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I Ching 201.7: Hexagram number seven Shih ("Army")

Hexagram Number Seven is called “Shih” (“Army”). It is composed of the Receptive above the Abyss. Shih is assigned to the Fourth Lunar Month, around May and to the Element of Earth.



Sung is sure to cause the rising up of the multitudes; and hence it is followed by Shih.

“Shih” Means “Army”, “multitudes” or “masses”. Here Confucius is making a pun.


The army needs perseverance a steadfast, righteous General. There is no need to feel guilty about the coming good fortune.

It is very easy to imagine Sun Tze having been inspired by this Gua.


In the middle of the Earth is Water; the image of the Army. Thus the Sage General embraces the troops, and is generous toward the people. Shih indicates how, with firmness and correctness, and a leader of age and experience, there will be good fortune and no error.

Here the Abyss is restrained by the Physical World. This Gua indicates a Time to act Maturely and make careful, wise choices.

Six at the beginning means: An army must set forth according to the rules of engagement. If these rules are not followed, misfortune threatens.

This would be a warning to be careful. Find out the rules and follow them.

Nine in the second place means: The General is in the midst of the army. There will be good fortune and no error. The Monarch bestows a triple decoration.

This line is the ruler of the Hexagram. It is considered a good omen, as the “General”, a Yang line, is “in the midst” of the “army” of Yin lines.

Six in the third place means: Perhaps the army is taken over by inefficient leaders. There will be misfortune.

This line is a bad omen, but not a severe one.

Six in the fourth place means: The army retreats. There is no error.

This would indicate a Time to seek a back-up plan.

Six in the fifth place means: There is game in the field. It advances one to hunt it. Let the Senior Officer blamelessly lead the army; if Junior Officers lead, however firm and correct they may seem, persistence brings misfortune.

It would be Time to pause for nourishment. Let the Senior Officer (Spirit) command, not the Junior Officers (Mind or Body).

Six at the top means: The Great Monarch issues commands, founds states, grants families hereditary properties. Inferior people should not be so employed.

Here the War is over, and rewards are granted.

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