The 8 Trigrams

The 8 Trigrams

The Ba Gua diagram (literally 8 houses, also spelled as Pa Kua) is the basic tool for tool for Feng Shui analysis.  When a Feng Shui analysis is performed, the practitioner refers to these basic concepts to analyze the situation within each area of the building.  From this representation, the basis of the mathematical calculations are found.  In other words, it is a tool for calculating the attributes of a building, not a general overlay to be used on a floor plan.  Additionally, the trigrams hold the keys to understanding the who or what is effected by the Feng Shui of a building.  Even beyond that, certain personalities can be found in the trigrams relating to both people and their buildings.

The three by three matrix, shown below, is called the 8 Trigrams.  Within the Eight Trigram structure is a wealth of information.  Each section is one trigram.  The Trigram is the 3 level combination of Yin and Yang.   Yin and Yang theory is the first concept needed to understand to use this tool.   Each Trigram contains bars.  These bars might be Yin or Yang depending on which Trigram we are working with.  These bars are representations of Yin and Yang.   Yang is a solid bar and Yin is a broken bar as shown here:

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YangYin

These Yin and Yang representations are stacked three high in a combination that yields a lot of symbology including, elemental representation, family representation, a symbology, and a bodily area representation.  The trigrams are viewed from the bottom up based on:

Eldest

Middle

Youngest

------ Heaven

------ Man

------ Earth

 

Summary Interpretations

Directions

Each trigram has a corresponding home direction.   As with Yin and Yang, South is indicated at the top.  North is at the bottom.

Elements

Each of the trigrams has an elemental relationship.  There are two wood, two metal, three earth, one fire, and one water elements.  These elements can interact in productively, reductively, or by dominating one another.  You find that there is a distinct pattern to the elements and the rest of the 8 Trigram chart.  For example the soft metal and the soft wood relate to the feminine, while the hard metal and hard wood refer to the male trigrams.  The five elements follow a pattern based on the Yin and Yang, with wood producing fire, producing earth, producing metal, producing water, thus producing wood again.

Numbers

The numbers in the 8 Trigram chart represent perfect balance.  Summed in any direction they total 15.  This is often referred to as the “Magic Square.”  These numbers are not fixed, but change location with time.  The pattern of the number ascension remains the same; Center, Northwest,

West, Northeast, South, North, Southwest, East, Southeast.  This pattern remains, but the placement of the numbers changes depending on orientation and time factors.

Family Relationships

When a trigram has only one Yin line in it, than it is female and the family relationship is a female.  When the Yang line is alone in a trigram, it represents a male family member.  The Kun Trigram is often referred to as the Mother Trigram as it is completely Yin.  Whereas, the Qian Trigram is completely Yang so it is the Father Trigram.  The family relationship of the trigrams has implications such as when two elemental energies are found together in a domination relationship, then it is possible that the person who belongs to that trigram/element that is being dominated will have problems in a particular body area.  An example of this would be if Xun (4) wood dominates Gen (8) Earth, then the young children could be effected, or if it is an adult, then the hands or spine might be effected.

Symbology

The symbology is based largely on the yi jing.   For example, the Zhen trigram is Thunder.  This is because there are two yin lines above a yang line.  Yin is inverted from its natural position.  Yin should be on the bottom near the earth. (Because yin is coolness settling.) According to the ancient Chinese meteorologists when there is Yang in the air, and Yin at the ground, thunder and lightning strike.   This trigram can hold these characteristics in personality too.  Sometimes people born in a Chen year are prone to explosions like thunder.

Body Part

The Body Part indicates the area of the body that might be susceptable to problems if there is a problem with qi in that area.   For example if in a bedroom Xun (wood) dominates Gen (earth) then the person spending time in the room might be susceptable to back aches or problems with their fingers or small bones.  By introducing the proper elemental remedy, this problem will be eliminated.

Groupings

The trigrams are grouped into two distinct groupings.  The East Group contains all the wood, fire, and water trigrams.  The West Group contains the Metal and Earth trigrams.  People who are of a particular group (example West) find houses that have a sitting orientation to the same group (again West) more comfortable than those houses belonging to the opposite group.   The same can be said of people of different groups.  East Group people are more comfortable around East Group people, as are West Group people with West Group people.  The groupings for People can be determined by which solar year your birth date falls under.  This will be discussed in a future article.  The groupings for Buildings can be determined by the orientation of the building.

The Eight Trigrams

Xun

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4

SE

Element: Soft Wood

Family Relationship: Eldest Daughter

Symbology: Wind

Body Part: Hips & Buttocks

Group: East Group

Li

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--  --

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9

S

Element: Fire

Family Relationship: Middle Daughter

Symbology: Brightness, the Sun

Body Part: Eyes & Heart

Group: East Group

Kun

--  --

--  --

--  --

2

SW

 

Element: Earth

Family Relationship: Mother

Symbology: “Mother Earth”

Body Part: Abdomen & Reproductive Organs

Group: West Group

Zhen

--  --

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3

E

Element: Hard Wood

Family Relationship: Eldest Son

Symbology: Thunder

Body Part: Throat

Group: East Group

Center

5

Element: Earth

 

Dui

--  --

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7

W

Element: Soft Metal

Family Relationship: Youngest Daughter

Symbology: Marsh

Body Part: Mouth area

Group: West Group

Gen

 

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--  --

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8

NE

Element: Earth

Family Relationship: Youngest Son

Symbology: Mountain, Youth

Body Part: Hands, Spine, & Small Bones

Group: West Group

Kan

 

--  --

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1

N

Element: Water

Family Relationship: Middle Son

Symbology: Water, the Moon

Body Part: Liver, Kidneys, Inner Ear

Group: East Group

Qian

 

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------

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6

NW

 

Element: Hard Metal

Family Relationship: Father

Symbology: Heaven, Leader

Body Part: Head, Lungs

Group: West Group