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The original Richard Wilhelm translation for the hexagram...


归妹

Hexagram 54
Kuei Mei - The Marrying Maiden

yin
yin above: Chên / The Arousing, Thunder
yang
yin
yang below: Tui / The Joyous, Lake
yang

I Ching Online

Above we have Chên, the eldest son, and below, Tui, the youngest daughter. The man leads and the girl follows him in gladness. The picture is that of the entrance of the girl into her husband's house. In all, there are four hexagrams depicting the relationship between husband and wife. Hsien, INFLUENCE, (31), describes the attraction that a young couple have for each other; Hêng, DURATION (32), portrays the permanent relationships of marriage; Chien, DEVELOPMENT (53), reflects the protracted, ceremonious procedures attending the arrangement of a proper marriage; finally, Kuei Mei, THE MARRYING MAIDEN, shows a young girl under the guidance of an older man who marries her.1


THE JUDGEMENT


THE MARRYING MAIDEN.
Undertakings bring misfortune.
Nothing that would further.


A girl who is taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave with special caution and reserve. She must not take it upon herself to supplant the mistress of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to untenable relationships.
The same is true of all voluntary relationships between human beings. While legally regulated relationships evince a fixed connection between duties and rights, relationships based on personal inclination depend in the long run entirely on tactful reserve.
Affection as the essential principle of relatedness is of the greatest importance in all relationships in the world. For the union of heaven and earth is the origin of the whole of nature. Among human beings likewise, spontaneous affection is the all-inclusive principle of union.

THE IMAGE


Thunder over the lake:
The image of THE MARRYING MAIDEN.
Thus the superior man
Understands the transitory
In the light of the eternity of the end.


Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolises the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.



1. In China, monogamy is formally the rule, and every man has but one official wife. This marriage, which is less the concern of the two participants than of their families, is contracted with strict observance of forms. But the husband retains the right also to indulge his more personal inclinations. Indeed, it is the most gracious duty of a good wife to be helpful to him in this respect. In this way the relationship that develops becomes a beautiful and open one, and the girl who enters the family at the husband's wish subordinates herself modestly to the wife as a younger sister. Of course it is a most difficult and delicate matter, requiring tact on the part of all concerned. But under favourable circumstances this represents the solution of a problem for which European culture has failed to find an answer. Needless to say, the ideal set for woman in China is achieved no oftener than is the European ideal.


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