Archetype 5: Waiting

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On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

—John 2:1–4

The Reading

This reading centers on the tension between Mary pushing Jesus forward and Jesus holding back. The young Mary was promised by God’s angel that her son “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:32–35).”

These words sounded nice, but Jesus is now past thirty. Most men his age have grandchildren. Other than Jesus showing some precocious speaking ability and gathering a motley crew of hungry followers, Mary has seen no sign of God’s promise being fulfilled. She is frustrated. She is tired of waiting. But still her son says his time has not come.

The Hexagram

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The images of the two trigrams are Water above and Heaven below. The rain will come and nourish the entire earth. But rain comes in its own time. It cannot be hurried.

The attributes of the two trigrams are Strength below and Danger above. Strength in the face of danger waits until the time is right, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and acts too early.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To wait with the inner certainty that the goal will be reached.
  • To know that in the face of danger, pushing forward gains nothing.
  • To wait for destiny to unfold and to not worry about or try to shape the future.
  • To face things exactly as they are and wait for the path to show itself.
  • To know that once the path is found and the time is right, then and only then will it be time for action.
  • To spend this time preparing the body and soul for what will come.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position reassures that although there is a sense that something bad is getting ready to happen, actual danger is still in the distance. Instead of worrying, we should spend this time living as normally as possible. Worrying will just result in energy being wasted and errors being made.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position brings a warning that danger is getting closer. Disagreements begin. Conditions are ripe for general unrest, with one blaming the other. Only calmness will bring peace and harmony. Slander is not to be dignified. If we do not feed it, it will die away on its own.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position warns of a truly dangerous situation. Without strength to achieve the destination, we are trapped in a vulnerable position. Failure is not certain, but caution and a sense of the seriousness of the situation are absolutely needed to avert a disaster.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

A moving line in the fourth position is ominous. The situation is extremely dangerous, a matter of life and death. Somebody will be hurt. Surrounded, there is no way forward and no way back. There is nothing left to do but let fate unfold. Any move will only make the situation worse.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position reminds that even when danger is all around, there are intervals of relative peace. With the wisdom to withdraw from danger, these opportunities can fortify for the struggle to come. Enjoy the moment but be not deflected from the ultimate goal. People can’t work without rest and recreation, but resting does not mean losing sight of the cause. Perseverance will be needed to achieve success.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position says the time of waiting is over; the danger is now here. The worst imaginable has happened. Everything seems to have been in vain. It is time to yield to the inevitable. But things take an unforeseen turn. Outside intervention arrives. Is it good news or bad news? This is the time for alertness, not withdrawal. Greet each new turn with respect and thereby avoid danger. Sometimes salvation comes in forms that are difficult to recognize.

Other interpretations of Archetype 5:

Internal Links:

  • Return to the Hexagram Index Table [click here].
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Reproduced with permission from Wisdom's Way; The Christian I Ching copyright (c) 2015 Roger Sessions.