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I ching

Sui (Following)

I Ching Hexagram 17
Sui (Following)

Action: Show by Example

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 53 Development: Flower

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 18 Decay: Remedy

If you return from the darkness with gold,
others will naturally follow.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. –Plato

Reading at a Glance: You may need to take the initiative and show the way in order to get others to follow your lead. When doing anything remember that actions speak louder than words, so recognize that you are setting an example. Joy above Thunder can be a message about stepping back to delegate. Inspire forward movement in those you lead, don’t make demands. You may receive a promotion to lead others because you have integrity and are not a threat to superiors. At the same time, don’t threaten your subordinates. This hexagram calls for Joy in leading. Ignite the passion of others to tap their seeds of genius. Don’t burst onto the scene with an agenda that may be threatening.Working on what has spoiled in Decay as the underlying cause shows that your transformation has been successful and you are recognized for what you have accomplished. Gradual Development as the hidden influence indicates patience and care when approaching the object of your enquiry. With the proper approach this is an auspicious time to connect with others who will follow your lead.

cave drawings




in your

visionary cave.

“Where there is enthusiasm, there is sure to be a following.” Observing nature as your role model, you can begin to lead others by emulating its ways. The sage who had become master of the self and the pathway was encouraged to develop “harmony in one’s larger relationship to life.” Transcending your personal journey, you are called to lead others as a pathway to growth.

The master said: “if you are a model to the empire, then the constant virtue will not be wanting. To benefit others without extracting gratitude, and to steward without exercising authority is virtue.”

Your object of enquiry may require that you take the initiative so that others believe in what you are doing enough to follow your lead.

The Arousing Thunder rests within the middle of the Joyous Lake, representing a calm withdrawal and the image of delegation. When winter gave way to spring, the electricity of the lightning was believed to withdraw into the earth to regenerate the unseen seeds below. In the image of withdrawal and retreat, it is time to cultivate the unseen talents of those that follow. Empowering those you lead, you can nurture each individual to build the strength of the group. Sui is the image of how footsteps naturally follow each other.

Sensing the appropriate time when things are in their proper place, you may leave what you have built in the hands of those that follow. “Desiring to lead the people, one must, in one’s person, follow behind them. One takes the place ahead of the people, yet causes no obstruction. That is why the empire supports the leader joyfully and never tires of doing so.” Firm like a Mountain, you can inspire and not impede. Gentle like the Wind, you can bring projects to completion by trusting others to carry forward your vision.

As a leader, you may operate from insecurity, threatened by the strengths of others; or, you can cultivate the talents of those that follow in a way that you are lifted to a higher level. Only by delegating, can you be made stronger.

The empire or enterprise will only support the leader who nurtures others in this way. You can take your place ahead without causing any obstruction behind. To lead in a way that others follow joyfully, is the sign of true leadership. “When the task is finished and the work done, the people all say, ‘it happened to us naturally.’” A leader, guided by the laws of nature will not be worn down by failing to rely on the strengths of others.

Thus, when you master something, you naturally develop a following. The message of Sui can also lead you to explore commitment. If you are having difficulty getting support for what you are doing explore your level of commitment. The universe is always manifesting your desires. The question is: is this really what you want?


There is nothing to follow = if you don’t open the door. Because of the lack of movement in the lines, following has a message more related to non action in its unchanging form. You are being asked to learn how to gain deeper insight into others. This means listening and being there to support one another. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to make a choice to follow of stay. Following your heart will leave you without blame. However, following the mind can get you into trouble. The heart is motivated by the passion that the trigrams Joy and Thunder inspire. The head can be susceptible to fear which only makes you go in circles. Take a chance and open to intimacy. At the same time the message can be: don’t be a bully but be magnetic, you will get more bees with honey. Or, don’t push – give someone time. If you are unhappy with another’s response, do nothing because this waiting period throws them back upon themselves and often brings the other to a change of heart. Finally, the question this hexagram presents is: what are you following and why? Pause and reflect. You may need to look long and hard at your motivation. The idea of others following, or you following them is at play so examine their motivation and yours. Is it real intimacy or simply an opportunity to meet each other’s basic needs for survival? Are both situations acceptable to you?

Line 1:

The situation has changed and minds have changed = impulse rising, going out of the gate. Changes to (45) Gathering Together. Adapting to a change requires new approaches that can only be explored by leaving the familiar. Allow the time to reveal itself in the changed minds of others. Be open to input. There are consequences that affect all involved. A discussion or meeting brings people together to make amends. Influence is an outer prompting while impulse is an inner sense. Allow someone the space to discover the impulse rather than attempting to influence or push.

Line 2:

Attached to the child = ignoring mature aspects. Changes to (58) Joy. In making a decision, an element of self indulgence is at play. Perhaps you are attempting to re-ignite the passion and carefree attitude of youth. Clinging to an outmoded path stems from immaturity or a lack of wisdom. You may need to connect with the child in some way to ignite passion in maturity. However, there is a danger of being influenced by inferior people. A lack of growth can occur if you follow another, but it can certainly be fun. Examine that which you follow to see if it aligns to the person you want to become.

Line 3:

Attaching to maturity = ignoring the child and following what one seeks. Changes to (49) Molting/Revolution. In making a decision, you are exploring whether or not to follow another. It seems that they can teach you something that will allow you to evolve. The logical pursuit of goals is fine as long as you can recognize the need for passion. You make a more mature decision following logic rather than fantasy. Following in this way will lead to transformation.

Line 4:

Persevering but trapped = following leads to success. Changes to (3) Difficult Beginnings. A flattering situation has trapped you. While it seemed perfectly okay to follow, you need to examine your motivation in following or another’s motivation in seeking your company. Sincere actions are fruitful. Gratification brings illusion. Be true to yourself and look at the real foundation of this situation.

Line 5:

Confidence and appreciation = all goes well. Changes to (51) Shocking. A decision needs to be made whether to follow what other’s want or to follow your intuition. A bolt out the blue type of insight or a Shocking event may have changed your attitude. Only you know what is right for you. If underappreciated, confidence grows anyway as a sudden feeling that awakens you to your real path.

Line 6:

Rewarded for wisdom = other’s cling to you. Changes to (25) Innocence. Your wisdom and conscientiousness have been recognized. After retreating from a situation you have the opportunity to return with a fresh perspective. Your willingness to help those in need is appreciated. Others seek you out because of your steadfast character and willingness to provide guidance.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 17 unchanging Hexagram 17.1 Hexagram 17.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 17.2 Hexagram 17.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 17.3 Hexagram 17.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 17.4 Hexagram 17.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 17.5 Hexagram 17.5.6 Hexagram 17.6