also is a loan for shui 税, ‘to stop, to halt’:

[This] umbrageous sweet pear-tree; –
Clip it not, bend not a twig of it.
Under it the chief of Shao halted.
Shijing (tr. Legge) Continue reading

Hexagram 9, line 1 & 2

Line 1

復自道. 何其咎. 吉.

I have struggled for many months with the segmentation of the first sentence, 復自道. I was not sure if I should read it as (1) 復自 – 道, (2) 復 – 自道 or (3) 復 – 自- 道.

(1) Fuzi 復自 can mean ‘to return of one’s own accord’, like in the Lun Heng:

When a plant comes forth, its fluid is green, which is, as it were, given it. When the same plant dies, the green colour disappears, or is taken away. Endowed with the fluid, the plant is green, deprived of it, it loses the green color. After the latter is gone, it cannot be added again, nor can the plant grow green again of its own accord. Sound and colour correspond to one another, and are both derived from Heaven. The brilliant green colour is like a lugubrious cry. The color of a faded plant cannot become green again, it would, therefore, be a mistake to assume that a dead man’s cry could still be produced of itself.
– Lun Heng, 論死 (tr. A. Forke, p. 197-198)

(2) Zidao 自道 can mean ‘one’s own way/method’, like in the Liji:

Sincerity is the completion of oneself. Its way is your own way.

(3) Zi 自 can be read as ‘from’, just as in the Judgment of hexagram 9 and line 4 of hexagram 5.

It is therefore possible to translate 復自道 in three different ways:

(1) Returning to the way on his own accord.
(2) Return to one’s own way.
(3) Returning from the way.

The character fu 復, ‘to return’ also occurs in the 2nd line (see below) but in a different context and that made me decide to go for option (1). Fu carries a sense of ‘to regain, to recover’.

Heqi 何其: ‘how, why’.

Returning to the way on one’s own accord.
How could there be blame?

Line 2

牽復. 吉.

Qian 牽: to lead, or to be led (like a cow or horse on a rope). The Mawangdui text uses qian 堅, a character related to qian 掔 and qian 摼, both known variants of 牽 (Ma Rusen, 殷墟甲骨学, p. 461; 古文字通假字典, p. 861; 漢語大字典 (2nd ed.), p. 2058). I have wondered if the MWD form might be a reference to ci/qian 㹂, a character which means almost the opposite of qian 牽 – ‘untamed cattle that refuses to be guided by a rope’ (漢語大字典, p. 2126). This idea crossed my mind because ‘untamed cattle returning (by itself)’ reads like a reinstatement of the 1st line. But there is no factual data to back this up.

At the 1st line the return is on its own accord. At the 2nd line the return is a return by being led. Maybe these lines talk about cattle used for the rain sacrifice at the Western altar (see Judgment). At the 1st line the cattle does not need guidance, at the 2nd line it does. Both lines are auspicious because either way the cattle will reach its destination.

Return by being led.

Hexagram 9, Judgement

小畜.  亨. 密雲不雨自我西郊。

Xu 畜: accumulate, make it grow in small amounts. According to Lu Deming 陸德明 (556-627) it was originally written as xu 蓄, ‘to store, save, grow’. The top part 艹 of this character is also found in the MWD form [艹+孰]. Also, the name of this hexagram in the received fragments of the Guicang 歸藏 (as given in Ma Guohan 馬清翰: 王函山房輯佚書) is 小毒畜. The second character is known as a loan for shu 熟, ‘to grow; ripe, mature’. The MWD form also has the 孰 compound. Some (like the Kang Xi 康熙 dictionary) say that the first two characters should be combined to 𣫶. Xu 畜 and du 毒 are close in meaning. They appear both in chapter 51 of the Daodejing 道德經:

Dao gives them life and nurtures them,
Rears and develops them.
It brings them to fruition and maturation,
Nourishes and guards over them.
(Tr. Ames & Hall) Continue reading

Hexagram 8, line 5


Xian 顯: appear, become visible, make public, (to) display,  (to) manifest. Also a loan for xin 欣, ‘joyful (appearance)’. Xianbi 顯比 can mean that the alliance is made public.

Sanqu 三驅: a ceremonial royal hunt with specific features. It is mentioned in the Wen Xuan 文選: Continue reading