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I Ching 201.5: Aspirations

Hexagram Number Five is Named “Hsu” (“Aspirations”). It is composed of the Abyss over the Creative. Another Way to say this is to refer to the Creative “within” the Abyss. It is assigned to the Second Month, about March, and the Element of Water. The term “Hsu” has been variously translated as “Waiting”, “Nourishment” and “Hope”. This writer has chosen instead the title “Aspirations”, a synonym for “hope”, as it fits in much better, in his humble opinion, with the Meaning of this Hexagram.



Meng is descriptive of what is undeveloped, the young, who must be nourished. Hence Meng is followed by Hsu.


If Aspirations are sincere, success is on the Way. Perseverance brings good fortune.

It advances one to cross the river.

This is, in so many Ways, very uplifting. If Hsu turns up in a Reading, expect only the best. This is a little bit like saying, “God helps those who help themselves”. The I Ching is saying here, “Don’t give up either Hope or hard work”.


Clouds rise up to heaven: The image of Aspirations. The Sage eats drinks and rejoices.

In other Words, Rain is indeed coming.


Nine at the beginning means: The Aspirant waits in the meadow. It advances one to be persistent. There will be no blame.

If this is a changing line, the message is to wait, but not to stop the pursuit of one’s Goals. The initial Yang line is followed by Yang, Yang, Yin the Trigram of the Joyous, Hence it is said to be in a meadow.

Nine in the second place means: The Aspirant waits on the sand by the river shore. Despite criticism, the end will bring good fortune.

Notice that we have moved from the meadow to the river. Something is about to happen.

Nine in the third place means: The Aspirant waits in the mud of the river, causing vulnerability, which brings on arrival of the Enemy.

Here an error has been made. Notice that we are halfway through the Hexagram, at the base of the Abyss. Note also, that Sun Tze teaches not to advance into a river before the Enemy. Perhaps he was referring to this Hexagram.

Six in the fourth place means: The Aspirant waits at the place of blood, but will soon leave the cavern.

Here we have a memory of animal sacrifice, taking place underground. One will have to pay whatever price is necessary to achieve one’s goals.

Nine in the fifth place means: The Aspirant waits at the feast. Persistence brings good fortune.

This is a very good omen.

Six at the top means: The Aspirant enters a cavern. Three unexpected guests arrive. They are there to help, and in the end, if they are received with honor, there will be good fortune.

Sometimes help shows up in unusual Ways. One is reminded of the Three Angels that visited Abram before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The advice here is, to be flexible, and adapt to changes; expect the unexpected!

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