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I Ching Hexagram 33: 遯 “Retreat” – Tun

What Is I Ching Hexagram 33: 遯 “Retreat” ?

Tun is the Chinese name of the I Ching Hexagram 33. With inner and outer trigrams forming heaven over mountain, this Hexagram is called ‘retreat’ or alternatively named ‘retiring’ or ‘yielding’.

Hexagram 33 symbolizes the need to temporary step back from a situation in order to rethink the conflict. When a solution cannot be found to a conflict or difficult situation, then it is time to step back and relook at the problem before stepping back in.

Interpretation & Meaning of IChing Hexagram 33: 遯 "Retreat" - Tun

Interpretation & Meaning of Hexagram 33:

Hexagram 33 shows that it is not a sign of weakness to retreat for the moment, but instead formulate a plan that will have more strength and effect. If there is a current conflict in a relationship, stepping away allows time for the anger to cool down before being able to communicate effectively.

In the business setting, if compromise is needed in order to continue progress, then take a moment to rethink a strategy before finishing a business deal. Rushing into a situation without proper planning can lead to further problems.

I Ching Hexagram 33 – Personal Goals:

At the time of retreating from a destructive situation, make sure at one point you return to the issue in order to bring an end to the troubling matter. Leaving a problem to run ramped will only make the situation worse.

It is impossible to move on from a difficult issue if it is not dealt with properly. This means that spending too much time focusing on the proper strategy can lead to a worse problem that may not be able to close as quickly as thought of originally.

I Ching Hexagram 33 – Love:

Conflict is bound to arise in a relationship from time to time. There is not constant peace with those we love and we are forced to communicate with our partners in order to settle either a difference or an equal difficult time. It is tempting to fight with a partner when you feel your part of the discussion holds the most truth.

Anger can over take the mind and make it harder to think clearly in order to find a solution. When realizing that an answer is nowhere in sight, take the time to step away from the conflict and leave the area if needed. This is not a sign of weakness.

But it is determination to find a solution before the relationship is destroyed. More often than not, the conflict is cooled down by the time both partners come back together to discuss the matter and resolution is found quicker.

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I Ching Hexagram 33 – Career & Business:

When negotiating at work and trying to compromise in order to continue working, it can become difficult to find the correct path of action when there are two completely different ideas on the table. It is at this time that a new strategy can be composed in order to close a deal or put into place a new working order.

It is not wise to find a quick compromise just because it is easier. Instead take the time to find the best solution to the problem and see how this joining can best benefit the business. Again there is no weakness in asking for more time to see what fits best for your business.


RETREAT. Success.
In what is small, perseverance furthers.


Mountain under heaven: the image of RETREAT.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance,
Not angrily but with reserve.


Hexagram 33 is a great reminder that ever progression to success calls for a break, especially when dealing with a challenging situation. Stepping back to formulate a plan or to allow a conflict to cool down is a way to strengthen an individual’s position.

Though pausing for a moment to review the situation is not a form of weakness, completely dismissing the conflict without finding a solution is. This will only lead to further conflict and ultimately a standstill in progression.

The 64 Hexagrams

1乾 Force Ch’ien2坤 Field K’un
3屯 Difficult in the Beginning Chun4蒙 Youthful Folly Meng
5需 Waiting Hsu6訟 Conflict Sung
7師 Integrity Shih8比 Holding Together Pi
9小畜 Attention To Detail Hsiao Ch’u10履 Correct Conduct Lu
11泰 Peace T’ai12否 Stagnation P’i
13同人 Fellowship T’ung Jen14大有 Abundance Ta Yu
15謙 Humbling Ch’ien16豫 Enthusiasm Yu
17隨 Following Sui18蠱 Correcting Ku
19臨 Nearing Lin20觀 Observation Kuan
21噬嗑 Biting Through Shih Ho22賁 Grace Pi
23剝 Splitting Apart Po24復 Returning Fu
25無妄 Innocence Wu Wang26大畜 Great Accumulating Ta Ch’u
27頤 Nourishment I28大過 Preponderance of the Great Ta Kuo
29坎The Abysmal K’an30離Radiance Li
31咸Courtship Hsien32恆Constancy Heng
33遯 Retreat Tun34大壯 Great Invigorating Ta Chuang
35晉 Progress Chin36明夷 Darkening of the Light Ming I
37家人 The Family Chai Jen38睽 Opposition K’uei
39蹇 Obstruction Chien40解 Deliverance Hsieh
41損 Decrease Sun42益 Increase I
43夬 Displacement Kuai44姤 Coming to Meet Kou
45萃 Gathering Together Ts’ui46升 Ascending Sheng
47困 Exhaustion K’un48井 The Well Ching
49革 Revolution Ko50鼎 The Cauldron Ting
51震 The Arousing Chen52艮 Stilling Ken
53漸 Gradual Progress Chien54歸 妹 The Marrying Maiden Kuei Mei
55豐 Abundance Feng56旅 The Wanderer Lu
57巽 Ground Sun58兌 Open Tui
59渙 Dispersion Huan60節 Limitation Chieh
61中孚 Center Returning Chung Fu62小 過 Small Surpassing Hsaio Kup
63既 濟 After Completion Chi Chi64未 濟 Before Completion Wei Chi
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