Nine in the fifth place means:
A withered poplar puts forth flowers.
An older woman takes a husband.
No blame. No praise.
A withered poplar that flowers exhausts its energies thereby and only hastens its end. An older woman may marry once more, but no renewal takes place. Everything remains barren. Thus, though all the amenities are observed, the net result is only the anomaly of the situation.
Applied to politics, the metaphor means that if in times of insecurity we give up alliance with those below us and keep up only the relationships we have with people of higher rank, an unstable situation is created.
Translator of this version of the I Ching is Richard Wilhelm. If you missed any posts in this series, please utilize the I Ching label below.