I Ching

The I Ching (also known as the Yì Jīng, Yi King and I Ging) the "Book of Changes" or more accurately "Classic of Change", is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. The book is also known as Zhou Yi, the "Changes of Zhou", in ancient Chinese literature which indicates the book was based on work from Zhou Dynasty.

The Yi Jing is based on an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy which is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. This philosophy is centred around the ideas of balance through opposites, and acceptance of change.

In Asia, the Yi Jing is the most popular form of prediction, and it is becoming increasingly popular throughout the rest of the world.

The Trigrams

Each hexagram is formed out of two trigrams: the Inner Trigram (Lower) and the Outer Trigram (Upper). These eight trigrams were the basis of an earlier form of divination.

Trigram Name AttributesTrigram Name Attributes


Qián
Force
Tiān
Heaven
Father


Duì
Open

Swamp (Lake)
Youngest daughter



Radiance
Huǒ
Fire
Second daughter


Zhén
Shake
Léi
Thunder
Eldest son


Xùn
Ground
Fēng
Wind
Eldest daughter


Kǎn
Gorge
Shuǐ
Water
Second son


Gèn
Bound
Shān
Mountain
Youngest son


Kūn
Field

Earth
Mother



Forming a Hexagram

The traditional way of deciding on the lines of a hexagram is by using 49 yarrow stalks (or bamboo sticks are sometimes used as well). This method is extremely complicated and can take up to 15 minutes per hexagram.

An alternative quicker method is by using three Chinese coins (or any coins of equal value if none are available). When using the Chinese coins, the side of the coins which states the value is designated "tails" and the blank side is designated "heads. Shake the three coins in your hands while concentrating on the question, then throw.

Three heads form an "Old Yang" line.
 O 

Three heads form an "Old Yin" line.
 X 

Two tails and one head form a "Young Yin" line.
 

Two heads and one tail form a "Young Yang" line.

The first throw of the coins gives the bottom line of the hexagram. Throw the coins six times to get the six lines form bottom to top of the hexagram.

For the first reading, disregard whether the lines are Old or Young, simply look at whether the lines are Yang (unbroken) or Yin (broken) and consult the chart.

If the hexagram does contain Old Yang or Yin lines, you can now convert the Old Yang Lines to Young Yin (its opposite) and Old Yin to Young Yang (its opposite). This gives you a new second hexagram to consult. This new hexagram gives insight into the question at a deeper level or later on in the future.

The Hexagrams

Hexagram Name and Interpretation





1. Qián (Force)
The Creative
Interpretation: Progress steadfastly for success. Complacency or arrogance will bring misfortune.





2. Kūn (Field)
The Receptive
Interpretation: Success comes through receptive perseverance. Be aware of what others are saying and listen to their advice.





3. Chún (Sprouting)
Distress
Interpretation: Success comes after initial difficulties. Keep your plans and actions small and simple. Deal with situations one at a time.





4. Méng (Enveloping)
Ignorance
Interpretation: Learn slowly and listen to advice. Comment only when you are confident of the facts. Be cautious and ensure that others are being honest with you.





5. (Attending)
Waiting
Interpretation: Wait until the time is right. Be truthful with yourself and strong in your objectives.





6. Sòng (Arguing)
Conflict
Interpretation: Obstacles to be overcome, avoid arguments. Take advice from more experienced people. Keep what you have rather than looking for something more.





7. Shī (Leading)
The Army
Interpretation: Time to fight in the company of others. Show your leadership abilities and respect others. Be careful of arousing jealousy in others.





8. (Grouping)
Union
Interpretation: A peaceful and harmonious time. Honesty and sincerity will lead to success if you co-operate. Doubts about your trustworthiness will lead to misfortune.





9. Xiǎo Chù (Small Accumulating)
Restraint of the Small
Interpretation: The use of gentle power. Restraint during hard times. Conserve your energy. Remain patient and flexible. Collect the things you need to succeed in your future plans.





10. (Treading)
Cautious Treading
Interpretation: Remain resolute. Even though the situation is fraught with danger, good fortune is indicated if you can tread carefully and gently, show humility and plan carefully.





11. Tài (Pervading)
Peace
Interpretation: Share good fortune with others. Peace after difficult times. Be flexible but true to yourself. A time of peace, prosperity and good fortune.





12. (Obstruction)
Stagnation
Interpretation: A time of standstill, awaiting action. Stagnation and delay. Beware of pride combined with inability, as well as a lack of harmony.





13. Tóng Rén (Concording People)
Fellowship
Interpretation: Share your new success with others. Partnerships and marriages will be successful. Coo-operation is the key. You have the support of a group.





14. Dà Yǒu (Great Possessing)
Great Wealth
Interpretation: Combine study and work. A time of good fortune and respect from others. Beware of laziness and arrogance creeping in.





15. Qiān
Humility
Interpretation: Be modest and accept help from others. Do not act aggressively. Equality in partnerships will benefit you.





16. (Humbling)
Enthusiasm
Interpretation: Promote yourself without arrogance. Take opportunities as they arise and act with conviction, but do not become over-confident or immodest. Everything will go as you hoped.





17. Súi (Following)
Following
Interpretation: Go with the flow and appreciate the good fortune around you. Use any period of decline to strengthen yourself and prepare for future opportunities.





18. (Corrupting)
Misdeeds
Interpretation: Put right what has gone wrong. This is the time to make decisions and act carefully. But don't make any new commitments and avoid partnership decisions.





19. Lín (Nearing)
Approach
Interpretation: Advance cautiously and be magnanimous. If you act kindly and modestly, then your troubles will disappear and recognition will follow. Make the most of any success while it lasts.





20. Guān (Viewing)
Contemplation
Interpretation: Be on the alert and be patient and make your plans. Examine the behaviour of yourself and others. You will need the support of others.





21. Shì Kè (Gnawing Bite)
Biting
Interpretation: Stress your positive achievements. If you are strong and clear about your objectives, you will succeed. Avoid harsh words.





22. (Adorning)
Adornment
Interpretation: Cultivate the appearance of success. But be careful that you don't obscure the reality of the future with rose-coloured glasses. Remain firm, but flexible.





23. (Stripping)
Splitting Apart
Interpretation: Let go of an aspect of life that no longer serves. Your current difficulties will soon end in a cycle of natural regeneration. Be patient and prepare for better times.





24. (Returning)
Renewal
Interpretation: Change of seasons brings renewal but patience is necessary. Your current troubles, sadness and confusion will soon give way to positive changes.





25. Wú Wàng (Without Embroiling)
Freedom from Vanity
Interpretation: Stay within limitations, use divine guidance. Be prepared for unexpected events and flexible in dealing with them. Avoid greed, ambition or desire.





26. Dà Chù (Great Accumulating)
Taming Force
Interpretation: Work hard and progress slowly. You will need to go to considerable effort to win over rather than subdue those who try to oppose you.





27. (Swallowing)
Nurturing
Interpretation: Watch and wait. You will succeed only if you act with moderation and humility. Seek advice from the wise.





28. Dà Guò (Great Exceeding)
Excess
Interpretation: Advance cautiously and be magnanimous. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. Your situation will improve with patience.





29. Kǎn (Gorge)
The Abyss
Interpretation: Wait for a better time. Conserve your energy and don't try to deal with all the difficulties that confront you. Identify and follow the natural course of action.





30. (Radiance)
Brightness
Interpretation: Use intellect and logic. Co-operative ventures will succeed. Make no changes unless absolutely necessary.





31. Xián (Conjoining)
Attraction
Interpretation: Do not envy others. Be receptie to new commitments and help and protect those who are weaker.





32. Héng (Persevering)
Persistence
Interpretation: Allow things to take their course. By maintaining continuity during a time of change you will end a difficult situation. Partnerships and marriage will endure and strengthen over time.





33. Dùn (Retiring)
Withdrawal
Interpretation: Others may try to take advantage. This is the time for an orderly withdrawal, this is a seensible reaction to an impossible situation. Do not confront those who oppose you. Conserve your energies to fight another day.





34. Dà Zhuàng (Great Invigorating)
Power of the Great
Interpretation: Do not make empty threats. Others will be influenced by you so act justly and wisely. A period of peace and good fortune. Ensure that your success does not offend the less fortunate.





35. Jìn (Prospering)
Advancement
Interpretation: An improvement is at hand. This is a good tiem for business and co-operative ventures. You can win the support of others.





36. Míng Yí (Brightness Hiding)
Darkening of the Light
Interpretation: Remain centred during difficult times. Do not become downhearted. Be careful whom you trust act with caution. Be patient and use this time to make plans.





37. Jiā Rén (Dwelling People)
The Family
Interpretation: The emphasis is on the home and duty. Do not act in isolation but in close rapport with your familiy and friends. Act sensitively and with respect.





38. Kuí (Polarising)
Opposition
Interpretation: Remain flexible. Expect opposition, fighting and contradictions. Look for constructive ways to bring about unification.





39. Jiǎn (Limping)
Obstruction
Interpretation: Go around obstacles where possible. Learn from your difficulties. Do not use force.





40. Xiè (Taking Apart)
Taking Apart
Interpretation: Things come to a head and move forward. Deal with your difficulties quickly but gently. Learn lessons but do not have regrets.





41. Sǔn (Diminishing)
Decrease
Interpretation: A time of scanty resources. Avoid excesses and preserve what you have. Be restrained but flexible.





42. (Augmenting)
Gain
Interpretation: A time of good fortune. Increased activity, prosperity and journeys. Share your good fortune and do not take advantage of others.





43. Guài (Parting)
Displacing
Interpretation: Legal action or insurance called for. Accept problems and take action calmly. Avoid forcing a situation. Act justly and with honour.





44. Gòu (Coupling)
Encounter
Interpretation: Avoid the influence of others. Be wary of difficult or dangerous situations and people. Remain honest and upright.





45. Cuì (Clustering)
Gathering
Interpretation: Meet opposition by going with the group. Gather your resources and accept good advice. Be prepared for testing times.





46. Shēng (Ascending)
Ascending
Interpretation: Move steadily onward and upward. Be prepared to work hard to consolidate your gains. Growth may take time but it will reap success and good rewards.





47. Kùn (Confining)
Hardship
Interpretation: Find strength in adversity. Use your inner strength to face the difficulties ahead. Losses will reveal what is truly important. Be wary of deception and false flattery.





48. Jǐng (Welling)
The Well
Interpretation: Do whatever has to be done, retain credit. Use your wisdom gained from past experience to keep you on the right and natural path. Watch out for change.





49. (Skinning)
Change
Interpretation: Others begin to see you as more impressive. Change brings good opportunities. Resist change for the sake of mercenary interezsts and act carefully and with sincerity.





50. Dǐng (Holding)
The Cauldron
Interpretation: Service equipment and avoid major accidents. Material and spiritual success surround you. Maintain this harmony to enable new projects to progress well.





51. Zhèn (Shake)
Thunder
Interpretation: Prepare for stormy weather. A short period of shock and upset will be followed by a time of success. Be wary of idle gossip.





52. Gèn (Bound)
Stillness
Interpretation: Progress slowly and avoid unnecessary risks. This is a time for waiting and extreme patience. Pay attention to existing plans and partnerships rather than making new ones.





53. Jiàn (Infiltrating)
Gradual Progress
Interpretation: Progress slowly, if not imperceptibly. Slowly but surely you will move towards your goals if your plans are solid.





54. Guī Mèi (Converting the Maiden)
Marriageable Maiden
Interpretation: Do not demand too much, wait. Do not be seduced by the superficial or the short-term. Look for truth and objectivity. Beware of becoming involved in a potentially unmanageable situation.





55. Fēng (Abounding)
Abundance
Interpretation: Inner happiness meets obstacles calmly. Good fortune, abundance and prosperity surround you. Enjoy them but also prepare for more frugal times.





56. (Sojourning)
The Traveller
Interpretation: Travel may be appropriate. The start of an important journey is indicated. Make sure of each step before taking the next. Too much haste will lead to failure.





57. Xùn (Ground)
Willing Submission
Interpretation: Bend with the wind for the time being. Be steadfast, but don't push too hard. Act honourably.





58. Duì (Open)
Joy
Interpretation: Inner contentment generates peace. This is a time of emotional happiness. Your joy and inner strength will attract others to you. Avoid arrogance or gossip.





59. Huàn (Dispersing)
Dispersal
Interpretation: Remain flexible and reasonable. Do not be deflected from your path. Conserve your resources and remain self-disciplined. Pay attention to the needs of others.





60. Jié (Articulating)
Limitation
Interpretation: Build up your reserves. Work within your limitations and calmly use them to further your progress. Act wisely and think ahead.





61. Zhōng Fú (Centre Conforming)
Inner Truth
Interpretation: Watch for the warning signs. Your peace lies within you. Learn to understand yourself and your life. Sharing and communicating with others will bring success.





62. Xiǎo Guò (Small Exceeding)
Excess of the Small
Interpretation: Find a safe refuge, do small things. Recognise your limtations and do not try to exceed them. Pay attention to detail, as success will come in small ways. Do not be overambitious. Modesty and conscientiousness will achieve results.





63. Jì Jì (Already Fording)
After Completion
Interpretation: Changing circumstances, consolidate gains. There is good fortune, but this is not a time to sit back and rest on your laurels. Consolidate gains and strive to attain a balance.





64. Wèi Jì (Not Yet Fording)
Before Completion
Interpretation: Make your cautious move at the right moment. Do not act prematurely. Be patient and avoid disputes, as the transition from confusion to order is not yet complete. You are following the right path.

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