Hexagram #18


Ku symbolizes inner turmoil, from physical, mental, or emotional disease.

A bowl full of insects and worms.

Omens from rotting sacrificial meats?

Fear of chronic disease? Bad ideas?

This is a drawing of a bowl filled with worms or insects. The bowl has also been drawn and (cf. hex. 42). The symbol for 'insect' has also been drawn and , and has also meant 'reptile' or 'scaly creature'. might refer to chronic diseases such as syphilis or tuberculosis, or emotional and mental problems. Such diseases were commonly attributed to the venom and urine of scorpions, Geckos, and the like that dripped into food. By extension, it refers to social or political ills. It might also refer to omens taken from a ritual that involved placing poisonous insects in a covered bowl and watching them devour each other. Perhaps it also refers to the emotional ills we inherit from our parents.


Etymological references: K1: 52, 1009a-c, 761a-d; K2: 628; M: 3475, 3475.5; W: 110d.

Chinese writing is historically based on drawings, not spoken words. These original illustrations represent the oldest forms of the Chinese characters that later became the names the Hexagrams. Please review the Sources page for an explanation of the references. The prose and verse explanations of the significance of the Hexagrams are original, and should not be mistaken for translations of I Ching text.

© 1997 Dan Stackhouse. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced without written permission.

[Previous | Index | Next] [Pagetop]