62 Xiao3 Guo4 小過

The lower: Gen (keeping still, the mountain). The upper: Zhen (to move, thunder).

Xiao Guo: a little excess (i.e. slightly over-compensating for oversteps), or femininity in excess (i.e. the small feminine out-numbers the large masculine; both them must keep a low profile).






One who possesses sincerity and trust will definitely move forward in carrying out the assigned mission of the I Ching; therefore Xiao Guo is granted. xiao3 (little) guo4 (pass or excess) means a little excess since it has just passed the middle, Zhong () of Zhong Fu, and slightly exceeded the principle of moderation. Therefore a person who possesses sincerity and trust will overdo it slightly when correcting oversteps. Xiao (small) Guo (fault or mistake) can be interpreted as a small mistake as well. Xiao Guo is the changing hexagram of Zhong Fu (61); Xiao Guo signifies excess, i.e. over the middle, while Zhong Fu is sincerity and trust in perfect balance.

Hexagram Xiao Guo is composed of four feminine lines and two masculine lines; the feminine is regarded as small, while the masculine is large. Thus Xiao Guo is also signified as the small exceeding the large. 

Hexagram Xiao Guo possesses the image of a flying bird with two feminine lines on either side as wings, and the two masculine lines in the middle as the body. Xiao Guo comes after Zhong Fu (61) and appears as its changing hexagram, signifying that after incubation it becomes a bird. The fledging bird needs to practice flying, at a low height since it will make some small mistakes before it can fly high and freely in the sky. Therefore, in the time of Xiao Guo it is suited to undertake small tasks rather than a great mission.

The inner hexagram of Xiao Guo is Da Guo (28), large excess, where a ridgepole bends, risking breakage. This signifies that it must be corrected in a slightly excess manner so as to ()change back to Zhong Fu (61).


Text: 小過利貞(permit)(small)(affair)(not)可大(large)飛鳥(flying bird)(leave behind)(third person, possessive case, but not literally translated)(sound)不宜(appropriate)(ascend)宜下(descend)大吉

Xiao Guo (a little excess): It can attain smooth progress; it is appropriate (or advantageous) to persist.  It allows for doing small tasks, but doesn't permit undertaking a great mission.  The cry left behind a flying bird; it is not appropriate for ascending but rather descending, which is of great auspiciousness.

Commentary on the text: Xiao Guo (a little excess): It signifies that the small one exceeds the big one but it will progress smoothly.  To exceed the principle of moderation is instrumental to persist in returning to what is righteous, but which requires proceeding in accordance with time.  Those of tenderness (lines 2 and 5) attain the core position of the lower and the upper trigram; thus to take on small tasks is auspicious.  Those of rigidity (lines 3 and 4) lose their positions at the core and don't possess the principle of moderation; therefore it doesn't permit undertaking a great mission.  It is an image of a flying bird.  The cry left behind a flying bird; it is not appropriate for ascending but rather descending, which is of great auspiciousness.  it will confront adversity if it ascends but smooth progress if it descends.

Text explanation:

Exceeding (hexagram Zhong Fu) a little bit signifies that the principle of moderation can be slightly overdone if it is to correct femininity exceeding masculinity; the correction allows their interplay to progress smoothly once they are back on the right track. A mistake is corrected through minimal use of excess, facilitating a return to the righteous. It is appropriate or advantageous to persist, keeping in mind that a little excess mainly refers to small issues rather than important undertakings. Small issues are what people confront in their daily lives, while important undertakings refer to what will deeply influence the future, which must be carried out with great care.

From the structure of Xiao Guo, the feminine lines 2 and 5 at the core positions (of the upper and lower trigrams) are small and tender; therefore to take on the small, i.e. a small task, is auspicious. On the other hand, masculine lines 3 and 4, the large, strong and firm, do not remain at the core position to possess the principle of moderation; therefore Xiao Guo doesn't permit undertaking a great mission. 

Once the cry of a flying bird is heard, the bird has passed, which is a paraphrase for a little excess. When a fledging bird practices flying, it is appropriate to descend rather than ascend. In times of femininity exceeding masculinity, it is best for a gentleman to stay low, i.e. to keep a low profile; ascending is the direction of adversity while descending is smoother.

Commentary on the image: On the top of the mountain there is thunder: Xiao Guo.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, behaves in a manner slightly over-reverential, slightly over-lamenting in mourning, and slightly over-frugal in expenditures.

The lower trigram Gen is the mountain, and the upper trigram Zhen is thunder; thunder over the mountain signifies that it clears the mountain but is still far from the heights where thunder should be. In accordance with which a gentleman behaves with a little excess reverence in order to avoid pride, a little excess lamentation at a funeral to avoid indifference, and a little excess frugality to avoid extravagance.


Xiao Guo signifies that the small exceeds the large and occupy the dominant position; therefore it only permits undertaking a small task rather than a large one. It also suggests that people should maintain a low profile which will be greatly auspicious. Xiao Guo also signifies that it can slightly overdo correcting to balance wrongdoings. Things will progress smoothly once they are pushed back on the right track. It is advantageous or appropriate to persist.

Xiao Guo doesn't have the virtue of origination, but those of smooth progress, as well as advantage and persistence in the form of persistence bringing forth benefit. With no motivation and momentum, it only permits undertaking small tasks.

Hexagram Zhong Fu (61) represents incubation (of an egg), which indicates a formative or learning stage. Xiao Guo represents practice (the flying of a fledging bird). Once sincerity and trust are carried out through the principle of moderation in Zhong Fu, it is put into practice in Xiao Guo. It is instrumental to establish a perfect relationship between the masculine and feminine in hexagram Ji Ji (63).






When femininity exceeds masculinity, the masculine must maintain a low profile and adapt itself to the unfavourable state. Owing to a little excess as specified, the feminine must also restrain itself from excessiveness. After the masculine and feminine learn how to moderate their behaviour, they will live in harmony and peace in the next hexagram Ji Ji (63).


The 1st line

Text: 飛鳥(thereby)

A flying bird will meet with misfortune.

Text explanation:

When a fledgling practices flying, it had better fly low, not high; that way it can avoid being hurt if it makes a small mistake.

Line 1 at the wing’s position is in correlation with line 4, the representative line of the upper trigram Zhen (to move), signifying that it tends to fly upward along the timeline to exceed the masculine line 4. Should it fly to position 4, the inner lower trigram would become Kan (the abyss, water), peril, where it would ride on the masculine line 3, the representative line of Kan.



Commentary on the image: A flying bird will meet with misfortune; nothing can help.

Although femininity is in a state of exceeding masculinity, overtaking masculine line 4 will cause it to fly too high – beyond “a little” excess. This signifies that the excess of Xiao Guo has a permissible range.

Enlightenment through six one: undertake what is within the designated range; don't aim too high for what is out of reach. In times of a little excess, one must not give in to the grandiose. It will definitely be ominous if one overdoes it, like a fledgling flying high. If this line is activated in this way, it will end up as masculine and the hexagram will appear as Feng (55), a grand and abundant state, where those below are barred, like the eclipsed sun, when seeking to reach Feng along the timeline.


The 2nd line

Text: (exceed)其祖(meet)其妣不及其君(king)遇其臣无咎

The subject is permitted to exceed the grandfather (), but meet the mother ().  It should not reach the king, but meet the courtier.  This is of no fault (or calamity).

Text explanation:

Line 1 is taken for the grandfather, while line 3 is the mother. Line 2 overtakes line 1, the grandfather, but meets line 3, the mother (as it is approaching line 3). Line 5 is the king and line 3, the courtier. Line 2 doesn't reach the king at position 5 (as there is no correlation), but meets the courtier, line 3. zu3 means the grandfather who walks too slowly for ordinary people behind to keep pace. bi3 is the mother; it is commonly signified as the deceased mother but it originally meant mother.



To overtake (to exceed), to catch up with (to meet) and to walk behind (to not reach) are in accordance with protocol when people of different rank walk together. To overtake the grandfather but meet the mother signifies that one can exceed a little bit while undertaking a task in private life. However one shouldn't exceed where a public issue or significant mission is concerned, akin to not reaching the king but meeting the courtier instead. Grandfather and mother refer here to private relationships, while monarch and subject refer to public ones.

Line 2 is a feminine axle centre at its right position, signifying that it acts moderately and righteously (in effecting a little excess). Even in an era when the feminine is designated to exceed, it won’t misbehave; therefore it can be free from fault or calamity.

Commentary on the image: Line 2 should not reach the king, which is because the courtier cannot exceed the king.

The courtier cannot overtake the king, signifying that in addition to the permissible range mentioned for line 1, excess is also limited for the subject which permits it.

Enlightenment through six two: do the right thing, according to the subject. To overtake the grandfather but remain parallel to the mother, and to walk together with the courtier behind the king signifies that one can exceed a little bit in private life, or for small tasks, but not in the public, or large arenas. In the time of Xiao Guo, even if a little excess is permitted, it still depends on the nature of the undertaking. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Heng (32), to endure, wherein necessary adjustments (according to the situation) are required to support the everlasting.


The 3rd line

Text: (not)過防(defend)(it)(follow)(or)(slain)

The subject should not exceed the feminine (or in rigidity) but rather defend itself against the feminine; it ought to follow the feminine or the feminine will slain it, which is an ominous omen.

Text explanation:

Masculine line 3 exceeds feminine line 2, and arrives at the place of masculine (i.e. its rigidity is excessive) and at the position where it exceeds the middle of the lower trigram (i.e. the principle of moderation), signifying it becomes radical. 

It is in correlation with line 6 and sustained by line 2, like following the feminine as well as being approached by the feminine. In the time of feminine exceeding masculine, the masculine should keep a low profile and defend itself at its position. If it doesn't bide its time but exchanges positions with line 6, i.e. overtakes line 6 and exceeds all the feminine lines, there is a good chance that it would be replaced by line 2, i.e. slain by the feminine. As a result, the hexagram would become Xie (40), where peril exists everywhere as a hawk perching on the high wall is going to launch an attack, and where it must solve the crisis caused by its improper ambition.




Commentary on the image: Line 3 should follow or it will be slain.  Besides misfortune, what else could it be?

Even though the masculine line 3 reaches the top of hexagram Jin (35), the feminine lines here have already ascended along the timeline to the king's position and attained the dominant power.

Therefore, either it must submit to the feminine, or it will be slain by the feminine.

Enlightenment through nine three: to live with the unfavourable situation and take precautions against danger. In a time of femininity exceeding masculinity, like evil power getting a vantage point, one should maintain a low profile and protect oneself. To flaunt one's strength is ominous. This line will end up as feminine if it ignores the advice and acts wilfully, and the hexagram will appear in the form of Yu (16), to take precautions against calamity.


The 4th line

Text: 无咎弗過遇之(go forward)厲必(must)(abstain from or take precaution against)(not)(act)(forever)

There must be no calamity (or fault)The subject should not exceed the feminine (or in rigidity) but rather meet it; to go forward is stern and cruel and must be forbidden (or, it must remain vigilant)Do not act but persist forever.

Text explanation:

Line 4 stays beneath feminine line 5. Although it is ridden by line 5, like the masculine being harassed by the feminine, this should be taken for granted in the time of femininity exceeding masculinity. It is the masculine in the place of feminine signifying that it isn't that rigid. It is in correlation with line 1 as well as stays at a position for resting; therefore it is aware that it has already exceeded the feminine (line 1) and won’t rashly advance (in exceeding line 5) but remain still with a low profile, despite the masculine tending to move. It must stay alert like the courtier serving the king, line 5; not exceeding it, but meeting it, which must be maintained over a long time.

Should it go forth in exchanging positions with line 5, the inner upper trigram would become Kan (the abyss, water), peril; then it would be in a stern and cruel state.



Commentary on the image: Line 4 should not exceed the feminine (or in rigidity) but rather meet it, as the position where it stays is inappropriate to it; to go forward is stern and cruel, which must be forbidden (or, it must remain vigilant), as going forward cannot last long.

Enlightenment through nine four: to stay put and keep a low profile. Avoiding fault or calamity is the first priority. One shouldn't exceed but rather meet the one above (or, what one is assigned to) with a low profile; it is stern and cruel to do anything beyond this. One must remain vigilant, taking no action and persisting for a long time. In addition to well behaving oneself, one must always remain humble as hexagram Qian1 (15) forms even when this line finally appears as feminine.


The 5th line

Text: 密雲(dense cloud)(not)(rain)(from)(my)西郊(western border)(the duke)(retrievable arrow)(catch)(him)(in)(cave)

Dense clouds but it doesn’t rain, the clouds are coming from my border in the west.  With a retrievable arrow the duke intends to catch him in the cave.

Text explanation:

Dense clouds but no rain mean that nothing has been achieved yet, one still needs to wait. A retrievable arrow has a cord, by which prey can be collected after it is shot in a cave.

According to Chinese geography, the west is a dry area; therefore clouds coming from the west gather but don't deliver rain. Line 5 represents the inner upper trigram Dui (joy, the marsh) which is in the west. Rain is created through the interaction of masculine and feminine, but the feminine line 5 has no masculine correlate.



Line 5 is the duke, while line 2 is him. The lower trigram Gen is the mountain; line 2 is in a cave as it is the representative line of the inner lower trigram Xun (to enter, the wind). Line 5 has no correlation with line 2; therefore line 2 won't be caught at this time.



Line 5, at the king’s position (which here might refer to that of Duke Ji Chang), is anxious to achieve something; however he still lacks support from those below like the western clouds needing the moist air from the east.

Commentary on the image: Dense clouds but it doesn’t rain; it (i.e. line 5, like the clouds) already stays above.

In the time of Xiao Guo, it is appropriate to fly low rather than high, and to undertake a small task rather than a big one. Line 5 remains high and has no correlate below, signifying it is in a state of adversity where it is not possible to achieve the great things the duke might want.

Enlightenment through six five: 1) to accommodate oneself to those below, or 2) to act according to the time or what is right. Dense clouds are gathering but it doesn’t rain, signifying that nothing has been achieved yet as it lacks the cold wind, i.e. support from those below. Due to the achievement having not yet been realised, the retrievable arrow can secure nothing for the time being. The hexagram that appears when this line changes to masculine and correlates with line 2 is Xian (31), telepathy between the male and the female, which will leads to substantial relationship. Once the masculine line 5 descends humbly to, and exchanges positions with line 2, the one below, it rains as masculine and feminine mate, and the hexagram becomes Heng (32), where an everlasting relationship like marriage is built.


The 6th line  

Text: 弗遇過之(it, i.e. the norm)飛鳥離之(it, i.e. itself or the norm)是謂(so-called)(natural disaster)(self-made calamity)

The subject does not meet the norm of Xiao Guo but exceeds it; a flying bird Li () itself (i.e. traps itself in a net, or departs from the norm), which is an ominous omen; this is a so-called natural disaster and self-made calamity.

Text explanation:

Line 6 reaches the upper extremity of hexagram Xiao Gu, where its norm starts to change. It is at the wing's position of a bird and the top of the upper trigram Zhen (to move); therefore it tends to fly higher and higher instead of a little exceeding (the masculine at the middle position). If line 6 is activated changing to masculine and then becomes more active, the upper trigram will appear in the form of Li (clinging, fire) which here is seen as a net; then the bird is caught, which is ominous. It should follow the norm, and the correlation with line 3, to fly low; in this way the upper trigram will become Li (clinging, fire) and it will fly outside the net. li2 signifies departure, and is also the name of trigram Li.



For the bird of Xiao Guo, it will be in a state of adversity by ascending, while descending will be smoother. It is already in adversity when it stays high; instead of descending it flies higher, which is the cause of the self-made calamity.

Commentary on the image: Line 6 does not to meet but exceeds, as it is already haughty (or at an extremity).

The feminine Kun1 (hexagram 2) follows the masculine Qian2 (hexagram 1) stepping onto the stage of the I Ching as an adherent and assistant. In times of femininity exceeding masculinity, the feminine must learn how to avoid over-doing it in order to live with the masculine which was originally designated to perform. If it manages to do this, it can fly back to a happy ending at hexagram Ji Ji (63).

Enlightenment through six six: an upset will follow from over-excess. A flying bird stays high, signifying that it doesn’t conform to the norm of Xiao Guo. If it intends to fly higher, it will be caught in a net. This is both the natural disaster and self-made calamity. Even though the bird has matured and can fly high, it still has to abide by the norm of a little excess. The hexagram that forms after this line is activated and changes to masculine is Lu (56), to journey (in adversity), because it can’t land at the next hexagram Ji Ji when it is flying higher and higher.