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The Trigrams were first discovered by Fu Xi in 3300 BC. They are a collection of ancient symbols, containing great wisdom and incredibly advanced knowledge

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Individually they teach us about important phenomena that affect life, collectively they show us how life works and lead to the mastery of life. Based on the Tai Chi a universal symbol of natural balance they formed the foundation for Chinese philosophy, the I Ching and Feng Shui. They are mankind's legacy provided by our ancestors to show us how to live a more naturally balanced life and their comprehension leads to an evolutionary step for the future of mankind.

Yin/Yang and Trigram formation

"In the beginning there was the one."
Lao Zi (Lao Tse) the father of Taoism

This referred to the formation of the universe and the beginning of life. We can think of this "one" as being electricity in its natural form, that is as a flow of electrons. The one is represented by a single solid line called great yang.

Great Yang

yang line

"From the one came the two"

So Lao Zi further informed us. What did this mean? Well some of these flowing electrons attracted other electrons and increased their mass and electrical charge producing matter and magnetism. The two is known as yin and represents the manifest. According to legend great yang created great yin by dividing itself and this is shown symbolically as two shorter yang lines or as its wrongly referred to as a broken line.

Great Yin

i ching

At the molecular level matter has the ability to break down and change to another element to achieve what is known as a noble state. Yang represents change and yin represents matter. As all forms of matter have a potential to change we say that all yin creates yang.

Yin and Yang and Trigram Formation

Now that greater yang has divided itself and created yin, we can further sub divide them and create lesser yang and lesser yin -

Lesser yang

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Lesser yin

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This is also depicted in this form.

yin and yang

This shows us that when yin reaches its peak, yang is born and when yang reaches its peak, yin is born. You can think of this as being night and day when one half of the world is in light the other is in darkness, it is a constant revolution. This rotation or evolution occurs on all levels from the cosmic to the microscopic. This is discussed in great detail in our correspondence course and at our school.

Yin/Yang and Trigram Formation "from the two came the three"

Here we see the formation of the 8 Trigrams or as its known in Chinese the ba Gua. All Trigrams are created from the bottom up, a bit like building a house, and as you have seen are derived from the Tai Chi symbol. So the first line is the bottom line and this is greater yang on the left with greater yin on the right. The next level has the lesser or younger levels of yin and yang and finally the top line provides the 8 Trigrams. By Looking down each of the 8 columns you can see the Trigrams. The first has a yang line in all 3 positions, the second has a yin top line and yang first and second, (even though these are shared.)

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feng shui  ba gua

tai chi

Now yang gives birth to yin and yin creates yang, its a never ending cycle. Yang in coloured black above and yin is yellow. This sequence was discovered back in BC 3300 by Fu Xi, it tells us of the natural forces in life as you will see. One of the most striking coincidences with this sequence is that it is a binary code, that's the same language that computers use, but this is over 5 000 years old!
Now that the Trigrams have been created, lets find out their secrets

Yin/Yang and Trigram Formation

"From the three came the 10 000 things"

This means that everything in our universe can be assigned and understood by one of these Trigrams. This has led to a greater comprehension of life and the universe and is the basis of Chinese philosophy. Here are just a few of the attributes assigned to each Trigram. You will find that there are 2 Trigrams that have the same lines, either all yin or all yang, the remainder have 1 line that is different from the others. This different line is called the host, by noting whether the line is yin or yang will tell you the polarity of the whole Trigram. For simplicity these host lines will be coloured red.
Trigram name Qian Dui Li Xun Zhen Kan Gen Kun
Gua feng shui feng shui feng shui feng shui feng shui feng shui feng shui feng shui
Element Metal Metal Fire Wood Wood Water Earth Earth
Direction L/H NW W S SE E N NE SW
Phenomena Heaven Marsh Fire Wind Thunder Water Mountain Earth
Family member Father Youngest daughter Middle daughter Eldest daughter Eldest son Middle son Youngest son Mother

Trigram Formation

The Pre Heaven Sequence or Xian Tian Ba Gua

feng shui ba gua

This is the formation of Trigrams produced by Fu Xi in BC 3300 It bears a striking resemblance to many ancient symbols including Sanskrit and the Native American medicine wheel. Its a perfect model of harmony and unity and displays the natural way of life on our planet. Looking at any one Trigram then following the arrow to its complete opposite provides a natural model of yin and yang. It shows us how things reach their peak and then change to their complete opposite. This concept has formed the basis of Chinese philosophy, I Ching and Feng Shui. For easy identification the Trigrams still have their hosts or Trigram leaders and this shows us the active part of the Trigram. Lets look at some Trigrams individually then see how it compares with its partner.

Qian - Heaven

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Kun - Earth

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Li - Fire

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Kan - Water

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Qian is found at the top of the pre heaven sequence because it represents the sky or heaven. It is designated as the element metal, because metal actually comes from the heavens. If you have ever done any science at school you will know that metal is formed by stars going super nova. This is where atoms are fused together, to increase their mass and change to heavier elements such as iron, gold and silver. The big bang was believed to be a super nova and this saw a star explode firing atoms across the galaxy, the result of this led to formation of our Earth.

There are three active levels within the heavens and this is why they are coloured red above. Mystically they are referred to as the trinity. Scientifically we can think of this as being the radiation we receive from the Sun and planets in our solar system, neighbouring stars, and finally the stars in the entire universe. These all have an effect on us.

Radiation from the stars penetrates to the deep core of our planet, and this is why Qian or full yang is known as the penetrating force. Kun receives this energy and is therefore known as the receptive force. This is why we find metals as ores within the planet itself. Further radiation produces heat and this has warmed our planet up significantly for life to form. In order for us to maintain a constant temperature, we must release the same amount of radiation as we receive, and this is why yin energy rises.

Of the Earths three active levels, the top line represents the atmosphere and is designated as heaven. The middles line represents a band that measures between 1 Km above and 1 Km below sea level. This is where 95% of all life on our planet lives, it is therefore designated as the man line. The bottom line represents the Earth itself and its crust is constantly moving pushing countries closer together, forming mountains and oceans in the process. All Trigrams have this designation of Heaven, Man and Earth, in Feng Shui this is known as the luck trinity. However, the Kun Trigram takes on a special meaning as Kun serves as a model for our planet and represents the microcosm.

This represents the Sun, hence fire, or heat and light, the active part is the centre. The Sun has a natural nuclear fusion plant within it. Fusing atoms together it produces hydrogen and helium and that's all. Everything else including carbon the "stuff of life" comes from other stars. Here on Earth the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west and this is why its shown in the east of the sequence. From ancient times the Sun has always been associated with the east, particularly at the time of the spring equinox. At this time, known as zero hour the sun rises at precisely 90 degrees (due east) because we know the exact time and position of this occurrence the Sun is used as a kind of cosmic compass and allows us to find specific stars that have the greatest influence on us. This is why ancient sites have standing stones positioned due east for the spring equinox. Naturally this represents the moon. It is in the west of our sequence and as we know the moon rises in the west and sets in the east. Like the sun its active part is the centre, but unlike the Sun its not hot enough to create nuclear fusion. What it does do though, is to create magnetism, which has its greatest effect on all liquids within the Earth. On a full moon all liquids rise and on a new moon the liquids fall to their lowest point. The Chinese new year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice precisely because of this. This magnetic pull creates our tidal system around the world. It affects all emotions causing blood to rise or leave the head, the positive side of this is that this Trigram and element of water symbolise birth. For the downside ask any police department! it also affects sap in trees and plants, so the best time to weed is around a full moon when the sap is in the branches.

The Trigrams above represent the cardinal directions of North, South, East and West. Together with the Tai Ji symbol in the middle, they form an uncanny resemblance to the Carbon atom; the basic building block of all organic life. The Protons and Neutrons are positively charged and remain in the middle, the electrons are negatively charged and orbit the centre. Together they form a neutral charge, a model of perfect yin and yang. Coincidentally, all atoms try to form a chemically complete or Noble state with 8 electrons in their outer shell by either donating or accepting electrons from other atoms. This is the basis of all chemical reactions and appears to mirror the Trigram formation.




The remaining Trigrams form the intercardinal points and viewed as pairs they show us important natural laws. The first pair we will look at is Xun and Zhen. These both represent the element of wood and have the phenomena of wind and thunder associated with them. Wood represents the plant kingdom and through the process of photosynthesis plants release oxygen and supply about 99% of all O2 in our atmosphere. As the warm oxygen rises it cools and forms clouds. Thunderclouds are formed in areas with intense vegetation such as the tropics and middle latitudes. They can be up to 10 Km in height and have a huge temperature differential between the bottom and the top. This temperature change causes the bottom to be negatively charged (yin) and the middle and top to be positively charged (yang) as shown in the Xun Trigram. The negative charge induces a positive charge on the ground directly below the cloud this is shown in the bottom line of Zhen. When the electric field between the lower part of the cloud and the ground reaches a certain voltage, the air molecules ionised along a narrow path and air becomes a conductor. This allows a free flow of charge between the cloud and the ground. Lightning starts with a leading stroke as electrons flow from the cloud to the ground, leaving the cloud with a positive net charge. Right after the leading stroke along the built-up ionised path comes the main stroke from the ground to the cloud, neutralising the positive charges. This releases a huge amount of energy in the form of heat and light and it is believed that this was the spark that created life on Earth.

The final pair is that of Gen and Dui representing the Mountain and Lake or Marsh respectively. Mountains are formed through the process of Tectonics where new crust is formed at mid ocean ridges. This new crust tends to buckle in collision with continents and forms large accumulations of earth (Mountains) in the process. Air cools at a rate of 1ºC per 100 meters of altitude, when air currents reach mountains they rises, cool and condense as rain. The rain falls on the mountain and forms lakes or marshes at the foot or in hollows. This process is known as weathering and through freezing and thawing which erodes rocks and carries away important nutrients locked within. These nutrients are collected in lakes and rivers and eventually find their way to the seas and oceans. All beaches are formed in this way. The importance of these nutrients is that they are essential for life and the weathering process distributes these essential ingredients throughout the land. It is believed by some that the first life appeared on rocks around lakes and tidal basins. This is why both Trigrams have the youngest family members associated with them.

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