坎 Kǎn Flow Darkness [hexagram 29]
Mid-Winter (Winter Solstice) ; Host or Controlling line : 5
坎: 习坎, 有孚, 维心亨, 行有尚. Kǎn: xíkǎn, yǒu fú, wéi xīn hēng, xíng yǒu shàng.
Kan, here repeated, shows the possession of sincerity, through which the mind is. penetrating. Action (in accordance with this) will be of high value.彖传: 习坎, 重险也. 水流而不盈, 行险而不失其信. 维心亨, 乃以刚中也. 行有尚, 往有功也. 天险不可升也, 地险山川丘陵也, 王公设险以守其国, 坎之时用大矣哉! Tuàn zhuàn: Xí kǎn, chóng xiǎn yě. shuǐ liú ér bù yíng, xíng xiǎn ér bù shī qí xìn. wéi xīn hēng, nǎi yǐ gāng zhōng yě. háng yǒu shàng, wǎng yǒu gōng yě. tiān xiǎn bù kě shēng yě, dì xiǎn shān chuān qiū líng yě, wáng gōng shè xiǎn yǐ shǒu qí guó, kǎn zhī shí yòng dà yǐ zāi!
Kan repeated shows us one defile succeeding another. This is the nature of water; - it flows on, without accumulating its volume (so as to overflow); it pursues its way through a dangerous defile, without losing its true (nature). That 'the mind is penetrating' is indicated by the strong (line) in the center. That 'action (in accordance with this) will be of high value' tells us that advance will be followed by achievement. The dangerous (height) of heaven cannot be ascended; the difficult places of the earth are mountains, rivers, hills, and mounds. Kings and princes arrange by means of such strengths, to maintain their territories. Great indeed is the use of (what is here) taught about seasons of peril.象传: 水洊至, 习坎; 君子以常德行, 习教事. Xiàng zhuàn: Shuǐ jiàn zhì, xí kǎn; jūn zǐ yǐ cháng dé xíng, xí jiāo shì.
(The representation of) water flowing on continuously forms the repeated Kan. The superior man, in accordance with this, maintains constantly the virtue (of his heart) and (the integrity of) his conduct, and practices the business of instruction.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows its subject in the double defile, and (yet) entering a cavern within it. There will be evil.象传: 习坎入坎, 失道凶也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xí kǎn rù kǎn, shī dào xiōng yě.
'In the double defile, he enters a cavern within it:' - he has missed his (proper) way, and there will be evil.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject in all the peril of the defile. He will, however, get a little (of the deliverance) that he seeks.象传: 求小得, 未出中也. Xiàng zhuàn: Qiú xiǎo dé, wèi chū zhōng yě.
'He will get a little (of the deliverance) that he seeks:' - he will not yet escape from his enclosed position.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows its subject, whether he comes or goes ( =descends or ascends), confronted by a defile. All is peril to him and unrest. (His endeavors) will lead him into the cavern of the pit. There should be no action (in such a case).象传: 来之坎坎, 终无功也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lái zhī kǎn kǎn, zhōng wú gōng yě.
'Whether he comes or goes, he is confronted by a defile:' - he will never (in such circumstances) achieve any success.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject (at a feast), with (simply) a bottle of spirits, and a subsidiary basket of rice, while (the cups and bowls) are (only) of earthenware. He introduces his important lessons (as his ruler's) intelligence admits. There will in the end be no error.象传: 樽酒簋贰, 刚柔际也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zūn jiǔ guǐ èr, gāng róu jì yě.
'(Nothing but) a bottle of spirits and a subsidiary basket of rice:' - (these describe) the meeting at this point of (those who are represented by) the strong and weak lines.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows the water of the defile not yet full, (so that it might flow away); but order will (soon) be brought about. There will be no error.象传: 坎不盈, 中未大也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kǎn bù yíng, zhōng wèi dà yě.
'The water in the defile is not full (so as to flow away):' - (the virtue indicated by) the central situation is not yet (sufficiently) great.
The topmost ‘six’, divided, shows its subject bound with cords of three strands or two strands, and placed in the thicket of thorns. But in three years he does not learn the course for him to pursue. There will be evil.象传: 上六失道, 凶三岁也. Xiàng zhuàn: Shàng liù shī dào, xiōng sān suì yě.
The sixth line, divided, shows its subject missing his (proper) course:' - 'there will be evil for three years.'
Then the association of the gua to the annual cycle is shown - this is the Chinese lunar month number (not Western month). The controlling or host ‘yao’ is considered the most important line in the gua and is highlighted in the hexagram.
The main description for the hexagram is then followed by a section for each of the six possible changing lines which indicate the transformation into another, related gua. The text uses ‘nine’ to refer to a yang line and ‘six’ for a yin line. The pure yin and yang hexagrams have, however, a different text structure as they are so important.