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I Ching 101.2: Introduction to the Kun Trigram "the Receptive"

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Kun is the exact opposite of Chien. It is composed of Three broken parallel lines. This Trigram represents the ultimate of the Yin Principle. The approximate Meaning of the Word “Kun” is “Yielding” or “Receptive”. Kun represents the Earth, and therefore, the Physical World in every sense of the Word.

Fu Hsi placed Kun in the North, at the bottom of the Earlier Heaven Arrangement, representing the height of Winter at the Winter Solstice.

Emperor Yu placed it in the SouthWest. In this Later Heaven Arrangement, it thus correlates to the Earth Element.

K'un is also the nurturing womb, the power that gives shape and substance to things, making thoughts and images visible.

In Appendix Five of the I Ching, the following additional qualities are ascribed to Kun:

The greatest service is done for God in Kun; Kun suggests the idea of the earth; docility, of a mother; of cloth; of a caldron; of frugality; of a turning lathe; of a young heifer; of a large wagon; of what is variegated; of a multitude; and of a handle and support. Among, soils it denotes what is black.

These referents are all used in interpreting Hexagrams containing Kun.

In the family, Kun represents the mother. Westerners might find Kun in Noah’s wife, unnamed in the Hebrew Scriptures. How strange, that the woman who was the mother of all Humanity, according to the Torah, was not mentioned by Name! Later on, post-Biblical Jewish Tradition called her Na’amah. Doesn't this sound a little like Nu-Wa? This becomes even more fascinating when we remember that Na’amah is also the Name of the Klipotic Angel of Nehemot, the entropic equivalent of Malkut, the Physical World. Many Western Mystics equate Chien with Da'at, and Kun with Malkut, so this all makes haunting sense, doesn’t it?

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