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I Ching 201.12: P'i is standstill

The Twelfth Hexagram in the I Ching is P'i (“Standstill”), which is the opposite in many ways to the preceding “Tai”. It is thus composed of Heaven over Earth. It is usually assigned to the Element of Metal, and the Seventh Lunar Month, around August. With the exception of the last Two lines, most of the message of P’i denotes a negative emphasis.



Tai denotes things having free course. They cannot have that for ever, and hence it is followed by P’i.


STANDSTILL. Nothing changes. People do not understand each other. This is not a Good Time to be a Sage. The Great departs; The Small arrives.

In other words, this is a Time for the Material World to control the Spiritual.


Heaven and earth do not unite: The image of Standstill. Thus the Sage falls back upon inner faculties in order to escape the difficulties. The Sage will not accept money for the use of these Sacred Gifts.

In a Time of trouble indicated by P’i, even the Wise have to be clever.


Six at the beginning means: Pull up a reed, and the soil comes with it. This action pulls up other reeds, each according to his kind. Persistence brings Good Fortune and success.

This is almost the same as line One in Tai, but the situation requires hard work.

Six in the second place means: Be patient, and you will endure. This means Good Fortune for inferior people. The Sage knows how to take advantage of the Standstill to attain success.

This line is considered one of the Rulers of this Hexagram. Even in a Time of crisis, the Wise Ones will triumph.

Six in the third place means: Do not deny shame; hold it to your breast.

Do not fear your emotions; embrace them and use them.

Nine in the fourth place means: Act in accord with the highest, and remain without blame, and you may partake of the Blessing.

Stop feeling guilty. Be guided from within.

Nine in the fifth place means: Standstill is approaching its demise. Good Fortune comes to the Sage, who shouts out, "Remember! Remember!" and seeks protection in a mulberry grove.

This is like saying, “This, too, shall pass!” This line is considered the Second Ruler of this Hexagram. Since Ancient Times in China, mulberry has been used for Protective Magic.

Nine at the top means: The standstill comes to an end, followed by Good Fortune and joy.

Finally, everything is back on track. As it often occurs, the last line shows the ending of the situation indicated by the Hexagram.

A true understanding of P’I can be gained by studying the Geomantic Figure Laetitia, “Joy”. P’I is composed of Laetitia, with the Bigram for Water above.

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