Fu Xi and the eight symbols of creation

Impossible Love — Budi Satria Kwan

I’ve been mooching around various ‘creation’ ideas and themes recently. (Cut to the figure of a man, standing with his hands in his pockets slowly turning over a flat stone with his toe end, casually perusing the things that scuttle away)

There seems to be a common thread running through these notions:

‘In the beginning’ the ‘limitless’; the unknowable absolute; ‘his’ endlessness (etc), deigns to sacrifice it’s completeness by separating parts of itself. This is a going-down and a splitting-off. The seeds of discord are sown and the churning process takes off in a cascading chain of interactions, becoming more complex as ever ‘new’ combinations are explored.

Space, time and form all spring into existence with this first descent into chaos.

A supernal triad is always the driver of such creation; The ‘absolute’ itself, together with it’s two progeny, The ‘creative force’ and the ‘creative medium’.

These three forces are repeated fractal like at different scales throughout the wave of creation. The two opposing forces are quite easy to spot; The third force is more subtle, belonging as it does, to another order.

There are many maps out there, each trying to describe how these cascading forces combine, seeking to plot out the islands of stability formed by the interference of the ‘waves of creation’; These become the way-points for the return journey.

Of course there can be no absolute truth when dealing with maps and charts. As the saying goes, ‘the map is not the territory’. All we can say is that If they are useful, then they have served their purpose.

I previously posted about one of these maps recently.

The scale on these sort of things is relative though; The ‘absolute’ on one such chart turns out to be, but the completed process, belonging to a more encompassing map.

In the west we have the ‘wand’ and ‘chalice’ to symbolise the two opposing forces proceeding from the absolute. In the East they have ‘yang and yin’; The penetrating active force and the receptive, passive force.

The ‘Bagua’ (eight symbols) are derived from another ‘map of creation’

Fu Xi, the legendary figure that brought civilization to the Chinese wrote:

The Limitless (wuji) produces the delimited, (youji) and this demarcation is equivalent to the Absolute (taiji)

The Taiji (the two opposing forces in embryonic form) produces two forms, named yang and yin, which are called Liangyi (the manifested opposing forces).

These two forms produce four phenomena: named greater yin (taiyin, which also refers to the Moon), lesser yin (shaoyin), lesser yang (shaoyang), and greater yang (taiyang, which also refers to the Sun).

These four phenomena in turn act upon the eight trigrams. (Bagua)

These were later developed into the 64 hexagrams of the i-ching during the Zhou dynasty.

Left: Fuxi and Nuwa-Legendary serpent tailed creation gods of China. Right: The heralds wand with Tarot overlay.

When searching for depictions of Fu xi, I was taken by the similarity with the image of the herald’s wand I used in a previous post. It is uncanny that the deities who signal the onset of civilization (agriculture, writing, domestication) invariably seem, to be associated with the serpent.


Legend has it that in ancient China there was a huge deluge. The people offered sacrifices to the god of one of the flooding rivers, the Luo river, to try to calm his anger. A magical turtle emerged from the water with a curiously unnatural pattern on its shell: circular dots representing the integers 1 through 9, arranged in a three-by-three grid.

This became the Lo Shu magic square, an important model for time and space, serving as a basis for city planning, tomb design, and temple design. The Magic Square was used to designate spaces of political and religious importance.

The sums in each of the 3 rows, in each of the 3 columns, and in both diagonals, are all 15 (the number of days in each of the 24 cycles of the Chinese solar year)

The Lo Shu is sometimes connected numerologically with the Bagua which can be arranged in the 8 outer cells.

This can be used as a mandalic representation important in Feng Shui (風水) geomancy



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Head in the clouds, but really quite practical. Fine art trained, but frequently seduced by the promise of science. https://instagram.com/goat777etc