Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The I Ching, or Book of Changes

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, may be the oldest book of the earth and is certainly one of the most important books in the world's literature. It is also called the Book of Transformation. It is a form of divination which has a very old and mysterious history.  On one hand, it demonstrates a written tradition which is more than 3000 years old and on the other hand, the Chinese sanctions its age old oral tradition as well.  

Traditionally, the history of the I Ching begins with Fu Xi, a Chinese sage who created the symbols known as the trigrams. The trigrams are symbols made of three lines and are based on the concept of Yin and Yang – combining Yin and Yang in different ways to symbolize different elements of the world. Fu Xi created 8 trigrams this way, including the symbols for Heaven, Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind.  Over time, these trigrams were further developed both as a model for existence and a source of divination. Various arrangements were suggested and eventually the 8 trigrams were combined to form 64 hexgrams.

These hexagrams contain symbols and ideas taken from nature, society, and the individual. For those who are consulting the I Ching before deciding on some course of action, the hexagrams offer wisdom, warnings, and also specific predictions of outcomes... thereby giving guidance on whether to proceed, wait or not to proceed at all. The hexagrams also advise on timing and behaviours and attitudes directly related to the specific question asked. Where applicable, it counsels further preparation, or advocates patience and even reveals misfortunes hidden in apparent good fortune and vice versa. Favourable or unfavourable conditions are described, and difficulties, whether at the beginning or at the end are revealed.

I was first introduced to the I Ching over 20 years ago, and it was the first method of divination I ever used.  I had already studied Astrology, but never used it for divination, preferring the psychological and evolutionary aspect of it.  In other words, I used it to find out where I had come from, not where I was going. But, the I Ching was different; it answered my questions and offered me solutions...and from the very first time, it was uncannily accurate.

A friend had told me about her recent visit to a psychic, and she swore by him.  Now, I don't normally don't go to psychics.  I just don't trust them.  Another friend had gone to one in our neighborhood, and he was told that someone had put a curse on him and that he should return the next day with a white linen hankie, a candle, a banana skin, and, of course, $25, and she would take the curse off.  Seems like these sidewalk psychics are pretty big on curses.  Well, I was assured that this guy was not going to talk about curses, that he was not going to read my palm, but indeed would give me a reading through a combination of the I Ching and the Tarot.  Needless to say, it was the I Ching that first picked up on my situation with the Tarot clarifying it further.

I was in a pretty bad relationship at the time; actually, a very bad one.  My ex, my sons father, was a brute, and made my life a living hell. I had wanted out for awhile, but saw no way to make the break.  The I Ching saw this and, although I forget which toss came out, in essence it told me that there was nothing I could do right now other than accept that there was no way out.  Now, I know, you might be thinking that my friend had probably told him beforehand, but I have always been a private person so she was unaware that I had marital issues.  It's only recently that I have begun to open up on my blogs.  

The reading went on for almost an hour.  The Tarot not only identified the evil traits of my ex, but also identified a Leo who would one day be a part of my future.  Current hubby is a Leo. Well, the gist of the reading was that for the time being, I had to sit tight, no matter how difficult it might be for me...that one day down the road, I would know when it was time to make my move.  Needless to say, I was hooked.  Before going home, I stopped to buy The I Ching or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm.  This is, by far, the best of the books out there.

Some people use yarrow stalks, but this method is very complicated and requires 50 yarrow stalks.  The easiest method is the three-coin method as follows:

Begin with the concept of Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy flow.  When life is out of balance and tipped too much in one direction, the Universe will move energy from the opposite direction to counteract the overbalance. This is the nature of this divination technique.
The toss of the three coins creates the hexagrams that use the Book of Changes to interpret. . Use heads to represent the Yang (positive) and tails to represent the Yin (negative). Calm your mind, and when feel you are ready, cast the six coins onto the table. Allow them to stop moving before reading.

Count the number of heads and tails. Write a hexagram based upon the coins. Choosing which coin is first and which is last is also part of the divination process. Draw a solid line for the Yang coins and broken line for the Yin coins.

Consult the book of the I Ching.  You will see that each of the 64 possible patterns has an explanation. Find the pattern created by the coins you just cast. Repeating the divination process several times until you get the answer you want, will, indeed,  produce different results, but remember, proper divination does not include second chances and third chances.  

Use the I Ching on a daily basis, and note the hexagrams created. You will soon begin to see the patterns of your life...or at least the flow of Yin and Yang energy around your life.


  1. ~fascinating...i have work with tarot cards but never i ching...i will be looking for this book...i always love to hear stories of good and how one can or was guided by such in their lives...i am glad your heart listened to those words that were spoken...though i am sure very difficult at the time...you have found your love that fills you will only good...warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  2. I have I Ching coins but the I Ching hexagrams have always been too obscure and hard to interpret for me. Tarot is more my style!

  3. Interesting read.

    Can relate to the bad marriage my friend.
    My break came when I didn't care if I lived or died.

  4. Thank you Mary very interesting, ive seen i ching but never understood it but i may have to hunt some out and give them a whirl x x x big hugs