I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

16: Enthusiasm


Enormous creative energy is unleashed by enthusiasm. This energy is like powerful music that inspires great numbers of people, loosening old constraints and sprouting new opportunities. The power of enthusiasm is best symbolized by music and dance. It is guided more by the heart than the head. Great good fortune can follow when the leader of an enthusiastic group is a person of strong character, one who is able to guide this positive force toward a favorable destination.

Enthusiasm, in a personal relationship or in a group, generates a special kind of electricity. When the crowd at a music festival is charged up, the singers scale new heights, and life becomes its own reward. Who is not in awe of thunder? And who would fail to fill his or her lungs in the aftermath of a cleansing rain?

Arouse the passionate support of others, while adjusting your ideas and plans to suit their needs. In this way you can fill your sails with the mighty wind of popular support.

To arouse others, redouble your dedication, and dare to create an environment that is free of tension. Take joy in your work. In your own way, harness the power of song and dance.



Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Self-consciously flaunting enthusiasm brings misfortune. Those around you need to ignite their own flames. Turning up the jets on your burners will not help if those around you are out of fuel. If others cannot keep up, you may have to slow the pace. But if your associates have fuel but no fire, your selfless focus on the work at hand can serve as the flint that ignites their enthusiasm. A sense of unity is called forth and can result.

Line 2

When waves of enthusiasm take over a group, the wise man watches for small signs, and tries to view the world free of illusion. When the first signs of misfortune appear, he withdraws quickly, not waiting even until the end of the day. In this way he advances his own position, while serving the interests of the group. Clear-headedness is vital in times of excitement.

Line 3

As the saying goes, “She who hesitates is lost.” In this situation, hesitation would bring regret. The right moment for seizing an opportunity or approaching a benefactor needs to be selected carefully, but when that time comes, action needs to be taken immediately. Giving your allegiance to a worthy cause or leader may be appropriate, if such a move would further your interests. Seize the day or watch your chances disappear. Rather than looking to some outside force, do your best to advance through personal effort.

Line 4

Great works spring from those able to awaken enthusiasm in others through their self-confidence and decisiveness. A person without doubts, and who is sincere, attracts others naturally. The power of such a person is enhanced by sharing that power and responsibility with others. As a result, others are willing to return cooperation and become trustworthy allies and supporters.

Line 5

If enthusiasm is blocked, you may be experiencing pressure and some sort of psychological suffocation. In such a context, if you feel restricted, bogged down, or lacking in the ability to express your ideas or put them into effect, do not worry. It is this exact situation that will prevent you from wasting your energies and help keep you alive. Try to view the current situation as an advantage.

Line 6 (top line)

Even if enthusiasm is misguided at this time, it’s not a big problem. Everyone suffers delusions from time to time. The bigger problem is an inability to dream at all. The sober realization that a false dream has run its course can, in itself, be a sign of a fresh beginning. For those with chronic enthusiasm, it’s essential to be able to separate the dreamer from the dream.