Insight into the art of the TaoDeck
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Features of the TaoDeck Card Designs:The back of the 24 Oracle cards show the Trigrams in the "Heavenly, Primal or Pre-Heaven" order first set up by Fu Hsi. The Trigrams are arranged in pairs with opposite Line values i.e. each Line of a Trigram is the opposite yin-yang value of the paired Trigram. So Sky/Heaven is opposite Earth; Fire is opposite Water, Lake is opposite Mountain and Thunder is opposite Wind. These Primal pairs are the ideal way of the Tao or Tai Ji/Wu Ji, before yin and yang started their interactions. It relates to the essence or more spiritual aspect of life. (There are two ways of making an opposite Trigram or Hexagram. The first is having Lines be of opposite yin-yang value, the other is to flip the Trigram/Hexagram over so it is reversed, so the bottom Line is now the top Line.)
Surrounding the Trigrams there are all 64 Hexagrams arranged in a system of "Houses." The 8 Hexagrams above each Trigram belong to the House of that Trigram (cf. R. Whilhelm, The I-Ching). In the center of the card is a colored ring which has the colors of the 5 Elemental Phases (5 EP's). The Hexagram of the TaoDeck symbol is number 45, Gathering.
The card called "Earthly Circular Order" has the Trigrams arranged in the other classic order. It is also known as the "Post-Heaven" or "Temporal" sequence. This sequence has the Trigrams moving in a circle starting with Chen/Thunder and ending in Ken/Mountain. It shows how the 5 EPs generate each other; which is the basis for the natural world, the human body-mind and the solar system energies. The 5 EPs are shown in their generating cycle with Chen and Sun being Wood, Li is Fire, Kun and Ken being Earth, Tui and Chien being Metal and Kan is Water. King Wen is considered the creator of this order and his main approach was to show how the ideal Heavenly order manifests as and in the Earthly realm.
The Yin-Yang Evolution Chart is a rarely seen diagram of a Taoist creation map. From the Tai Ji Tu symbol the forces of yin and yang seperate, as shown by the left yang/solid line and the right yin/broken line. Then they are doubled, resulting in the 4 Duograms. The Duograms are doubled and then another set of yin and yang lines are added to them making the 8 Trigrams. The yang (left) half of the Trigrams has as bottom lines all yang lines, while the (right) yin side is all yin lines on the bottom.
The Hexagram Mandala Card is a grid chart that has the Hexagrams arranged in the order that is found in the I-Ching. All I-Ching books start with number 1, the "Creative", a Hexagram of all yang lines (Heaven/Sky doubled) and end with number 64 "After Completion" (consisting of Fire over Water). The I-Ching cycle of Hexagrams goes in a specific pattern set up by King Wen. Every 2 Hexagrams are the opposite of each other in their line values. Numbers 1 and 2 set the pattern. They are opposite, with 1 being all yang lines and 2 being all yin lines (the Creative and the Receptive).
The grid is laid out 8 by 8 . The yang lines are all grey colored and the yin lines have a black spot in the middle of the grey line. In this chart (reading it just like a book) , the top left Hexagram is number 1 and the bottom right is number 64. The top left Hexagram has 6 yang lines, the Hexagram to its right has 6 yin lines. Looking carefully at the grid mandala it can be seen that number 3 and 4 are opposite in yin-yang line values and that all succeding pairs are arranged the same way. For some reason King Wen set up the order of the Hexagrams in this fashion (for more information see Huang, The Inner Structure of the I-Ching), it is up to modern students to discern why.
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When figuring the Hexagram reading, the cards are placed and read so the first card chosen is the bottom Line, Lines or Trigram.
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