Archetype 60: Limitations

CR P02 C60 A01

But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

—Luke 5:15–16

The Reading

The demands on Jesus are enormous. Everywhere he goes, people need healing, feeding, comforting, loving, caring, and forgiving. But Jesus understands that he must put limitations on what he can do. He frequently goes off alone to meditate, pray, and renew his relationship with God. These are the times when Jesus turns away from ministering to others and toward ministering to his own soul. Without these times of renewal, Jesus would quickly burn out. Ultimately, it is the limitations Jesus places on his public ministry that make his public ministry possible.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C60 A02

This hexagram consists of the lower trigram Wonder, whose image is Lake, and the upper trigram Chaos, whose image is Water. Water is above the lake. If the lake cannot contain the water, the water overflows and causes destruction. If the lake can set boundaries around the water, then the water is contained and supports life. The difference between destruction and supporting life is determined by the ability of the lake to provide limitations to the water.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To recognize that sometimes limitations must be placed on things.
  • To be thriftier in the use of resources.
  • To understand that limitations are necessary to preserve resources for the future.
  • To know that even limitations need limitations to prevent limitations from becoming unnecessary burdens.
  • To recognize the limitations one places on oneself by the choices one makes.
  • To appreciate the sometimes paradoxical relationship between limitations and freedom.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position describes one who is confronted by insurmountable limitations. Ego tells us that the limitations need to be destroyed. Wisdom tells us that the limitations are giving us time to rest, reflect, and gather strength.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position describes the time when action should be taken. Hesitation is good only up until a point; it gives time for removing obstacles. However, once those obstacles have been removed, further hesitation reduces the possibility of success.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position warns that one can get lost in the search for gratification. The need for limitations can be lost, and the need to be grounded in God can be forgotten. When this happens, the line tells us to accept responsibility for our lapses.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

A moving line in the fourth position tells us to differentiate between those limitations that help us conserve strength from those that drain strength. We will have more success if we go with the flow of natural limitations than if we fight them. It is easier to swim with the current than against it.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position describes the correct way to impose limitations on others: by first imposing the limitations on ourselves. When a respected person takes on limitations and thereby sets an example, others follow suit. No force is necessary.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position reminds us that limitations themselves should have limitations. If we are overly strict in demanding limitations, people will rebel. Generally, in imposing limitations a middle ground must be sought, not too lenient and not too strict. In those situations in which strictness is required, we are reminded of the advice of the previous line, that the best way to get others to accept limitations is to apply them first of all to oneself. This line also recognizes that sometimes a ruthless severity in applying limitations to oneself is the only way to prevent guilt and remorse and to save one’s soul.

Other interpretations of Archetype 60:

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.