Scientific Soundbite Color and the I Ching
by Katherine Metz, Founder of Feng Shui Storyboard
I have been doing some work to better understand the binary and analog aspects of the I Ching, to come to know better both its linear knowledge and its relational wisdom. While reading a book on Chaos Theory, I came across some fascinating information concerning color.
There is a system of assigning colors to the trigrams unlike the colors we associate with each gua of the Black Sect Ba-gua. The order is as follows, and seems to exist within the collective psyche, for it seems to appear again and again in the literature I have been reading. Take a good look at the order. Does it remind you of something with which you are very familiar?
- Earth is black
- Mountain is purple
- Water is blue
- Wind is green
- Thunder is yellow
- Fire is orange
- Lake is red
- Heaven is white
Eight trigrams seem to lie along the color spectrum, from the all-black yin of Earth, to the all-white yang of Heaven. And with some complicated manipulations using the family members of the trigrams sitting on a color wheel, we find that, across the wheel, pairs of trigrams act as mirrors in complementary ways. On the Pre-Heaven Wheel, we find the pairs are polar complements on the paint spectrum. On the Post-Heaven Wheel, we find the pairs are polar complements on the light spectrum.
When we look more deeply, we find that when the colors of the Pre-Heaven Wheel are transferred to a cube, the paint spectrum merges into black. Professor Lin has described black as the color that does not change when other colors are added. It remains constant, as does the cyclic stability of the fundamental and archetypal principles of the Pre-Heaven Ba-gua.
The colors of the Post-Heaven cube merge into white. In Professor Lin’s cosmology, white is symbolic of the whole. It represents the cyclic existence of the entire universe. So does the Post-Heaven Ba-gua, which includes King Wen’s modifications of terrestrial time and seasonal conditions. He moved us into the realm of movement, change, and innovation.
White is represented by the single sound Om, black by the single sound Hum. Do you recognize the movement from Om to Hum, in the Six True Words; Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum? And the colors of the Six True Words from white to black; white, red, yellow, green, blue, black?
There is much to be learned here. However, until I have spoken to a mathematician, and created a visual model of this fascinating information, there are ways we can explore our relationship to its meaning without pulling our hair out. I suggest answering the following questions:
- What is your favorite color? To what trigram does it relate? Does this suggest anything to you about your nature?
- What is your least favorite color? To what trigram does it relate? Does this suggest anything to you about your nature?
- If you form the two possible hexagrams from the trigrams you have chosen, do they suggest anything to you about your nature, your behaviors, your feelings? Do you find any new clues to your perspective on life?
Let me know what you discover!
About Katherine Metz
Katherine Metz is a Feng Shui Practitioner, Teacher, Mentor, Bau-biologist and a Founding Director of the Feng Shui Guild. Blending other aspects of her background—a degree in Medical Sociology from the University of Michigan and design experience from owning an interior landscape business—with the Hawaiian and Chinese arts of healing and place, Katherine created The Art of Placement, where she went on to become a highly regarded practitioner, teacher, and lecturer. She has made a lasting mark in reaching out to the public and in her most recent endeavor serving as mentor to a select group of affiliates from around the world.
She has appeared on television and radio across the country. Her name appears in many Feng Shui books as authors acknowledge their teachers, and her writings continue to be used by students and practitioners around the world. In 1998 Katherine was keynote speaker for the 2nd Annual International Feng Shui Conference. She teaches and lectures, upon request, on the art and science of creating a healthy home and workplace.
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