Qian, the Heaven

What does Qian represent?

Qian corresponds to the zenith of our capabilities. In this sense, it encompasses two aspects: firstly, a mindset characterized by a high degree of clarity and coherence, undisturbed by worries, desires, and mental loops. Secondly, it also refers to the ability to manifest this inner clarity into action, thereby making it visible in the world.

When our mind is clear, when we are fully present and simultaneously aligned with our goal, we become creators: The creative power of our coherent mind, our own living consciousness, has the capacity to influence the surrounding unstructured potential, organizing it, and shaping it according to our will.

It is important to note that this does not involve intentional action or mere activism. Action, as understood in the context of Qian, is different: for inner clarity to manifest in the world, the arrow must already exist in the target…

The Clear and Coherent Mind Becomes Creator

A clear and coherent mind is the goal of many spiritual paths. However, achieving this ideal is challenging. The extent of this difficulty is exemplified by a description rooted in the Japanese art of archery, Kyūdō. The Japanese master Hideharu Onuma identified three qualities of hitting the target:

  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 Qian, body, mind, and technique merge into one. In other words, all our powers, our entire being, work in unison, following a common will, guided by our inner clarity…

In the sequence of King Wen’s Later Heaven, Qian is associated with the functional circuit of the Heart (HT). The relevant quotes from the classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine can be found in the corresponding section of Phase Element Fire: Heart and will further deepen the understanding of clarity and coherence.

Following the Path of the Dao: What Word do I Speak to the World?

In the model of Follow the Path of the Dao, Qian represents one of the two quiet points. In Qian, our encounter with the world is fulfilled, accompanied by a profound awareness of our self-efficacy: I know that I am an individual separate from my environment, and I am also aware of my ability to impact the world around me.

In terms of self-exploration, Qian thus raises questions about the nature of our relationship with the world – how we are situated within it, how we interact with it, and how we engage with it. Potential questions could include:

  • Is the boundary that defines me well-outlined and clear?
  • What defines me? What is the word, my word, that I speak to the world? Does the world hear me? Do I speak it loudly and clearly?
  • Am I aware that my actions in the world have an impact?

What does Qian emerge from?


Regarding 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, the wind / tree, 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 of hexagrams where Qian emerges from Sun → here.

What does Qian develop into?


Again 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, the lake 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 of hexagrams where Qian develops into Dui → here.


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

Modern Interpretation

Clarity and coherence; 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

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