I-Ching Hexagram 37

I-Ching Hexagram 37 – Chia Jen – The Family [The Clan]


the trigram above: SUN – The Gentle, Wind
the trigram below: Li – The Clinging, fire

from The I Ching or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes, Hellmut Wilhelm and C. G. Jung

This hexagram represents the laws obtaining within the family. The strong line at the top represents the father, the lowest the son. The strong line in the fifth place represents the husband, the yielding second line the wife. On the other hand, the two strong lines in the fifth and the third place represent two brothers, and the two weak lines correlated with them in the fourth and the second place stand for their respective wives. Thus all the connections and relationships within the family find their appropriate expression. Each individual line has the character according with its place. The fact that a strong line occupies the sixth place – where a weak line might be expected – indicates very clearly the strong leadership that must come from the head of the family. The line is to be considered here not in its quality as the sixth but in its quality as the top line. THE FAMILY shows the laws operative within the household that, transferred to outside life, keep the state and the world in order. The influences that goes out from within the family is represented by the symbol of the wind created by fire.


THE FAMILY. The perseverance of the woman furthers.

The foundation of the family is the relationship between husband and wife. The tie that holds the family together lies in the loyalty and perseverance of the wife. Her place is within (second line) while that of the husband is without (fifth line). It is in accord with the great laws of nature that husband and wife take their proper places. Within the family a strong authority is needed; this is represented by the parents. If the father is really a father and the son a son, if the elder brother fulfills his position, and the younger fulfills his, if the husband is really a husband and the wife a wife, then the family is in order. When the family is in order, all social relationships of mankind will be in order.

Three of the five social relationships are to be found within the family – that between father and son, which is the relation of love, that between husband and wife, which is the relation of chaste conduct, and that between elder and younger brother, which is the relation of correctness. The loving reverence of the son is then carried over to the prince in the form of faithfulness to duty; the affection and correctness of behaviour existing between the two brothers are extended to a friend in the form of loyalty, and to a person of superior rank in the form of deference. The family is society in embryo; it is the native soil on which performance of moral duty is made easy through natural affection, so that within a small circle a basis of moral practice is created, and this is later widened to include human relationships in general.


Wind comes forth from fire:
The image of THE FAMILY.
Thus the superior man has substance in his words
And duration in his way of life.

Heat creates energy: this is signified by the wind stirred up by the fire and issuing forth from it. This represents influence working from within outward. The same thing is needed in the regulation of the family. Here too the influence on others must proceed from one’s own person. In order to be capable of producing such an influence, one’s words must have power, real, just as flame depends on its fuel. Words have influence only when they are pertinent and clearly related to definite circumstances. General discourses and admonitions have no effect whatsoever. Furthermore, the words must be supported by one’s entire conduct, just as the wind is made effective by an impression on others that they can adapt and conform to it. If words and conduct are not in accord and not consistent, they will have no effect.


Nine at the beginning means:
Firm seclusion within the family.
Remorse disappears.

The family must form a well-defined unit within which each member knows his place. From the beginning each child must be accustomed to firmly established rules of order, before ever its will is directed to other things. If we begin too late to enforce order, when the will of the child has already been overindulged, the whims and passions, grown stronger with the years, offer resistance and give cause for remorse. If we insist on order from the outset, occasions for remorse may arise – in general social life these are unavoidable – but the remorse always disappears again, and everything rights itself. For there is nothing more easily avoided and more difficult to carry through than “breaking a child’s will.”

Six in the second place means;
She should not follow her whims.
She must attend within to the food.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

The wife must always be guided by the will of the master of the house, be he father, husband, or grown son. Her place is within the house. There, without having to look for them, she has great and important duties. She must attend to the nourishment of her family and to the food for the sacrifice. In this way she becomes the center of the social and religious life of the family, and her perseverance in this position brings good fortune to the whole house.

In relation to general conditions, the counsel given here is to seek nothing by means of force, but quietly to confine oneself to the duties at hand.

Nine in the third place means:
Where tempers flare up in the family,
Too great severity brings remorse.
Good fortune nonetheless.
When woman and child dally and laugh,
It leads in the end to humiliation

In the family the proper mean between severity and indulgence outright to prevail. Too great severity toward one’s own flesh and blood leads to remorse. The wise thing is to build strong dikes within which complete freedom of movement is allowed each individual. But in doubtful instances too great severity, despite occasional mistakes, is preferable, because it preserves discipline in the family, whereas too great weakness leads to disgrace.

Six in the fourth place means:
She is the treasure of the house.
Great good fortune.

It is upon the woman of the house that the well-being of the family depends. Well-being prevails when expenditures and income are soundly balanced. This leads to great good fortune. In the sphere of public life, this line refers to the faithful steward whose measures further the general welfare.

Nine in the fifth place means;
As a king he approaches his family.
Fear not.
Good fortune.

A king is the symbol of a fatherly man who is richly endowed in mind. He does nothing to make himself feared; on the contrary, the whole family can trust him, because lover governs their intercourse. His character of itself exercises the right influence.

Nine at the top means:
His work commands respect.
In the end good fortune comes.

In the last analysis, order within the family depends on the character of the master of the house. If he cultivates his personality so that it works impressively through the force of inner truth, all goes well with the family. In a ruling position one must of his own accord assume responsibility.

7 Responses to I-Ching Hexagram 37

  1. thom buhman says:

    second paragraph under heading FAMILY reads, “that between father and son, which is the relation of loves, that between father and son, which is the relation of love,”. hmmm, note the repetition;
    father and son=plural loves
    father and son=singular loves… one of these a typo?

    • TheAbysmal says:

      most likely a typo – I’ll have to review it. I typed all of this up by hand over a short period of time, and became rather bleary-eyed by the end of it (or at least by hexagram 37).

      thanks for pointing that out.

  2. VaniNY says:

    In order to remain relevant, it’s important to relate ancien concepts to modern day situations. Otherwise these ancient texts are nothing more than relicts. It’s fine to use the I-Ching but what of the many women who feel slighted by Hex 44 and various line that appear to denigrate women? Many households all over the West are headed up by women nowadays. I’d like to see this text reinterpreted accordingly. Family is more than gender, although role is very important. Maybe there should be some consideration of women’s modern roles as authoritarian, leader, discipliner, etc.?

    • Mike says:

      Honestly I think the true theme of this is responsibility and that each person has a job to do, not so much that the man must always be the man of the house. Things must be done in order, each piece of the clock must move in time otherwise their could be problems. I think though that it also hints that there is great cooperation, each piece is almost made to be compatible with the other pieces, like a family ideally is, thus problems are less likely.

      In the US it is true that half of all marriages end in divorce, and it’s arguable that the style of thinking that went into the I ching was never totally true, but it is and was true to some families. Some people felt happier knowing where ‘their place’ was and what was to be expected of them, but that’s not for everyone.

      All I know is I asked the an online I Ching caster about my new apartment and got this with no changing lines, so I’m hoping it’s a good omen..

  3. LC says:

    This has popped up at least twice, regarding my ex boyfriend. When I get this, I am puzzled, because I’m not married to this man. I refer to Hex 48, the Well.

    The reading also told me that Sun, Wind) was changing into K’un, (Water), which is darkness and the unknown. However, Li, (Fire), is also transforming into Sun, Wind), which means penetration and following. Any insight on these changing lines and Hex 48 would help me a great deal.

    Just how do you think things will turn out if I were to write to this man to express my feelings about the break up? It’s been awhile. I thought we would never part, that’s all I can say.

    • TheAbysmal says:

      sorry LC,
      I can,t really help with readings or interpretation. i am not really qualified, nor do I have the experience necessary to help you with your dilemma.

      I suggest you meditate on the situation and the reading, and allow the answer to present itself.

      best of fortune

  4. Yushaa says:

    looking at this hexagram elementally we have wind over fire, or wood/construction over congregation/light meaning that inner light is brightening the outer construction. Therefore all work done is paying off, also the wind over fire keeps it burning so the outside influences are also playing a role in keeping the light alit this means that the atmosphere is in accord wih one’s development; that all things are in tune with the the goal of ascending to heaven.

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