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I ching

Ko (Molting/Revolution)

I Ching Hexagram 49
Ko (Molting/Revolution)

Action: Transform

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 44 Coming to Meet: Encounter

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 4 Youthful Folly: Try Again

Unhappiness is the first sign
that something powerful stirs within you.

A mind once stretched by a new idea
never regains its original dimension. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Reading at a Glance: Ko describes a situation that has come to a point where a revolution in thinking or action has become necessary. The Joyful Lake has a Fire burning beneath it which brings the situation to a boiling point and it transforms in the same way water can be vaporized. At the same time, Ko is the image of how animals and reptiles shed their skin in cycles. There may be nothing familiar left about the situation after it goes through Revolution. The underlying cause of Youthful Folly showed a situation where repeated attempts can transform it. However, Ko suggests that sustained effort will be futile because a complete transformation is necessary. The hidden influence of Coming to Meet can embody the fear that accompanies the change because the new path is unfamiliar. There is always some element of increased self knowledge available when the hexagram of Coming to Meet is influencing it. Molting or the changing of the skin or hide can show that you may have conformed to a situation that did not tap who you really are. As you open to the transformation, you can make your debut into authenticity. Whatever worked in the past will no longer do and you must open yourself to deep and powerful change. Unhappiness is usually viewed as a negative feeling but it is the heart sending messages about the need for change. Therefore, even while the previous type of Joy evaporates, like rain, it will return. There can be excited energy generated once you make the commitment to change. In life we don’t always know what we want until we discover what we don’t want. Ko is a hexagram purely focused on truth, authenticity and the discovery of real fulfillment.

lizard showing colors against rock

Shed your skin

in cycles

let who you are

come to skin awareness.

“The setup of a well must necessarily be revolutionized in the course of time. Hence, follows the idea of revolution. Revolution means the removal of what has become antiquated.” The Well connects you to your inner direction, although Molting is nature's sacred ceremony of renewal. Over time, the waters of the Well must flow clear to keep its contents purified.

In the old days, we used ropes and buckets, while the Well remained at the center of all social interchanges. Today, we simply turn on a faucet and barely speak to each other. Experience will always have more meaning when life revolves around the Well. Old ways of detaching from experience will no longer work and a Revolution in how you approach experience is required.

“In the landscape of spring, there is neither high nor low” because during spring, everything is in a state of becoming. Shedding the old skin allows you to express your full potential. Fear or the need to conform will keep you from natural expression; only you can know what it means to be fearlessly yourself.

As the image of an animal skin stretched on a frame, you can work the hide, or outer covering to make it pliable for use. Shedding the skin of the past, you are made ready for your debut. Molting is how animals renew their outer covering as the seasons change.

Like an animal, you can fearfully take on the appearance of the landscape through conformity to hide your real self. You have a tendency to remain faceless in a crowd, although as you molt, your individuality comes to skin awareness. During the season of rebirth, you will discover that unhappiness is the hunger pain for change: it is the first sign that something powerful is stirring within you. Where the old way of approaching experience allowed you to remain hidden, you must peel away the layers that hide your real nature.

Being self-actualized and spontaneously yourself is the only way that you can remain connected to life. When civilization held mysticism and religion above reason, the world grew dark. Turning back to appreciate the principles of nature, they circumnavigated the globe, and discovered that the world was indeed, round. The great turning always creates balance. The master said: “One is how life unites the duality of two.” Three becomes the image of an unnatural condition, and a lack of balance that generates this turning.

When you separate yourself from life, you create two ways of viewing the world. 'This is who I really am, but that is what the world expects me to be.' Somewhere in the middle of ‘this’ and ‘that,’ your real life has taken on a protective covering. To prepare for your revolution, shed your protective skin. You will discover that this is the person you were meant to be and you must cherish it.


The only constant in life is change = shed ‘that’ and embrace yourself. The situation is calling for some type of transformation even while you think it can remain the same. Clarity or truth is burning like a fire beneath the appearances of Joy that may not be fulfilling. There is much changing around you that you may not be recognizing. You may not know what to do although some change in thought or action will be necessary. Look at the situation to understand what has grown unproductive. How can determining what you don’t want lead you to discover what you do want? You may be wearing a protective covering to hide behind while your authentic nature remains unexpressed. Perhaps you are shy or afraid to be who you are? How can life celebrate your unique qualities if you keep them hidden? Metamorphosis and molting are natural occurrences, so set yourself free. You have the opportunity to create systematic change in your life but if you choose not to, circumstances beyond your control may transpire to lead you back to your authentic path.

Line 1:

Fastened and bound = in the hide of a yellow cow. Changes to (31) Influence/Wooing. Although the situation is going through a transformation, you are in the early stages and the time is not appropriate to act. Someone can be operating in fear and still in the chrysalis stage where they do not open to you. Rather than force their change, approach the situation in the way you get more bees with honey. You may need to win someone’s confidence before the change can take place.

Line 2:

On your own day you can begin a revolution = starting brings good fortune, without blame. Changes to (43) Breakthrough. The situation requires change and you are in a position to bring it about. Through careful planning and a resolute attitude you have the ability to make lasting changes. Because you know that the old way cannot endure, rocking the boat is in order. Others eventually recognize that the changes are indeed for the better.

Line 3:

Starting brings misfortune, perseverance brings danger = when talk of change occurs three times, commitment brings the trust of others. Changes to (17) Following. After convincing others that your plan for change will be beneficial, they follow your lead. Change should not be sudden or without careful planning and foresight. It may take several attempts to achieve your desire. While your first attempts may have not worked, careful communication reveals your commitment to others and brings trust. Don’t be hasty in initiating change.

Line 4:

Remorse disappears and you are believed = a change in command brings good fortune. Changes to (63) After Completion. Because the rules have changed, initially the environment can be one of mistrust or sadness. The changes have already occurred and now you must regain other’s trust. Your words are believed and any feelings of remorse, sadness or regret vanish. You may be forced to make changes even while not initially being supported. It may be that a changing situation seemed unfortunate at first but you realize it has changed for the better.

Line 5:

The great change like a tiger = even before questioning the oracle you are believed. Changes to (55) Abundance. Whatever the object of your enquiry, the changes you are contemplating will improve the situation and are supported. Because you are fearless in letting go of the old, this attitude of Abundance leads to success. It may be that the answer is so obvious that no oracle reading is necessary.

Line 6:

The best of all change like a panther while others only change their face = beginning brings misfortune but to remain persevering brings good fortune. Changes to (13) Fellowship. You are undergoing a deep transformation that others may not understand. While attempting to conform to the needs or expectations of others you lose your way. Because you persevere through change eventually success is achieved. The change in other’s faces is their expression. It doesn’t really matter what others think of you as long as you are being true to yourself.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 49 unchanging Hexagram 49.1 Hexagram 49.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 49.2 Hexagram 49.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 49.3 Hexagram 49.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 49.4 Hexagram 49.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 49.5 Hexagram 49.5.6 Hexagram 49.6