Hexagram 60 – Water over Lake – 1/17-1/21

Chieh – Limitation
Limitation – Realism – Justice .:. Codon Ring of Gaia

The hexagram Water above Lake must find balance. Too much Water in the Lake floods the boundaries of the Lake, bringing destruction. Too little Water dries out the nourishing Lake, bringing harm. Attention must be brought to the borders of the Lake to make sure there is the right amount of Water. Much like the Water level in a Lake can be limited and controlled by a dam, the same is true for the regulation of our personal energy. Too much energy in a system will burst the dam, too little and the reservoir will be depleted. We must adhere to healthy restraints and conscious Limitation to keep our energy in balance.

Limitation creates guidelines in life, directing the flow of energy. These limits should be self-directed and aimed consciously, instead of being imposed externally from one’s culture, education or authority figure.

Limitation builds pressure and directs the intensity of our pursuits. Financial thrift builds wealth, and energetic retention cultivates health. A life without guidelines leads to Chaos and loss of direction. Limitation offers the proper timing and purpose for our growth. It helps ensure the right order of events and provides the correct channel for our energy to flow. A plant only grows at the pace that will support the weight of its eventual fruit. There is a limited pace to nature’s unfolding that we would be wise to model.

In our modern culture, few have the self restraint necessary to cultivate the inner fortitude to handle their worldly gains. This is why so many who rise in wealth and power become trapped in the pursuit of these gains alone. Living without self-Limitation leads to excess. However, living with too many Limitations creates the urge to rebel. The ever-changing balance of the middle way is the goal here.

Bamboo is a living example of how Limitation creates balance in the way the plant grows in segments. There are shoots that grow rapidly, and joints that grow slowly. This allows the bamboo to grow quickly and be firm, while also being supple and able to support its weight. We are also meant to pace our growth with times of flow (shoots) and Limitation (joints). It is the energy of Limitation that makes us stronger and more flexible so that we may weather the storms of life.


The shadow of Limitation is a force that moves against evolution. It slows, stills and pauses energy. This is an energy that takes good ideas and secret dreams and grinds them to a halt. Limitation is written into human incarnation through the sacred wound, and most of our modern systems have adapted to this spirit-crushing energy. The most powerful form of limitation comes not from the outside world, but from our own limited thinking. Once the world has beaten us down, we often finish the job with our thoughts. Some people resist all Limitation and drift through life in an Unstructured manner. Others become Rigid, obsessed with rules, laws and form. Between these two extremes lies the start of the balanced path through the Gift.

There is a dual essence of polarized energies in nature: compression and expansion, yin and yang. Both of these energies are necessary, but to find a rhythm and purpose to the interchange of these energies is the challenge. Diamonds would never exist without spending long periods of time under massive pressure. The shadow has many gifts, and one is to compress all of the infinite possibilities of life into a directed, narrow focus. This is where the Gift of Realism shines. It uses the energy of Limitation to place firm boundaries around a situation, directing the energy to flow to a specific goal. By narrowing focus, the force of energy increases, like when a figure skater pulls in their arms to spin faster. Creating self-imposed Limitations directs the flow of intention and efficiency of energy. Like the banks of a river, it directs one’s energy into a vortex at just the right place at the right time, where it will be most effective in creating real change in the structures of the world. This is the archetype of magic, which uses structure and flow in balance. It realizes that all structure is in essence an illusion and as such is limitless.

At the siddhic level, the laws and rules of space, time, society, and nature are seen as illusory and become unfixed. They are able to be bent to the will of the one. The forces that have kept people downtrodden, kept dreams from being realized, kept the rich rich and the poor poor, will bend toward Justice. The dualistic pulsation of polarity will come into balance, and the laws of interaction will become undone. This will be the last siddhi to dawn, far in the future. In the meantime, the collective will of humanity must maintain guidelines of energy to cultivate Justice for the benefit of All.

Keys of the iChing .:. Jesse Chesnutt