59 Huan4



The lower: Kan (the abyss, water). The upper: Xun (to enter, the wind).

Huan: to disperse; the mission of hexagram Huan is to stop dispersion and reunite what has scattered.






(People) will scatter after joy (Dui); therefore Huan is granted.  Huan is signified as departure (scattering, i.e. dispersion). Joy can stir up people’s spirits; however the spirit will eventually disperse and people will become lax after the period of joy has passed.

The lower trigram Kan is water, and the upper trigram Xun is wind. Wind above water blows the water which disperses like audience members going their separate ways after the curtain has fallen on joy.

Huan () signifies to disperse. Conversely it is a hexagram of stopping dispersion, and gathering what has scattered, i.e. dispelling dispersion. The sincerity and trust of line 5, the king, of hexagram Dui (58) was eroded by line 6. Therefore the people (i.e. those below) are leaving him. The king of hexagram Huan must stop the departure of his people and reunite them.

The inner hexagram of Huan is Yi2 (27), to nourish, wherein seeking nourishment for oneself alone can make one selfish. On the other hand, food brings people together. Its changing hexagram is Feng (55), a grand and abundant state. Once people who have scattered are brought together again, the county will move forward to a grand and abundant state. Conversely, the willingness of people to suffer hardship and persevere (found in hexagram Dui) is easily dispersed after enjoying a grand and abundant state.


Text: Huan (to dispel dispersion), (which can attain) smooth progress.  The king goes to the shrine; it is instrumental in crossing a great river; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist.

Commentary on the text: Huan (to dispel dispersion), (which can attain) smooth progress, (signifying the one of) rigidity comes and it won’t be destitute (of sincerity and trust, or trapped in a predicament); (the one of) tenderness attains its right position at the exterior and (its aspiration) is the same as (that of) the one above.  The king goes to the shrine; after which is it at the core position (i.e. the middle position of the lower trigram Kan where it acts with sincerity and trust calling for reunification, and also the middle position of the upper trigram Xun where it acts righteously through the principle of moderation). This is instrumental to cross a great river; there is merit in riding on wood.

Text explanation:

Wind blows water resulting in its dispersion; gravity will cause it to flow back and reaggregate if it originated in a basin, i.e. a place suited for water to converge. Wind blows over water; the water is easily dispersed because it is not bonded. Re-aggregation will progress smoothly if the cause of dispersion is eliminated and forces conducive to aggregation are available.

Hexagram Huan is formed after the bottom line of trigram Qian (perseverance, heaven) moves to trigram Kun (submissiveness, earth), occupies its middle position and changes it to Kan, water. The middle line of trigram Kun goes to trigram Qian and creates the external trigram Xun, the wind. The wind blows over water causing it to disperse.




The people, those below, are leaving like the dispersed water; therefore the king goes to the shrine to declare his legitimacy in order to arouse the loyalty of his people and reunite them.

Originally trigram Qian was above with trigram Kun below. Its inner lower trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) resembles a door and here represents a house. Kun is entirely composed of shaded feminine and is seen as the realm of the dead. Therefore Gen and Kun construct a shrine to their ancestors.


Following the movement forming hexagram Huan, the bottom line of trigram Qian (denoting the king) comes to the shrine to worship Heaven and the ancestors. It calls for reunification with the sincerity and trust of trigram Kan created by it. The middle line of trigram Kun is inspired and ascends to position 4, sustaining line 5 (the king of hexagram Huan) and prostrates itself to express submissiveness and obedience like trigram Xun.



The upper trigram Xun denotes wood, while the lower trigram Kan denotes water; wood above water is instrumental in crossing the river, signifying those above are supported by those below. This is instrumental in overcoming difficulties in undertaking what is intended, and it is advantageous or appropriate to persist in the norm of Huan.

Commentary on the image: Wind moves over the water; Huan.  The late king, in accordance with this, offered a sacrifice to Heaven and built the shrine.

Wind blows over water and the water is dispersed; the late king built the shine and held the sacrificial ceremony to declare his legitimacy and arouse the people’s loyalty in order to reunite them.


Reunification will attain smooth progress once the dispersion is stopped. The king goes to the shrine to reunite those who are scattering, according to the principle of moderation and with sincerity and trust; this is instrumental in overcoming difficulties in attaining what is intended; it is advantageous or appropriate to persist.

Hexagram Huan possesses the virtues of smooth progress, advantage and persistence but excludes that of origination which can be taken for the root; it is what Huan needs in order to prevent people from dispersing.

As the mission of Huan is to dispel dispersion and reunite what has scattered, this can apply to securing what one is losing, i.e. a friendship, business, etc.

The changing hexagram is Feng (55), a grand and abundant state. After the king succeeds in arousing the lax people and reuniting those who have scattered, the country will move toward a grand and abundant state.

According to Ci Xi Zhuan (Confucian commentary on the text tagging), Huan, wood above water, represents sailing. Water can carry a boat but also overwhelm it too, an idea found in an old Chinese saying about the relationship between a people and their government. Wind above water blows and disperses the water like today's mass media, or an outbreak of contagion.






Hexagram 59 is named Huan as it is illustrated as dispersion. However its mission is to stop dispersion and reunite what has scattered. Its line texts elaborate how this is accomplished. Line 2 is the founding line, which creates hexagram Huan and is also assigned to check dispersion. Line 1 counts on line 2 to avoid dispersion, while line 2 encounters peril in the process of dispelling dispersion but gets support from line 1. Line 4 is the courtier who disperses his own faction, i.e. self-interest, and sustains the king as well as works for public interest. Line 5 is the king who uses all means to reunite those who are scattering. Lines 3 and 6 are in correlation with each other; line 3, the water surface which is dispersed by wind and runs in front of it must dispel its own interest in separation (from those above and for its own purpose, i.e. selfishness). Line 6 must keep a distance from line 3 in order to dispel the risk of on-going dispersion.


The 1st line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) rescuing and the house is strong; (this is of) auspiciousness.

Text explanation:

The house used for rescue is strong, which is auspicious. This signifies that a strong force is available to rescue what has dispersed, and that one can count on it to be released from the effects of dispersion.

Dispersion is created; feminine line 1 remains in the initial phase, i.e. it hasn't travelled far and has little energy to rescue itself. Fortunately it is friendly next to masculine line 2, which came from the original trigram Qian, the king, to stop the dispersal. Therefore it can count on line 2 to rescue it.

The lower trigram Kan is a horse with a beautiful spine; its representative line, the masculine line 2 which occupies line 1, is strong.



Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of line 1, (which is due to) submissiveness.

Line 1 sustains line 2. As long as it can remain submissive to line 2 (or, in light of that, the call for reunification), stopping dispersion will succeed. Submissiveness here leads to auspiciousness.

Enlightenment through six one: to make use of strong support and stop drifting at the initial stage. The house where rescue takes place is strong; one can count on it to secure a release or stop dispersion. It is auspicious if one can be submissive to, or believe in, the one offering support. If this line is affected and changes to masculine, the hexagram will become  Zhong Fu (61). This signifies that sincerity and trust radiating from the heart reaches the puffer fish (i.e. something far away and difficult to deal with) and inspires it.


The 2nd line

Text: Huan (to dispel dispersion) rushes to a (wooden) platform () (or, a generating centre); regret will be gone.

Text explanation:

The one who is in haste to secure those who are scattering achieves preliminary success and obtains some relief. Action is taken at the right time; the crisis is thought to be over, so regret will be gone.

Line 2 came from the original trigram Qian (perseverance, heaven) and is plunged into trigram Kan, peril, and the middle of what is being dispersed. Presumably this should cause regret; however it creates sincerity and trust. In addition, it occupies and is sustained by feminine line 1. Line 2 is positioned to take action, and it gains a foothold although what can be done is still limited, i.e. it is still far from the goal. But dispersion has been checked and regret will be gone.


ji depicts a platform (ji) made of wood (mu4) for people to sit on. It is the simplified character of which signifies the centre where an event originates or makes a turn.

Commentary on the image: Huan (to dispel dispersion) rushes to a (wooden) platform (or, a generating centre in order) to realise one's will.

The lower trigram Kan, the will (of stopping dispersion), appears after the masculine line descends to position 2, and dispersion is slowed down.

Enlightenment through nine two: taking immediate action to stop what is occurring. One takes prompt action to stop people scattering and attains a foothold (or, one goes straight to the core of the issue). As timely action is taken, the crisis is lessened and will eventually be eliminated, so regret will be gone. After this task is carried out accordingly, the line changes to feminine, and the hexagram becomes Guan (20), (those below) to observe (those above), where those above display sincerity and trust, and those below look up to them and imitate them.


The 3rd line

Text: Huan (to disperse) one's self (), (which is of) no regret.

Text explanation:

Dispersion is slowed down at position 2 and regret will be gone. No regret will follow if correct action is adhered to, i.e. those who were once dispersed stopping any intention of further separation.

Feminine line 3 correlates with line 6 and stays at the position for marching upward, but feminine tends to remain still. If it can dispel its intention to separate (from those above) and join (them) by exchanging positions with line 6, the hexagram will become Jian (48), a well which unselfishly provides water to all people. This is the breadth of mind that it must possess. gong, equivalent to (the body and the spine), originally meant the body and is annotated here as the self.

Commentary on the image: Huan (to disperse) one's self; aspiration is (to develop) outward.

The purpose that people leave (the king of hexagram Dui) is for outward self-development. After line 3 exchanges positions with line 6, the external trigram will become Kan, aspiration. This signifies that instead of leaving for its own outward development, in hexagram Huan it can still achieve external development (rather than remaining at the inner trigram like staying home) by moving upward along the timeline to join those above.




Enlightenment through six three: to dispel selfishness and cooperate (with those above) to achieve what is intended. Dispelling one's intent of separation (from those above, and for self-development) and joining (those above) is the correct action. One can attain the same result one seeks; there will be no regret. If this line is activated and changes to masculine, the bottom trigram will become wind and the hexagram will become Xun (57), the wind. The one above and below are identical; there is no more the issue of selfishness.

The 4th line

Text: Huan (to disperse) one’s inner group, (which is of) great auspiciousness.  Huan (dispersion) possesses the hill; this is not that which uninitiated people could think of (匪夷所思).

Text explanation:

To disperse one’s own inner group, i.e. to eliminate self-interest, is very auspicious since pursuing self-interest will lead to division. To disperse one’s own inner group enables one to embrace the public and possess more. This is difficult for those without such foresight to understand.

Line 4 reaches its position after being aroused by masculine line 2 and leaving the original trigram Kun, i.e. the feminine group. Here it sustains line 5 and has no correlate, signifying it has no longer has its own group but supports line 5, the representative line of the inner upper trigram Gen, the hill which is an aggregation of earth (denoted by Kun), like a courtier leaving his own group, becoming loyal to the king and working together with fellow countrymen in the public interest.



yi2 of fei3 (not) 夷所suo (that which) si3 (think) originally meant people who live near the eastern border; it is commonly annotated as a foreigner and here seen as an outsider, i.e. uninitiated people.

Commentary on the image: The great auspiciousness of Huan (dispersing) one’s inner group, (which is due to one's) enhancing and glorifying (the norm of Huan, or which is due to being open and aboveboard).

The virtue of dispelling self-interest is something worth enhancing and glorifying; or being honourable and just, which will result in great auspiciousness.

Enlightenment through six four: to dispel self-interest and align oneself with the public interest. To disperse one’s inner group, i.e. to rid oneself of self-interest, is very auspicious. In embracing the public, one will possess more, which is hard for the uninitiated to understand. Should this line change to masculine and not abide by the advice, the hexagram would become Song (6), litigation due to sincerity and trust between the one above and below being blocked.


The 5th line

Text: Huan (dispersion) is perspiring and the great command is announced (大號); Huan (to disperse) the palace, (which will result in) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

Illness is cured after perspiring. The king abolishes the old, bad practices (which made the people leave) and enacts new measures. Dispersion will be stopped and the people will be inspired after the great command, the call to gather, is announced. The king removes the barrier, and opens his heart to the public, i.e. he accepts and listens to his people; the crisis will be resolved and calamity will be avoided. 

The water of the lower trigram Kan moves with the inner lower trigram Zhen (created by the rescue action of masculine line 2), signifying perspiration.




hao2 means to cry loudly, while da4 (great) hao4 (command) is paraphrased as the king's order. The original line 2 is aroused and ascends to position 4, sustaining line 5 and forming the upper trigram Xun, the order (of unification); it is represented by line 4 and is occupied by line 5, the king.



Position 5 is the king’s position. The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) resembles a door and here is taken for a palace. The inner lower trigram Zhen (created by line 2's rescue action) dismantles the palace, i.e. it eliminates the distance between the king and his people.



Commentary on the image: (Dispersing) the palace is of no calamity (or fault), (which is due to the king at) the right position (acting righteously and moderately).

Enlightenment through nine five: to dispose of wrong measures and impose new ones; to be open minded and consider all advice. The old, bad practices are removed and new measures are enacted; the barrier is dismantled and access opened. The crisis (people leaving) will be resolved and calamity avoided. While this line is activated and changes to feminine, the hexagram appears as Meng (4), ignorance, where its line 5 descends humbly to ask line 2 for an education.


The 6th line

Text: Huan (to disperse) blood; to depart (and) stay far away (as well as) to get out from (peril), (which results in) no calamity.

Text explanation:

Bleeding occurs when the body is injured; therefore blood is symbolic of harm and peril. To depart signifies to leave; to stay far away means to keep a distance, and to get out suggests never being trapped again.

The lower trigram Kan represents blood and peril, as well as that which is dispersed. Line 6 correlates with line 3, signifying that it is still threatened by Kan. However, line 6 reaches the end of the hexagram and is about to leave Huan. It should stay far away from the lower trigram Kan and leave for the next hexagram Jie (60), to restrict, where the king, line 5, reasonably manages the country (through gentle restriction).

Commentary on the image: Huan (to disperse) blood, (signifying) to stay far away from harm.

Illness, as seen in line 5, is an internal crisis curable with medication, i.e. necessary measures; bleeding results from external danger, from which one must stay away.

Enlightenment through nine six: to leave what causes trouble. One should stay away with what is harmful and avoid being dispersed. This way one can be free from calamity. Should this line change to feminine and remain still, it would create another Kan, and the hexagram would become Repeated Kan (29), multiple peril.




Huan is also signified as vast waters. Hexagram Huan can be taken for the floods that occurred at the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. Its texts describe what they experienced and how they stopped the flooding.

Hexagram: The flooding reached everywhere. The king went to the shrine (to pray for blessings). (Wood over water, which emerges in the images) is instrumental in crossing the river, i.e. escaping the floods; (this is) a favourable divination.

Line 1: Strong houses were available during the rescue (i.e. people and their property were evacuated in time through their own alertness and by their own means); this was auspicious.

Line 2: The rising water rushed to the dam () (built in advance to stop the floods; nothing was damaged); thus regret was gone. ji, functioning as ji (a platform), refers here to a dam.

Line 3: The floodwater reached low-lying lands () (intended for it as storage; the catastrophe was under control); there was no regret. gong here is signified as to bend the body () like a bow () and refers to the low-lying land. 

Line 4: The floodwater (which burst through the dam and rushed over the low-lying lands) inundated a crowd of people; (however this turns out to be of) great auspiciousness (signifying that nobody was hurt). There was a hill in the area of the flood (signifying a safe high ground, i.e. natural protection). This was hard for those who hadn't experienced this to understand.

Line 5: The flooding was severe and torrential; people cried out loudly. The waters inundated the palace but didn’t result in calamity (as the king had gone to the shrine to pray for blessings, i.e. protection from Heaven).

Line 6: By channelling the rivers like blood vessels, the water was drained through a slipway, so that the floods were prevented from recurring; staying far away from peril (the floods) ensures freedom from calamity.