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PARKHAS - The Eight Trigrams
The eight parkhas or trigrams are related to the Chinese pa-qua, connected to the I-Ching (Book of Changes), one of the oldest and most important writings in the history of the Chinese language. These eight trigrams represent the interdependent relation of the two great opposites, "yang" and "yin". Yang (translation: "Sunny side of the hill") is the male, positive, and active force, while yin (translation: "Shaded side of the hill") is female, receptive, and passive. Their interrelationship creates the eight trigrams, any two of which can be used to form the six-lined hexagram, used in the I-Ching.

The active yang force is symbolized by an unbroken line, while the passive yin force is a 2-section broken line. These are then placed, one above the other to form the eight possible combinations or 3-lined trigrams. In Tibetan astrology, these eight trigrams are placed at the eight directions in space, with Li to the South, Khon to the S.W., Dha to the West, Khen to the N.W., Kham to the North, Kin to the N.E., Zin to the East, and Zon to the S.E. Here is a list, including the meaning as suggest in the no-famous book on the I-Ching by Wilhelm.

The entire universe in all its varied manifestations arises from the interplay of these two forces. One is never found without the other. Without space, movement is impossible, The continual process of the transformation of energy is symbolized by the eigt trigrams and sixty-four hexagrams. Yang is represented by an unbroken line; Yin by a broken line.When three lines are combined, we have eight types of trigram, the Parkha gye, which symbolize the eight principal modes of combination of energy.

Trigram: Li
Direction: South
Element: Fire
Meaning: Clinging
Animal: Bird
Trigram: Khön
Direction: S.W.
Element: Earth
Meaning: The Receptive
Animal: Ox
Trigram: Dwa
Direction: West
Element: Iron
Meaning: Joyous
Animal: Sheep
Trigram: Khen
Direction: N.W.
Element: Sky
Meaning: The Creative
Animal: Horse
Trigram: Kham
Direction: North
Element: Water
Meaning: The Abysmal
Animal: Pig
Trigram: Kin
Direction: N.E.
Element: Mountain
Meaning: Keeping Still
Animal: Dog
Trigram: Tsin
Direction: East
Element: Wood
Meaning: Arousing
Animal: Dragon
Trigram: Zön
Direction: S.E.
Element: Wind
Meaning: The Gentle
Animal: Sheep

Articles by Michael Erlewine