䷴ Jian
🌳
🗻
Xun-Wood
Gen-Mountain

Jian I Ching Gua Meaning

漸 Jian ䷴ hexagram meanings:

Developing Gradually, Gradual Approach, Development, Gradual Progress

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The fifty-third gua, Jian, translates to Developing Gradually, or step-by-step progression. It is associated with the first month of the lunar year, or February in the solar calendar. Jian is also the name of a large river that once crossed central China. It flowed from mountains in the kingdom of Zhou all the way to the ocean. Often, Jian is described in terms of a marrying maiden. Cultivating a relationship this serious should be one that develops gradually. Love and trust need to develop in the relationship. If the relationship is taken at a comfortable pace, one can expect the marriage to be harmonious. However, this development takes time and patience to see fruition. This is the way to a prosperous marriage. Jian indicates that, after a period of stillness, there arises an opportunity for gradual advancement. Moving forward, one should be orderly and careful to complete each step.

The ideograph representing Jian contains three parts. On the left, is the symbol for water. Jian’s sound originates from the two parts in the center and on the right. This ideograph paints an image of the Jian River, which gradually develops from the spring in the mountains. It flowed and accumulated the further it went until it grew into a large river. Then, as it reached far enough east, it would empty into the sea. This demonstrates the type of gradual development that the fifty-third gua represents. It is slow, but great in measure.

Jian is Wood above Mountain. This structure suggests the image of a tree developing gradually on a mountain. The taller the tree grows, the deeper its roots reach into the soil. The tree grows slowly, but going steadily is beneficial. By growing steadily, the tree grows strong and stable in its foundation. It would only topple under excessive force, it stands strong against the harsh elements. The tree contrasts weeds, which grow quickly. Though they grow far faster than the tree, they are not sturdy plants and can easily be removed from the earth. Jian’s lesson here is that gradual development yields stronger results than rushing one’s development does.

In the midst of stillness, King Wen contemplated the future of his kingdom. His progress thus far had been gradual. He considered the analogy of the marrying maiden: his kingdom needed him to be faithful just as a marrying maiden must be for her husband. He understood that to achieve greatness, his kingdom needed to follow the proper steps. The progress needs to be gradual, allowing for periods of rest in addition to action. Driving forward too quickly could yield disastrous results and lead to instability. Not moving forward enough leads to atrophy, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Understanding this balance, King Wen realized he must follow the proper sequence to bring more prosperity to the Zhou dynasty.

䷴ Jian hexagram

Jian ䷴ Jian hexagram Illustration

䷴ Jian hexagram meaning

It is excellent news
That the woman has a home.
Now you can make new plans
For steady progress.

Bottom Line

Jian Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning


Swans flew calmly to the riverbank.
The young man is in some danger
For quarreling with some folk,
But he evaded trouble.

Line Two

Jian Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning


The swans flew to the mountain slope
Where they dined and played.
They were lucky to find
Such a comfortable home.

Line Three

Jian Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning


When swans fly to land,
It is a bad omen.
The husband on a journey
Did not return to his
Pregnant wife at home.
Still, with the swans around,
Thieves cannot sneak in.

Line Four

Jian Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning


The swans flew in on rustling wings
And landed in the trees.
Their webbed feet gripped the thickest trunks,
And they had no problems at all. 

Line Five

Jian Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning


The swans flew away to the hills,
And the woman was barren three years.
She died in peace with no child,
And for her, this was a good life.

Top Line

Jian Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning


The swans flew to the land,
And from their flapping wings
A feather fell.
This blessing of good luck
Is a perfect ceremonial decoration.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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