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I ching

Chi Chi (After Completion)

I Ching Hexagram 63
Chi Chi (After Completion)

Action: Renew

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 64 Before Completion: Prepare

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 64 Before Completion: Prepare

Equilibrium is the great foundation of life, and harmony its universal path.

Voyager, there are no bridges;
one builds them as one walks. – Gloria Anzaldua

Reading at a Glance: Many people find it odd that After Completion is a principle that precedes Before Completion in the Book of Changes. Perhaps the hexagrams were arranged in this way to remind us that nothing ever comes to an end. The message of Chi Chi is that while the situation appears to be stable and in order, you need to plan for inevitable changes that will continue to occur. When anything in nature achieves its highest expression or stability it moves towards disorder and regeneration. It may be that what you are inquiring about has reached a state of finality or completion as the hexagram is also called Already Across. You might not want to hear it ~ but there may have been a completion or a closure that you missed. The hidden influence of Before Completion suggests that you examine where you are, but plan for the future. This same hexagram shows up as the underlying cause which is another message to prepare. You may think that the situation is never going to change but it will. You may think that you can rest on your laurels and enjoy complacency but you can’t. It is important that you understand that in nature everything is in a state of renewal. While everything is in order and you can feel a sense of success or arrival, you are urged to remain cautious. Anything that reaches a climax will begin to move in the opposite direction. While the situation appears to be complete, a new goal or a need for further growth and expansion opportunities will ensure that it doesn’t become stagnant. Water over Fire means that you must tend to it so the water doesn’t burn out or evaporate. All things require care and attention to continue in a constant state of wellness. The individual lines in this hexagram address the different stages one will encounter when going from completion to renewal. Something has crystallized and it may be time to embark in a new direction.

Waves crashing into sea

Order, chaos

then order again.

Such is the way

of the great


“One who stands above things, brings them to completion. Water over fire: the condition after completion.” There is an obvious threat that the Water can extinguish the Fire, or that the flame can cause the water to evaporate. Water always moves downward; fire always burns upward. As an image of necessary balance, Chi Chi offers a message about becoming either overly confident, or too complacent.

While the current situation suggests a high degree of order, life's pursuit of change means that in time, disorder will emerge. After Completion is like a kettle of water over a fire. Too much heat and it boils over, extinguishes the fire or the water evaporates. The sage understands the small relationships existing between elements and guards against misfortune by not growing complacent. Sometimes it is better 'to just stop in time.'

Like the adaptive variations that remain dormant until we need them, knowing the condition that might arise after, life prepares us for the condition before it comes. The master said: “Thus the sage takes thought of misfortune to arm against it in advance.” You will be armed against misfortune by your willingness "to see the eternity in the end.” This is the perpetual thread that reveals how nothing in nature comes to completion; it moves toward renewal. Nothing in nature comes to a standstill; it always transforms. While something may be over or at its final stages, know that a new way is also emerging.

Approaching the conclusion to the Book of Changes, one immediately notices how the last two principles appear to be backwards. It would seem that After Completion should follow Before Completion. However, this principle describes both the certainty and uncertainty that arises after each ending.

Perhaps the principles were organized in this way to remind us that life is not linear, but is moving back and forth in an endless cycle of renewal. “First good order prevails and in the end disorder.” This is simply the how life moves toward harmony or dissolution, but the power of nature is always productive. Chi Chi takes shape as the only principle where all the lines are in their proper places, although it is also the image where Peace or oblivion might lead to Standstill.

It is inevitable that when order reaches its peak, it will dissolve into disorder. The master said: “Do not make plans. Do not be absorbed by activities. Do not think that you know. Be aware of all that is, and dwell in the infinite. Wander where there is no path. Be empty, that is all.”

“If one stands still at the end, disorder arises, because the Way comes to an end.” The old way may come to an end, but life moves ever onward. Keeping the fire burning without allowing the water to evaporate takes great skill and perseverance.

Transcending a sense of opposites suggests the creative power inherent in each paradox. Don't be too quick to judge the situation hastily. Perhaps what you thought was complete is just a new beginning.


Already done, already decided = open to the changes. Chi Chi unchanging can have a message that the situation has reached a state of completion that won’t change. However, all things change so you too will find your way forward into something new. Explore this situation from the standpoint of renewal because the past is the past and a new cycle will inevitably follow. While you can continue to fund energy into believing you can hold to the status quo, your time would be better spent examining the ways you can reinvigorate renewal. If everything is as you would like it to be, then Chi Chi unchanging can have a positive message about arrival. Since its hidden messages have to do with preparation, you are still reminded to actively ensure that renewal and a fresh perspective are continuously applied.

Line 1:

Breaking the wagon wheels the tail gets wet = no blame. Changes to (39) Obstruction. During any transition from completion to renewal the way forward can appear confusing. Change is often accompanied by mistakes or missteps. You can think that you are on cruise control and suddenly get a flat tire that stops you in your tracks. There is not any real harm, but you are warned that the path you were on is changing. Any obstacles you meet are simply slowing you down so that you can examine the proper way forward.

Line 2:

Losing the carriage screen, do not run after it = on the seventh day you will retrieve it. Changes to (5) Waiting. A carriage screen is meant to keep you hidden so losing it can mean you are exposed in some way. You may need to be more truthful about who you are rather than pretending to be someone you are not. Your ‘real’ face is exposed during a transition so there is no need to go searching for an old Persona. A period of waiting allows you to grow into a new way of expressing yourself.

Line 3:

The Illustrious Ancestor approaches the Devil’s Country and after 3 years conquers it = ordinary people should not be employed. Changes to (3) Difficult Beginnings. The message of this line is that completion will come after a period of hard work and dedication. Difficult Beginnings is a message to expect trials rather than an easy push forward. The reference to the Devil’s Country can also suggest how this situation will test you and allow you to overcome your insecurities and demons. If you persevere toward your goal with unwavering caution you will succeed.

Line 4:

Fine clothes turn into rags = be careful all day long. Changes to (49) Molting/Revolution. Appearances can be deceiving and the situation shows signs of decay. While everything appears stable, remain on guard because it can deteriorate very rapidly. Molting is the natural way animals and reptiles change their outer skin at cyclical times of the year and can portray inevitable change. Revolution can suggest how on the surface all can be calm but underneath an uprising is in the making. Examine the situation to ensure that all parties are feeling served and that there are no hard feelings rumbling below the surface.

Line 5:

The eastern neighbor sacrifices an ox = it is not equal to the western neighbor’s small sacrifice. Changes to (36) Brightness Hiding. It may seem that you have made great sacrifices to achieve your desire but it is what resides in the heart of giving that matters in this situation. A simple sacrifice offered with sincerity is far more powerful than grand displays of giving that are centered on what you get in return. The situation won’t change until you examine what you are offering and whether it is given generously without an expected outcome. Timing can also be important. You may be still wrapped up in what was required in the past and are not acknowledging what needs to be sacrificed to the present.

Line 6:

The head gets wet = danger. Changes to (37) Family. After moving forward diligently, in the sense of crossing the great stream, there is always an opportunity to turn back and gloat at your accomplishment. This would be dangerous so going forward is the only option to avoid danger. Getting the head wet is the idea of patting yourself on the back or getting too emotional when clear thinking and action is required. As the top line of a hexagram that talks about completion the answer can be to move on. What’s done is done and the old situation will no longer serve you.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 63 unchanging Hexagram 63.1 Hexagram 63.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 63.2 Hexagram 63.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 63.3 Hexagram 63.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 63.4 Hexagram 63.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 63.5 Hexagram 63.5.6 Hexagram 63.6