According to the
numbers, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (pieces of yarrows), obtained during
divination, a hexagram is formed through its lines appearing, one
after another, from the bottom to the top. 7 and 9, as well as 6 and
8 represents the young and the old masculine (line), as well as the old and
young feminine (line), respectively.
Basically, the images
that construct the oracle of a hexagram are abstract, and they vary
in accordance with question concerned and people involved, as well
as time and place related. Therefore the phenomenon created by its
images is mutable, and a hexagram can be extensively paraphrased.
However, when the hexagram in the I Ching is referred to, its images
are limited to a certain category confined by its name, and
interpretation must conform to its text.
The lower and the
A hexagram is
constituted by two trigrams, the lower trigram (also called the
internal trigram) and the upper trigram (also called the external
trigram). These two can be either the same or different.
In addition to their
images creating phenomenon, they can also present a hexagram in many
other ways, for instance, the internal trigram denotes its instinct,
and the external one exhibits its disposition; the internal trigram
denotes its talent, and the external one exhibits its performance;
the internal trigram reflects its intention, and the external one
indicates the environment. From the viewpoint of the social ranking,
the space-time continuum, etc, the lower trigram represents those
below, and the upper one is those above; the lower trigram
represents the beginning, and the upper one is the ending; the lower
trigram represents the cause, and the upper one is the effect.
Besides the lower and the upper trigram of a
hexagram, its related hexagrams described below can also provide us
with multidimensional understanding.
(or nuclear) hexagram
(called in Chinese:
The inner hexagram is constructed of the inner lower and
inner upper trigram of the original hexagram in the form of
The inner lower trigram is a trigram built by lines 2, 3 and 4 of
the original hexagram; the inner upper trigram is built by lines 3,
4 and 5.
Hu Gua was invented by the scholars of the Han dynasty
(202 B.C. to 220 A.C.) for drawing images from the original hexagram
to understand its motivation, behavioural tendency, latent crisis,
or winning factor, etc. Additionally the phenomena described in the
line text can be also traced out through the image of the inner trigram.
(called in Chinese:
reverse hexagram is a hexagram which is upside down against the
In the sequence of 64-hexagram most of the paired hexagrams appear in the reverse form, suggesting that an event is
complete only after it goes through a cycle as indicated below. Zong in Chinese means to put gather and summarise.
The use of
Zong Gua was initiated by Master Lai Zhi De (來知德
1562 A.C. to 1609 A.C.)
of the Ming dynasty. The reverse
hexagram can provide an
opportunity to understand a hexagram
from an integral view.
The changing hexagram
also called in Chinese:
When all the lines of
change to the other gender, its
changing hexagram forms. They can be seen as the opposite of each
While positioned side by side, these two are
accessible to each other through their
masculine and feminine lines at the corresponding positions.
Therefore it is also called
means to intersect. Viewed from their interchange,
seen as the causation of each other.
In process of divining, a hexagram might form with moving line
(i.e. the old masculine or feminine line).
Depending on the reading method, i.e. either all moving
lines are taken into account, or only the significant one, the
moving line can change (to the other gender). The hexagram which forms after
also called the changing hexagram or
Zhi means to go from one position to the other, like a line moving
forward or backward to another position in a hexagram, or like a
hexagram transforming to another, either forward to the
future or backward to the past.
Hence, Zhi Gua usually suggests 1) the possible tendency,
develop-ment, or outcome, etc. (if the advice of the original hexagram is
followed or ignored), or 2) the original state, or the cause for
what happened, etc.,
3) the current action required for what is
advised to do.
The reciprocal increase and
decrease between the masculine and the feminine line in a hexagram
A very important concept in respect to the
relationship between the masculine and feminine line in a
hexagram is their reciprocal increase and decrease. When one
increases, it will cause the replacement of the other. The masculine
replacing the feminine is called masculinity subduing (息xi2)
femininity; on the other hand, the feminine replacing the masculine
is called femininity overpowering (消xiao)
A typical example of the reciprocal increase and
increase between the masculine and feminine line, like moon
phases, is demonstrated by the twelve-month hexagrams as indicated
months denoted by the above 12 hexagrams are referred to as the
lunar ones. They are either 29 or 30 days in length and in a regular
sequence. Chinese lunisolar calendar integrates them with 24 terms of a solar year
by inserting an intercalary month every four years.
the winter solstice always falls in November, where the dark (feminine
line) will decrease after the bright (masculine line appears and)
starts to increase, Fu (24) is taken for November. The season will change from winter to
spring and then summer with increasing daylight (masculinity). Therefore
Lin (19) is December; Tai (11), January; Da Zhuang (34), February; Guai (43), March,
and Qian (1), April.
the dark (feminine line appears and) starts to increase, the bright
(masculine line) will
decrease. The season will change from summer to autumn and then
winter with increasing darkness (femininity). Therefore Gou (44) is May (where the summer solstice
is); Dun (33), Jun; Pi (12), July; Guan (20), August; Bo (23),
September, and Kun (2), October.