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Former Heaven and Later Heaven Origin

frank_r

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Hello Denis,

The arrangment of the trigrams and the group axis found in the Lo Shu we use in acupuncture, you can place all the meridians in the Lo Shu.
And by using the two directions as I pointed out, then there is a arangment where you can see the elements, the 6 divisions( Shao yang, tai yang, etc), the meridians of the arm/legs, and the yin/yang meridians all in harmonie.

And thanks for pointing out the link between the Lo shu and the Ho to, I didn't know that one.
And Erime intersting diagram, thanks for sharing.
 

erime

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Yes, thanks for the Ho Tu info Dennis:

There is a simpler way to link the xian-tian and hou-tian arrangements through the mediation of the Lo-shu. If we superimpose the xian-tian (former heaven) octagon over the Lo-shu, we get peripheral position numbers for each trigram. The sequence of these numbers---1,6,7,2,9,4,3,8---is the same sequence we get by starting from "1" at the inner bottom of the Ho-tu diagram, wrapping around to the top, and then scrolling straight across the diagram from left to right. {This was noted by Al Huang in I Ching Numerology.}

However, it is difficult to see why someone would want to move across the Ho Tu diagram in this "wrapping around and scrolling across" manner. This seems very mysterious.

With regards to not replacing the number 9 in the Lo-shu, I think it is a shame to have to change the numeric values, and so I went on a quest around the net today to find alternative numbering methods for the Xian-tian bagua. I came across something very interesting indeed!

I obtained the complete* creative and destructive cycle for the 5 elements by using a new (possibly more authentic) numbering method and by flipping the anticlockwise sequences in the same manner as before. The Xian-tian now represents the destructive (Yin) bagua arrangement and the Hou-tian (via it's associated Elements) represents the creative (Yang) arrangement. This satisfies a need for duality to be allocated to the arrangements, as well as highlighting a general movement from Yin to Yang! (Death to Life?)

* The cycle is not actually complete, but this is possibly the most interesting aspect. Instead of being a flawless cycle, it even has the strange 'glitch' of including the displaced Earth, but this time it is between the two Metals, instead of between Water and Wood. Also, it is strange that even if one rotates the Elements by 90 degrees while keeping the numbers in place, the sequence requires a slight shuffling along clockwise (3 places for the displaced Earth, but 1 place for all the other Elements). Is this actually a different angle to 90 degrees that the whole is being rotated by?....
 
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erime

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Here is another interesting phenomenon, also using 'flipping' to change anticlockwise cycles into clockwise ones, but this time the whole diagram is flipped along it's horizontal axis.

I thought I would see what would happen if one worked backwards from the Hou-tian (Later Heaven Sequence) by allocating the Hou-tian Elements to the Xian-tian numbers (as introduced above) by using the corresponding values from the Lo-shu.

It seems there is more to the Xian-tian numbering with regards to interacting with the Lo-shu.... The Xian-tian becomes an inverted reflection of the Hou-tian!
 
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erime

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Here is the last one, a long shot really. Seeing as there seems to be a 90º rotation pattern between the two sequences, I rotated the Hou-tian by 90º anti-clockwise so that the fire and water elements are aligned with those of the Xian-tian.

Maybe this result is pushing it a bit, but I have been wondering whether balanced dual creative/destructive combinations will crop up anywhere...
 

jane

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Michael - Have been reading your questions and their answers with interest. Would like to offer another approach to the mystery - the insight of my co-author, Carrin Dunne, expressed in our book, Yijing Wondering and Wandering, She sees these cyclic arrangements as representing two different kinds of movement: axial and sequential. With her permission I quote her:

“There is a certain resemblance between the two parts of the sequence in Yijing and two famous arrangements of the trigrams called Earlier Heaven and Later Heaven. Earlier Heaven, also called the Before-the-World or primal sequence, is an axial arrangement in which the trigrams are positioned over against their polar opposites. Heaven and Earth occupy the vertical axis, which has to do with the things of eternity (hence Before-the-World), while Fire and Water occupy the horizontal axis, which governs what transpires in the course of time.

Later Heaven, also called the Inner World sequence, keeps only the temporal axis, which it transposes to the place formerly occupied by Heaven and Earth. Here the trigrams are arranged, not axially, but sequentially in terms of the soul’s journey, beginning with Arousing (Thunder) in the east, the place of sunrise. Earth and Heaven are transferred to what, at first glance, seem to be very subordinate positions, until it is realized that their placement has to do with critical moments in the soul’s development. In the afternoon of life, past one’s physical prime, the soul must come to grips with the dao of Earth. And when the sun has sunk into the Lake at sunset, the soul encounters the dao of Heaven in the death of the body. The Later Heaven arrangement describes not only the journey of the soul through life, but also the after life in what is sometimes called in mythology the night sea journey.”
Jane Schorre
 

erime

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As a final post for today (I really should get a job soon...:blush: ), here is a last graphic of the Xian-tian (Early Heaven Bagua Arrangement) with the Lo-shu placed within it.

Maintaining a bagua numbering system which begins at Pure Yang and progresses through to Pure Yin, while placing 5 in the middle as the number of Heaven itself (2 [1st polar Yin ]+ 3 [1st polar Yang ]= 5 [Completeness in Heaven]), allows for an interesting pattern to emerge when the numbers are correlated with the Lo-shu superimposed in the middle.

In a similar manner to what Dennis relayed, there is a 'wrapping around' between the very top and bottom bagua No.s 1 and 9 which represent Heaven and Earth respectively. This is coloured red in the attached image below.

In a similar way to what Jane has just highlighted, the bagua representing Fire and Water seem to highlight a permanent axis within the Early Heaven arrangement. Is this the axis around which Heaven and Earth can flip? This axis feature is coloured green.

And finally, note that the four corner numbers of the Lo-shu are the same as the four diagonal numbers of the Xian-tian, but are rotated at 90 degrees. This feature is coloured pink.

If all the numbers are carried with the four Lo-shu corners when they are rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise to match their Xian-tian counterparts, Fire and Water are in the opposite places from where they would be in the Hou-tian (Later Heaven) sequence. Is their reflecting, or 'wrapping around', undertaken by the feature shown in red? Or do the newly rotated Lo-shu numbers within the Xian-tian now reveal a whole new set of interactions? :confused:

Time for bed I think....

There is probably a clue here: Symmetry
 
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merlewine

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Still Looking ...

What a tangled web we weave. As a newbie to this forum, I probably understand about half of what everyone here has written. Some of it is just beyond me; some of it, frankly, just is too intellectual for me to grasp easily. Some does not even make logical sense to me.

I am kind of tiring out on this question. No matter how I ask it, what I get seems off topic to me, at least most of the time.

As a group, you have pointed out to me how in the Former Heaven sequence, the trigrams are “opposites” to each other. I saw that coming in.

What I have been trying to point out about the Former Heaven sequence is the “sequence” follows the natural phases of any cycle, cycles like the breath, the heartbeat, the seasonal year, etc.

In the Former Heaven sequence, each trigram leads around in a cycle/circle to the next, in a clock-wise sequence. We can see this directionally (North, N.E., East, etc.) or seasonally ( Kan = Winter Solstice, Ki = Spring, Qian = Summer, etc.) To me, this is what is most interesting about this sequence. And I never really was interested in this sequence in the first place. I feel I intuitively understand what it is about.

What I was puzzled about (and to me is not so intuitive) is the Later Heaven sequence and, in particular, how the father and mother trigrams (Qian and Kun) could be placed at right angles to one another. I have heard zero response about this that makes sense to me, aside from the interesting comment that they are getting out of the way for the kids. Ok.

On another post which I am getting even less response, I pointed out that the numbers for the trigrams in the Later Heaven sequence obviously come from the numbers in the classic position of the Magic Square. The Magic Square arrangement is timeless, so am I to understand that the eight trigrams were always in the directions of the Later Heaven sequence. Why is the trigram Li equal to the number “9,” and so on. Which came first and how?

And then: whatever the response to the above question, what about the trigram numbers in the Former Heaven sequence? They are (in most sources) apparently using the same numbers from the Magic Square, but not in the positions of the Magic Square, no matter how the numbers might be arranged. What is this about?

If anyone can shed light on this question, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,

Michael Erlewine (Michel@Erlewine.net)
 

RindaR

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Sorry, I don't know. If I had any inkling, I'd share it.

Rinda
 
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Hi Michael,

I'm with Rinda on this, without an explanation. I'm awful with these sort of established patterns. But when I read what you've said, it seems easy to understand. i.e.

"I understand that all things that exist are cyclic, which means they go through some sort of cycle. We get some return from them. The phases of ALL cycles are more or less identical, whether it is the cycle of the heartbeat, breath, lunar cycle, or what-have-you? In other words, all identification is based on real-life cycles and their returns. If something does not return or cycle (come back to our attention), we have no real memory of it. It appears as a straight line, not a curve. Our memory depends on curves that cycle. That is one background idea here."

That makes easy sense to me. Why does it require a name, comparison or further explanation in order to satisfy you? Just curious what's driving your interest.
 

getojack

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Hi Michael,

Each trigram has a number relating to its position in the sequence as well as a number associated with its 'quality'. Which set of numbers are you asking about: the sequence number or the magic square number? For example, in the Later Heaven arrangement, Chen is number 1 (first in the sequence) but has the quality of 3 according to the Lo Shu diagram/magic square. In the Former Heaven arrangement, however, Chen is 4th in the sequence. To make things even more complicated, the Later Heaven trigrams have a clockwise sequence according to some sources and a neither clockwise nor counter-clockwise sequence in Feng Shui.

The Ho Tu diagram which also comes from the Lo Shu diagram and uses the number qualities of the magic square, has four pairs of magic square numbers and suggests a counter-clockwise sequence when you look at the magic square but a clockwise sequence when you look at the map. The Former Heaven sequence traditionally starts counter-clockwise then shifts clockwise after it reaches the Chen trigram. All of this makes it hard for me to understand what you are asking when you ask about 'numbers'.

As for what specifically ties the magic square numbers to the trigrams other than overlaying the magic square on the Later Heaven arrangement, I'm with Bruce and Rinda on that one... I simply don't know. If I were to conjecture about it, I would say that that for some unknown historical reason, Chen seemed '3-like' to the ancients, Li seemed '9-like' and so on. The special thing about the Yi Jing and life in general is that for every question answered, you get three (or more) unanswered questions. If every question was answered, life would be pretty boring, wouldn't it? I suggest meditating on the trigrams in the tradition of King Wen and realizing an answer that makes intuitive sense to you.
 

merlewine

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know ...

Dear getojack and others,

Thanks very much for taking the time to explain things. I apologize that I am so dense on all of this. I will try to respond to getojack’s last email as best I can:

I understand the differentiation between sequence and quality trigram numbers. That’s a start. Here are questions.

In the Later Heaven sequence, what makes Chen number one in the sequence? Why not some other trigram, based on the concept that a circle has no beginning or end, and that if we choose a beginning (i.e. Chen), then we equally could choose any other point on the circle/sequence. What is the historical place where this began and were there any particular reasons?

In your second paragraph, you state:

“The Ho Tu diagram which also comes from the Lo Shu diagram and uses the number qualities of the magic square, has four pairs of magic square numbers and suggests a counter-clockwise sequence when you look at the magic square but a clockwise sequence when you look at the map.”

Here, if I understand, you are saying that the Former Heaven sequence is derived from the Later Heaven sequence AND adopts the sequence numbering as used in the Later Heaven sequence, that sequence being identical to the most common sequence found in the mathematical Magic Square.

And I understand your saying that the Former Heaven sequence has a clockwise sequence, if looked as seasonally, but a counter-clockwise sequence if compared to the Lo Shu or Magic Square trigram positions. I can see that.

I have no idea what you mean when you say:

“The Former Heaven sequence traditionally starts counter-clockwise then shifts clockwise after it reaches the Chen trigram. ”

Then you say you don’t understand what I am asking about, so let me put all of the above aside and ask it again. It would help if we could limit the response to this question, if possible.

Question: In the Later Heaven sequence, how are we to understand that Qian and Kun, the father and mother trigrams, are placed 90-degrees from one another, rather than 180 degrees, if indeed they are the polar opposites which tradition tells us they are?

They answer may well be: just because that’s the way it has always been. That would not be a new type of answer for me. I have seen a lot of that in my life.

Since the Magic Square is as old as dust, another answer might simply be that the Later Heaven sequence follows the Magic Square in directional positioning. Period.

The answer that I seem to be getting most frequently is: we don’t really know. That is also a familiar answer for me.

As to why I care about all of this: I am an archivist and as my wife could tell you, I tend to get obsessive about the organization of things. As an astrologer of some 40+ years, I look for patterns and sequences and try to understand why any given sequence is this way rather than that way. That’s it.

I understood (for my purposes, mind you) the Former Heaven sequence intuitively, from the first moment I looked at it.

However, the Lo Shu or Later Heaven sequence confounded me the moment I first laid eyes on it, as it continues to do to this day.

So, I am hoping some one of you might have another explanation other than: that is the way it has always been.

In any case, I do thank all of you for pitching in and putting up with my (probably) awkward attempt to phrase my questions.

thanks,

Michael Erlewine
 

toganm

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merlewine said:
stions.

In the Later Heaven sequence, what makes Chen number one in the sequence? Why not some other trigram, based on the concept that a circle has no beginning or end, and that if we choose a beginning (i.e. Chen), then we equally could choose any other point on the circle/sequence. What is the historical place where this began and were there any particular reasons?

Zhen is the eldest son so the lineage holder, hence the future generations depend on it.

Togan
 

erime

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Hi Michael,

I think that it is important to make clear that there is no good evidence to suggest whether the Early or Later Heaven sequence came first. In fact, when one takes into account that the 8 trigrams directly reflect binary mathematics, then it seems the argument for the Earlier Heaven sequence being more ancient than the Later Heaven holds more potential. The cyclical arrangement of the trigrams in the Early Heaven sequence preserve the natural binary progression from 000 to 111 while copying the shape of the Taiji (Yin/Yang) symbol. See picture attached.

The locations of the numbers within the Lo-shu are completely dictated by basic maths and have no obvious relationship to binary structures such as the i-ching. As such, working backwards from the Later Heaven to the Earlier Heaven arrangement in order to understand the Later Heaven bagua sequence seems strange and illogical.

And finally, seeing as the Five Elements play a significant role in the Later Heaven sequence, I think it would be foolish to ignore the Elemental associastions with the 8 bagua in both arrangements. The colours of the various Elements are included in the picture below also.

I do not think it is merely a matter of just accepting one point of view from a book or forum, one must see the Early and Later Heaven sequences as two connected Elemental/Numeric/Symbolic systems which require a proficience in understanding the Elemental/Numeric/Symbolic languages they pertain to. This will of course take one a bit of time, and so maybe if you familiarise yourself with the various terms and systems involved within the sequences it will be easier for you to understand people's answers to your questions. The question you are asking does not make you sound like a Newbie and therefore I think most 'experienced' people here are assuming you are holding a level of knowledge similar to their own.

Regarding the 90 degree separation issue, I have included a little image from a website which may give a clue (as I think it does). However, the fact remains that no one actually has the answers you are looking for. My current theory is that one of the sequences maps out 2D horizontal space (N,S,E,W) while the other maps out 2D vertical space (Zenith, Nadir, E,W), and of course the two spaces are separated by 90 degrees.

Maybe this is enough to begin with. Please feel free to ask any questions.
 
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merlewine

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To Erime

Thanks for the note and the diagram, but once again I am presented with the Former Heaven sequence (diagram), which I keep explaining I don’t have a problem with. My problem has been with the Later Heaven sequence.

You write:
“The locations of the numbers within the Lo-shu are completely dictated by basic maths and have no obvious relationship to binary structures such as the i-ching. As such, working backwards from the Later Heaven to the Earlier Heaven arrangement in order to understand the Later Heaven bagua sequence seems strange and illogical.”

I agree that the Lo-shu arrangement seems dictated by the mathematical puzzle called the Magic Square.

In the diagrams you included, I understand the binary tree. I am not sure what the numbered red line on the Ho-Tu diagram adds to the discussion, so perhaps you could explain.

I know a good amount of astronomy, but the Zenith-Nadir yin-yang diagram at the lower right – what does this stand for.?

How do any of these explain the position of the Father and Mother trigrams being not opposite one another, and being on the same hemisphere, separated by a 90-degree angle?

As you point out, if I persist here much longer, I guess I won’t be a newbie anymore.

Your wonderful and brave sentence:

“However, the fact remains that no one actually has the answers you are looking for.”
This I begin to see may be my answer. I note that there is now a poll on this topic, and I am unclear how a poll will help explain this, but, again, I am new here. <G>
 

getojack

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merlewine said:
I note that there is now a poll on this topic, and I am unclear how a poll will help explain this, but, again, I am new here. <G>

This I can explain. 95.7% of people know that polls are extremely scientific instruments according to the latest poll. (Coincidentally, this is also the percentage of people who think most statistics are entirely fabricated.)
 

getojack

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merlewine said:
I have no idea what you mean when you say:

“The Former Heaven sequence traditionally starts counter-clockwise then shifts clockwise after it reaches the Chen trigram. ”

I was referring to the traditional sequence of Former Heaven trigrams which is also the reverse binary sequence from 111 to 000 when yang lines are given a value of 1 and yin lines a value of 0... namely: Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Water, Mountain, Earth. In this sequence, Heaven to Thunder are read counter-clockwise and Wind to Earth are clockwise. This is also shown by the red 'S' line in erime's pictures.
 
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erime

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Michael,

As Getojack says, the red line indicates the binary sequence.

The numbers 1-9 are allocated to the bagua as explained on this site:

http://users.skynet.be/lotus/trigram/trig0-en.htm

However, I don't think the other information on the site is of much integrity. I did get the Zenith/Nadir diagram you questioned from this site also though. Indeed, there is no real answer as to why the 90 degree shift occurs, but when one considers how we traditionally map out vertical and horizontal spaces, and that vertical maps include the heavens, while horizontal maps are directed towards the surface of the Earth, then I think there may be a clue here seeing as the horizontal is always separated from the vertical by 90 degrees.

The Early Heaven sequence, if it was created first as I suggested previously, could have had the allocated Five Elements associated with the bagua based on the appearance of the planets in the night's sky. For example, Chien (Heaven) has the planet Venus associated with it, and is linked with the white Element Metal, and represents the Evening. The 'Evening Star' is the brightest (most metallic?) astral body apart from the Moon and Sun, and is linked with an idea of Heaven. Also, Mars, linked with the bagua Li(Fire) and the red Element Fire, is located at Mid-day in the Early Heaven sequence. Maybe there is a system of mapping the night's sky going on in the Early Heaven sequence, and this idea is reinforced when one considers that the planets allocated to the Early Heaven sequence decrease their distance from the Sun as one moves anticlockwise from Ken (Mountain) which is linked to Saturn, around to K'an (Water); linked to Mercury. There is an anomaly in the bagua 'Sun' (Wind) which represents Jupiter, however, but 7 bagua in correct sequence relative to the Sun can not be sniffed I think.

Maybe yourself as an astrologer is best positioned to comment on all this.... I am basically inferring that the Early Heaven sequence is directed at the Heavens via a vertically-placed mapping system, while the Later Heaven sequence is directed at the Earth via a horizontally-placed system. Of course the two will be linked because they occupy the same existential space, and will corroborate via a 90 degrees shift in analysis. I still purport that the Early heaven sequence was created first, and was 'configured' acording to the Heavens (which also conveniently harks back to a pre-human Universe), and that the Five Elements were linked to the Early Heaven bagua via their astral connections. Once this was done, THEN the bagua were transferred to the Later Heaven sequence via their Elemental associations in order to illustrate how the Five Elements interact to create and support life. The King Wen sequence which followed on from this is just a simple extrapolation of the Later Heaven trigram interactions which are based on Five Element creative and destrcutive interaction, and not necessarily on cardinal directions, life cycles, breathing, etc. The fact that the Later Heaven bagua DO correspond to such things as this, however, is just another reason to see the two sequences as being very special.

To round up, there are so many cycles and systems at play within the sequences; mathematical, biological, Elemental, astral, circadian, morphological, etc. that it is pot-luck when wishes to choose a system which seems to be at the core of the sequences' structures. I chose the Five Elements because they just happen to be linked to something else I am working on, and I think I happened across something significant with regards to my much earlier posts here.
 
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merlewine

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Back To Work

Reading through the posts, I can see how there are a lot of cycles and sequences to relate to and to look for correspondences one to another. After all, this is a lot of what those of us interested in the esoteric or inner meanings of things do: attempt to connect the links, to see the unity in disparate appearances.

I have been doing this for over 40 years in the areas of astrology, Western and Eastern occultism, Chinese astrology, and Tibetan Buddhism. That is what brought me to this forum, the fact that I came across a sequence in the form of a circle that did not synch with what I already knew. And I am quite experienced with cycles or circles and they all have a similar phase structure.

Being happy to learn new things, I imagined that there was some obvious or not-so-obvious explanation. It is funny, one of my main specialties in astrology is a technique I developed called “Local Space,” which is in brief a system of bringing together the Earth and the Heavens on a map of the earth. Imagine that your mother walked outside moments after your birth with you in her arms. As she looked around, the Sun was in one direction on the horizon, the Moon in another, and the same with the rest of the planets.

Local Spaces uses the Horizon Coordinate System (azimuth and altitude) to plot celestial bodies like the Sun, Moon, and Planets directionally on the earth. In this system, the Moon (or any other body) is in a particular direction on the earth and that direction passes through any number of cities and places located along that line in what is called a Great Circle. Local Space is now used by astrologers all over the world, and is of particular use for relocation analysis.

More recently, I have written a program on the Sa-Dak or Tibetan Earth Lords, which are said to protect all of the natural formations in the earth. These Earth Lord protectors are like the lords of the Qi of various land forms – that general idea. They have never been translated properly into English. Although I can read Tibetan, I am not skilled enough at it to translate all that is necessary, since there are literally hundreds of different kinds of Earth Lords, so I worked with a skilled translator to make that happen.

For those of you familiar with Chinese Astrology, the Earth Lords are related to Tai Sui, what is called the Grand Duke in China, but in Tibet, there is a much larger retinue of lords. I have programmed the positions of these earth lords, as they change each year, month, day, and hour. I have a program coming out that will plot these and I have designed a tarot-like card for each of the multitude of earth lords.

So that gives you some background as to where I am coming from. My interest in the Yi-Ching goes back some 46 years, ever since I encountered the Wilhelm-Baynes translation. For me, the Yi-Ching (and astrology) are my oracles of choice. Astrology is also an oracle, allowing the heavens to speak to us, but I will agree a very complex oracle. Still, an oracle is an oracle is an oracle ….

My point here is that I am very familiar with all the astronomy, mathematics, coordinate systems (and their inclinations to one another). I was fortunate to be the first person to program astrology on microcomputers and make those programs available to my fellow astrologers, back in 1977. I founded the largest and first astrological software company (Matrix Software), which I no longer own or run, but I still work with them and write programs for them. In fact the two oldest software companies on the Internet are Matrix Software and a little company called Microsoft. I get a kick out of that fact.

For what it is worth, and in the spirit of being helpful here (but also critical), I have not found any of the suggestions as to how the various sequences of the trigrams (in the Later Heaven sequence only) fit together (the great circle diagrams that some have presented here, at 90-degrees to one another, etc.) helpful. They don’t seem to work for me, speaking intuitively.

The Former Heaven Sequence, whether or not it came first or last, is a perfect gem, something to be treasured. It speaks to me clearly and intuitively. I ended up at this forum because the Later Heaven Sequence did not work as well for me. This has cost me a lot of lost sleep and hours of meditating on it. It is so important, if only because it plays a key role in feng-shui analysis.

I have an ongoing interest in feng-shui and the Later Heaven sequence is of critical importance in that discipline, and so I really hoped to somehow, as we say, “break its code” of silence, and have it speak to my mind. I can see that many here are very much at peace with it. I wish I were.

I will check back in this forum from time to time to see if there are any comments or questions, but I intend to return to my feng-shui studies. You have a great forum here and seem like a good bunch. I must have fifty books on the Y-Ching and have benefited from many of them, none more so than those of Nigel Richmond who, to my mind, comes closest to generating the meanings of the trigrams and hexigrams on their own merits, rather than simply passing on a tradition of interpretation. I like this idea of independently confirming the meanings of the hexagrams based only on their internal makeup. Let them speak for themselves. That’s what oracles do.

I can always be reached by email (Michael@erlewine.net).

Thanks All!

Michael Erlewine
 
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Sparhawk

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Hi Michael,

I haven't forgotten about this. I have a suggestion where you can find some theories about both, the Former Heaven and Later Heaven trigram arrangements. Search for the following articles by Schuyler Cammann, specially the last one:

Chinese Hexagrams, Trigrams, and the Binary System
Schuyler Cammann
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 135, No. 4. (Dec., 1991), pp. 576-589.

Some Early Chinese Symbols of Duality
Schuyler Cammann
History of Religions, Vol. 24, No. 3. (Feb., 1985), pp. 215-254.

The Evolution of Magic Squares in China
Schuyler Cammann
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 80, No. 2. (Apr. - Jun., 1960), pp. 116-124.

The Magic Square of Three in Old Chinese Philosophy and Religion
Schuyler Cammann H
istory of Religions, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Summer, 1961), pp. 37-80.

The Eight Trigrams: Variants and Their Uses
Schuyler V. R. Cammann
History of Religions, Vol. 29, No. 4. (May, 1990), pp. 301-317.

The Origin of the Trigram Circles in Ancient China,
Schuyler Cammann,
Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, No.62, 1990

I can't judge with property the veracity of the theories of the last article--or of any, for that matter--, but I can tell you that, of all I've read so far, in Western accounts, his are very compelling and educated. His is also one of the very few ones where a logical theory of the arrangement of the Later Heaven trigram circle is given.

Cheers,
 
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robinarmstrong

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The emperor's clothes!

Hi Michael,
Originally the I Ching (Sequence of Earlier Heaven) was a oral tradition, being passed on by memory and observation. It was astrological in nature. When the Duke of Chou added words,, his own and supposedly his fathers to the hexagrams he also took the liberty of removing the sequential associations and putting them down in random pairs of opposites. This process has been follow for thousands of years! But is was wrong from the start. It marks the beginning of a mathematical justification and validation of the changes, rather than a natural and experiential one. The Chinese calendar followed the same alteration... into a number system that was not astrological. This caused a great abstraction of thinking. This abstraction of thinking represents the seemingly contradictory and profound knowledge of the Chinese mystics and scholars. When really it was an indulgence in irrelevance!
Chinese thinking and logic when related to the earlier sequence is crystal clear and not rationallized. Once one changes the sequence, anythin is possible. The only place in the universe where opposites are not opposite is in the King Wen and Duke of Chou's Sequence of Later Heaven.
The spirit is bound to no one place, nor the book of changes to any one form. This could be looked at as a new numerological development, which would have inegrated really well, if the original sequence had been maintained.
This makes much of Chinese thought and seeming profundity an exercize in obscurity and wrong logic. No wonder the cultivation of a transcendant oneness in Taoism and Buddhism followed. It got rid of the nonsense!
For a valid astrological, nature oriented understanding of the I Ching one must return the Earlier arrangement of Fu Hsi. The real meanings of the hexagrams came out of their sequence and then developed into deeper considerations.
True Chinese thought is brilliantly lucid and clear, but one must get past these obstacles to clarity and return to the astrological roots of this system.
This justification of the I Ching by virtue of numbers then proceeded into the internal workings of the hexagrams, with many great assumptions. But if one looks at the original system as astrology with its horary techniques, one will find a great affirmation.
This distortion gets worse. The numerological view predominated and the ability to read horoscopes was left behind. Mandalas and charts were read into numerologically and abstractly and used in the medical practices. The five elements, of which so much importance has been made, are really the five planets that you can see with your eyes.
They too were read as numerological factors and have been treated that way as if they were five elements. The five elements are the same as the five yogas of India. They are actually the planets! Mercury is the water ball or planet (waters of the mind) and corresponds to Raja yoga. Venus is the metal planet (gold silver- possessions - values) and corresponds to Bakti Yoga. Mars is the Fire ball or planet (energy and force) and corresponds to Hatha Yoga. Jupiter is the wood ball or planet (expansion and growth) and this corresponds to Gnana yoga. Saturn is the earth ball or planet and this corresponds to Karma Yoga.
Everything that moved in the heavens by which we today use for understanding stress and timings in life through astrology and the medical implications of the same was converted into some magic square of drawing that symbolically represented the heavens but not so far as to allow a functional perception.
If one reads the Great Treatise and relates it to astrology, it will become apparent that it was originally written for astrology and then was adopted to its present form of divination. Horary without the horoscope!
I am just finishing a book on this matter after 40 years of contemplating it. It is called the Sequence of Change! In it this matter is addressed more thoroughly from an astrological perspective.
I hope this information is of use to you.
Robin
 

fkegan

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Hi Robin,

I find great insight and sophistication in the King Wen Sequence, especially when viewed in the matrix of sets of 10 where each hexagram ending in 1 (1,11,21,31,41,51,61) describes its whole set overall and the others follow along within the formula 10 = 1+2+3+4 or first the Monad overall, then a simple Dyad or polar opposites, then a set of 3 as a narrative process and final 4 hexagrams as a double dichotomy or pair of polar opposites.
More detail in the thread on King Wen Sequence or on my web page in my signature (King Wen Sequence Explained)

Frank
 

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Fu Hsi and King Wan

Hi Frank,
Thanks for the feedback. You reinforce my arguement. There is indeed much insight and depth in King Wan's work but it is of a mathematical and mathematically determined sequence. The old ways used the observation of nature as the experiential logic rather than mathematical abstraction, regardless of how clear the mathematical abstractions seem. It is two different systems. Mathematical deduction usually assumes perfect circles, while in life and astrology most things happen in ellipses.

The point I am making is that experiential relationships to nature provided the initial justification of the changes. The mathematical assessments and association came from the time of King Wan on. King Wan's work with the trigrams and family members is brilliant and a wonderful addition to the changes, but unfortunately the sequence was changed.

"Therefore it is the order of the changes that the superior man devotes himself to and that he attains tranquility by, it is the judgements in the individual lines that the superior man takes pleasure in and that he ponders on. Great treatise: chapter 2, verse 5.

When the order was changed it brought in a new logic of rationalization, whereby really any order could have been so rationalised. While the original order in its mathematical purity and simplicity holds solid. solid and boken, then two solid and two brokens, then four solid anf four brokens, and so on naturally around the wheel determine a perfectly balanced wheel of change. Anywhere there is a solid line, at the opposite point there is a broken line.
It is this neutral balance that when stimulated encompasses all situations on earth. Without this natural balance, there is a bias in the stimulation and the results which one would obtain in questioning it.

"The changes have no consciousness, no action; they are quiescent and do not move. But if they are stimulated, they penetrate all situations under heaven" Great Treatise: Chapter 10, verse 4.

The natural balance and order of the changes was altered into pairs of opposites with no necessary cyclical rhythm or balance in the sequence of them. It is this imbalance that I take issue with, and not the insightfullness of King Wan's mathematical understanding.
Even in astrology, Chinese literacy took a turn for the mathematical system 60X5 years and moved away from astrological assessments. To me, this is the weakness in much of Chinese use of calendars and the I Ching.

Thanks for your response,

Robin
 

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Hi Robin,

If you browse back through this thread, you'll find mention of the fact that 'Earlier Heaven' is actually the later arrangement, historically speaking. There are good posts about this starting here. I'd also add my voice to the chorus recommending Steve Moore's The Trigrams of Han; you can still get it second-hand, and it's a fascinating read.
 

fkegan

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Thanks for the feedback. You reinforce my arguement. There is indeed much insight and depth in King Wan's work but it is of a mathematical and mathematically determined sequence. The old ways used the observation of nature as the experiential logic rather than mathematical abstraction, regardless of how clear the mathematical abstractions seem. It is two different systems. Mathematical deduction usually assumes perfect circles, while in life and astrology most things happen in ellipses.

Hi Robin,
I guess to the Pure, all things are Pure. I would quibble with several points. Astrology is based upon circles, it is astronomy that observes ellipses. The older order is generally associated with a binary counter in the pattern of a Tai Chi or sine wave pattern. The King Wen is purely philosophical which is why it has never been explained in terms of the hexagram pairs or other mathematical details. The description of the Water Cycle and weather systems in the hexagrams 1-10 seems both experiential and observational at a level unknown in the West until the 20th century...

But, other than that I can only salute your enthusiasm for the Earlier Sequence. Fortunately, in Oracle use the sequence isn't a factor and each of us can admire the Sequence we find personally awesome in our own unique ways...

Frank
 

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Hi Frank,
I really like your work with the ten points of Pythagoras. I too have been influenced by it. Will get back to you about it sometime later when I have had some time to get into it more.
Robin
 

fkegan

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Hi Frank,
I really like your work with the ten points of Pythagoras. I too have been influenced by it. Will get back to you about it sometime later when I have had some time to get into it more.
Robin

Hi Robin,
Thank You. Great to hear someone appreciate the Yi-Pythagoras connection! I await your further remarks.

I am trying to figure out how to reply to M. Earlewine explaining the difference in perspective of the two sets of trigram order. They each make good sense looking at them, expressing their different fundamental assumptions. Earlier with Heaven and Earth as primary concepts; the later with its own system where Heaven becomes sunshine energy and Earth topographical elevation. It is another, more abstract level of symbolism without the direct, concrete, one-to-one with natural observations.

Frank
 

Sparhawk

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IMO, no discussions and conclusions on the trigrams would be complete without considering what Schuyler Cammann had to say about them... Even Steve Moore completed his book with insufficient information from Cammann as his "The Origin of the Trigram Circles in Ancient China, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, No.62, 1990" was published after Moore's book.

I'd like to remind you all to read the whole thread about Michael Erlewine's question and where he's coming from. He's very specific and I believe the answer lies in the direction of Cammann's work.

As for how to contact Michael Erlewine, click the name or search Google. He's been "around"... :D
 

fkegan

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simple answers for trigram sequence...

IMO, no discussions and conclusions on the trigrams would be complete without considering what Schuyler Cammann had to say about them..

Hi Luis,

No link to the citation? No cogent comments upon the substance of his argument? All I could find through Google was the same old millennium [academic] stuff relying upon artifacts from grave robbing and comments that math is good while divination is occult which is not Christian and thus bad...

As to Michael's original posts:

I have been trying to understand the origin, nature, and ordering of the eight trigrams, in particular as they appear in the Former and Later Heaven sequences. {first line of first post}
{middle restatement} since the Later Heaven sequence is labeled by many authors a “sequence” or cycle, just how did they come up with that particular arrangement as “the” sequence. I understand that the arrangement was arrived at through the Magic Square, but how on earth (or heaven) do they justify putting the father and mother trigrams (Qian and Kun) at a 90-degree angle, rather than the traditional 180-degree angle. I simply don’t understand.

{and finally}What I was puzzled about (and to me is not so intuitive) is the Later Heaven sequence and, in particular, how the father and mother trigrams (Qian and Kun) could be placed at right angles to one another. I have heard zero response about this that makes sense to me, aside from the interesting comment that they are getting out of the way for the kids. Ok....if anyone can shed light on this question, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Michael Erlewine (Michel@Erlewine.net)

Schuyler seems unlikely to answer any real questions. The simple answer is that in the Former Heaven uses the 3 Yang Lines as Father Heaven and the 3 Yin Lines as Mother Earth. The Later Heaven uses Ch'ien as Sunshine [energy] and the 3 Yin lines of trigram Kun as the markings of Planet Earth topography (across from Ken mountain or high elevation) as a pair of symbols of structure compared to Ch'ien and Sun as energy of Sunshine and wind. No need for magic squares or math secrets or ancient grave artifacts--just a realization the KWS and Later Heaven are all about sophisticated philosophy using the gua line patterns for their symbolic meaning. Not quaint ancient math more primitive than what is familiar to us--MORE sophisticated philosophy which was universal by the 6th century BCE and lost as Crusader academics and their military wings took to reduce all other learning to just fuel for their bonfires.

Frank
 

Sparhawk

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Hi Luis,

No link to the citation? No cogent comments upon the substance of his argument? All I could find through Google was the same old millennium [academic] stuff relying upon artifacts from grave robbing and comments that math is good while divination is occult which is not Christian and thus bad...

Nope, no citations, sorry. Besides, it would be too long to cite the logic behind the explanation of the sequences. Usually I'm pretty generous with the sharing of copyrighted information but I actually had to pay dearly for those articles at JStor and the BMFEA. That's why, after finding those and reading them, I answered Michaels Erlewine's question by pointing him to their existence. As for Cammann, don't be quick to dismiss him. His purported apprehension to divination gave him a very clear mind to analyze his findings.

So, after reading those, perhaps it would be time to chuck them in the trash bin, not before.
 

Sparhawk

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Schuyler seems unlikely to answer any real questions. The simple answer is that in the Former Heaven uses the 3 Yang Lines as Father Heaven and the 3 Yin Lines as Mother Earth. The Later Heaven uses Ch'ien as Sunshine [energy] and the 3 Yin lines of trigram Kun as the markings of Planet Earth topography (across from Ken mountain or high elevation) as a pair of symbols of structure compared to Ch'ien and Sun as energy of Sunshine and wind. No need for magic squares or math secrets or ancient grave artifacts--just a realization the KWS and Later Heaven are all about sophisticated philosophy using the gua line patterns for their symbolic meaning. Not quaint ancient math more primitive than what is familiar to us--MORE sophisticated philosophy which was universal by the 6th century BCE and lost as Crusader academics and their military wings took to reduce all other learning to just fuel for their bonfires.

Let's give Micheal some credit. He knows all that about the basic Earlier and Later Heaven configurations. His question was regarding the "why" of the positional arrangement of the Later Heaven Bagua (KWS):

Trigrams.jpg


It is this that is explained in Cammann's "The Origin of the Trigram Circles in Ancient China", in a more clear and convincing way than in any other literature I've found so far in the West (and I've read a lot...) If he's wrong or not, who knows. I actually liked his conclusions.
 

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