Category Archives: 33. Tun – Retreat

Tun – Retreat



The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats to security, so that the dark cannot encroach upon it. This retreat is a matter not of man’s will but of natural law [at first woe may be the result, as the light is withdrawing, soon one is forced to adapt]. Therefore in this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one’s forces. In the calendar this hexagram is linked with the sixth month (July–August), in which the forces of winter are already showing their influence.


RETREAT. Success.In what is small, perseverance furthers [no task is too small not to be turned into a purpose, even sweeping the streets with thoughts not straying from the task is a whole endeavour].Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing. In this case retreat is the right course, and it is through retreat that success is achieved [one folds petals of his spirit within, shining forth and protecting it]. But success consists in being able to carry out the retreat correctly. Retreat is not to be confused with flight. Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances [and therefore disorderly], whereas retreat is a sign of strength [it is a wise resolution, one is leaving the field, without wasting determination on unsuccesful advances]. We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we are in full possession of power and position [in full possession of one’s mind, we do not step in check of power in retreat, if the darkness is rising, one does waste strenght through combating it but finding safer grounds to re-organize and wait, attempting to slow it’s progress if one may, individual dissent to the state of affairs is also an impulse that does not give parity to the contradiction of right and wrong, but one does not waste one’s fangs on a progressing state of downfall, no evil added to evil – one may easily be pulled into the darkness if one is caught between helplessness, despair, compassion, and wrath]. Then we shall be able to interpret the signs of the time before it is too late and to prepare for provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death struggle. Thus we do not simply abandon the field to the opponent; we make it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in single acts of resistance. In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the counter-movement. Understanding the laws of a constructive retreat of this sort is not easy [in life, find a safe ground, if encircled, fortify your integrity and clarity, when torn by madness, or sabotaged by the inferior, regain yourself and straighten the roots of your beings firmly, in death, withdraw to the grounds of great act and transpose your life into spiritual territory, continue thus]. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.


Mountain under heaven: the image of RETREAT. Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance. Not angrily but with reserve [even if the crowd of inferior are nearing, or are close to use, spying and attempting to control us,  we retain a mask, and preserve the honesty with ourselves and our character, this way we are unacquainted, yet fully known inasmuch as the inferior may know us, they cannot penetrate into the core of our being, their foundations cannot allow that] The mountain rises up under heaven, but owing to its nature it finally comes to a stop [grow your nature strong according to capacity, then solidify at bottom, and straighten the peak]. Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the distance and remains out of reach [the peak of the mountain is not touching the withdrawing heaven, but it remains in its integrity as taught and becomes an emblem of its foundations]. This symbolizes the behavior of the superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as the inferior man comes forward. He does not hate him, for hatred is a form of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object. The superior man shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve [just like the superior man is brough to standstill by the recognized reserve of Heavens, in profound manner he does need to be said, he recognized the profundity and stills himself].


Six at the beginning means:At the tail in retreat. This is dangerous.One must not wish to undertake anything.Since the hexagram is the picture of something that is retreating, the lowest line represents the tail and the top line the head. In a retreat it is advantageous to be at the front. Here one is at the back, in immediate contact with the pursuing enemy. This is dangerous, and under such circumstances it is not advisable to undertake anything. Keeping still [perseverant in the task, strong in retreat, “one may retreat throughout life onto higher grounds, but fills this with greater thoughts, enterprises, acts of life and expression, yet within the frugal and simple contact with the retreat, one does not linger behind distracted by lesser things, it is not an inactivity that is unproductive and infertile, it is creative, still yet resolute”] is the easiest way of escaping from the threatening danger.

Six in the second place means:He holds him fast with yellow oxhide.No one can tear him loose.Yellow is the color of the middle. It indicates that which is correct and in line with duty. Oxhide is strong and not to be torn.While the superior men retreat and the inferior press after them, the inferior man represented here holds on so firmly and tightly to the superior men that the latter cannot shake him off. And because he is in quest of what is right and so strong in purpose, he reaches his goal. Thus the line confirms what is said in the Judgment: “In what is small”—here equivalent to “in the inferior man”—“perseverance furthers.”

Nine in the third place means:A halted retreat is nerve-wracking and dangerous.To retain people as men- and maid servantsBrings good fortune.When it is time to retreat it is both unpleasant and dangerous to be held back, because then one no longer has freedom of action. In such a case the only expedient is to take into one’s service, so to speak, those who refuse to let one go, so that one may at least keep one’s initiative and not fall helplessly under their domination. But even with this expedient the situation is far from satisfactory—for what can one hope to accomplish with such servants?

Nine in the fourth place means:Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man and downfall to the inferior man .In retreating the superior man is intent on taking his departure willingly and in all friendliness. He easily adjusts his mind to retreat, because in retreating he does not have to do violence to his convictions. The only one who suffers is the inferior man from whom he retreats, who will degenerate when deprived of the guidance of the superior man.

Nine in the fifth place means:Friendly retreat. Perseverance brings good fortune.It is the business of the superior man to recognize in time that the moment for retreat has come. If the right moment is chosen, the retreat can be carried out within the forms of perfect friendliness, without the necessity of disagreeable discussions. Yet, for all the observance of amenities, absolute firmness of decision is necessary if one is not to be led astray by irrelevant considerations.

Nine at the top means: Cheerful retreat. Everything serves to further.The situation is unequivocal. Inner detachment has become an established fact, and we are at liberty to depart. When one sees the way ahead thus clearly, free of all doubt, a cheerful mood sets in, and one chooses what is right without further thought. Such a clear path ahead always leads to the good.