I Ching Hexagram 21 SHIH HO

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What is Hexagram 21?

'Biting Through' in the I Ching emphasises overcoming obstacles to truth. It advises retreating into stillness for clarity and moderation. Hexagram 21 highlights decisive action to navigate challenges, encouraging boldness and persistence. It stresses the need for firm resolve and clear understanding, advising against rash actions and focusing on goals to overcome setbacks and barriers.

Consult the I Ching 21 - hexagram 21 Biting Through

I Ching Hexagram 21 - Biting Through

Overcome obstacles that hinder expression of truth. Retreat into quietness and stillness, allowing wisdom to guide towards moderation for better clarity and objectivity.


Hexagram 21 focuses on decisive action and overcoming obstacles. Be bold and persistent to navigate through challenges.


Learn the importance of decisive action to break through barriers. Understand that firm resolve and clear understanding of the situation are crucial. Avoid rash actions, remain focused on goals, and overcome setbacks.

Line 1

Learn from mistakes to avoid compounding the severity of misfortune. Understand the importance of taking responsibility for actions and using experiences as opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

Line 2

Avoid excessive anger or negative emotions, even when dealing with a lack of integrity or departure from truth. Maintain a balanced perspective and humble attitude while correcting situations.

Line 3

Handle longstanding conflicts with understanding and forgiveness, avoiding reactive patterns and seeking peaceful resolutions. Refrain from avenging oneself to avoid further conflict and harm.

Line 4

Resist the temptation to fall back into old habits and maintain a balanced, cautious approach. Understand the role of inner thoughts in resolving difficulties and cultivate a positive mindset.

Line 5

Ensure both parties are dedicated to the good for unity to occur. Do not shield people from the consequences of their actions, and only assist those willing to correct their mistakes. Be patient and allow events to unfold naturally for the best outcomes.

Line 6

Avoid stubbornness and insistence on doing things your way to prevent humiliation and punishment. Humbly return to the path of righteousness and trust in the universe's natural order to avoid making mistakes.

Unveiling the Wisdom of Hexagram 21: A Guide to Personal Transformation

Dive into the ancient teachings of I Ching Hexagram 21, as we uncover its profound wisdom and its application to self-improvement, personal growth, enlightenment, and awakening. This exploration is not just an academic exercise but a practical guide to integrating timeless truths into our modern lives, fostering transformation and deeper understanding of our personal journeys.

Core Insights

Essence of Hexagram 21

Hexagram 21, often referred to as “Biting Through” or Shi Ho, symbolises the need for decisive action and the resolution of obstacles through determination and clarity. It represents the fundamental principles of justice, truth-seeking, and the removal of hindrances through firmness and correctness. The imagery of this hexagram, like that of biting through tough obstacles, reflects the necessity of confronting challenges directly to achieve resolution and progress.

Historical Wisdom

Throughout history, Hexagram 21 has been interpreted as guidance for addressing difficulties with resolve and moral fortitude. It is seen as a call to action for overcoming stagnation or injustice, emphasising the importance of clarity, truth, and ethical strength in resolving conflicts and removing barriers to progress.

Personal Growth and Self-Improvement

Reflective Questions

  • What challenges or obstacles in my life require a decisive and clear approach for resolution?
  • How can I cultivate the courage and moral strength to confront difficult situations with integrity and determination?
  • In what ways can I apply the principles of truth-seeking and justice to personal and professional challenges I face?

Actionable Insights

  • Identify specific challenges or conflicts in your life that need resolution, and develop a clear plan of action to address them.
  • Practice honesty and integrity in all dealings, and stand firm in your principles, especially in difficult situations.
  • Seek out resources or advice that can help you develop the clarity and strength needed to ‘bite through’ challenges effectively.

Path to Enlightenment

Mindfulness Practices

Engage in mindfulness techniques that focus on cultivating inner strength, resolve, and clarity. Practices like focused attention meditation or visualisations for overcoming obstacles can be particularly resonant with Hexagram 21.

Philosophical Reflections

Reflect on the balance between assertiveness and compassion, and the role of truth and justice in personal development. Consider how the act of ‘biting through’ obstacles contributes to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.

Awakening to Life’s Mysteries

Transformational Stories

Share stories that embody the essence of Hexagram 21. These could be personal experiences where decisive action led to significant breakthroughs, historical examples of justice prevailing, or parables that highlight the value of truth and determination.

By delving into the wisdom of Hexagram 21, we embark on a journey of facing challenges with resolve and integrity, guiding us towards personal transformation, a deeper understanding of justice, and an enlightened approach to life’s complexities.

More Information about the I Ching

Understanding the Structure of Hexagrams

Every hexagram in the I Ching, from the first hexagram to the 64th, is constructed using a combination of trigrams. These trigrams, the building blocks of every I Ching hexagram, represent different natural elements and concepts, such as wind, water, fire, and mountain. The upper trigram and lower trigram interact, giving birth to the unique energy of the hexagram. By delving into the trigrams that compose a hexagram, one can unearth its deeper meanings and implications.

The Timeless Nature of I Ching

The I Ching, often referred to as the Book of Changes or Yijing, has remained relevant due to its universal themes. While society has evolved, the essential human emotions and challenges we face remain. The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching address these timeless concerns, making it an untiring guide for introspection and growth. Whether you're contemplating the creative power of Hexagram 1 or the dynamic interplay in other hexagrams, the wisdom remains ceaseless.

The Philosophical Foundations of I Ching

The I Ching is deeply rooted in Taoist and Confucian philosophies. It's a reflection of the world's natural order, emphasising the dynamics of yin and yang. Studying the hexagrams provides insights into the ancient Chinese understanding of balance, change, and harmony in the universe.

How to Consult the I Ching

Traditionally, seekers would consult the I Ching using yarrow stalks or coins. The divinatory process, often seen as an interaction with the oracle, results in a specific hexagram. This hexagram, whether it be the light-giving Hexagram 1 or another, provides guidance tailored to the individual's query. Modern enthusiasts might also opt for a free I Ching reading online to understand their current situation better.

Incorporating I Ching Hexagram 21 into Daily Life

Hexagram 21, epitomising the act of biting through and resolving, imparts wisdom about confronting issues head-on and seeking clarity. The six lines of this hexagram emphasise the importance of decisive action in the face of obstacles. In a world where ambiguity can often cloud judgement, Hexagram 21 encourages us to seek truth, address injustices, and move forward with determination and clarity.

Incorporating I Ching into Self-Improvement and Personal Growth

The I Ching, with its intricate tapestry of hexagrams, serves as a profound compass for those on a journey of self-improvement and personal growth. Each hexagram offers insights into life's challenges and opportunities, guiding individuals to introspect, evolve, and align with the universe's natural rhythms.

Regularly consulting the I Ching offers a bridge to ancient wisdom, helping seekers tap into their inner strengths and potentials. The detailed interpretations of each hexagram, from the dynamics of its yang and yin lines to its overarching message, act as roadmaps for personal development. They shed light on one's strengths, highlight areas for growth, and provide direction in times of uncertainty.

For those dedicated to personal evolution, the I Ching is an invaluable guide. It aids in discerning the optimal paths in life, understanding relationship dynamics, and fostering a harmonious balance in all endeavours. Through its teachings, individuals are equipped to cultivate essential virtues like patience, resilience, and empathy. This not only empowers personal growth but also enables one to be a positive force in the broader world.

In today's rapidly changing world, the I Ching remains a pillar of timeless wisdom. It beckons individuals to journey inward, embrace continuous learning, and cherish the ever-evolving process of self-betterment.

Consult I Ching

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Lines Number Title Name
i ching hexagram 1 1 CH'IEN The Creative
i ching hexagram 2 2 K'UN The Receptive
i ching hexagram 3 3 CHUN Difficulty at the Beginning
i ching hexagram 4 4 MÊNG Youthful Folly
i ching hexagram 5 5 HSÜ Waiting (Nourishment)
i ching hexagram 6 6 SUNG Conflict
i ching hexagram 7 7 SHIH The Army
i ching hexagram 8 8 PI Holding Together
i ching hexagram 9 9 HSIAO CH'U The Taming Power of the Small
i ching hexagram 10 10 Treading (Conduct)
i ching hexagram 11 11 TAI Peace
i ching hexagram 12 12 P'I Standstill (Stagnation)
i ching hexagram 13 13 T'UNG JÊN Fellowship with others
i ching hexagram 14 14 TA YU Possession in Great Measure
i ching hexagram 15 15 CH'IEN Modesty
i ching hexagram 16 16 Enthusiasm
i ching hexagram 17 17 SUI Following
i ching hexagram 18 18 KU Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Decay)
i ching hexagram 19 19 LIN Approach
i ching hexagram 20 20 KUAN Contemplation
i ching hexagram 21 21 SHIH HO Biting Through
i ching hexagram 22 22 PI Grace
i ching hexagram 23 23 PO Splitting Apart
i ching hexagram 24 24 FU Return
i ching hexagram 25 25 WU WANG Innocence
i ching hexagram 26 26 TA CH'U The Taming Power of the Great
i ching hexagram 27 27 I Providing Nourishment
i ching hexagram 28 28 TA KUO Preponderance of the Great
i ching hexagram 29 29 K'AN The Abysmal (Water)
i ching hexagram 30 30 LI The Clinging Fire
i ching hexagram 31 31 HSIEN Influence
i ching hexagram 32 32 HÊNG Duration
i ching hexagram 33 33 TUN Retreat
i ching hexagram 34 34 TA CHUANG The Power of the Great
i ching hexagram 35 35 CHIN Progress
i ching hexagram 36 36 MING I Darkening of the Light
i ching hexagram 37 37 CHIA JÊN The Family
i ching hexagram 38 38 K'UEI Opposition
i ching hexagram 39 39 CHIEN Obstruction
i ching hexagram 40 40 HSIEH Deliverance
i ching hexagram 41 41 SUN Decrease
i ching hexagram 42 42 I Increase
i ching hexagram 43 43 KUAI Breakthrough (Resoluteness)
i ching hexagram 44 44 KOU Coming to Meet
i ching hexagram 45 45 TS'UI Gathering Together
i ching hexagram 46 46 SHÊNG Pushing Upward
i ching hexagram 47 47 K'UN Oppression (Exhaustion)
i ching hexagram 48 48 CHING The Well
i ching hexagram 49 49 KO Revolution
i ching hexagram 50 50 TING The Cauldron
i ching hexagram 51 51 CHÊN The Arousing (Shock)
i ching hexagram 52 52 KÊN Keeping Still
i ching hexagram 53 53 CHIEN Gradual Progress
i ching hexagram 54 54 KUEI MEI The Marrying Maiden
i ching hexagram 55 55 FÊNG Abundance
i ching hexagram 56 56 The Wanderer
i ching hexagram 57 57 SUN The Gentle
i ching hexagram 58 58 TUI The Joyous, Lake
i ching hexagram 59 59 HUAN Dispersion
i ching hexagram 60 60 CHIEH Limitation
i ching hexagram 61 61 CHUNG FU Inner Truth
i ching hexagram 62 62 HSIAO KUO Preponderance of the Small
i ching hexagram 63 63 CHI CHI After Completion
i ching hexagram 64 64 WEI CHI Before Completion
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