Qian, the Heaven

What does Qian stand for?

Qian, der Himmel

Qian represents the zenith of our human potential, a state of mind of clarity and coherence, undisturbed by worries, desires, thought loops. When our mind is clear, if we are simultaneously one with ourselves and with our goal, we become creator: the constellating power of our coherent mind, our own living consciousness is able to act upon the unstructured potential that surrounds us, to organize and form it according to our will.

A clear and coherent mind is the goal of many paths of spiritual practice. The following description of Japanese archery Kyūdō shows how difficult it is to reach this ideal:

Hideharu Onuma, 9. Dan/Hanshi, († 1990), spoke about three levels of skill:

  1. Tōteki, the arrow hits the target.
  2. Kanteki, the arrow pierces the target.
  3. Zaiteki, the arrow exits the target.

Good technique and form of movement are sufficient to reach the first level of skill. The second level of skill requires targeted dynamics. On the third level of skill it is manifest that the arrow hits the target before it is shot. This quality can only be achieved when the body, mind and technique merge into one.

In the classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine we find the following descriptions for the functional circuit heart (see King Wen’s Later Heaven: the heart is associated with Qian):

The heart is the residence of Shen, the creative power that procures man with heavenly Dao and makes him a unique individual… Wherever Shen dwells, connection to the whole exists and you can feel serene tranquility regarding the wonders of life and your own inadequacies. Whenever the divine is within us human selfishness, timidity and self-doubt disappear…

It is the emptiness of the heart that enables Shen’s free, outwardly oriented communication and the inner reflection of the world without prejudices and judgments… Shen Ming manifests itself as an integrating and cohesive force within an individual’s personality. Other descriptions for this condition are integrity, presence…

The natural way of Shen… promotes behavior that acts without intent, that lets things happen without making them subject to the ego’s will…
Phase Element Fire

What does Qian emerge from?

qian_entwicklungRegarding the changes within a hexagram Qian is an exception insofar as it can only emerge from one trigram: Sun. When a (solid) yang line is added to Sun, Qian emerges (red arrow; Yang symbolizes energy, activity).

Qian emerges from Sun, the Wind / Tree

Sun represents a powerful forward thrusting from within ourselves: self-assured, unstoppable, unrelenting, following an invisible, very own, perfect path. This growth reaches its peak in Qian: our clear and coherent self, our true nature.

Examples for hexagrams where Qian emerges from Sun → here.

What does Qian develop into?

qian_entwicklungAgain Qian is an exception: Qian can only develop into one trigram. Dui emerges when a (broken) yin line is added on top (red arrow; yin symbolizes receptivity).

Qian develops into Dui, the lake

Qian is the result of an internal growth process towards greater personal integrity, coherence and clarity. But while Qian monologues, Dui starts the dialogue: Dui opens the boundaries of the self and lets the outside, the “you” touch our inside. Result: our self (Qian) becomes alive through animated exchange with the world around us.

Examples for hexagrams where Qian develops into Dui → here.


Phase (Element): Fire
Functional Circuit: Heart (HE)

Modern Interpretation

Expression, passion, spontaneity; warmth, love; spirituality

Traditional Interpretation

Strength, clarity, energy, determination, dedication, creative, clear, strong, conscious, resolute, extending
Direction: upward, outward
Interpretation: may develop too much power if pointing outward without proper support from the inside

Read more