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I ching

Fu (Return)

I Ching Hexagram 24
Fu (Return)

Action: Go Back

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 2: Receptive: Yield

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 44: Coming to Meet: Encounter

Progress is often marked
by a slow return to original sincerity.

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. – Proverb

Reading at a Glance: Sometimes we need to stop and go back. This can arise when we have taken an improper course or the wrong path and need to return to where we started. Other times we can get so far away from who we really are that Return is necessary to re-connect with the core part of us that has remained unchanged over time. The hidden influence of the Receptive shows a need for an inner opening while the cause or past condition was one of focusing on Encountering others. After a time of Splitting Apart, a Return to the Self to develop authenticity is necessary. You are at a turning point in this situation and “progress is often marked by a slow return to original sincerity.” It may seem like you are not moving forward, although progress is still occurring. This is because by Returning, you reconnect with your true path. This can be a time to examine your intentions. A disconnect may be occurring where you seek a specific outcome yet experience something different. Examine your commitment to the situation and whether or not it truly serves you. There is a need to align intention and commitment with the truth of what you are truly capable of achieving. Return can come after false starts with the sole purpose of showing you what is truly important to you. This is a time when you have a fresh start to proceed more carefully. Sometimes the message can be that those who have gone may Return. The Master said: "when the Way turns back all things turn back with it. Turning back is how the Way moves. Know when to stop and you will meet with no danger."

Sand dollar in sand



the shameless

to a life

without shells.

“Thunder within the earth: the image of a turning point.” The Arousing Thunder stirs the Receptive Earth and represents a turning point or a time for Return. There may be a homecoming or a return to a past situation. Sometimes Fu is about simply returning to the core of who you are.

In virtually all cultures, solar rituals were performed during the winter solstice when the sun was believed to be reborn. As the days commenced to grow longer in the west, the ancients burned Yule logs and decorated world trees. Using celestial orbs, they celebrated the birth of the sun’s return.

The master said: “The kings of antiquity closed the passes during the winter solstice.” The birth of the new sun embodied Yang’s return to the earth and because it was new, it was weak and required nurturing. By closing the passes, people stayed indoors and businesses came to a halt, while the empire focused on nurturing the power of the newborn Yang.

Return is a recurring cycle in nature that returns all things to their beginnings. As the image of moving in the opposite direction or retracing a path, events lead you back to your authenticity.

The master said: “When one does nothing at all, nothing is undone.” Although you may not appear to be moving forward, “progress is often marked by a slow return to original sincerity.”

“Return shows the stem of character.” After your flowering, you turn inward to regenerate. The stem of character is made stronger by recognizing your connection to what unfolds. When you own your condition, constant rejection reflects your inability to commit. Obstruction 'out there' always reveals the closed door ‘in here.’ If you are contemplating leaving, everything seems to validate why you should go. To break the chain of cause and effect requires that you explore the beliefs that you live by. This is the essence of Return.

Adversity has a way of shaving away illusions that no longer serve you. Let go and return to sincerity to prepare for your flowering. You may need to re-visit a past situation to see it in a new light.

“Composure straightens out one’s inner life; righteousness will square one’s external life.” Circumstances reflect what emanates from your center. Like the birth of the new sun, return is an opportunity to begin anew. After a period of struggle or darkness, Return ensures that things can only get brighter.


Without looking out the window = one sees the whole world.There are patterns or cycles in your life that become apparent during a time of Return. You may be focusing on external conditions without realizing the part you play in always returning to the same place. Before seeking further information about the situation it is important to examine this pattern and how it may be at play. In a relationship, rejection can be the result of your own fear of intimacy. Failure can be the result of your lack of commitment. There is a sense that nothing is happening but the cycle is moving from the darkest point to a transition of increasing light or clarity. Unchanging, Fu can throw you back upon your own motives. If you are examining a new direction, explore how it relates to the cycles you have always known. Look for that part of you that has remained unchanged over time and explore your original sincerity. You may need to transform it if it is no longer serving you, or hold to it if you can validate its importance in leading you toward fulfillment. If your question is about the return of something or someone, this is often affirmative

Line 1:

Return from a short distance, no remorse = great good fortune. Changes to (2) Receptive. You realize that a path was not correct and return. Your decision has consequences for others who might be expecting you to continue in a different direction. You need to follow your own insight and not just blindly follow others which will lead to good fortune.

Line 2:

Quiet return = good fortune. Changes to (19) Approach. You realize that returning is the proper course and have no need to seek advice from others although you remain sensitive to their views. By remaining humble during a quiet comeback after a time of adversity, your virtue and tenacity are recognized. It won’t be an easy path of Return but you will succeed. The return to success after a period of heavy defeat is the only way to self mastery. Others will seek your counsel because of your experience.

Line 3:

Repeated return, danger = no blame. Changes to (36) Brightness Hiding. You return because of a crisis and while it may take a few attempts to finally settle, your decision is correct. Following your own insight is not always the popular way but keeps you deeply connected to your Tao. How can this be wrong? Keeping your intentions to yourself minimizes any danger or opposition.

Line 4:

Walking in the midst of others = one returns alone. Changes to (51) Shocking. It is a difficult decision to go your own way, even when it means abandoning friends. Even if you choose to ignore the need to return to a path of real fulfillment events may lead you there anyway. Shocking can describe unexpected events that alter your course for the better.

Line 5:

Noble hearted return = no remorse. Changes to (3) Difficult Beginnings. There is nothing keeping you from seeing that the proper course is to acknowledge a turning point and to return. There are no mistakes in life even in Difficult times. Sometimes we need to see what we don’t want or can’t have in order to find ourselves where we need to be. You return holding your head up knowing it is the correct path.

Line 6:

Missing the return, misfortune = misfortune from within and without. Changes to (27) Nourishing Vision. Defiantly seeking an objective only gets one lost. This is a lesson of knowing when to act and when to Return to the truth. Being in denial and believing an opportunity exists when it doesn’t leads to humiliation so examine your motives. The opportunity for Return was missed and there is nothing to do but learn from your mistake.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 24 unchanging Hexagram 24.1 Hexagram 24.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 24.2 Hexagram 24.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 24.3 Hexagram 24.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 24.4 Hexagram 24.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 24.5 Hexagram 24.5.6 Hexagram 24.6