The Meaning of I Ching Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder

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The Meaning of I Ching Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder

The I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text that has been used for centuries to provide guidance and insights into different aspects of life. Each of the 64 hexagrams within the I Ching represents a unique combination of six stacked lines, creating a symbolic representation of a specific situation or circumstance.

In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder. Within the I Ching, Hexagram 51 is associated with the concept of sudden change and disruption. It serves as a reminder that sometimes unforeseen events or circumstances can occur, and we must be prepared to adapt and respond accordingly.

Symbolism and Structure of Hexagram 51

Hexagram 51 is composed of Thunder, represented by three solid lines stacked on top of each other, and below it is Thunder again, mirrored by three broken lines. The symbolism of Thunder suggests power and energy, while the broken lines signify vulnerability and instability.

Main Hexagram Related Hexagram
Thunder Thunder

The two Thunder trigrams in Hexagram 51 represent the notion of shock. The image evokes the suddenness and power of a thunderclap, which can startle and disrupt the immediate environment. This concept serves as a metaphor for situations in life where unexpected events or revelations shake us out of our comfort zone.

The Judgment:

Hexagram 51 includes a Judgment, which provides an overview of its meaning and guidance. The Judgment for Shock/Thunder states:

Shock brings success. Shock comes-oh oh! Laughing words-ha ha! The shock terrifies for a hundred miles, and he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.

This Judgment can be interpreted as follows:

  1. Shock brings success: Despite its disruptive nature, the shock represented by Hexagram 51 can ultimately lead to positive outcomes and achievements. It serves as a wake-up call, forcing us to reevaluate our current situation and make necessary changes.
  2. Shock comes-oh oh! Laughing words-ha ha! This line suggests that initially, the shock may be met with surprise and even laughter. However, as the reality of the situation sinks in, the impact and seriousness become apparent.
  3. The shock terrifies for a hundred miles, and he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice. This line emphasizes the profound and far-reaching effects of the shock. It highlights the need to remain composed and steadfast in the face of adversity.

The Image:

Hexagram 51 also provides an Image, which offers further insights into its meaning. The Image for Shock/Thunder states:

Thunder repeated: shock. Settling the house. Terrifying great shock. Speak with constancy and resolve the situation.

This Image can be interpreted as follows:

  1. Thunder repeated: shock. The repetition of Thunder in this line emphasizes the importance and intensity of the shock. It implies that the disruption is significant and cannot be ignored.
  2. Settling the house. This line suggests the need to regain stability and restore order in the midst of the shock. It emphasizes the importance of finding a sense of calm and balance.
  3. Terrifying great shock. This line emphasizes that the shock can be truly terrifying and overwhelming. It serves as a reminder that unexpected events can be challenging, but they also provide an opportunity for growth and transformation.
  4. Speak with constancy and resolve the situation. This line emphasizes the importance of communication and addressing the shock head-on. It encourages open and honest dialogue to resolve the situation and move forward.

Interpretation and Application:

When Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder appears in a reading, it suggests that a sudden and unexpected event or revelation is on the horizon. It serves as a warning to be prepared for significant changes and disruptions in your life or current situation.

While it may be initially challenging to navigate through the shock, this hexagram reminds us that such events can lead to personal growth and development. It is important to remain calm, adapt to the circumstances, and find ways to restore stability.

Hexagram 51 also highlights the importance of communication. During times of shock and disruption, it is essential to maintain open and honest dialogue with those around you. By doing so, you can work together to find solutions and resolve any conflicts that may arise.

Ultimately, the appearance of Hexagram 51 is a reminder that change is a natural part of life. While it may be unsettling or frightening, embracing the shock and adapting to new circumstances can lead to unexpected opportunities and personal breakthroughs.


Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder signifies sudden change and disruption within the I Ching. It serves as a reminder that unexpected events can occur, necessitating our ability to adapt and respond appropriately. When faced with shock, it is crucial to remain composed, communicate openly, and seek to restore stability. While it may be challenging in the moment, embracing the shock can lead to personal growth and positive outcomes. By understanding the symbolism and meaning of Hexagram 51, we can gain valuable insights and guidance for navigating through moments of surprise and upheaval.

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The Meaning of I Ching Hexagram 51 – Shock/Thunder