Here's What Hexagram 33 Reveals: Grace In Reticence

Here's What Hexagram 33 Reveals: Grace In Reticence

If you get this hexagram as a reading about your fortune, the I Ching suggests adopting reticence

Kamakshi Francis FernandesUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 12:47 AM IST

The Decision

There is an ebb and flow in the affairs of man as sometimes progressive forces are favoured and regressive forces are in decadency.

Superior man’s withdrawal

It is useless for him to waste resources, struggling with regressive inferior forces. He withdraws from the conflict awaiting a favourable time. This is not a cowardly retreat as he gives no corner, surrenders nothing instead consolidating his position preparing for a timely and advantageous advance. This withdrawal is timed to avoid failure and gain time to prepare.

Advance of inferior forces

“Let the inferior forces have their day; they cannot progress very far,” says the Book of Changes. Overt advances of inferior forces highlight their inadequacy as they tend to over-extend themselves giving clues for easy combat.

This shows that his withdrawal is his own intentional act while still in command of himself and not as a response to any action from opposing forces. The withdrawal is a careful assessment not a result of being beaten down.

Not until preparation is complete does he launch a genuine assault. Till then, he remains quietly out of the range of fire and in this way the inferior forces cannot use a conflict to deflect scrutiny of their own inadequacies. 

The Maxim

When he withdraws the superior man does not acknowledge success by the inferior man; he just removes himself from the fray and places himself out of reach by the inferior forces. He does not actively combat the inferior forces; he just frustrates them and allows them to stew in their own juices and he does this simply by not allowing himself to become involved.

Interpreting the lines


Be discreet and out of sight in a perilous position. Stay put, stay calm. You are exposed and vulnerable, so don’t move in any direction. Any rash movement could lead to the opposition’s advantage.

Avoid engaging with negatives like desire, fear, anger, impatience or anxiety, even if it means examining them or observing these. Disconnect with these, disown them or end up compromising with evil forces through involvement. Read Hexagram 13 for further understanding.


A yellow-ox hide is used as a metaphor that protects the subject as he or she protects their own will, purpose and decisions. The purpose being to withdraw, retreat to hold fast to higher principles one can escape a perilous danger. You can regain the lost only by transforming physical strength into mental capability. Be still, go within to find a direction, a vision which is to be held onto when revealed. Hexagram 44 leads further.


Inner rebalancing opens up paths, but afflicted and full of adversity. A withdrawal or retiring constrained by distress and peril is nerve wracking. It is lucky to acquire, feed and retain maids, helpers, consorts as it invites good fortune. Transform inferior forces to serve your higher purposes, don’t be a victim or be held back by subordinate forces. Don’t refuse help, rather proceed step by step taking help for your next decisive move. Connect further to Hexagram 12.


Retiring intentionally bestows the gift of goodness and the blessing of love which if taken with patience, good stead, and an open heart leads to good fortune. Voluntary retiring reveals great will power of the superior man as opposed to an inferior man who cannot disengage from his desires. An inferior man, a negative and petty person, with wile intentions cannot succeed even in withdrawal. Choose the good over the pleasant knowing that one needs to stand alone, notwithstanding fears of isolation or uncertainty. Process with caution. Hexagram 53 connects here.


Admirable persistence and value in the act of withdrawal is noted. Integrity in life demands withdrawal from alliances that are inferior in nature. taking away energy and attention from what no longer serves you will yield happiness and inner peace. Retreat to make good a life situation, not to make a big deal of it. Read Hexagram 56 for more.


As the weight of the burdens lightens due to the retreat, there is reason to cheer. Gifts of wealth and fertility are gained though retiring. Purse your lips knowing the value of withdrawal. Hold back your energy avoid fixing things. Start slowly as now there is a creative force within you. Hexagram 31 connects here.

(The columnist is a Naturopath and Reiki practitioner and pursues astrology as a hobby)


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