The Heaven－Qian乾 trigram is composed of the three Lines of the pure radiant energy of Yang. It is the intangible energy of wildness and creation directing all phenomena. Symbolized by Heaven, It represents liveliness, prosperity, and inspiration.
The Earth－Kun坤 trigram is composed of three lines of the pure collective energy of Yin. It is the physical, tangible, manifestation of power, embodying all phenomena. Symbolized by Earth, it represents tranquility, self-preservation, and physical growth.
The Water－Kan坎 trigram is composed of Yang in the center, surrounded by two lines of Yin. Like water in a river, the Water trigram describes something that has physical form, and a calm and stable appearance. Yet, at the same time, it has a great amount of potential energy stored inside, capable of the destructive force of floods. Symbolized by Water, it represents dark and dangerous surroundings.
The Fire—Li離trigram is composed of Yin in the center, surrounded by two lines of Yang. Like the flame of a torch, the Fire trigram describes something that has a vibrant and energetic appearance. Yet, at the same time, it is anchored to a physical core, the torch itself. Symbolized by Fire, it represents bright surroundings.
The Thunder—Zhen震 trigram is composed of a single line of newly created Yang on the bottom, moving upward into two solid layers of Yin. Like the bright flash of lightening through dark clouds, the Thunder trigram describes a new and active Yang, about to break through heavy layers of Yin. Symbolized by Thunder, it represents the surprises and unexpected aspects of life.
The Wind—Xun巽 trigram is composed of a single line of newly created Yin on the bottom, moving upward into two active layers of Yang. Like the cold winter winds, the Wind trigram describes a growing Yin, slowly spreading and engulfing Yang’s power. Symbolized by Wind, it represents a dispersing action which penetrates every little nook.
The Mountain—Gen 艮trigram is composed of a single line Yang on top in its final stage, attached to two solid layers of Yin. Like the giant mountains, the Mountain trigram describes a solid body of Yin, with an outward appearance of Yang’s strength and power. Symbolized by the Mountain, it represents determination and self-defense.
The Lake—Dui 兌trigram is composed of a single line of Yin on top in its final stage, attached to two active layers of Yang. Like the serene lake, the
Although the three lines in the Eight Trigrams can form a phenomenon, they only describe what each phenomenon, standing alone, is like. Neither interaction nor changes are represented. It is like a picture of a man, and another separate picture of a woman. From each, we get a clear idea of what a man is like, as opposed to what a woman is like, and that is all. Important information, such as the reasons for having a man and a woman, the relationships between them, and how they interact, are left out.
So, in order to express an interaction, a relationship, a change, or growth, two of the Eight Trigrams must be paired together and combined. This produces the Sixty-Four Diagrams found within the Yi Jing, the actual symbols describing what occurs in nature. If we can fully comprehend the knowledge hidden within these Sixty-Four Diagrams, we can achieve a deeper understanding of nature and the different aspects of human society.