Hexagram 33 – Cutting Your Losses


All’s fair in love and war, and for the Babe with an arsenal as powerful as the I Ching on her side, how can she lose?  I felt fairly confident as I cast my divination to ask about the state of my love life.

To be honest, I was expecting a fairly good reading.  After all, aside from a few minor glitches, things looked fairly stable on the love front, so what was I worried about?

I threw the coins.  I got Hexagram #33 – Tun.

My face paled.

The first couple of sentences forewarn, “The power of the dark is ascending.  The light retreats to security, so that the dark cannot encroach upon it.” This is ominous for the simple question of “How will my love life fare through this stormy, tempestuous time?

I was tempted, at first, to just recast the divination as many times as needed until I got the answer that I wanted to hear, but that is not how a divination works, and doing it in that fashion would only create further confusion and proffer a muddy answer which would not help me at all.  But what is a girl to do when the I Ching says to beat it, back away, disengage?

I needed to analyze the hexagram a bit further.

Hexagram 33 – Tun – Retreat – Wilhelm translation

The Judgement:
Retreat.  Success
In what is small, perseverance furthers.

Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing.  In this case, retreat is the right course, and it is through retreat that success is achieved.  But success consists in being able to carry out the retreat correctly.  Retreat is not to be confused with flight.  Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas retreat is a sign of strength.  We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we are in full possession of power and position.

The Image:
Mountain under heaven: the image of Retreat.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance, not angrily but with reserve.

The mountain rises up under heaven, but owning to its nature it finally comes to a stop.  Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the distance and remains out of reach.  This symbolizes the behavior of the superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as the inferior man comes forward.  He does not hate him, for hatred is a form of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object.  The superior mans shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve.

As far as I could tell, I had an enemy that I needed to keep an eye out for.  This enemy would be very close to my lover, and she would be within her elements at this point in time; strong and with much influence.

You must understand that the first instinct of a Babe would be to claw back.  Nobody messes with a Babe’s man.  But I was no mere Babe.  I was a Tao Babe, and Tao Babes do what Taoists do, not what Babes do.  If the I Ching said to retreat and fight another day, this was what I had to do.  I had to give the enemy her ground.  There was no choice, because it was the enemy’s favored time, as the darkness was coming down upon me.

I decided to cut my losses.  I had to conserve my energy for upcoming battles.  Now was not the time to squander my resources, so I steeled myself, took a good long drink of hot lotus tea, closed my eyes and meditated to clear myself of the cobwebs from my brain.

And then I let go.

6 thoughts on “Hexagram 33 – Cutting Your Losses

  1. What happened? Don’t leave us there. I am in exactly the same position and need to let go. It is what he wants. My heart breaks into a million pieces. How do I do this!


  2. I, also, got hexagram 33 today.. It really surprised me! 1 month ago I got hexagram 21 (biting through) and now this..How is your situation now?


  3. I am doing the same thing. Saying NO for the first time in my life to relationships because I need to do something different. I am giving myself a break from even being open to them. I am saying NO for now.


  4. I love this, thank you, I would like to do deeper into I Ching, could you recommend a good I Ching book to start with? I’m an Australian Chinese girl.


  5. Hi Jacquieds
    I started out with Richard Wilhelm’s book, not realizing it is the definitive I Ching translation. Once I dug through a good portion of it, I began collecting other I Ching books only to find that Richard’s book held the most closely aligned understanding of the I Ching as was taught by the early masters, mostly because he was also translating what the masters were telling him of their interpretation, rather than coming up, on his own, what he thought the meanings were. I recommend that you try the latest edition, with further explanations by Hellmut, of Richard’s writings. The book is titled, Understanding the I Ching, dated May 15, 1995 by Hellmut Wilhelm and Richard Wilhelm.

    Best of luck to you.

    Tao Babe

    Liked by 2 people

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