A hexagram (hexa is the Greek prefix for six, referring to six lines) is built from bottom to top, and that is also the way it is read. The lower trigram (green background) is followed by the first core character (outlined in purple), then the second core character (outlined in turquoise) and the hexagram ends with the upper trigram (pink background).
Trigram (tri = three) refers to a character that is composed of three – broken or solid – lines. The lower (green background) and the upper (pink background) are always called trigrams. The two core characters (outlined in purple and turquoise) are of course trigrams as well, for their position within the hexagram they are referred to as lower and upper core characters.
For example the hexagram shown above consists of the following trigrams:
|upper trigram||Kun, the earth|
|second core character||Zhen, the thunder|
|first core character||Dui, the lake|
|lower trigram||Qian, the heaven|
Breaking the hexagram down this way and reading the resulting trigrams from bottom to top results in the following, very basic interpretation: Qian, the heaven, turns into Dui, the lake. From that evolves Zhen, the thunder, which in turn becomes Kun, the earth.
(Hexagram 12 – peace is fully interpreted here)
Excursus: The no2DO interpretation model →
- I Ching Study Guide – Table of Content
- Using the I Ching for Divination
- Structure of a Hexagram
- Trigrams and their Meaning