The I Ching: The Roots of Feng Shui Bagua

Two gold I Ching coins

Many people ask about the origins of the feng shui bagua … where it came from and how it developed. The answer is that feng shui emerged from the I Ching, The Book of Changes, the oldest book of divination. An exploration of the ways of the world, the I Ching integrates insight and wisdom about people, business, society, government, philosophy, morality, and ethics, within the larger backdrop of heaven and earth. It explores human affairs in all situations and provides deep guidance about proper action.

Yin and Yang Energies Provide the Basis

The concepts of yin and yang provide a basis for the I Ching.  They are opposite energies that encompass the whole. Yin energy is dark, small, cold and tight. Yang energy is bright, big, hot and expansive. The initial two energies of yin and yang represent Heaven (yang) and Earth (yin). Later, the energies were split and expanded to four groups that represented the seasons and how Heaven and Earth join together in nature. In this way, the I Ching was used as an almanac.

The Eight Unique Patterns

When the four energies were split a third time, they expanded to eight unique patterns that represent the forces of nature and man’s place between Heaven and Earth:

  1. Heaven: creative power, light of day, strong, firm
  2. Earth: receptive, weak, responsive, darkness, nourishing
  3. Water: profound, difficult, clouds, flow, depth, dangerous
  4. Fire: intelligence, dependent, lightning, illumination, clarity, conscientious
  5. Thunder: excitement, growth, activity, arousing, influential activity
  6. Wind: gradual, penetrating, wood, honest, gradual
  7. Lake: excess, fullness, pleasure, openness, satisfaction
  8. Mountain: immobility, tranquil, perverse, stillness, stubborn, waiting

After years of observation, these eight patterns evolved into the feng shui bagua. There’s an Early Heaven sequence where the energies are arranged as opposites (and only used for the outside) and the Later Heaven sequence that is the one commonly used today.

WIND

Wealth/Prosperity

Gradual, Penetrating, Honest

FIRE

Fame/Reputation

Intelligent, Illuminating, Conscientious

EARTH

Relationships/Partners

Receptive, Responsive, Nourishing

THUNDER

Family/Ancestors

Arousing, Exciting, Influential

TAI CHI

Health/Center

LAKE

Children/Joy

Pleasurable, Full, Satisfying

MOUNTAIN

Knowledge/Personal Development/Self Cultivation

Immobile, Tranquil, Still

WATER

Career/Opportunities

Profound, Deep, Flowing

HEAVEN

Helpful People/Travel

Creative Power, Strong, Firm

 

Stacked Trigrams Form the 64 Hexagrams

When the eight trigrams are doubled up, a hexagram is formed. There are 64 unique hexagrams (8 x 8 = 64). These are the 64 chapters of the I Ching. Around 1,500 BC, King Wen wrote an essay for each hexagram that explains every human condition. The wisdom still applies today.
 
The I Ching is a great way to get guidance on any topic in your life. The answer is always right! What matters is that you ask the right question.

Contact Peg (peg@fengshuiconnections.com) if you’d like an I Ching reading or guidance about how to use the I Ching in your life or click here to learn more about the I Ching in general.