In Chinese, the number seven is Q -fcr. In oracle bone writing, seven is equivalent to ten. Seven is a Yang number, holding Yin and Yang to represent the Dao. In Chinese, seven is identical in pronunciation to the word for lacquer— Q Hi. Lacquer is a coating that functions to protect an object and it is also a symbol for eternity. Lacquer art in China dates back at least 2,000 years.
Q -fcr stands for the central position in the Yijing. Further, the central position stands for contractor. In Chinese, this central position, or contractor, refers to the host or the emperor of a country. Seven is equivalent to Qixing ff H , or the seven stars in the Big Dipper. According to Wu (Chinese shamanic tradition), the Big Dipper is the Heart of Heaven. The ancient shamans read the beating of this Heart, or observed the movement of the handle of the Big Dipper, to foretell changes in the Universal Qi. The Big Dipper is considered to be the chariot of the Heavenly Emperor, and through changes in the handling of this chariot, the Heavenly Emperor controls the changes of the four seasons of the year.
In Yijing numerology, the number seven is the pattern of two and the element of Fire. Seven belongs to the Heart in the microcosm of the body while the Qixing -fcrM (seven stars of the Big Dipper) represent the seven orifices of
the head. The seven orifices consist of two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth. In Qigong practice, it is important to know how to work with the seven orifices because they are related to the emperor, or Heart, in the body. Shen (spirit) resides in the Heart.
In Chinese cosmology, seven represents the infinite space and time of the universe. In the Yijing, seven stands for rebirth or re-creation, as the hexagram Fu beckons to "...repeat the Way, [Yang Qi will] return after seven days."
The story of Hundun told by Daoist Master Zhuangzi may inspire our spiritual cultivation (see Part II, 4.2.3 Hundun igt'li - The Chaos).
In Chinese, the number eight is Ba. In oracle bone style writing, the number eight is illustrated as a pattern of division. The character Ba A depicts two lines dividing. In classical Chinese, eight means separation, or to separate. Separation is a way of change, according to Yijing philosophy, because hidden within the concept of separation is the meaning of cooperation for the next step of creation. As we discussed with the number three (a number of creation), the trigrams with their three lines representing Heaven, Earth, and the Human Being reflect the universal energy. The number three, as a number of creation, gives birth to the
universe. Similarly, the number eight, while holding the meaning of separation, also holds the meaning of cooperation and order, which in turn gives rise to creation. This ordered cooperation is demonstrated by modern science, which has mapped cell division in its progression from one cell to two cells to four cells to eight cells.
This pattern of separation and change is ordered in a certain way to produce creative energy. This is evident in the creation of the Bagua (Eight
Trigrams) which forms the basis of Yijing science. Recall 0ne pattern °f
' J ° arrangement forms the symbol of Taiji, the great primordial momentum of Yin the Bagua-. prenatal.
and Yang yoked together and intertwined to produce continual movement and represented by the number one. ^ Chinese cosmology tells us that separation occurred -ir-— when the light Q ascended to form Heaven and s" ^ the heavy Q descended to form the Earth, thus ^ representing the number two.
Two patterns of arrangement form the Bagua: prenatal and postnatal, or Early Heaven and Later Heaven. Put in general terms, the prenatal or Early Heaven arrangement of the Bagua reflects the innate energy necessary for creation by the inter- ^
action of polar forces. The postnatal or Later Heaven v
. One pattern of arrangement of the Bagua reflects a self-generating cyclic move- arrangement forms ment. These positions of the Later Heaven arrangement are fixed to the Bagua postnata|. represent the Universal Way and the concepts of space and time.
According to ancient Chinese cosmology, the orbits of the planets are circular at 360 degrees. Dividing the degree of orbit by the number eight produces segments of 45 degrees. Each 45-degree segment represents a section of Universal Qi, denoting time and space. The Bagua is arranged in 45-degree increments to demonstrate this order. Each trigram is located in the space of the eight directions: North, South, East, West, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. The Bagua also holds the meaning of time in terms of season:
winter, summer, spring, fall, winter solstice, summer solstice, spring equinox, and fall equinox. One year of energy coinciding with the planetary orbit is divided into these eight sections and is named Bajie Atft.
Knowing now that eight holds the meaning of separation as well as the hidden meaning of cooperation for creation, it is no coincidence that the number eight itself is the partner of the number three. Eight, then, belongs to the Wood element and is represented by the Liver in the body.
In Qigong practice, we work with the eight layers of the body: skin, muscles, tendons, fascia, blood vessels, bone, bone marrow, and blood. As we work to harmonize these eight layers and produce mutual cooperation among them, so too are we working with the eight trigrams of the body. Qan ffff (Heaven) represents the head, as it is the highest part of the body. Kun (Earth) represents the belly, as it takes in nourishment and is the seat of the Spleen and Stomach. Li ff (Fire) represents the eyes, as they are the windows of Shen (spirit). Kan ^ (Water) represents the ears, as they are the orifices of the Kidney. Zhen M (Thunder) represents the feet, as they are the vehicle of life and the spiritual journey. Xun fff (Wind) represents the thighs, as they hold the Yin and Yang energy to balance the body. Gen U, (mountain) represents the hands, as they hold energy just as a mountain does. Dui ff (Lake) represents the mouth, as it makes speech and as a shaman chants for a joyful life. The number eight becomes a symbol of stability as these eight layers cooperate in cyclic generation.
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