Yi: China & Taiwan 51-3 > 55 < 39

51 Shock! > 55 Climax < 39 Impasse

Gua Hexagram 51 Shock!

The ideograph of Zhen comes from the form inscribed on bronze objects in the Zhou dynasty. The original form was very complicated, including pictures of rain and lightning. This image has been simplified. The upper part of the ideograph is the rain—water falling from clouds. The horizontal stroke at the top represents Heaven, and the n-shaped curved stroke illustrates the clouds. A vertical stroke in the middle symbolizes an act of falling. The four dots are the raindrops.

The lower part of the ideograph is the character chen. At present, it means time, but in ancient times it meant shock. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, there are twenty-four solar terms in the year. Zhen was related to the third solar term, called the Waking of Insects, which takes place on the sixth day of the third month of the Chinese lunar calendar. During this period, thunder roars. The thunder proclaims that spring is arriving. All hibernating insects and animals awaken and tiny sprouts emerge. Peasants and farmers prepare to plant crops…

A quake is a way to make an advance smooth without obstruction. When there is an earthquake, everyone is fearful. Afterwards, they forget the fearfulness and begin talking and laughing as usual. They learn no lessons from the quake, so it is not beneficial. Only the sage is on the alert. When the thunder shocks a hundred li (a Chinese unit of length about one half of a kilometer), he is still able to remain calm and at ease.


Continuing this geopolitical series, and following a request from a Comment yesterday, now we ask the Yi to examine a situation which probably ‘The Sage’ has been asked about millions of times over the past two millennia. As a large island off the coast of a much larger civilization it enjoys both being part of that mainland culture as well as apart from it – to whatever extent. This is an objective given. Perhaps the challenge is to craft a perfect marriage in which the partners are both separate and together?

The Yi kicked off this Reading by punting us the in-your-face Hexagram 51, one of eight doubled hexagram (same trigram above and below) with Thunder being the most impactful. This indicates that the China-Taiwan situation is going to be shaken up and probably soon since Thunder is a trigram of ‘now not later’ – imminent, impactful change.

Interestingly, as with yesterday’s query about whether or not US Presidential elections can make a difference, Nuclear 39 Impasse clearly indicates that there are serious difficulties involved. And yet also as with yesterday’s Cast, 51 Shock! intimates a way through or around these intractable obstacles. The MAN process – which the Nuclear hexagram represents – manages a twin dynamic in the 39 hexagram: Mountain below involves halting, stopping; Water above involves work and flowing around even the most stubborn obstacles – just as how canyons are cut through entire mountain ranges. And again, because the Nuclear is a blow-up, as it were, of the inner dynamic of Hexagram 51 which is the primary drama, here Mountain and Water are processes rather than objective or external situations per se. So sometimes things need to be stopped, and other times they need to flow. 51’s shakeup will facilitate this bringing clarity (Fire) to Taiwan (lower trigram 51 & 55).

Apart from HEAVEN 54, which I call Inappropriate Relations, there is not a lot in here about quarrels, dissension, lawsuits, punishments, confusion and in any case Heaven depicts the over-arching context rather than any ongoing developments or change. No, the Cast is clear: soon there will be a whole lot of shaking going down leading to a brilliant moment of Glory, Abundance, the sun at midday. In some of the more shamanic-style commentaries 55 is described as being ‘strange’ or unreal, like seeing stars at midday by staring down into a deep well whose surface can reflect them because it has filtered out bright light from the sun directly overhead. Perhaps this is a little like after something explodes loudly and there is silence afterwards, some sense of clarity and peace along with the joy in the 51 text.

As mentioned in my reply to the comment requesting this Yi, I have no ax to grind regarding China and Taiwan. This involves millions – indeed over a billion – people who have lived with this issue for generations and now on a daily basis whereas I do not live there and have little to no knowledge of the controversy, especially since I now avoid mainstream Western, English-language news coverage because the level of manipulative mendacity is too high. Therefore, I truly don’t have an opinion one way or another beyond what I said above: simply because of their being a large island Taiwan will always be both part of and apart from the mainland civilization. That said, the Cast gives a clear result with Hexagram 51 which if nothing else is decidedly decisive and impactful. So something decisive and impactful is on the way.

Now perhaps am interpreting it incorrectly by at the end of the Judgment stating that because the upper and lower Thunder trigrams in 51 are the same therefore China and Taiwan are essentially together – although I did say ‘in it’ together, as in in the 51 dynamic together. And some might want to emphasize that because of the Changing 3rd line, the Taiwanese leadership is going to resolve the Impasse and achieve Glory for themselves at the expense of China which doesn’t have a changing line. Also, some might see 51 indicating a huge war with artillery, explosions, bombs. But I don’t think 55 Derived sits all that comfortably with that interpretation, nor the changing line text. In any case, as well as calling 55 Glory we can also call it Climax given all the Thunder and Lightning. In which case the Cast is not suggesting any resolution, per se, rather some sort of Earthquake or profound shaking up, possibly involving large explosions as part of both 51 and 55 pyrotechnics. That said, 55 contains Lake-Joy below and Wind-Gentle above, which doesn’t really suggest cataclysms and nuclear destruction.

But shifting that interpretation to ‘favour’ Taiwan over China doesn’t really change what the Yi here presents: Impasse – Shock! – Glory. Difficult obstacles are going to be resolved soon in a process involving impactful change, some of which might be scary and shocking, and featuring some sort of Climax or Abundance. If we don’t care which ‘side’ prevails, the Yi is saying that things will soon change and for the better and thus for all the people involved. There is no indication here of one side being right and the other wrong, or one side achieving victory and the other defeat. Indeed, if the latter happens it is a defeat for both sides. That does not seem to be indicated. (If anyone reading disagrees, please feel free to chime in, albeit preferably referencing the hexagrams or their related text and commentary in doing so.)

No matter how things shake out, if it is for the better – which of course means better for the people involved – that’s all that matters, no?

Afterthought / Alternative Take:

Long-standing Impasse is like pressure building up which leads to an explosive dam-breaking type 51 blow-up. And that blow-up involves intense bright light in 55 which could reasonably be interpreted as a large, possibly nuclear, explosion. Again, though, because the inner trigrams of 55 are Lake Below, Wind above, the Joyful and the Gentle, I just don’t see that in the picture, nor does the Changing line sound any alarms, quite the contrary: “He is frightened and uneasy because of the movement, but will not incur misfortune for his undertakings.” That doesn’t sound like being bombed to oblivion now, does it? But to take a contrary position again: the Nuclear of 55 is 28 which has a connotation of things reaching a breaking point and the Nuclear of 28 is Hexagram #1, the Creative. The trigram Heaven (three solid lines) is connected with War. The Nuclear of the Nuclear of 39 is 64 – Before Completion, a possible ‘end of everything’ or ‘fin del mundo’ dynamic. So the big shaking coming down in 51 has cataclysmic potential if those involved don’t keep their composure. As the Wilhelm-Baynes text warns:

SHOCK brings success.
Shock comes—oh, oh!
Laughing words—ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.


[Wilhelm continues:]

The shock that comes from the manifestation of God within the depths of the earth makes man afraid, but this fear of God is good, for joy and merriment can follow upon it. When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted. This is the spirit that must animate leaders and rulers of men—a profound inner seriousness from which all outer terrors glance off harmlessly.

So here again, though in this Afterthought have attempted to argue a more gloomy interpretation – and although Wilhelm does indeed warn about maintaining composure – the text and his commentary simply don’t play along with a cataclysm scenario. ‘Shock brings success!’ Now maybe some would argue that nuclear oblivion constitutes military success, and generals pushing such buttons might celebrate after doing so, but I doubt the philosophy behind the Yi would countenance ‘joy and merriment’ in response to mass murder and mayhem!

Major shocks and quakes by definition entail fear and trembling of all sorts. The future is not written in stone; disasters can and do happen. But if the people involved in this 51 dynamic truly act in their own best interests, in the end things will work out well.

Published by The Baron

Retired non-profit administrator.

2 thoughts on “Yi: China & Taiwan 51-3 > 55 < 39

  1. Thanks ‘The Baron’ for the prompt reply and the follow-up query on Mainland China-Taiwan dilemma. The outcome seems to be surprising and maybe alarming.

    However, could the response of I Ching may also be interpreted to be a forecast result of the next Taiwan Presidential Election in 13 January 2024 (Spring time)? The incumbent ruling party DPP may be devastated (Explosive, Shocking) in spite of the probable rigging of the election by the CIA in favour of the DPP against the KMT (which apparently can be viewed to be ‘pro-unification’) to keep the cross-strait tension on high. If the KMT wins then the anxiety of the Taiwan folks may be greatly relieved and the cross-strait cooperation may be much improved. The status quo therefore can be maintained (Impasse) or a new negotiation for reunification can begin for a brighter future for all parties.

    As you have explained a kinetic nuclear war between China and the US is very unlikely. In fact both countries would like to refrain from starting any non-winnable war.

    It would be nice if you can ascertain the event by making a follow-up query on the possibility of the KMT winning big in the said coming election, similar to the one you did on the next US Presidential Election.

    The peaceful reunification of the Chinese nation will also depend on how much the US hawks will be willing to tone down the anti-China onslaught at the moment and as the US presidential election approaches. You may like to make a second query about the possibility of a Sino-American rapprochement vis-à-vis the Mainland-Taiwan query which you have done.

    You may like to view a long chit-chat about China, USA and Taiwan.

    New Atlas LIVE: US Builds Consensus for War with China & a Closer Look at Taiwan w/Carl Zha
    The New Atlas 58,984 views Streamed live on Apr 21, 2023
    New Atlas LIVE is a weekly stream for discussing current events, connecting with the New Atlas community, and more. [Brian Berletic / Angelo Giuliano / Carl Zha]

    Thanks again for sharing.


    1. Well, I might delve more deeply into the issue as per your suggestion. I hesitate, though, because issues involving millions of people over many decades, if not longer, are very hard to really grasp properly especially since our minds like to reach end points which in turn become the basis for confirmation bias. In the past I did some deep dives on various issues and at a certain point I realized that the deeper I dug the more there was to dig into. KAN – bottomless pit!

      But this question is fairly straightforward: You may like to make a second query about the possibility of a Sino-American rapprochement vis-à-vis the Mainland-Taiwan query. It’s a fairly simple setup: two big power and one mighty little island with millions of people living on it!


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