Zhen, the Thunder

What does Zhen stand for?

Zhen, the Thunder

Zhen represents our ability to make decisions, our determination, enthusiasm, courage, and precision; but also flexibility and strength belong to Zhen. If we look at nature, then Zhen‘s pattern of movement is that of a bud in its protective sleeve, just beginning to break open: a sudden, decisive and courageous move.

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

Spring wakens and nature starts to germinate and sprout. This corresponds to the morning of the day. This awakening is a sign of the arousing, Zhen, pouring out of the earth as thunder and electrical power.

… It is a revolution within nature where [winterly] frozen life suddenly starts to move. The first plants penetrate the ground, the first buds break open… The whole world is in turmoil, seemingly confused and yet pursuing an inner plan.

The gallbladder, by virtue of its ability to judge and decide, gives our life a good direction.
Phase Element Wood

What does Zhen emerge from?

Within a hexagram Zhen develops either from Kan or Dui (exception: the hexagram begins with Zhen / Zhen is the lower trigram). The dark arrows indicate that a (broken) yin line, symbolizing by itself receptivity, is added. Zhen‘s clarity and decisiveness result thus out of a process of internal or external opening.

Zhen develops from Dui, the Lake

Dui means to open oneself to the outside, to let new things in and express oneself outwardly while being receptive towards the environment. This triggers consequences: a seed will be planted, something within ourselves will begin to resonate with the environment. This resonance will consolidate, will become reply, decision and finally visible for all in resolute action.

Examples for hexagrams where Zhen develops from Dui → here.

Zhen develops from Kan, the Water

If we trust our gut feeling (Kan), if we are receptive for impulses that penetrate from our unconscious resources to our conscious mind, we plant the primordial seed of a new action, the first step into a new direction.

Examples for hexagrams where Zhen develops from Kan → here.

What does Zhen develop into?

Within a hexagram Zhen develops either into Kun or Gen (exception: the hexagram ends with Zhen / Zhen is the upper trigram).

Zhen develops into Kun, the Earth

Kun develops when a (broken) yin line is added (dark arrow; yin symbolizes receptivity). The clear decision that becomes visible in Zhen, falls on fertile grounds.

Examples for hexagrams where Zhen develops into Kun → here.

Zhen develops into Gen, the Mountain

The red arrow indicates that a (solid) yang line is added. Yang stands for energy, for activity. The initial decision (Zhen) produces disengagement, dissolving, transformation of the old. The old (the withered, the past structure) firstly persists and later on slowly dissolves, while the new structure is already growing.

Examples for hexagrams where Zhen develops into Gen → here.


Phase Element: Wood
Functional Circuit: Gallbladder (GB)

Modern Interpretation

Ability to make decisions; determination, enthusiasm, courage; precision; flexibility, strength

Traditional Interpretation

Exciting, staggering, unblocking, decisive movement
Direction: upwards, outwards
Interpretation: an opening towards new energy/drive, expansion, breakout

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