Home Ichingfortune Hexagrams Legge Hexagrams Iching reading Links

I Ching Hexagram 1 - Ch'ien / The Creative

hexagram 1
  • Above Ch'ien the Creative, Heaven
  • Below Ch'ien the Creative, Heaven


The first hexagram stands for the primal power, is light-giving, action oriented, strong, and of the masculine spirit. Consistently strong without weakness, its indispensable quality is power and positive energy. Its energy is free to roam throughout space and is therefore to be thought of as unrestricted motion. The hexagram includes also the power of time and duration. The power represented here acts on the universe and the world of men. The hexagram represents the creative activity of the male principle of God. In the human world, we see the creative activity of the holy man, sage, or of the ruler or leader of men whose example awakens and develops others higher nature.

See the James Legge translation of this hexagram.

<-Prev Next->


The Creative works sublime success, Furthering through perseverance.

Judgement Commentary

Drawing this oracle means success will come from the positive power of the universe itself. It follows from this, that ones behaviour and motivation must be correct and in accordance with those powers attributes for success to occur, hence the warning "Furthering through perseverance".

Ideas are the source of all that has yet to become real. Ch'ien, The Creative, lends form to the archetypal ideas that underlay the reality we experience. To act in accordance with these most basic of forces leads to the success augured here.

The Image

The movements of heaven are full of power. The superior man makes himself strong and untiring in pursuit of his goals.

Image Commentary

This hexagram consists of the trigram Ch'ien, being the image of heaven, doubled. The unceasing activity and duration of the heavens is the example that the superior man is to follow in his daily life and activities.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means: Hidden dragon. Do not act.

Changing only this line creates, Hexagram 44 - Kou / Coming to Meet. This line is strong but not in any position to act and so should not. When the time is more favorable then proceed but until then desist. Legge's version of this line is similar, ..."it is not the time for active doing" The resultant hexagram 44, describes how a good circumstance is starting to shows signs of turning bad, "...the principle of darkness, after having been eliminated, furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below." This is what will happen if this line decides to act when it should not.

Nine in the second place means: Dragon appearing in the field. It furthers one to see the great man.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 13 - T'ung Jen / Fellowship with Men. This lines qualities and abilities are becoming more obvious. He will soon start to have an influence. Legge sees this line much as Wilhelm does with the added concern that any influence must be virtuous. The resultant hexagram 13, Fellowship with Men, shows that this lines success will come from an association with others in pursuit of common goals. Note, common goals not personal selfish ones "True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity."

Nine in the third place means: All day long the superior man is creatively active. At nightfall his mind is still beset with cares. Danger. No blame.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 10 - Lu / Treading (conduct). This line is successful in having an influence but is wise enough not to allow pride and conceit to stain is character. Temptation must be resisted. Legge is even more insistent on the danger "The position is dangerous..." counselling the superior man be active and vigilant all the day and the night. The resultant hexagram 10, Treading (conduct), is a warning of dangerous circumstances "The situation is really difficult". One must exercise caution, be polite and good mannered else one be injured by the danger of the situation.

Nine in the fourth place means: Wavering flight over the depths. No blame.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 9 - Hsiao Chu / The Taming Power of the Small. This line has a important choice to make. Make the right choice! Legge seems to imply that we have not yet put our plans into action, instead, merely "...looking as if he were leaping up, but still in the deep..." although this is not seen as bad, merely action not completed (or even started yet) he says that if action is taken success is possible. The outcome is hexagram 9, The Taming Power of the Small, which indicates this line promises much but delivers little "Only through the small means of friendly persuasion can we exert any influence."

Nine in the fifth place means: Flying dragon in the heavens. It furthers one to see the great man.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 14 - Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure. This line has succeeded in his goals and is flying high. An augury of supreme success! Legge's comment on this changing line is "...the great man has begun his work". He adds a warning about hexagram 14, "The danger threatening such a condition arises from the pride which it is likely to engender." However the hexagram is so positive that he says everything points towards a good outcome here. The fact that the changed hexagram is Ta Yu implies success will certainly be achieved.

Nine at the top means: Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent.

Changing only this line creates Kuai / Break-through (Resoluteness). This line seems to indicate a bad outcome, however the changed hexagram indicates a situation where a big change has been successfully achieved. The warning here, being against inflated head syndrome where excess pride in ones achievements undermines them. Legge is insistent that this line is not positive, "we see its subject as the dragon exceeding the proper limits" yet the outcome is not all bad as the situation can be recovered with appropriate behaviour, "a sincere and earnest appeal for sympathy and support with a consciousness of the peril involved".

When all the lines are nines, it means: There appears a flight of dragons without heads. Good fortune.

Changing all the lines, ie all the Yang lines become Yin lines, creates I Ching Hexagram 2 - K'un / The Receptive a very positive outcome is to be expected, sublime success being the actual term used. Legge emphases that what will create success here is that one must follow the lead of others, not seek to be the leader ourselves.

See the Ichingfortune - Hexagram 1 - Ch'ien / The Creative Translation of this hexagram.