䷄ Xu

Xu I Ching Gua Meaning

需 Xu ䷄ hexagram meanings:

Needing, Waiting, Nourishment, Calculated Inaction

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The fifth of the sixty-four gua is Xü, meaning Needing, waiting, or calculated inaction. Children need nourishment to grow, and so after Meng, childhood, comes Xü, needing. The fifth gua is associated with the second month of the lunar calendar, or March in the solar calendar. It is also aptly ruled by the element of water. Early agricultural societies had an abundance of land and air with which to grow crops. What they often found themselves needing was water. Without the rain, the crops will not grow and there will be no food nor drink to sustain them. And so the image of clouds ascending to heaven, rainclouds bringing the much-anticipated water from the heavens and down to the soil, represents Xü. Another image accompanying Xü is the picture of a praying man waiting for rain. In this image, the rain has not yet fallen, and the man waits and prays because without the rain there will be nothing to eat nor drink.

In the I Ching, Heaven symbolizes strength and Water symbolizes danger. Rain above Heaven, or Heaven confronting Water, signifies danger that obstructs strength. Crossing a river in ancient times was a risky endeavor indeed. In Xü, the rain has not yet fallen, and one can assume the praying man is desperate for this rain. Perhaps there has been a drought, or there are starving families in the village. Whatever his reason, there is a desperation that can only be expressed through praying, through patience. Xü indicates that danger is not to be dealt with through action, but asks for patience and faith in insecure times. Strength may be blocked by danger, and this is why we must be patient and build strength before we confront this danger head-on.

To need something is to not have it, and existing in this moment of need requires patience. Xü says that in a moment of need and uncertainty, calculated inaction is necessary. Before one may satisfy their needs, they must wait before acting too rashly. To plant a seed and expect the crops to grow instantly is no way to solve the problem of hunger. But to take the time and patience for the rain to come, the crops to grow, and the fruit to ripen fulfills the need. To give up and leave the crops without nurture will lead to failure. Likewise, to make a rash move at this time would be detrimental as well. Xü reminds us that good things do come to those who wait, and we must learn when it is time to wait and when it is time to act. It tells us that there is a time for action and inaction in every plan. The fifth gua expresses that we must experience this time of inner cultivation before we can acquire what we need. Be faithful, strong, and patient, and good fortune will come.

䷄ Xu hexagram

Xu ䷄ Xu hexagram Illustration

䷄ Xu hexagram meaning

Radiate serenity and strength
As you stand in quiet prayer,
And your need will be answered.
You will find a way across the river.

Bottom Line

Xu Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning

The tiger lies hidden in the trees,
Not far from the waterhole.
He waits for a change in the wind
To bring the game to him.

Line Two

Xu Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning

Your enemy comes.
Lie in ambush on the sandy river bank - 
Silent, still.
Such patience brings success.

Line Three

Xu Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning

If you wallow in mud, the hyenas will come.
Bandits frequent the marshes.

Line Four

Xu Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning

The battle rages, head-on.
Now fire up the troops 
To charge from the trenches 
And shock the enemy with our might.

Line Five

Xu Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning

An army fights on its stomach.
Wine and food for soldiers
Becomes success in battle.

Top Line

Xu Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning

Three strangers warm their hands
At your campfire
Search their eyes for treachery.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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