64 Wei4 Ji4 未濟
The lower: Kan (the abyss, water). The upper: Li (clinging, fire).
Wei Ji: not having crossed a river or completed; the mission of hexagram Wei Ji is to carry out the task (after a failure) until its end goal is accomplished.
Things cannot be destitute (of changes); therefore Wei Ji is granted in the end. Wei Ji means the river having not been crossed yet, i.e. the mission having not yet been completed. The I Ching begins with hexagrams Qian (a pure masculine hexagram denoting the founder and leader) and Kun (a pure feminine hexagram denoting an assistant and adherent) and finally reaches hexagram Ji Ji (63), where all masculine and feminine lines attain their designated positions. Therefore, according to Za Gua Zhuan (Confucian commentary on the paired hexagrams), Ji Ji is signified as settling down. However people are never content with things as they are, and the world doesn't remain unchanged forever. Therefore hexagram Wei Ji is granted, following the course of nature (i.e. fire blazing upward and ascending to the top while water flows downward and descends to the bottom). Hexagram Wei Ji is seen as an embarrassment of the male (as all the masculine lines lose their positions); therefore the masculine momentum resumes seeking its right position.
From the perspective of viewing the image of Wei Ji, the flames of the upper trigram Li blaze upward, while the water of the lower trigram Kan flows downward; they move in opposite directions and apparently no interplay is possible. However from the perspective of the masculine and feminine, none of the lines in Wei Ji are at their right places but correlate with each other. This signifies that all of them will seek their right positions, indicating that it is teeming with the necessity and possibility of change. Wei Ji is positioned at the end of the 64 hexagrams, signalling that a new cycle will start after the old one reaches the end. The I Ching will continue its mission, and the world will be moving and circling ceaselessly, generation after generation.
Hexagram 63 Ji Ji suggests success, while Wei Ji connotes failure. Ji Ji and Wei Ji are the inner,reverse and changing hexagrams of each other. This reflects the reality that success and failure contain each other, vacillating and closely influencing each other. After incubating in hexagram Zhong Fu (61), a fledgling practices flying in hexagram Xiao Guo (62) and begins its journey; it will either fly carefully, closer to the ground and reach hexagram Ji Ji (63) or fly too high and fall into hexagram Wei Ji (64).
Text: Wei Ji (not completed yet), (which can be of) smooth progress; a little fox has almost succeeded in crossing the river, (but) dampens its tail; nothing is favourable.
Commentary on the text: Wei Ji (not completed yet), (which can be of) smooth progress; (the one of) tenderness attains the middle position (of the upper trigram). A little fox has almost succeeded in crossing the river yet it hasn’t departed from the middle (of the river, or hexagram Wei Ji). (It is) dampening its tail; there is nothing favourable, (as) it does not continue to the end. Although (they are) not at their right positions, (those of) rigidity and (those of) tenderness correlate with each other.
It progresses smoothly, but it wastes time and energy as it doesn't continue to the end; therefore nothing will be favourable. The fox usually lifts its tail when wading across the river. The little fox is very brave but not judicious and persistent. It has not yet crossed the river but dampens its tail, i.e. the river is much deeper and longer than it thought; therefore it can’t succeed in crossing the river, and what it is doing will not result in anything favourable.
Line 5 is the founding line as well as the host line, i.e. the one of tenderness and the little fox which progresses smoothly from the lower trigram Kun, reaches position 5 and attains the core position as signified below. It has left the river of the lower trigram Kan and reached the end of the river of the inner upper trigram Kan. But it has not yet reached the end of Wei Ji, line 6. It correlates with line 2 (at its back), the representative line of the lower trigram Kan, and dampens its tail. Hence, nothing is favourable since it has not completely crossed the river and fails before the end.
Commentary on the image: Fire above water; Wei Ji. A gentleman, in accordance with this, is prudent and discriminates among (different) things and places them in their proper positions.
Water tends to flow downward and flames blaze upward. Fire over water signifies that they can't interact to fulfil their mission; therefore a gentleman categorizes things in accordance with their features and puts them in their right place, like repositioning all the lines of hexagram 64 to their proper locations.
It progresses smoothly, but eventually all efforts will be in vain as it doesn't continue to the end, like a little fox crossing a river but dampening its tail and giving up halfway; therefore nothing will be favourable.
Hexagram Wei Ji possesses the virtue of smooth progress but no benefit (expressed in the form of nothing favourable) and the other two; therefore it wastes time and energy only.
Hexagram Wei Ji suggests a fresh start (after the finished state of Ji Ji (63) has been shuffled) and all its lines start seeking their right positions. Its changing hexagram is Ji Ji, signifying that it will reach Ji Ji once all six lines act in unison.
Although the little fox fails to cross the river, the line texts below indicate how to accomplish the uncompleted mission.
The river is very wide; it starts from position 2 of the last hexagram Ji Ji (63) and continues from position 1 of hexagram Wei Ji to position 5.
Ji Ji advises people not to challenge it; its line 6 falls short of success at the last step. Hence, the hexagram changes from 'having crossed a river (with all the lines occupying their right positions)' to 'not having crossed a river (with all the lines losing their right positions)' as seen in Wei Ji where the line once again attempts to cross the river (and look for a position right to it).
In hexagram Wei Ji, lines 1, 2 and 3 must make use of past experience to evade peril when they are in the lower trigram Kan, and lines 4, 5 and 6 must accumulate their effort and achievement to accomplish the mission when they reach the upper trigram Li. In addition to the river of the lower trigram Kan, there exists another river of the inner upper trigram Kan like an undercurrent; if one ignores the hidden peril, a crisis may occur at anytime.
Finally the river is crossed at position 6; however people shouldn't forget their original mission on the other side of the river.
The 1st line
Text: (The subject is in a state of) dampening the tail; (this is of) resentment.
The lower trigram Kan is the river that the little fox intends to cross. Line 1 is the tail and is dampened by the river of the lower trigram Kan, signifying that the river is so deep that the water reaches the fox's tail even at the riverside. The fox should take a lesson from hexagram Ji Ji and stop moving forward.
Feminine line 1 is at a less energetic position, and the feminine should supposedly remain still. However, it is in correlation with line 4, a riverbank (emerging from the river of the inner upper trigram Kan) which leads to the mistaken belief that it can cross the river. Therefore it is less able, dampens its tail yet still risks it. This will be resented as the hexagram will become Sun (41), loss, after it exchanges positions with line 4.
Commentary on the image: (Line 1 is in a state of) dampening the tail; it is not aware of its limitations.
The fox, line 6 of hexagram Ji Ji (63), failed to cross the river as the river submerged its head. The little fox of hexagram Wei Ji restarts the journey of crossing the river without assessing its ability.
Enlightenment through six one: Dampening the tail at the outset signifies that the little fox is unlikely to cross the river. Acting beyond one's ability will be resented. If this line changes to masculine and acts righteously, the hexagram will become Kui (38), which advises that taking action on a small scale is auspicious.
The 2nd line
Text: (The subject is in a state of) dragging back the wheel; to persist is auspicious.
Line 2 doesn't act according to what is right and arrives at the middle of lower trigram Kan, the river. Masculine tends to move; fortunately line 2 is at the axle centre and can act mode-rately. It is in the middle of the river and discovers that there is another river, of the inner upper trigram Kan, in front. The carriage can’t guarantee success in crossing the river; thus it drags back the wheel to stop moving forward. Trigram Kan denotes the wheel and is signified as to drag as well. Line 2 stays behind the wheel, dragging it to prevent it from moving further into risk.
Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of line 2’s persistence, (which is due to its) acting righteously by virtue of (the principle of) moderation.
Although line 2 is the masculine at the position of feminine and unable to act according to what is righteous, the principle of moderation can lead it to fulfil the requirements of righteousness.
Line 2 is in correlation with line 5. If it acts with the principle of moderation, i.e. it neither advances nor treats, it can move forward again in the right direction once the lighthouse of line 5 lights up.
Enlightenment through nine two: Dragging back the wheel in the middle of the river can avoid further risking peril. Acting moderately, i.e. nor will it treat, can secure what has been achieved (or an undefeated position) for the future advancing. To persist is auspicious. The hexagram that forms after this line can righteously and moderately achieve its mission is Jin (35), to advance (to brightness).
The 3rd line
Text: (The subject is in a state of) Wei Ji (not having crossed the river yet); it is ominous to undertake a venture; it is instrumental in crossing the great river.
Line 3 is at the position for marching upward and is in correlation with line 6. This is instrumental in crossing the great river as it might succeed in leaving both the lower and inner upper trigram Kan to reach the end of hexagram Wei Ji, the riverbank. However, it is feminine in a place of masculine and above the middle of the lower trigram (i.e. over the principle of moderation), signifying that it lacks momentum and does not act righteously but radically. Therefore this will be ominous if it takes aggressive action to launch a venture. It might fall into the river at position 4 and the hexagram would become Gu (18), domination by temptation.
After having gained self-knowledge and practicing restraint at positions 1 and 2, line 3 is leaving the river of the lower trigram Kan but stepping into another river of the inner upper trigram Kan. Now it is capable of crossing, but it must act prudently and make use of lessons learned from past experience to face the remaining challenges.
Text explanation: (Line 3 is in a state of) Wei Ji (not having crossed the river yet) (and) being ominous to undertake a venture, (as) the position (where it stays) is inappropriate (to it).
All the six lines of hexagram Wei Ji are not at their right positions; attaining a right position is what they intend. Though line 3 is designated to go to position 6 where the hexagram would become Heng (32), to last long, its radical action might lead it to failure.
Enlightenment through six three: The mission hasn't been completed yet; it is ominous to take aggressive action but it is instrumental in continuing the mission. Therefore one must undertake the mission, step by step. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated and becomes masculine is Ding (50), to innovate, signifying to convert the current unworkable situation into a future possibility.
The 4th line
Text: to persist is auspicious, (and) regret will be gone; Zhen (the thunder, which arouses all life) undertakes the action of attacking Gui Fang (震用伐鬼方); (the subject ought) to be awarded by a large state during (the war period of) three years (三年有賞于大國).
Line 4 has left the lower trigram Kan, the river and peril, and arrives at the upper trigram Li, a bright and civilised phase. But it is still in the middle of the inner upper trigram Kan, the undercurrent and hidden peril; it must continue crossing the river and leave the peril completely. Although it is at the position for resting as it has just passed the river of the lower trigram Kan, the masculine tends to move. If it can persist in moving forward and accomplishing its mission, regret will be gone.
Gui Feng (鬼方) was an unruly tribe in the northwest of Shang. King Gao Zong (高宗, the twenty-second king of the Shang dynasty) led his troops to quell their rebellion. It involved a series of exhausting battles lasting three years. During that time, Gao Zong regularly bestowed awards on dukes who had merit in order to inspire them and maintain their morale.
King Gao Zong inspired his dukes, like the thunder arousing all life. 震Zhen (the thunder, to move) 用yong4 (to use) 伐fa2 (to attack) 鬼方 Gui Feng can be interpreted as: King Gao Zong attacked Gui Fang since the Shang was in the east of the Dukedom Zhou as trigram Zhen resides in the east. 三san年nian2 (three years) 有you3 (to have) 賞shang3 (award) 于yu2 (by) 大da4國guo2 (a large state) can be paraphrased as: The Shang bestowed awards on dukes who had exploits during the three years war; Shang was referred to as a large state by the Dukedom Zhou.
Commentary on the image: To persist is auspicious (and) regret will be gone, (signifying) aspiration is carried out.
Line 4 reaches the upper trigram Li after having passed through (three positions of) the lower trigram Kan, like the dukes following King Gao Zong and winning the war after three years.
Alternatively, the armour and weaponry denoted by the upper trigram Li symbolise war. The text above could be understood as: after exhausting battles in the coming three years, the line will arrive at position 6, where the mission will be achieved and a celebration held.
Enlightenment through nine four: Persisting in the current engagement is auspicious; regret will be gone. King Gao Zong attacked Gui Feng. During the three year war he constantly bestowed awards on dukes who had contributed. The dukes were inspired, they held nothing back and won the war at last. Time has moved forward in one's favour and here is the turning point. After this line is activated, the hexagram becomes Meng (4), ignorance. Like that which happens after the student is enlightened by the teacher, the progress becomes smooth after the duke is inspired by the king.
The 5th line
Text: To persist is auspicious, (and there will be) no regret. The light (or the brilliance) of a gentleman, (which possesses and encourages) sincerity and trust, (is of) auspiciousness.
Line 5 has crossed the river of the lower trigram Kan and is going to leave the river of the inner upper trigram Kan. It was the little fox that progressed smoothly and almost succeeded in crossing the river, but dampened its tail, which forms hexagram Wei Ji. Now it is approaching the riverside on the other end after having undergone all the difficult parts of its journey, step by step. It must persist in crossing the river. Persistence can bring forth auspiciousness; then there will be no regret over the little fox's failure.
The text of no regret usually appears after the line has successfully moved forward from its previous position where regret will be gone. Line 5 here continues to persist in its commitment and becomes the representative line of the upper trigram Li, brightness, and correlates with line 2, the representative line of the lower trigram Kan. This is like a gentleman sincerely and trustworthily carrying out his mission and eventually winning the prize; this inspires those below. Consequently those below respond with sincere trust, i.e. faith; they show mutual concern and cross the river in one boat by virtue of their concerted effort.
The upper trigram Li possesses the condensed image of hexagram Zhong Fu (61), sincerity and trust radiating from a humble heart, while the lower trigram Kan is the sincerity and trust of a solid heart.
Commentary on the image: The light of a gentleman, the brilliance of which is auspicious.
The brightness of line 5 is like a lighthouse that illuminates the way for those in peril; its brilliance supports their faith in crossing the river. Sincerity and trust (i.e. its commitment and the faith generated in those below) bring about success in crossing the river.
Enlightenment through six five: When
this line is triggered to move, it indicates that one has passed the
turning point, i.e. position 4, from peril to brightness; to persist
in carrying out one's mission (of crossing the river) is auspicious,
and there will be no regret. One keeps one's com-mitment like a
lighthouse inspiring the faith of others and guiding them out of
peril. If this line is activated and changes to masculine, the hexagram will become
Song (6), litigation, where sincerity and trust are obstructed, and
the situation becomes not instrumental in crossing the great river.
Here line 5 is the only line that stays at its right position; it
must righteously and moderately reconcile the conflict to rebuild
the order of Ji Ji (63).
The 6th line
Text: (The subject is in a state of) drinking wine with sincerity and trust; (this is of) no calamity (or fault). (If it is) soaking the head, sincerity and trust lose what is right.
Line 6 is completely outside both the inner upper and the lower trigram Kan, signifying that it has successfully crossed the river and reached the riverbank, the end of Wei Ji. It deserves to celebrate and drink, but this must be done with sincerity and trust. Doing this sincerely means not to become proud and reckless in view of the crisis as one is still in the time of Wei Ji. Doing this trustworthily means to keep one's original intent and carry out the planned mission on the other side of the river; then it can be free from fault or calamity. If it indulges in drinking and soaks its head in wine, sincerity and trust will be lost, and it won't be able to attain the end goal.
Commentary on the image: (If line 6 is in a state of) drinking wine and soaking the head, (it signifies that) it doesn’t know (how to proceed according to) restrictions.
Though it deserves to celebrate what it has achieved, it must still restrain itself. People will get dizzy with success and will fail if they don't sincerely and trustworthily maintain their original spirit to carry out the unfinished mission.
Enlightenment through nine six: Drinking wine to celebrate that the river has been crossed and the task accomplished (in terms of its stages) must be done with sincerity and trust. This signifies that one must value what has been achieved and perform as before (in order to accomplish one's end goal). Overdoing this is like soaking the head in wine; it will become the fox of hexagram Ji Ji (63). The hexagram that forms after this line rightly achieves its mission is Xie (40), thundering and raining, where the drought is alleviated, and the crisis eliminated; so the holy land will prosper.