Hexagram #12 of the I Ching is called “Obstruction” or “Stagnation”. It follows from the previous hexagram by reversing the order of the trigrams. Now Heaven is on top and Earth is on bottom. The motion of this hexagram is that Heaven will want to pull up and Earth will want to pull down, meaning that these two trigrams are wanting to move away from each other, rather than towards each other. This is not a beneficial movement, and therefore this hexagram is not a positive one.
Obstruction points to a time when communication is blocked, and the influence of people who only think of their own advantage is dominant. There is nothing advantageous about this time and any attempts to try and act will be met with misfortune. The hexagram counsels a withdrawal during this time, and to wait for change to take its inevitable course and bring about a more advantageous time to act.
The nuclear hexagram is #53, Gradual Advancing, which says that if you accept the time as it is now, you can gradually advance towards your goal.
The changing lines speak to various responses in this time of obstruction. The first changing line says that withdrawing and going into retreat will be the best course of action for you now. The second line counsels that patience with this time of obstruction will be to your later benefit. The third line advises that if you continue towards your goal at this time, you will meet with embarrassment. The fourth line says that this is fate, and accepting it as such will bring good results in the proper time. The fifth line advises you not to fight the obstruction, and that its time will soon be over. And the sixth line counsels that the obstruction will be turned upside down and become a cause for joy.
This is a hexagram that speaks of a difficult time. Difficult times are inevitable, but can be met with the proper response.