Above; A pool of water, joy
Below; Fire, brightness, beauty
In its original sense, Ge means an animal's pelt that molts every year, or a skin that is sloughed off. By extension, it can be taken to mean a great political change, a throwing off of government, or revolution. It retains at the same time, the original sense of revolution; a turn of the wheel of time or of fate. The two trigrams making up the hexagram are same as in 38 (opposites), but now they are reversed. The younger daughter being above and the elder daughter being below. The opposites are now in direct conflict like water over fire.
When there is revolution, none will believe in it before the day of its completion, but then there is complete success. Righteous persistence brings rewards and regrets vanish.
Water and fire extinguish each other like two women who share the same household but whose wills are in constant conflict. The revolution must come first, before the faith of the people in it will be established. An enlightened attitude, both to the change itself and to the means by which it is brought about, will bring joy in success, making it possible to put everything to rights. It is the power of the forces of heaven and earth to bring about the renewal that is revealed in the progress of the four seasons. Tang and Wu (Cheng Tang, 'the Competitor', the first of the Shang emperors, and Wu Wang, the son of King Wen) revolted in accordance with the will of heaven, and the people answered their call. Great indeed are the events of the time of throwing off.
Fire below water is the image of Ge. The Superior Man makes observations of the calendar, and determines the days of the seasons.
He is wrapped in the skin of a yellow ox.
Yellow is the colour of the middle way, and the ox is the symbol of docility. The hour for change has not yet come and the wise man will refrain from making any changes until the time is ripe.
When the day comes
Go forward with good fortune.
One should always attempt first to secure reform by moderate means. But when these are unsuccessful, revolution becomes necessary. Proper preparation is essential. The time must be right and a man with the necessary abilities and the support of the people is required.
Action brings misfortune
Persistence brings danger,
But when throwing off has been three times discussed
One may commit oneself
and be believed.
This is a warning against haste and ruthlessness in initiating change, as well as against delay in the name of righteousness. The concepts should be discussed with care and the plans given mature consideration; only then is it wise and proper to set matters in motion.
One is accepted by the people.
Throwing off brings good fortune.
He who brings about a revolution of any kind must have the necessary authority, as well as the inner strength. Because inthe end the people will only support undertakings that they know to be good.
The great man makes his changes
As the tiger molts his pelt
Even before he consults the oracle
He is believed.
The tiger, a symbol of brilliance and majesty, molts his coat every year. But the stripes, even though they may change, remain as clear and visible as ever. In the same way, when a great man leads a revolution, the reasons for the changes that he makes are apparent to all. He is so confident of his actions that he does not need to seek advice by divination.
The Superior Man makes his changes
As the leopard molts his pelt.
The inferior man changes his face.
Beginning brings misfortune.
Righteous persistence brings good fortune.
When repression has been thrown off, or when a new direction has been established, the Superior Man continues to make smaller changes necessary to establish the new order. The leopard is the symbol of beauty, whose moult make sonly small changes in its spotted coat. Lesser men easily adapt to the new conditions; but to attempt to continue with radical changes will bring disaster. Success lies in perseverance along the middle way.© 1979 Neil Powell
credit where credit is due