The Eight Trigram

A picture of the 8 Trigram SymbolThe lines forming these trigrams are either whole (male) or broken (female). Each trigram consists of three male or female lines; and combined in various combinations; the  trigram symbolises heaven, earth, water, fire dampness, wind thunder or mountains.Picture showing an 8 Trigram on a temple ceiling

The trigrams can be superimposed upon each other, and in this way 8 x 8 = 64 hexagrams are obtained.

These 64 hexagrams provide the essential text of the Chinese oracle-book. The 64 hexagrams covers all human conditions and occasions - a kind of inspired formula for interpreting events in the world.

According to a legend, the system  of trigrams and hexagrams was developed by Zhou-gong, the relative and political adviser of the first Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty (from c. 1050 BC). The trigrams are often to be found on the garments of Toaist priests and on the walls, ceiling and beams of Chinese temples. 

Originally, the Trigram was  considered a symbolic representation of the Family nucleus e.g. made  up of the Father, Mother, Elder Son, Middle Son, Younger Son, Elder Daughter, Middle Daughter and Younger daughter. This is still true.  In fact, the Trigram is more than this. If you look at the table below, the Trigram also represents the time and seasons. For example:  K'an represents Winter, Ken = Late Winter, Chen = Spring etc.

If you want to read more on Trigrams,Click here to go to Pakua. 

Trigram Name

Symbolizes

Person

Meaning

Direction

Season

Element

Poles

image of a trigram 

Rain drops collect into streams, river & eventually to a heavy flow into a lake or the sea

Middle son, middle aged men

Poverty, worries, sickness,  trouble, danger, risks & toil.

North

Winter

Water

Yang

image of a trigram 

Mountain is stationery, motionless

Youngest son & youth

Obstacles leading to deadlock,  resting & static.

NE

Late Winter or early Spring

Small Earth

Yang

image of a trigram 

Thunder is energy & movement

Eldest son & youth

Time of expansion.Ne w ventures, new  job suggested. A new beginning

East

Spring

Big Wood

Yang

image of a trigram 

Wind stirs the air penetrates everywhere & travel distances even to remote places

Eldest daughter

Growth, continous toil,  purity,comple tness or indecison

SE

Between late spring & early summer

Small Wood

Yin

image of a trigram 

Lightning symbolises the sun & fire

Middle daughter, middle age, wise & intelligent person

Brightness, brilliance or disasters  such as fires, separation or dryness.

South

Summer

Fire

Yin

image of a trigram 

Earth is gentle & unyielding like a mother

Mother, old lady, wives, workers

Poor, inferior & lowly yet  receptive, humble, peaceful work is done

SW

Late summer, early autumn, ripening season

Big Earth

Yin

image of a trigram 

The marsh, a low lying place, insufficiency & inadequacy

Youngest daughter, young girls

Joy, excessive pleasure,  reflection, inducement, ruin & defects

West

Autumn

Small Metal

Yin

image of a trigram 

Heaven which is lofty, noble & firm

Father

Creative, strong, active,  continously on the move or time to make decisive decisons

NW

Late autumn or early winter

Big Metal

Yang

 

 

 

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