Nine at the top means:
Making progress with the horns is permissible
Only for the purpose of punishing one's own city.
To be conscious of danger brings good fortune.
Perseverance brings humiliation.
Making progress with lowered horns-i.e., acting on the offensive-is permissible, in times like those referred to here, only in dealing with the mistakes of one's own people. Even then we must bear in mind that proceeding on the offensive may always be dangerous. In this way we avoid the mistakes that otherwise threaten, and succeed in what we set out to do. On the other hand, perseverance in such over energetic behavior, especially toward persons with whom there is no close connection, will lead to humiliation.
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.