Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I Ching Question: Why is Heaven Cold and the World Warm?

I am often asked questions regarding the I Ching, about specific hexagrams, and sometimes also the trigrams. This has been particularly true since the publication of The Magician's I Ching or the creation of the popular Facebook Group related to it.

One I have been asked more than once is on the subject of the various attributes of the Trigrams.  And of these, maybe one of the most common questions is why it is that the Heaven trigram is called 'cold', while the World is called 'hot'.

Westerners I think tend to imagine Heaven, being masculine, is warm; and Earth, feminine, is cold.

But in the traditional attributions of the Trigrams, it is very clearly laid out: Heaven is 'light' and 'cold', while Earth (being womb-like) is 'dark' and 'warm'.

If you imagine Heaven, think of it as the highest greatest peak, the extreme of space. It thrusts outward, far and high. It is shining with light. But it is exposed, out there. The highest peaks are cold.

On the other hand, imagine the World as deep, receptive, it is as low as possible, it is the ground and under the ground. It is dark like a cave, or like a womb. And in these depths is found warmth. 

This also has to be understood in the context of the other two Celestial Trigrams: Sun and Moon.

Sun is fire, bright and hot.

Moon is water, dark and cold.

Thus, you can see how the four celestial elements balance each other out: two are bright, two are dark. Two are warm, two are cold.

1 comment:

  1. Your bagua shown here is the early heaven version. I thought your question is easier to explain with the later heaven version, where your "Heaven" is nearing the winter, while the "world" is just after summer.