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I ching

Ting (Cauldron)

I Ching Hexagram 50
Ting (Cauldron)

Action: Refine

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 43 Determination: Breakthrough

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 3 Difficult Beginnings: Persevere

You hold the power to become the master of your existence.

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side,
which he never shows anyone. – Mark Twain

Reading at a Glance: Ting is associated with the alchemical process of transformation where the distance between spirit and ego must evaporate. On the hero’s journey to fulfill one’s destiny, you are first called into initiation. You can choose to ignore the call or follow it. Generally the initiation begins when the ego has been wounded or a path suddenly ends. Therefore, the Ting or Cauldron is often about the deeper, spiritual and more all encompassing aspects of your journey. This is a powerful hexagram with a message about fulfilling your destiny and the enormous inspiration you possess to accomplish your aims. The cooking pot can show a situation in its beginning stages such as taking a job to receive training or the early part of a relationship that is as yet undefined. The preceding hexagrams all describe change. The Well relates to access from the unconscious where its inspiration leads to the necessary change described by Molting or Revolution. The Cauldron is where the actual change is taking place so the message can be: 'give it time, something is still cooking." While the underlying cause of Difficult Beginnings suggested persevering or pushing onward toward your goal, the Cauldron is a complete rebirth and reconnection with your life path. In other words, most of the hexagrams are reflecting the mundane or daily experiences you encounter. When you receive the Cauldron, the perspective has broadened into a more omnipotent view of your life. If you are asking about work or relationships and receive the Cauldron as an answer, you can be certain that fate or karma are infusing the answer. There is enormous power in the situation. The hidden influence of Determination or Breakthrough can only work if you are on the right path. Life can seem to be pushing back against you as a way of ensuring you get where you need to be. With the proper Determination to succeed on your authentic path, success is assured. Since the Cauldron is a spiritual vessel, this hexagram can portray enormous talent, creativity or spiritual insight that you can tap. In a sense, YOU are the Cauldron and your inspiration is boundless.

native drawings on rock


Balance your basket

on the winding path.

“Nothing transforms things so much as the ting. Therefore follows the idea of a cauldron.” The ting was cast of bronze, with three legs and two carrying rings on each side. Like most cauldrons, it served as a ritual vessel where sacrifices were made.

A ritual is how you validate the unknown, unseen or unspoken through ceremony. On a mundane level, you tip your hat, shake hands, or kiss on the cheek as each culture prescribes. This leads to the habitual behavior, which becomes common within the empire; it is also the image of how the inner empire can become a wasteland.

“Inner and outer, it matters not” they cannot be separated. Famine within, will always project itself upon the outer world. When you do what is expected of you, authenticity is lost and famine grows within and without. The Cauldron asks you to approach the invisible with a sense of reverence and sacrifice. The Well is the source within, but the Cauldron reveals how this source nourishes you in the same sense as food. The work you do ‘in here’ will be powerfully reflected into events 'out there.' This is how you can become the master of your present existence.

The Gentle Wind becomes the wood used to inspire the fiery flame beneath the cauldron. Unlike the image of the Well, which uses the Wood to draw from the Abysmal Water, the Wood now gives life to and feeds the Fire of transformation. The Cauldron suggests that you are ripe for your debut.

The nuclear trigram of the Gentle Wind seeks upward penetration, while the Creative remains firm at the center. It captures the image of how you are gathered toward the center of Te, where “thirty spokes share one hub.” At its rim, you surface to call experience fortune or fate in the random turning of events. Events are not random, in that what is full becomes empty; what is still begins to stir as the Way goes round and round. Connected to Te or your authentic center, where the center of the wheel moves the least, you are no longer buffeted by outer events. You stop traveling in circles, reacting to each event, as if you are not connected to it. Everything you will ever become takes root from within. Yet, sometimes you must traverse the wasteland to resurrect your real voice.

Exploring the power of your inner drummer, you will find a meaningful pattern unfolding in daily events to exercise your growing power. The Clinging portrays how you can move toward an awareness of the synergy existing between the inner empire, and how it takes shape in the outer world. Like the incense and smoke that is burnt during spiritual offerings, the burning Fire brings the visible to meet the invisible. At the same time, approaching the invisible can shed light on the visible.

Observing experience, you may fail to see how it mirrors the unseen world within. As the seen and unseen interact, what is called fate is how life moves to unleash your real nature. You must question what you hold to be sacred, and learn to let it go. In a world of change, the idea of sacred holds little relevance.

The master said: “At dusk, the cock announces dawn; at midnight, the bright sun.” What is visible in one realm is only a portion of what remains unseen in another. Transcending the distinction between ‘in here’ and ‘out there,’ the Cauldron becomes a ritual vessel that offers you a deeper understanding of how you participate with life. It always responds to lead you back to the center of your Te.


Te is the bubbling of instinct = at the prospect of your coming-to-be-real. The spiritual associations with this hexagram describe a deep connection to your life path. In unchanging form, you may not be recognizing how profoundly life is leading you toward your destiny. At the same time, you may feel like fate allows you to just sit back to see what unfolds. The Cauldron combines enormous personal resources with the idea of destiny. This means you may need to combine Determination and action with your outlook on destiny. Your Te holds your blueprint like the image of a tree that resides within the seed. Events will unfold to peel away all protective coverings and to provide you with the nourishment that will give your destiny form. However, the seed doesn’t just sit back and hide in the earth. There is a self actualizing energy at work in all living things that pushes it toward growth and to make it strong. Examine your path and connect with your inner drummer or vision. Then take the steps necessary to place yourself out there where the sun and rain can nourish you. As the image of a boiling pot that remains unchanged, the message can also be that something is still in its ‘cooking’ phase and you need to give it time before it can nourish you.

Line 1:

A ting with legs upturned to unclog it = care of a concubine for the sake of her son, no blame. Changes to (14) Great Possessing. There is a saying about removing the ‘residue of red dust from your journey’ meaning to cleanse yourself of past experience or all things that hamper your forward movement. It is important to meet each day openly and without judgment. The ‘heir’ or result of transformational work can come from a concubine so classifications are unnecessary. As the first step toward achieving your ambitions, throw out preconceived ideas and begin with a fresh perspective. Great Possessing is a sign that your talent will be recognized.

Line 2:

There is food in the ting, my companions are afflicted but they cannot harm me = good fortune. Changes to (56) The Traveler. Whatever the object of your desire, it has merit. However, you may be surrounded by negativity or jealousy. The Traveler is the ultimate hero on a solo journey of self discovery. Follow your heart and don’t allow conformity to cast a shadow over your spirit.

Line 3:

The ting handle breaks so it can’t be moved and one is impeded = the meal is not eaten, but once rain falls, remorse evaporates. Good fortune. Changes to (64) Before Completion. You are temporarily impeded from achieving your goal because the situation requires some type of mending. Even though you have something valuable to share it is not recognized immediately. However, all things change like the rain and after some difficulty you achieve your aim.

Line 4:

The legs of the ting are broken = the prince's meal is spilled, soiling him. Misfortune. Changes to (18) Decay. This is a delicate situation requiring great care. Even with the best intentions you cannot share what you have if it is not based on a solid foundation. You are lacking in either energy, knowledge, commitment or support so without remedying what is inherently weak, doing anything can only lead to disaster. It is better to examine what has decayed in this situation and reinvigorate it or start over.

Line 5:

The ting has yellow handles and golden carrying rings = perseverance furthers. Changes to (44) Coming to Meet. Because what you have to offer is recognized as valuable and nourishing, it is well received. Others can provide critical input that might actually be important. Everything is in order for you to keep pushing forward.

Line 6:

The ting has rings of jade, great good fortune = nothing that would not act to further. Changes to (32) Duration. Beyond the trials that challenge and eventually lead to success, you show a suppleness in your outlook that combines talent with integrity. While you are able to achieve your aims, you have also stayed true to your life path. There is a valuable spiritual lesson that you have mastered.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 50 unchanging Hexagram 50.1 Hexagram 50.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 50.2 Hexagram 50.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 50.3 Hexagram 50.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 50.4 Hexagram 50.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 50.5 Hexagram 50.5.6 Hexagram 50.6