10 of Wands – Responsibility

A man is hunched forward, burdened with the weight of his load. While the ten wands he carries represent the fruit of his labour, at the moment, he feels exhaustion more than joy or satisfaction.

The suit of Wands is a story about becoming and attaining through effort and labour. Another words, its main theme is work. The lesson it teaches is that everyone must work for their own success. While food, clothing and shelter can be purchased, pride, joy, love, happiness and so many other things that makes us feel good about ourselves must come from within and cannot be given to us. As such, the only way to achieve these things is through diligent and ceaseless effort. Unlike fariy tales, our lives do not end when we ride off into the sunset on our wedding day or at the end of an epic battle where good triumphs over evil. In life, there is no ending.

Rather, the ending of one endeavour is merely the beginning of another adventure. After the wedding, the couple must continue to work on being patient, understanding and find productive ways to resolve disputes that will inevitably arise. A newfound government must work non-stop to maintain physical and social infrastructure, provide just governance and be on constant guard against corruption.

Thus, the last numbered card in this suit does not conclude with happily ever after. Instead, it is a reminder of our responsibilities, which must always go hand in hand with power and success. Responsibility can be the guiding principle of a righteous life but it can also be a heavy weight that we struggle to carry. Either way, it is not something anyone can take lightly.

We must remember that there are consequences for everything we do. Every action produces a reaction. We are responsible for all our decisions and creations. As such, we must think carefully before each commitment. Do not seek the rewards of an endeavour if we are not also able and willing to take on the responsibility that comes along with it. Setting high goals is only noble if we can prove ourselves worthy of the prize.

In addition to being responsible to others and society, we must also be responsible to and for ourselves. Before we complain about the misery of our lots in life, we must ask ourselves if we’ve done everything in our power to improve our situation. Do we spend our time, energy and resources to become the person we want to be or do we squander it away by blaming others and fate? Even if life is truly unjust, question whether the injustice is a limitation or merely an obstacle we can overcome.


Hexagram 60 – Regulation

In addition to Regulation, the title of this hexagram has been translated to Measurements and Limitations. These translations address one aspect of this hexagram, which is setting up rules and measurements to abide by but the true message of this hexagram isn’t about following rules imposed upon us. Societal rules, regardless of the soundness of their logic, are restrictions upon our freedom. For instance, most societies have laws against physical violence. While this protects us, it also means that our freedom to swing a fist in the air ends where another person’s body begins.

Rather, the type of regulation this hexagram speaks of frees us. It is like the logic of math. At first, it seems rigid and limiting because it is orderly. To each equation, there is only one answer. However, once it is understood, it becomes the foundation of our technology. It is also like rhythm. When you conform to it, you can produce endless songs and poetry. By following useful regulations, we channel our energies towards creativity instead of wasting time reinventing the wheel.

In life, we regulate ourselves by adhering to what we know to be right and wrong. Such adherence is the foundation of peace. We also regulate ourselves by balancing between miserliness and extravagence. Such balance is the foundation of gratitude.

Regulation is an art, something that comes from within and something that takes a lifetime to master. It must be developed gently, without force.

Nine on line 1:

In the beginning stages of cultivating the art of regulation, it is most important to know our limits and capabilities. It is okay and even advisable to stay within the boundaries of our comfort zone. This is a time for refrain.

Nine on line 2

The situation in line 1 is temporary. For those who intent to learn and grow, there is only so much that can be done in the comfort of one’s home. At some point, we will need to venture outside of our comfort zone to take our place in the world. There are times for retreat and times for action.

Six on line 3

To reject fair rules and social norms is selfish and irresponsible. There is no one to blame but oneself for failure caused by one’s own refusal to adhere to regulations.

Six on line 4

To peacefully adhere to regulations is to naturally abide to what is right and proper. It is not a forced effort, but a desire that comes from deep within one’s soul. Following such regulations should be rejuvenating, whereas vain struggles only sap one’s energy and joy.

Nine on line 5

To achieve the peace line 4 speaks about, the rules and measures set in place must be fair and beneficial for those it is meant to guide. Regulations designed to be just and benevolent will bring prosperity to the society that abides to them.

Six on line 6

Harsh regulations that rely on fear and punishment to enforce will not bring true transformation and growth. Forcing such rules upon others will only breed bitterness and resentment. The strictness of a rule and resulting punishment for breaking a rule should be no more severe than what the situation calls for.



Children follow rules because they are told to do so. This is obedience, but not responsibility. When one is responsible, one does not follow rules due to fear of punishment or judgement. Rather, one is driven by an innate desire because they know the difference between right and wrong, because it is the best course towards civility and peace, and because it is the path towards self-discipline, which ultimately leads to liberation.

To be able to regulate oneself in this way is the mark of maturity, the quality that separates adults from children, the wise from the ignorant, and the gracious from the petty.