Archive for category I Ching

The Taoist Triad and the Three Logoi

“The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three.
From these three, all mankind descended.”
~Lao Tzu in Tao te King, 600BC.

All religious and esoteric traditions, philosophies and sciences try to describe the same world, and my goal was to find the shared pattern below all these. But, it’s not necessarily easy to find these patterns, the vocabularies are usually very different. The logic in Taoism seemed to be very different from the European tradition, where we had seven as key value they had eight, why? There were many questions like that. My first article on Taoism: Tao – The Equilibrium of Yin and Yang.

Especially I Ching was fascinating with their trigrams and hexagrams. It was a very stringent logical system, although the reasons was elusive. It was very different from anything else in the rest of the world. The big question was how it had been created and what the logic behind them was. Was it possible to connect it with European or Indian esotericism, with Kabbalah or astrology?

Some years ago i found out why we used seven and they used eight, it was quite easy when I first found out: Outside China we count the seven inner planetary bodies except Earth, the Chinese includes the Earth. Here we have the eight bodies to the left and the seven bodied projection to the right, where the Sun and Earth are projected into the same point.


I was fascinated by the The Book of Change, called the I Ching, that is one of the world’s oldest works of literature. In my Dark Night of the Soul I used it to solve some difficult questions and I was surprised how precise its advices was, even though it was an old old system. I was then ‘told’ that it was nearly as good as when it was created.

I studied the text and found out that it was kind of teaching or rule book for a civilization, and it was the guiding book for the development of the Chinese civilization.  I Ching was both appreciated by the Confucians and Taoists alike.

All civilizations are in danger of decadence, of the powers of Yin or Ahriman in Anthroposophic vocabulary, but I Ching is a guide for a society to keep the society in balance. This is the reason behind the longevity of the Chinese civilisation, but at the price of stasis, nothing new happened, but it was a perfect first class for new souls. As there isn’t coming many new souls into humanity any longer, they had to break the stasis, and that was what the culture revolution of Mao did. One kind of materialism is replaced by a new materialism, a cultureless materialism, where people can begin to find their own path.

The creation of the eight Pa Kua or trigrams at the root of the sixty-four principles, hexagrams, are ascribed to the legendary Fu-Xi, who ruled during the third millennium BC.

The creation:

Tao gives birth to One,
One gives birth to Two,
The Two gives birth to Three,
The Three gives birth to all universal things.
All universal things shoulder the Yin and embrace the Yang.
The Yin and Yang mingle and mix with each other to beget the harmony.

This reminds very much on the creation story around the Three Logoi. Here a drawing of the creation:


Steiner uses the following symbols for the Three Logoi (The Logos Walks the Earth):


First Logos gives the idea, Second Logos gives life and Third Logos gives the resulting form.

The trigrams are build from below, where the lowest line represents the First Logos, the middle line the Second Logos and the top line the Third Logos. Here another representation of the development of the trigrams, and related to western symbolism.


Here’s  how the children was created (from the Book of Change):

The Creative (☰ Qian) is heaven, therefore, it is called the father.
The Receptive (☷ Kun) is the earth, therefore, it is called the mother.
In the Trigram of the Arousing (☳ Zhen,) she seeks for the first time the power of the male and receives a son. Therefore, the Arousing is called the Eldest Son.
In the Trigram of the Gentle (☴ Xun) the male seeks for the first time the power of the female and receives a daughter. Therefore, the Gentle is called the Eldest Daughter.
In the Trigram of the Abysmal (☵ Kan) she seeks for a second time and receives a son. Therefore, it is called the Middle Son.
In the Trigram of the Clinging (☲ Li) he seeks for a second time and receives a daughter. Therefore, it is called the Middle Daughter.
In the Trigram of Keeping (☶ Gen) Still she seeks for a third time and receives a son. Therefore, it is called the Youngest Son.
In the Trigram of the Joyous (☱ Dui) he seeks for a third time and receives a daughter. Therefore, it is called the Youngest Daughter.

Inserted into the figure of the Alchemist Mountain:


The trigrams have names from their position in the family, and the oldest son and daughter corresponds to the First Logos, the middle son and daughter corresponds to the two personalities of the Second Logos and the youngest son and daughter corresponds to the Third Logos.

Buddhi is the Middle Daughter, and that is right, Buddhi is the feminine power of the trinity.

The Father is heaven and the Mother is Earth, and the hexagrams describes the path humanity follows from Earth to Heaven, all inclusive.


From Yi-Globe.

The trigrams can also be put into a Fano Plane (for the math inclined Wikipedia). Those who know the octal number system will see that all opposing trigrams add to Qian (☰). Like ☰= ☶ + ☱.


If we mirror the figure so Zhen comes down and Xun up it’s like the second and third triangle in the Kabbalah Tree of Life.

Interestingly enough the Fano Plane reminds about the Deathly Hallows 72dbbc99-632c-4d1a-b95e-9233d03048f2 from the Harry Potter books.

The Three Pure Ones

From Wikipedia:

The Three Pure Ones … are the Taoist Trinity, the three highest Gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings.


First Logos:

“Heavenly King of the Chaotic Never-ending Primordial Beginning”) at a time of pre-Creation when the Universe was still null and the cosmos was in disorder; manifesting into the first of the Taoist Trinity, Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn. Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn oversees the earliest phase of Creation of the Universe, and is henceforth known as Dàobǎo (道寶) “Treasure of the Tao”.

Second Logos:

In One produces Two—Taiji produces Yin Yang, Yuanshi Tianzun manifests into Lingbao Tianzun who separated the Yang from the Yin, the clear from the murky, and classified the elements into their rightful groups. Therefore, he is also known as Jīngbǎo (經寶) “Treasure of the Law/Scripture”.

While Jīng in popular understanding means “scriptures”, in this context it also mean “passing through” [the phase of Creation] and the Laws of Nature of how things are meant to be.

Third Logos:

In the final phase of Creation, Daode Tianzun is manifested from Língbăo Tiānzūn to bring civilization and preach the Law to all living beings. Therefore, He is also known as Shībǎo (師寶) “Treasure of the Master”.

Various Sources on I Ching

The Gnostic Book of Changes is a well researched book on I Ching, usable as introduction and as reference book. It can both be read on the site or downloaded as pdf-file.

In Chapter 3 he describes the structure of the I Ching Oracle with tender care, making much of the above easier understandable.

From his book:

trigram-star-of-davidIn the Hexagram as in the Star of David are Heaven and Earth meeting.

Café au Soul have a well made site for using the I Ching Oracle.



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47. K’un / Oppression (Exhaustion) – The Dark Night of the Soul

I_Ching_47_Kun I_Ching_Tui Above TUI
I_Ching_Kan Below K’AN

The lake is above, water below; the lake is empty, dried up. Exhaustion is expressed in yet another way: at the top, a dark line is holding down two light lines below, a light line is hemmed in between two dark ones. The upper trigram belongs to the principle of darkness, the lower to the principle of light. Thus everywhere superior men are oppressed and held in restraint by inferior men.

	OPPRESSION. Success. Perseverance.
	The great man brings about good fortune.
	No blame.
	When one has something to say,
	It is not believed.

Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate.

He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and sparing of words.

	There is not water in the lake:
	The image of EXHAUSTION.
	Thus the superior man stakes his life
	On following his will.

When the water has flowed out below, the lake must dry up and become exhausted. That is fate. This symbolizes an adverse fate in human life. In such times there is nothing a man can do but acquiesce in his fate and remain true to himself. This concerns the deepest stratum of his being, for this alone is superior to all external fate.

	Six at the beginning means:
	One sits oppressed under a bare tree
	And strays into a gloomy valley.
	For three years one sees nothing.

When adversity befalls a man, it is important above all things for him to be strong and to overcome the trouble inwardly. If he is weak, the trouble overwhelms him. Instead of proceeding on his way, he remains sitting under a bare tree and falls ever more deeply into gloom and melancholy. This makes the situation only more and more hopeless. Such an attitude comes from an inner delusion that he must by all means overcome.

	Nine in the second place means:
	One is oppressed while at meat and drink.
	The man with the scarlet knee bands is just coming.
	It furthers one to offer sacrifice.
	To set forth brings misfortune.
	No blame.

This pictures a state of inner oppression. Externally, all is well, one has meat and drink. But one is exhausted by the commonplaces of life, and there seems to be no way of escape.

Then help comes from a high place [the higher I]. A prince- in ancient China princes wore scarlet knee bands- is in search of able helpers. But there are still obstructions to be overcome.

Therefore it is important to meet these obstructions in the visible realm by offerings and prayer [Contemplation]. To set forth without being prepared would be disastrous, though not morally wrong. Here a disagreeable situation must be overcome by patience of spirit. [Trust in God, in Fate.]

	Six in the third place means:
	A man permits himself to be oppressed by stone,
	And leans on thorns and thistles.
	He enters the house and does not see his wife.

This shows a man who is restless and indecisive in times of adversity.

  • At first he wants to push ahead, then he encounters obstructions that, it is true, mean oppression only when recklessly dealt with. He butts his head against a wall and in consequence feels himself oppressed by the wall.
  • Then he leans on things that have in themselves no stability and that are merely a hazard for him who leans on them.
  • Thereupon he turns back irresolutely and retires into his house, only to find, as a fresh disappointment, that his wife is not there.
	Nine in the fourth place means:
	He comes very quietly, oppressed in a golden carriage.
	Humiliation, but the end is reached.

A well-to-do man sees the need of the lower classes and would like very much to be of help. But instead of proceeding with speed and energy where there is need, he begins in a hesitant and measured way. Then he encounters obstructions. Powerful and wealthy acquaintances draw him into their circle; he has to do as they do and cannot withdraw from them. Hence he finds himself in great embarrassment. But the trouble is transitory.

The original strength of his nature offsets the mistake he has made, and the goal is reached.

	Nine in the fifth place means:
	His nose and feet are cut off.
	Oppression at the hands of the man with the purple knee bands.
	Joy comes softly.
	It furthers one to make offerings and libations.

An individual who has the good of mankind at heart is oppressed from above and below (this is the meaning of the cutting off of nose an defeat). He finds no help among the people whose duty it would be to aid in the work of rescue (ministers wore purple knee bands).

But little by little, things take a turn for the better. Until that time, he should turn to God, firm in his inner composure, and pray and offer sacrifice for the general well-being.

	Six at the top means:
	He is oppressed by creeping vines.
	He moves uncertainly and says, "Movement brings remorse."
	If one feels remorse over this and makes a start,
	Good fortune comes.

A man is oppressed by bonds that can easily be broken. The distress is drawing to an end. But he is still irresolute; he is still influenced by the previous condition and fears that he may have cause for regret if he makes a move.

But as soon as he grasps the situation, changes this mental attitude, and makes a firm decision, he masters the oppression.

Richard Wilhelms translation.

See also “What I Ching tells about hexagram 47“.


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