The Vitruvian Square | Principles of Reality

The I Ching insists upon self-knowledge throughout. The method by which this is to be achieved is open to every kind of misuse, and is therefore not for the frivolous-minded and immature; nor is it for intellectualists and rationalists. It is appropriate only for thoughtful and reflective people who like to think about what they do and what happens to them. – Carl Jung

The Vitruvian Square owes part of its origin to the Lo Shu Square. Naturally, I have been asked how The Vitruvian Square, the I Ching, and the Ba Gua correspond with each other. For those who might not already know, ancient Chinese legend tells of a great flood that occurred in pre-historic times. Following the deluge, a remarkable turtle came out of the water; the back of its shell containing a discernible arrangement of dots. These dots became know as the Lo Shu pattern and presupposed a three-by-three grid of numbers/meanings/associations.

Some claim that the three-by-three grid housed 8 meaningful trigrams; each trigram made up of broken and unbroken lines. The 8 trigrams constitute some fundamental principles of reality for the Taoist and are often called the Ba Gua. The Ba Gua is commonly associated with the Lo Shu square. It is only natural to show you how the 8 trigrams fit into The Vitruvian Square matrix, and to easily demonstrate how energy flows between the squares.

1 = ☵ =  Water = Endless

2 = ☷ = Earth = Receptive

3 = ☳ = Thunder = Shaking

4 = ☴ = Wind = Grounding

5 = Yin Yang

6 = ☰ = Heaven = Forceful

7 = ☱ = Lake = Unlocked

8 = ☶ = Mountain = Bound

9 = ☲ = Fire = Radiant

An expanded version of this with some basic correspondences from Lo Shu, I Ching, and Ba Gua theories would look like this when superimposed upon The Vitruvian Square:

Position 5, you notice, does not host a trigram. Rather, it represents the wonderful Ying Yang concept; the Place of Power where perceived extremes and the trivial, opposing forces and those which are aligned, and differences and similarities all come together, and then give rise to each other all over again. This is where the ebb and flow of spirited reality takes place.

Extra credit – You can combine the individual Places of Power within The Vitruvian Square to create 64 of the same types of hexagram fusions as you find with the Ba Gua and I Ching systems of divination. For example, the hexagram for Youthful Folly is a combination of the inner trigram ☵ (Square 1) and outer trigram ☶ (Square 8). Can you see how the concept of Youthful Folly is epitomized by The (inner) Fool and betrayed by (outer lack of) Strength? Have fun exploring and meditating upon the 64 different combinations and discover the additional depth the exists within The Vitruvian Square.

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© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

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