The Book of Changes

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Fu / Return (The Turning Point)

The idea of a turning point arises from the fact that after the dark lines have pushed all of the
light lines upward and out of the hexagram, another light line enters the hexagram from below.
The time of darkness is past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light. This hexagram is
linked with the eleventh month, the month of the solstice (December-January).


RETURN. Success.
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and for goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is
movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram K'un is characterized by devotion; thus
the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes

The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no
harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come
together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are
excluded, and no mistake is made.
The idea of RETURN is based on the course of nature. The movement
is cyclic, and the course completes itself.
Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially.
Everything comes of itself at the appointed time.

This is the meaning of heaven and earth. All movements
are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return.
Thus the winter solstice, with which the
decline of the year begins, comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes
in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of the young light, and it arises
when six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to

Everything has a time of permanency, a cycle in which it is manifested and then it should leave place to
other events. However, all that leaves will return soon or later. This has to do with the experience and the
learning that generates improvement. The return means what returns renovated, because to be able to
return it is necessary to be in agreement with the rules and circumstances of the times that lapse.

Everything has a recurrent character; this is represented by the return of the seven days. The seven days
represent a time of maturation, of gestation that then culminates with a reborn. The returning one is
identified with people or groups who agree with it, for that reason, it is announced the good friends arrive.
For that reason it will be favorable to work in some sense, that is to say to be mobilized in function of
what arrives. The success of the return refers to the fact of being in agreement with the time that one is


Thunder within the earth:
Thus the kings of antiquity closed the passes
Merchants and strangers did not go about,
And the ruler
Did not travel through the provinces.

The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year --a custom that
survives in the time of rest observed at the new year. In winter the life energy, symbolized by thunder, the
Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by
rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that
is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health after
illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with
care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.

The thunder resting under the earth represents the energy that has retired. This supposes a certain
weakness that took place. The thunder rests under the earth; that is to say it is not still possible to see it,
this hidden one. But, in certain moment, once its forces recovered, it will ascend again as it corresponds
to its nature.

During the winter solstice, days are shorter and nights longer; this implies that the energy, that is to say
the luminous thing, the day, is in weaker before the darkness, the night. For that reason it is expressed
that old kings closed their frontiers during the winter solstice, since activity was not considerable until the
solar return, that is to say until the end of the solstice and with the result that nobody traveled.

The old kings symbolized the eternal natural or cosmic laws which are completed ineluctably, thus
closed their frontiers: they opened up and closed one and another cycle, implying what leaves and
arrives automatically because of time passing; this is represented by the winter solstice that symbolizes
a stage, one period.


Nine at the beginning means:

Return from a short distance.
No need for remorse.
Great good fortune.

Slight digressions from the good cannot be avoided, but one must turn back in time, before going too far.
This is especially important in the development of character; every faintly evil thought must be put aside
immediately, before it goes too far and takes root in the mind. Then there is no cause for remorse, and all
goes well.

This is a quick return, it implies that the mistake has been noticed on time and the wrong way is rectified
without hesitation. As the turn is undertaken from a near point to the beginning point, there won't be
regret. This line refers to react on time, to avoid coming apart from rightness.

Six in the second place means:

Quiet return. Good fortune.

Return always calls for a decision and is an act of self-mastery. It is made easier if a man is in good
company. If he can bring himself to put aside pride and follow the example of good men, good fortune

This person gets calm when decides to turn back in something that has undertaken, and he feels security
and trust, in good faith, people who agree with such an attitude.

The quiet returning means to have avoided problems and also to come back without difficulties.

Six in the third place means:

Repeated return. Danger. No blame.
There are people of a certain inner instability who feel a constant urge to reverse themselves. There is
danger in continually deserting the good because of uncontrolled desires, then turning back to it again
because of a better resolution. However, since this does not lead to habituation in evil, a general
inclination to overcome the defect is not wholly excluded.

Seemingly it is described a state of uncertainty here, that somebody returns several times. This implies
going forward and back, an advance and a later setback. To return several times, in fact means not to go
anywhere, not to have a concrete direction and it implies an ignorance of what is wanted, besides a
marked dose of insecurity. This is obviously dangerous, however, it is enunciated that he won't make a
mistake, since returning several times suggests the idea of continuous rectification; this supposes that
this line refers to a search stage.

"Repeated return" can be translated, also, as "Urgent return"; thus other lecture will point to the urgency
for returning, before being at risk.

Six in the fourth place means:

Walking in the midst of others,
One returns alone.

A man is in a society composed of inferior people, but is connected spiritually with a strong and good
friend, and this makes him turn back alone. Although nothing is said of reward and punishment, this return
is certainly favorable, for such a resolve to choose the good brings its own reward.

This person is seemingly subjected to many influences (the surrounding yin lines), however, he returns
alone. He didn't accept anybody proposals, but rather he continued his own path; returning to the
appropriate way. To walk among people means to be open to observe, but not to be allowed to be
influenced by the surroundings.

Six in the fifth place means:

Noblehearted return. No remorse.
When the time for return has come, a man should not take shelter in trivial excuses, but should look
within and examine himself. And if he has done something wrong he should make a noblehearted resolve
to confess his fault. No one will regret having taken this road.

This is a sincere return, worthy and without regret. A return with dignity is a return with an irrefutable
reason and with the full security of who knows how and why it returns. Such an attitude is product of an
interior improvement, that is to say knowledge of itself.

Six at the top means:

Missing the return. Misfortune.
Misfortune from within and without.
If armies are set marching in this way,
One will in the end suffer a great defeat,
disastrous for the ruler of the country.
For ten years
It will not be possible to attack again.

If a man misses the right time for return, he meets with misfortune. The misfortune has its inner cause in
a wrong attitude toward the world. The misfortune coming upon him for without results from this wrong
attitude. What is pictured here is blind obstinacy and the judgment that is visited upon it.

This is the last line of the hexagram, thus here is described the return from the most distant point, that is
to say, he has gone too far. This implies disorientation, confusion and loss of the notion of the correct
way to come back.

He will fall in misfortune because his movements will mislead him even more. This is symbolized by the
defeat he will suffer if he mobilizes his troops. The army marching represents an irrational act, since
being lost, without knowing the way to home, and however to try to come back would result in getting
even more lost; for that reason, he would be defeated: the total frustration.

The ruler represents what the fellow considers as a positive image, therefore, the ruler's defeat,
symbolizes what will cease to be. The territory represents the fellow's knowledge, what he dominates; in
consequence he will not be sovereign in his territory any more. This would mean loss of authority, or
non-valid knowledge in these new circumstances, with the result that impotence will last one decade. The
decade symbolizes an entire cycle during which recovery won't be possible and there will be impotence
for one decade.