I-Ching Hexagram Thirty Three, Withdrawal

I-Ching 64 Hexagrams > 33. Withdrawal

I-Ching-Hexagram Thirty Three – Withdrawal



To isolate oneself from all society.

To be worldly wise and play safe.


Hexagram Thirty Three in Chinese is Dun meaning avoidance and to isolate oneself from all society.

This hexagram (Withdrawal) follows Hexagram Thirty Constancy.


The upper trigram of this hexagram (Withdrawal) is Heaven.

The lower trigram of this hexagram (Withdrawal) is Mountain.

Hexagram Twenty Six, Great Restraint, which Upper trigram is Mountain and Lower trigram is Heaven, describes one inviting and accepting elites to work for him.

This is the sign of nurturing and gathering virtuous people.

This situation of this hexagram (Withdrawal) is totally opposite to Hexagram Twenty Six, Great Restraint.

In this hexagram (Withdrawal), it states there are many elites and talent people outside.

This is the sign of elites isolating themselves from all society to avoid disasters.


In terms of the energy of hexagrams, Yang energy reaches its peak in April (Hexagram One, Heaven).

This Yang energy starts to disappear in the cycle of energy.

In May (Hexagram Forty Four Copulating), Yin line is coming back so Yin energy starts dominating.

In June (this Hexagram, Withdrawal), Yin energy is increasing and villains is dominating.

Gentleman starts going away to avoid disasters.


In terms of the sequence of hexagrams, the trigrams of this hexagram (Withdrawal) are opposite to Hexagram Thirty Four Great Vigor.

This hexagram (Withdrawal) follows Hexagram Thirty Constancy.

Hexagram Thirty Constancy represents a society being stabilized for a period.

Therefore, the ossification of the society is the inevitable outcome.

Afterwards, elites and talent people will look for a breakthrough.

Firstly, they leave the ossifying society to breath in fresh air which is implied in this hexagram (Withdrawal).

Secondly, they thrust hardly to break ossification and irrational issues which is described in Hexagram Thirty Four Great Vigor.


A divinator who has got this hexagram (Withdrawal) should try to isolate oneself from all society and go to live in a mountain alone.

Whatever has happened, one has to flee to a remote place where is very far away.

One should restraint oneself from showing one’s Yang energy and be better not to show off.

One should avoid meeting villains and stay away from villains.

One should uphold the principle of virtue and does not have faults that can be taken advantage of by others.

If it is going too far, one should flee to live in mountains alone so that others cannot reach him.

This hexagram (Withdrawal) states one is better to run away and stay as far as he can.


Those are the points of which we need to pay attention in this hexagram (Withdrawal).

It seems this hexagram (Withdrawal) is good.

It is a good hexagram because one is fleeing far away and hiding oneself nicely.

One is far away from villains and disasters so one has got good fortune.

It is not because one has contributions and benefits.

Therefore, if one asks about official ranks, one does not really obtain an official rank.

If one asks about promotion or career, one does not really has a chance to be promoted.



[Summary of Hexagram Thirty Three – Withdrawal]

Fleeing and then everything goes smoothly.

It is better for villains to maintain righteousness.


This hexagram describes a moment that the path of gentlemen is disappearing whereas the path of villains is emerging.

In this hexagram, gentlemen can make everything going smoothly because they stay as far as they can.

Therefore, they can keep their ideals.

It is a small scale of going smoothly.

Villains are better to be loyal and do not need to flee.

However, they need to be righteous and calm.


1st Line

At the end, one flees but one cannot flee on time.

It is dangerous and one cannot go to anywhere.


Virtuous people and gentlemen have fled.

Only common people stay.

Common People who do not have virtue and ranks cannot flee on time.

It is dangerous.

In this case, they should stay and not going to elsewhere.



2nd Line


Matching up with a cultivated person living in seclusion, one can keep moderation all the time.

One goes forward and backward at the right time.

One’s ambition is firm.

It is difficult for one to depart from a cultivated person.


In this hexagram (Withdrawal), villains cannot flee in the conditions of 1st line and 2nd line.

2nd line supports 3rd line of this hexagram (Withdrawal) – Yin line supports Yang line and things go smoothly.

This line matches up with 5th line of this hexagram (Withdrawal) externally.

Therefore, one has a will to go forward and backward with gentlemen.

It is meek located at the middle of the hexagram so it is located at a right position.

Therefore, one is moderate and meek.

Good fortune.



3rd Line

One cannot detach from fame and wealth.

One attaches deeply to wealth and ranks.

One cannot get rid of the earthly live.

Although it is the time for you to hide and live in seclusion, one cannot forget the earthy live of fame and wealth.

Therefore, things you can do are to restraint yourself from wealth and ranks and to gather ministers and concubines.

Good fortune for small projects.


4th Line

One is in a dilemma.

One cannot choose whether to keep one’s fame and wealth or to live in seclusion.

However, it is the right time to leave.

If a gentleman can give up fame and wealth and leave, he will have good fortune.

If a villain chooses to have fame and wealth and cannot live in seclusion, he will have misfortune.


This hexagram (Withdrawal) is about gentlemen and cultivated people leaving the society.

This situation starts from this line of this hexagram (Withdrawal) and it has left the mountain – going outside Que Door (Mountain, the lower trigram of this hexagram, Withdrawal).

Therefore, one can truly flee and live in seclusion.

It is the beginning of flee which is called good.


5th Line

Gentlemen in 5th line are fleeing more far away than the gentlemen in 4th line of this hexagram (Withdrawal).

However, this line is the position of righteousness, vigor and being respected.

One can flee but is embroiled by fame and ranks.

Therefore, one cannot flee at the end.

This line matches up with 2nd line of this hexagram so one is missing fame and ranks.

It is the same as 4th line of this hexagram – it is described as good.

Loyalty. Good fortune.

It is good fortune to be righteous and calm.



6th Line

This is the peak of living in seclusion.

One has divine poise and saga-like features.

An emperor cannot order you.

Riches cannot befriend of you who has a higher social position.

There is no doubt in one’s mind.

One gets out of earthly live.

One detaches from fame and wealth of earthly live.

Everything goes smoothly.


In three Yang lines of this hexagram (Withdrawal) about fleeing, 4th line and 5th line still match up with 1st line and 2nd line.

This line does not match up with all yin lines of this hexagram (Withdrawal) and is located at the end.

It is unrelated to other lines of this hexagram (Withdrawal).

One can detach and leave everything behind without hesitation.

One flees in plenty.


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