咸 Xián Reaction Influence [hexagram 31]
Month 5 ; Host or Controlling line : 4
咸, 亨, 利贞, 取女吉. Xián, hēng, lì zhēn, qǔ nǚ jí.
Xian indicates that, (on the fulfillment of the conditions implied in it), there will be free course and success. Its advantage will depend on the being firm and correct, (as) in marrying a young lady. There will be good fortune.彖传: 咸, 感也. 柔上而刚下, 二气感应以相与, 止而说, 男下女, 是以亨利贞, 取女吉也. 天地感而万物化生, 圣人感人心而天下和平, 观其所感, 而天地万物之情可见矣. Tuàn zhuàn: Xián, gǎn yě. róu shàng ér gāng xià, èr qì gǎn yìng yǐ xiāng yǔ, zhǐ ér shuō, nán xià nǚ, shì yǐ hēng lì zhēn, qǔ nǚ jí yě. tiān dì gǎn ér wàn wù huà shēng, shèng rén gǎn rén xīn ér tiān xià hé píng, guān qí suǒ gǎn, ér tiān dì wàn wù zhī qíng kě jiàn yǐ.
Xian is here used in the sense of Kan, meaning (mutually) influencing. The weak (trigram) above, and the strong one below; their two influences moving and responding to each other, and thereby forming a union; the repression (of the one) and the satisfaction (of the other); (with their relative position), where the male is placed below the female: - all these things convey the notion of 'a free and successful course (on the fulfillment of the conditions), while the advantage will depend on being firm and correct, as in marrying a young lady, and there will be good fortune.' Heaven and earth exert their influences, and there ensue the transformation and production of all things. The sages influence the minds of men, and the result is harmony and peace all under the sky. If we look at (the method and issues) of those influences, the true character of heaven and earth and of all things can be seen.象传: 山上有泽, 咸, 君子以虚受人. Xiàng zhuàn: Shān shàng yǒu zé, xián, jūn zǐ yǐ xū shòu rén.
(The trigram representing) a mountain and above it that for (the waters of) a marsh form Xian. The superior man, in accordance with this, keeps his mind free from pre-occupation, and open to receive (the influences of) others.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows one moving his great toes.象传: 咸其拇, 志在外也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xián qí mǔ, zhì zài wài yě.
'He moves his great toe:' - his mind is set on what is beyond (himself).
The second ‘six’, divided, shows one moving the calves of his leg. There will be evil. If he abide (quiet in his place), there will be good fortune.象传: 虽凶居吉, 顺不害也. Xiàng zhuàn: Suī xiōng jū jí, shùn bù hài yě.
Though 'there would be evil; yet, if he abide (quiet) in his place, there will be good fortune:' - through compliance (with the circumstances of his condition and place) there will be no injury.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows one moving his thighs, and keeping close hold of those whom he follows. Going forward (in this way) will cause regret.象传: 咸其股, 亦不处也. 志在随人, 所执下也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xián qí gǔ, yì bù chù yě. zhì zài suí rén, suǒ zhí xià yě.
'He moves his thighs:' - he still does not (want to) rest in his place. His will is set on 'following others:' - what he holds in his grasp is low.
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided, shows that firm correctness which will lead to good fortune, and prevent all occasion for repentance. If its subject be unsettled in his movements, (only) his friends will follow his purpose.象传: 贞吉悔亡, 未感害也. 憧憧往来, 未光大也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zhēn jí huǐ wáng, wèi gǎn hài yě. chōng chōng wǎng lái, wèi guāng dà yě.
'Firm correctness will lead to good fortune, and prevent all occasion for repentance:' - there has not yet been any harm from (a selfish wish to) influence. 'He is unsettled in his movements:'(his power to influence) is not yet either brilliant or great.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows one moving the flesh along the spine above the heart. There will be no occasion for repentance.象传: 咸其脢, 志末也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xián qí méi, zhì mò yě.
'He (tries to) move the flesh along the spine above the heart:' - his aim is trivial.
The sixth ‘six’, divided, shows one moving his jaws and tongue.象传: 咸其辅颊舌, 滕口说也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xián qí fǔ jiá shé, téng kǒu shuō yě.
'He moves his jaws and tongue:' - he (only) talks with loquacious mouth.
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.