Eight Palaces Internal Patterns

Note: I tried to recap the previous work that led to this analysis as best I could, but if you're new to the site, I recommend reading the previous articles first:

  • Jing Fang: Pairs and Processes
  • Jing Fang Circular Arrangement
  • Broken Symmetry in Jing Fang

    Some time back, I posted the following analysis of Jing Fang's 8 Palaces sequence of the i-Ching. This highly structured sequence is made up of rows based on trigrams. Each row begins with hexagram composed of a doubled trigram (1, Heaven over Heaven; 29, water over water; etc.). As you progress down each row, a single line changes in the hexagram, starting from the bottom and continuing one line at a time to the top, until the last hexagram in the row, in which the lower trigram changes to its yin-yang opposite.

    In order to gain insight into the hexagram pair structure that governs the King Wen sequence, I drew an arrow from the odd number to the even number for each of the King Wen hexagram pairs and discovered an interesting internal pattern.

    Some of the fascinating characteristics of this pattern are discussed here and here, and how some of the patterns relate to the King Wen sequence are described here.

    One element of the Jing Fang symmetry which I deferred until later was a discussion of the structure of the crossing pairs in the center of the diagram. There are two sets of crossing hexagrams. The majority cross through Hexagram 11 (Advance), while the rest pass through Hexagram 63 (Already Finished)

    The pairs that cross through Hexagram 63 have a fairly clear pattern. Essentially, these two rows show a complete yin hexagram passing through a field of yang. Also significant is the fact that the top row hexagrams are the yin-yang opposites of the corresponding hexagrams on the lower row.

    The pairs that cross between Hexagram 11 are also highly structured, but the pattern is much more complex. Here's a look at the relevant hexagrams:

    The first aspect of this arrangement has to do with yin-yang opposition again. The top three rows are the yin-yang opposites of the lower three rows -- i.e., each top position is the yin-yang opposite of the corresponding lower position (see the diagram below). In addition, if you look at the 3 x 5 rows as a matrix, you can draw a line crossing through the middle (Hexagram 63 (Already Finished) for the top row, 64 (Not Yet Finished) for the bottom). The top corner hexagram is the yin-yang opposite of the bottom corner hexagram turned upside down.

    The opposite/inversion pattern holds steady throughout (both in the top three rows and the bottom three). The arrows below connect each hexagram with its yin-yang opposite inverted in the top three rows.

    Taking the top row, the Jing-Fang rule applies. One line changes in each hexagram, from top to bottom, left to right. The changing line is highlighted in red below. The crossing lines section highlighted here only changes the internal four lines of the hexagram. The external two lines, or "shell lines" (first and sixth), always remain the same.

    If you look at just the internal four lines, the first hexagram of the second row is one line changed from the last hexagram of the first row, and the same holds for the first hexagram of the third row and the last hexagram of the second row.

    The shell lines also follow a pattern. The top three shell lines on the top section are yin, the bottom three are yang. The illustration below highlights yin in yellow and yang in red.

    If you take only the shell lines, you get Hexagram 11 -- advance -- the hexagram at the center of these crossing pairs. The implication, to me, is that the action of these hexagrams is a subset of the action of the Advance hexgram.

    The shell lines are inverted on the bottom three rows, which would give you Hexagram 12 -- obstruction. Therefore, the action of these hexagrams could be read as subsets of obstruction.

    There is probably an interesting textual analysis to be done based on these findings, but that will have to wait for another day. I do note with interest, however, from the perspective of King Wen, one would expect the the even numbered hexagrams to be ruled by 12, with the odd numbered hexagrams to be ruled by 11. This is not the case -- the distribution of odd and even numbered hexagrams seems to be random, although further study might come up with something interesting. This is a bit of a disappointment, since a key question relating to King Wen's sequence is why some hexagrams have odd numbers and some have even.

    From row to row, another pattern applies. The first hexagram of each row has a different top trigram (the same as in the full Jing-Fang sequence). But there are only six rows, so two trigrams are missing -- Heaven and Earth. For the top three, a line of yang rises through each trigram. On the bottom three, a line of yin rises through each trigram. The bottom three rows mirror the top three, so the yin-yang dynamic runs backward.

    The missing Heaven and Earth trigrams are found in the pairs that cross the 63 Hexagram, which I mentioned above.

    When using the circular diagram (see this article), the 63-crossing hexagrams are horizontal, while the 11-crossing hexagrams are vertical. (Thanks to Thierry for the Powerpoint template used below!)

    There are a number of interesting tacks which could be taken from this point out, mainly a more sophisticated analysis of the hexagram image texts to see how the 11 (Advance) sets compare to the 63 (Already Finished) sets, other than the structural relationships seen here, and an analysis of how advancing vs. finishing are reflected in the transformations we see in this hexagrams. The 11 and 63 hexagrams appear to shed some light on relationships between the associated hexagrams. There is probably more value yet to be extracted from this extremely complex arrangement. I think, at the very least, it helps shed some light on the structural significance of inverting a hexagram, which in turn will hopefully shed light on King Wen's Sequence.

    i-Ching Mandalas

    Fu Xi Pair Symmetry

    King Wen Broken Symmetry

    'Mystery Sequence' & Alchemy

    Jing Fang Pairs & Process

    King Wen's Hidden 108

    Broken Symmetry In Jing Fang

    The Shape of Wen (draft)

    King Wen in DNA Structure


    i-Ching, Time and Tarot

    LOST and i-Ching

    King Wen Mandala (Framed)

    Quantum Chakras

    Hexagram T-Shirts


    All text, images and Web design (C) 2006, J.M. Berger, all rights reserved. for permissions.