8 Elements of the East
The Symbolism in our Logo
The 8 represents the infinite pulsation of the universe, of which we are all part.
The Lotus Butterfly represents the unfoldment of Self arising from this pulsation.
The Spinning Wheel represents the field of time/space and the karmic wheel of life.
The Circle prevails symbolizing our unbroken nature, our wholeness which acts as an ever present omniscient force encircling the other three, containing them.
In our name, the “8″ and the “West” refer to the many Eastern traditions unifying opposing/balancing forces (i.e., 8-fold path in Buddhism, 8 principles in acupuncture), and “Elements” points to the movement of natural cycles and laws.
Eight as Infinity
With eight representing eternal nature, spirit, infinity, it becomes an ultimate source. Thus eight is the goal of the spiritual initiate having passed through the seven stages or heavens and is, thus, the number of Paradise regained; the eighth day created the new man of grace. With its perfect rhythm, eight is the order of the celestial worlds established on earth. Temples are built on the pattern of the mandala, an 8×8 symbol. Eight is both a symbol of all possibilities and a completion.
Energy moves in waves of spirals (8’s) with varying amplitude and frequency, ad infinitum. Forever. Infinity has no end, and no beginning. The word comes from the Latin infinitas or “unboundedness”. Think boundless as the quality or state of having no limits in terms of time, space, or other quantity. In mathematics, infinity is the conceptual expression of such a “numberless” number. It is often symbolized by the lemniscate (also known as the lemniscate of Bernoulli ), which looks like the numeral 8 written sideways. As stated by Pascal, “If you remove a part from infinity or add a part to infinity, still what remains is infinity”. Therefore 8 represents a completion, like the circle, but on another octave.
Eight Limbs of Yoga
Ashtanga (ashta = eight, anga = limb). The regular practice of these eight elements is the practice of yoga.
1. Yama = Restraints
2. Niyama = Observances
3. Asana = Postures
4. Pranayama = Breath
5. Pratyahara = Withdrawing the mind from sense perception
6. Dharana = Concentration
7. Dhyana = Meditation
8. Samadhi = Superconsciousness
Eight as Yoga Ida & Pingala, Kundalini
The kundalini energy is reputed to travel up the spine as two serpentine energy flows called the “ida” and the “pingala”. They twine around the “sushumna”
Eightfold Path in Buddhism
Buddha’s Eightfold Path to escape the cycle of rebirth and suffering requires a higher and more ethical code of behavior than most individuals practice today. This path includes constant introspection and a “correct” or “true” way of living. Following this path leads an individual to freedom because these principles are also inherent Universal Laws. They are expressed as:
1. Right Seeing
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Living
6. Right Endeavor
7. Right Mindedness
8. Right Concentration
Out of this teaching, Buddha defined his Four Noble Truths. These are:
1. Existence includes conflict, dissatisfaction, sorrow, and suffering.
2. There is a purpose for all suffering (which is caused by selfish desire).
3. We can be emancipated from this suffering.
4. Freedom from suffering is obtained by following the Eightfold Path.
The Body Moves in figure 8′s
Some of the deepest currents of energy movement in the body lie in the skeletal system. In normal walking, an infinite number of figure-8 patterns are created. As we walk, we balance our bodies repetitively from right to left and back again. This balancing motion organizes into a series of figure-8 energy patterns throughout the skeletal system, creating a deep flow of internal energy. It is precisely these infinite multi-layered figure-8 spiral patterns that keep energy moving freely, and keep our muscles, joints and nervous system vitally strong.
Eight Directions of Feng Shui
Southeast: Small Wood
Southwest: Big Earth
West: Small Metal
Northwest: Big Metal
Northeast: Small Earth
East: Big Wood
Feng Shui is an enticing composite of mystical beliefs, astrology, folklore, and common sense that brings back the art of living. We can nurture true inner health through this complex wisdom-based practice of deep intuition, imagination and heart.
The dynamic flow of energies is well described in the colorful symbolism of the Eight Directions. We enter into the intangible world of dragons and tigers, wind (feng) and water (shui), positive and negative forces, yin and yang, energy flows, cosmic breaths, and the interaction of nature’s elements, constantly changing, constantly in a state of flux.
The fundamental philosophy underlying its practice is simple: “live in harmony with the elements of nature”. Balance these elements and tap into the auspicious energy lines of the earth. By doing so, you activate invisible but powerful energies of the natural environment to work strongly in your favor, bringing you tremendous good fortune and protecting you against ill luck, bad health, and lost opportunities.
The Chinese believe there are two cosmic forces, two opposing yet complementary energies that shape the universe and everything in it. They refer to these two energies as “Yin” and “Yang”. Together yin and yang constitute a balanced whole known as the Tao – or “the Way” – the eternal principle of heaven (male) and earth (female) in harmony.
Eight as Caduceus
Eight also represents the pairs of opposites. The eight is identified in the caduceus as the two serpents spiraling upward. Representing illness and health, healing and poison, they are hermetic and homeopathic, the complementary nature of two forces operative in the universe, male and female, yin and yang.
The two facing serpents have also been said to be symbols for water and fire, two opposing elements entwined around the axis of the Earth in dynamic equilibrium. The wings evoke the spiritual or spatial dimension linked to the fourth element : sky, wind or air.
Hermes was the god of alchemists, for which this unification of opposites was a fundamental credo (in which the element mercury held center stage). By extension, the caduceus has been associated with chemistry and pharmacy.
The caduceus is also associated with communication, eloquence, trade and commerce, the traditional attributions of Hermes, messenger for the gods – who carries the kerykeion, or caduceus – protector of all merchants, thieves, journalists, tricksters and… inventors.
Today we use the image of the entwined serpent as a sign of medicine, carried over from these ancient times.
Eight as DNA Double Helix
The double helix strands of DNA spiral to create eternal 8’s. The double helix in DNA consists of two right-handed polynucleotide chains that are coiled about the same axis. DNA is a single molecule with a double helix structure; it is two complementary versions of the same code wrapped around each other; this allows it to unwind and make copies of itself. Without it, one cell could not become two, and life as we know it would not exist.
Modern geneticists describe the DNA-RNA “dialogue” – the molecular information system governing life and evolution – as being transmitted by 64 (8×8) codons. The 64 changes of bagua relate to the 64 codons of DNA.
Eight Principles of Acupuncture
Acupuncture theory holds that a human being is a microcosm. Within a human being are contained the same elements as those of the world: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. If these elements are working in harmony then the body is balanced and can repel disease. If there is lack of harmony, illness is the result. This is the first law of acupuncture and is known as The Law of the Five Elements.
The relationship between the five elements is called the Nourishing Cycle. Water feeds the wood to grow, wood fuels fire, the ashes of fire nourish the earth, the earth minerals condense to metal, and metal alchemizes back to water.
There is also the Law of the Mother-Son which states that the organ showing distress signal may indicate a deeper imbalance originating in the mother element (fire is the mother of earth and so on).
In the law of Midday-Midnight, each organ has a two-hour period of maximum activity during which it performs its function most dynamically. Many diseases can be prevented by paying more attention to the body’s own internal clock rather than to a wristwatch.
Ten organs and two functions are each contained within the five elements as follows: water contains the bladder and kidneys; wood contains the liver and gall bladder; fire contains the heart and small intestine as well as the triple heater/circulation/sex functions; earth contains the stomach and spleen; metal contains the lungs and large intestine. The organs are fed by vital life energy, called chi, and the meridians along which the acupuncture points are located are the pathways of chi energy to the organs.
Each element has organs, functions, emotions and sensations associated with it. The fire element is associated with the distribution of warmth in the body, blood and heart; at other levels it is associated with relationships, joy, and the organization of our lives. The earth element is associated physically with digestion , absorption, and distribution of food; on the mental level it is connected with our feelings of stability and the nourishment we need for ourselves. The metal element is associated with respiration and excretion and also with the quality of our lives. The water element is connected with storage and distribution of fluids in the body and with our fluidity in response to events. Wood is associated physically with the muscles, eyes and the liver, and emotionally it is associated with planning, decision-making and the creation of new cycles in our lives. A trauma to any one the elements will disturb the cycle and thus affect general health and well-being.
Chi is energy, or vitality. A simple example of what chi is, is to imagine two plants of the same basic size and shape, with one growing green, healthy and alive, and other withered and spindly. The first has chi, vitality. It is vibrant and able to make use of the oxygen and other nutrients supplied to it. The other has lost chi. No longer able to support itself, it cannot assimilate oxygen, water, and has lost balance. Have you had a houseplant that died and you couldn’t quite figure out how? You watered too little … maybe too much? Gave it sunlight … not enough? It’s difficult to determine with ourselves, where did we lose the balance? Like the plant, we need a complex of the right ingredients, in the right amounts, at the right times.
In Chinese symbolism, the figure 8 expresses the totality of the universe, and can be seen mirrored in the yin-yang design.
I Ching Hexagram: 8
Formed By The Trigrams: Water over Earth.
General: A community bound by goodwill is the most potent force for powerful positive change there is.
Love: Use goodwill and trust to achieve unity within your relationship.
Business: Strengthen networks within your business and ties with networks of which your business is a part.
Personal: Form or strengthen ties with family and friends.
Overview: Pi relates to the need for unity to accomplish positive change. Relationships built on trust and goodwill should be formed and maintained for the benefit of all – not just for personal gain. This applies to not only family and friends but the community around you in general and your business community too.
Spirals and Knots
The Spiral is the basis for all life energy and movement. All energy flows in constant spirals and waves. The electrons of a single molecule, and the double helix of DNA spiral in infinite figure eights to create all life forms.
The spiral represents movement in life. The spiral symbolizes masculine and feminine energy. As expanding and contracting it can depict the increase of the sun or the waning of the moon, and, by analogy, expansion and contraction, birth and death. It signifies continuity. Spirals are associated with the spinning and weaving of the web of life and the veil of the mother Goddess, controller of destiny and weaver of the web of illusion. The spiral is the great swirling force of the movement of the heavens and is a manifestation of energy in nature. In Native American traditions the spiral symbolizes the circlings of the soul which eventually return to the center, or truth.
As a Knot this symbol is a single thread, that, if followed, will lead to one’s inner self. The knot binds, but also holds the promise of release, as in ‘to tie the knot’. It is comprised of both the mystery of infinite length and the possibility of being rolled up in a limited space with overtones of spiral, perpetual motion.
The Eight Elements of Music
Music has eight elements that composers and performers manipulate to create pieces that stir hearts and minds. The elements – rhythm, dynamics, melody, harmony, tone color, texture, form and text – form the “language of music” and influence our interpretations of what we hear.
Element No. 1: Rhythm
Rhythm is the way in which time is expressed in music. Rhythm is the combination of the length of time a note is played, the song’s speed (tempo) and the song’s meter. Consider “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Some sections are played faster or longer than others and the meter is a pattern of three repeated beats.
Element No. 2: Dynamics
Dynamics informs the performer to change the loudness of the music section or note. Typically, the last notes for “The Star Spangled Banner” are sung loudly and with force (“AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE”) to make a declarative statement. Imagine the change in impact if this line is sung quietly by the grieving father of a fallen soldier.
Element No. 3: Melody
Melody is the sequence of notes, which have different pitches (high or low) that are played at different times within a piece of music. Melody tells you that “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “Satisfaction” are different songs, even without lyrics.
Elements Nos. 4 and 5: Harmony and Texture
The fourth element, harmony, adds color to the melody and enhances it. Texture indicates the number of independent parts of a song. Textures can be monophonic (melody alone), homophonic (less intricate harmony with melody) or polyphonic (several different melodies playing at once). Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” has rich polyphonic texture.
Element No. 6: Tone Color
Tone color or “timbre” refers to the quality of the sound. Imagine “The Star-Spangled Banner” being played on a flute versus being played by Jimi Hendrix on an electric guitar. Emotional response changes based on the tone color.
Element No. 7: Form
The form is the architectural structure of the song. In building, architectural elements indicate whether it is a bedroom or a kitchen. Similarly, the structure of patterns, tempo, rhythm and melody determine the type of song.
Element No. 8: Text
Text is the final element of music, which is optional. However, lyrical content is often vital. Although the melody of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is based on the drinking song “To Anacreon in Heaven,” when paired with the stirring poetry of Francis Scott Key, it becomes an inspirational anthem.
The Coming of Yaweh on the 8th Day
The eighth day of assembly known as the Feast of Conclusion symbolizes one’s removal from the cares of this world. It is a time of entering the secret place of quiet communion with God.
It is a time in which the season behind us is brought to a conclusion. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9.
The Conclusion of The Former Season: The importance of passing on the teachings of the times, cycles and seasons in which we live is vital to achieving the fullness of one’s purpose that is coming forth.
The Declaration of the New: As we enter into a new spiritual season, fresh oil is given with a new fragrance that is added to the anointing oil. The fragrance of the oil defines the specific work of Spirit in this season. Oil is a symbol of Spirit. Anointing oil is rubbed on a person or object to symbolize God’s presence and power coming upon that which it is placed.
Science and Chemistry
Scientists will say that the number 8 is believed to be an agent of universal order as it combines the terrestrial square and eternal circle.
“Everything in the universe obeys a law of Octaves.” Nikola Tesla Croatian-American inventor and electrical engineer (1856-1943).
Dmitri Mendeléev’s Periodic Table of Elements, following on the discovery by English chemist John Newland in the 1860s, tells us that all the chemical elements fall into 8 families: Alkalis, Alkalines, Borons, Carbons, Nitrogens, Oxygens, Halogens, Noble Gases.
8 is the Atomic number of oxygen, one of the most abundant chemical elements on Earth. About one-half of the earth’s crust is made up of chemical compounds containing oxygen, and a fifth of our atmosphere is oxygen gas. The human body is about two-thirds oxygen! It is an interesting resonance that as 8 is the first cubic number; it is said to represent the “volume” of the earth.
In nuclear physics, 8 is a magic number. Atomic nuclei consisting of this magic number of nucleons have a higher average binding energy per nucleon and are hence more stable against nuclear decay.
Religious and cultural acceptance of 8 as Universal Balance and Power
Throughout many cultures historically there is a recurring resonance with “8”.
For example, the Tesseract is composed of 8 cubes, has 16 polytope vertices, 32 polytope edges, 24 squares, and can also be called “8-cell or octachoron”. A quick scan through history tells us that the Egyptians for example, considered 8 as the number of “balance” and “cosmic” order.
In China, 8 is considered to express the totality of the universe. The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching are generated from a foundation of 8 Trigrams.
Lao Tzu states that the 8th interval is “the sound of universal harmony between the forces of yin and yang.”
Chinese tradition talks of 8 Taoist “Immortals”, while the Incan tradition will tell of “The 8 Ancestors”. Indian mandalas are based on multiples of the number 8 represent the reflection of the celestial world on earth.
8 is (arguably) considered by some to be the total number of primary Chakras of the human, counting the seven in correlation with the physical body, plus one, working in the etheric body. This 8th Chakra is known as the “the Soul Chakra” located 7 to 10 centimeters above that of the Crown Chakra.
For Christians 8 represents “resurrection”, for Buddhists, “completion”. To the Islamic, 8 angels support the throne that encompasses the world, and for a Hindu, there are eight guardians of the universe. To the Egyptians, 8 is the “Sacred number of Thoth”, and to the Gnostic it is the number of Jesus. The Chinese consider it a sign of Prosperity and 8 is the number of greatness in Japan.
In China the word for “eight” (“bs”) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (“fa”).
Another reason why the number 8 could be considered lucky is because it is a perfect symmetrical shape. You can cut the number 8 in half vertically or horizontally, and both halves mirror themselves perfectly. Perfect symmetry lends itself to perfect balance. In Chinese Astrology, perfect balance is considered the ideal.
For Chinese the number 8 is considered lucky just like the number 7 is considered lucky in the West. With a history of cultural goodwill attached to the number, Chinese officials elected to begin the Beijing Olympics at 8:08:08 p.m. on 8/8/2008. In China you have to pay extra to have the number 8 in your phone number or license plate. In addition, home and business owners like to have the number 8 in their address.
In biblical terms the number 8 means, new beginnings, as in the 8th day started a new week or beginning.
8 is also the first cubed number, [2x2x2 = 8] – the cube is symbolic of the truth and the Resurrection [the significance of the cube is seen in the fact that the “Holy of Holies,” both in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, were cubes].
“Eight is seven plus one, and is hence the start of a new order, the beginning of a new era. Eight thus represents regeneration and resurrection. When the flood washed the earth clean, in a type of baptism, eight people were saved in the ark.”
8 hertz is the brainwave frequency healers and mystics most tune into. It is this “theta frequency” that meditators slip into for ‘expanded consciousness’ .
Numerologically, 8 is the number of power, and it is taught in this context that power, in any form, cannot be maintained without “balance”.