The Eight Trigram
The 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.
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.
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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.
Mountain is stationery, motionless
Youngest son & youth
Obstacles leading to deadlock, resting & static.
Late Winter or early Spring
Thunder is energy & movement
Eldest son & youth
Time of expansion.Ne w ventures, new job suggested. A new beginning
Wind stirs the air penetrates everywhere & travel distances even to remote places
Growth, continous toil, purity,comple tness or indecison
Between late spring & early summer
Lightning symbolises the sun & fire
Middle daughter, middle age, wise & intelligent person
Brightness, brilliance or disasters such as fires, separation or dryness.
Earth is gentle & unyielding like a mother
Mother, old lady, wives, workers
Poor, inferior & lowly yet receptive, humble, peaceful work is done
Late summer, early autumn, ripening season
The marsh, a low lying place, insufficiency & inadequacy
Youngest daughter, young girls
Joy, excessive pleasure, reflection, inducement, ruin & defects
Heaven which is lofty, noble & firm
Creative, strong, active, continously on the move or time to make decisive decisons
Late autumn or early winter