What does Sun represent?
Sun represents assertiveness and a vibrant, forward-pushing growth from within us. Powerful, self-confident, without hesitation or doubt. Strategic, relentless, unstoppable. Like the wind that passes through every opening and into every corner. Unstoppable, but not through brute force. Instead, it is gentle, almost tender.
In the literature on Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a beautiful image for the phenomenon of such forward-pushing growth: the gentle breeze of spring that permeates the plant world, bringing renewal and clothing the earth in green. It is sudden, unexpected, and surprising, like an orchestra that simultaneously begins playing at a single, invisible cue.
The Seed Unfolds in the External World
So much for the external perspective. If we examine this phenomenon from an inner perspective, we can observe something interesting: nothing new is happening. What is manifesting now was already sketched out at the core, in its basic structure. The movement was predetermined, and in this moment, its unfolding in the external world becomes visible. However, it existed already before, as a thought, an idea, a plan. The plants of spring are simply growing towards the forms that were already embedded in their core, in their seed.
The Connection to One’s Own Inner Self as the Pivot Point
The connection to the core, therefore, is the pivot point. The clearer the connection to this core, the more stable and powerful the process of growth can unfold. But what does this core consist of when we apply the image to ourselves, to human beings? When we look at the trigram Sun, we discover a yin line at the root (the bottom line of the trigram). This refers to Kun, the earth, or in other words, to listening to the impulses from within us.
It is the impulse from within us that causes us to root ourselves. It carries our forward-pushing growth in Sun. It provides us with guidance on our path. It assists us when making decisions during our interaction with the external world. And it enables us to find community with other people because we can only become part of a community when we exist in the world in accordance with our inner nature.
In the sequence of the King Wen’s Later Heaven, Sun is associated with the functional circuit of the Liver (LIV). Various descriptions from the classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine illustrate the characteristics and special abilities of the Liver circuit: Phase Element Wood: Liver
Following the Path of the Dao: Feeling My Roots
In the model of Follow the Path of the Dao, Sun is one of the four dynamic landmark points. At Sun, the movement consolidates and intensifies. After the yang line, which initiated a new impulse in the preceding trigram (Li or Gen), a second yang line now follows and forms Sun, further strengthening the new tendency.
Questions for self-exploration could be as follows:
- Where is my current position? Where do I want to go?
- Do I feel my connection, the impulse from within me? Am I following it?
- What is the position of others? Where do they want to go?
- Together… how do we achieve that? Are there points of contact, shared visions?
Where does Sun emerge from?
Within a hexagram Sun develops either from Li or Gen (exception: the hexagram begins with Sun / Sun is the lower trigram). The red arrows indicate that a (solid) yang line is added to each previous trigram. Yang symbolizes energy, activity. A forward thrusting movement is active, yang.
Sun emerges from Li, the Fire
Li, the fire, is our decision-making instance which separates the beneficial from detrimental. Once we have clarity about what exactly we want to achieve or where our destination lies, we can embark on our journey (Sun, the tree / wind) to reach our goal – against any resistance.
Examples of hexagrams where Sun emerges from Li → here.
Sun emerges from Gen, the Mountain
Gen, the mountain, represents our ability to disengage and thus to free ourselves from unnecessary baggage. With Gen we concentrate our energies and draw the bow. Until our arrow, Sun, is vigorously shot off: unstoppable, unrelenting, heading for our goal.
Examples of hexagrams where Sun emerges from Gen → here.
What does Sun develop into?
Within a hexagram Sun develops either into Qian or Dui (exception: the hexagram ends with Sun / Sun is the upper trigram.
Sun develops into Dui, the Lake
Dui develops when a (broken) yin line is added (dark arrow; yin symbolizes receptivity). Sun‘s powerful, uniform growth of our inner being encounters the outer world in Dui. That which has developed hidden deeply within ourselves, crosses the border of our self and becomes visible. It touches the environment and generates… reverberation.
Examples of hexagrams where Sun develops into Dui → here.
Sun develops into Qian, the Heaven
Qian develops when a (solid) yang line is added (red arrow; yang symbolizes energy, activity). 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 of hexagrams where Sun develops into Qian → here.
Assertiveness; thinking, planning, acting; mental skills, insight
Gentle and penetrating: well-rooted and extending upwards; only seemingly gentle but: inexorable; balancing the inside and the outside, (re)connecting heaven and earth
Interpretation: Organic growth in line with the rhythms of nature: the wind / tree penetrates slowly but steadily and reaches in its softness anywhere; harmonic orientation towards the external; if inner trigram possible tendency of too much depth
- I Ching Study Guide – Introduction
- THEORY: History, Terms, Objectives
- PRACTICE: Using the I Ching for Divination
- Structure of a Hexagram
- Trigrams and their Meaning
- Frequently Asked Questions and Application Tips