The I Ching is pronounced “EE Ching” and is probably the most ancient and respected literature in Chinese metaphysics.
It is founded on the examination of nature and humanity, and stands for the schematic, Rhythmic and purposeful cosmos. Change not the eternal, is the centre of enquiry and time is identified as a vital factor in the composition of the world and the evolvement of the individual. It discerns that mutability is not random and that each manifestation of existence can only transmute into something already inherent in its own nature and not into anything entirely different. It also maintains that change follows in a cyclic motion, to the ancient Chinese even death conveyed movement returning to its source, being the opposite of life, death implied the eventual return to a previous state.
The I Ching affirms that by revealing to the conscious what is concealed in the subconscious it is possible to predict the probable future and to choose a direction accordingly, therefore we can become the master of our own destiny and not its slaves. The authors of I Ching analysed change into sixty-four hexagrams, each comprising a six-line figure representing a specific attribute of life. The most permutations or answers available are 4096, these are said to enable the querent to deal with every possible human situation.
In the I Ching, you will find that yin will be represented by a broken line and that yang will be represented by a solid (unbroken line).
The placing of three either yin or yang lines on top of one another, form what is known as a trigram. There are eight trigrams – representing elements of nature. If these trigrams are placed into sets of two to form six lines there will be 64 different combinations and this is referred to as a Hexagram.
Since the very early days, human beings have questioned life and death, searching for answers concerning the origin of the universe and the cycles of nature. In this age an increasing number of us want to know how to achieve complete and harmonious health in body, mind and spirit.
The ultimate goal is the transcendence of physical boundaries through the development of the soul and spirit within nature.
TAO is divided into:
- Heaven (Spirit)
- Creation (Matter)
|The TAOISTS teach that Heaven is a circle.||= Heaven = Yang|
|and that matter is a square.||= Matter = Yin|
Taoists placed matter in the centre of creation.
From Heaven and spirit the circle was simplified to an unbroken line and referred to as YANG.
From Creation and matter the square was simplified to a broken line and referred to as YIN.
Yin and Yang together constitute Tao – the way.
YIN AND YANG
The Chinese believe that there are two main cosmic forces. These forces are opposing, yet they are complementary energies that shape the universe and everything that exists in it.
YIN and Yang are opposites. From two opposites, balance occurs, as there is an element of each within each other. Yin and yang cannot exist without each other.
The ancient Chinese believed that the universe was made from the union of yin and yang elements and indeed, that everything under the sun could be classified under these two elements.
The term’s yin and yang are used to illustrate the alternating forms of the creative force as it is manifested in the world. Yin represents the physical, emotional, cerebral, inertia and is symbolised by the square.
Yang is the intelligence, energy, the spiritual and is symbolised by the circle. They are two aspects of the same power, but in polarity as distinct from absolute duality. Yin is dark and yang is light.
BASIC COMPASS DIRECTIONS
By using our Yin and Yang symbol in the middle let us now start to slowly build up our compass direction.
Remember the yin and yang symbol must always be shown with the yin to the right
The light yang at the top of the compass represents Summer and the South.
The dark yin at the bottom represents Winter and the North.
This is where the Chinese compass differs to that of the west due to the influence of the yin and yang symbol.
West would then be to the right and east would be to the left.
THE EIGHT TRIGRAMS
These eight trigrams are the roots of the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching.
A Trigram consists of three straight lines which either refer to yin or yang as they are broken or solid lines. Together the eight trigrams represent the trinity of man, heaven and earth.
- The top line in the trigram is the domain of heaven or yin and yang
- The middle line represents heaven and creation, the coming together to create the four seasons and the cardinal points of the compass.
- The bottom line represents earth.
Each one of the eight trigrams has its own multiple set of meanings. It has a corresponding cardinal point and compass meaning. One of the five elements will also be represented.
Chien : The Creative
Comprises of three unbroken lines All three represent yang lines Heaven, south and summer.
Tui : The Lake
Comprises of one broken yin line over two unbroken yang lines. Represents metal, south east and joy.
Li : The Clinging
Comprises of one broken yin line between two unbroken yang lines. The clinging, fire, east, spring and the sun.
Chen : The Arousing
Comprises of two broken yin lines above an unbroken yang line. The arousing, wood, north east, thunder.
K’un : The Receptive
Comprises of three broken yin lines. The receptive, creation, north and winter.
Ken : The Stillness
Comprises of solid yang line over two broken yin lines. The stillness, mountain and north west.
K’an : The Dangerous
Comprises one unbroken yang line between two broken yin lines. The water, west, autumn and the moon.
H’Sun : The Wind
Comprises of two unbroken yang lines over one unbroken yin line. The gentle, south west and wood.
THE PAH KWA
These eight trigrams can now be formed into an octagon which will give us all our compass bearings and where the seasons are located, by the explanation of the eight trigrams covered above.
This combination is known as the Pah Kwa, the Great Symbol, and is thought to be the luckiest symbol for the Chinese. Once again south at the top and North at the bottom.
These eight trigrams were developed by Fu Hsi a Chinese Emperor around 3000 BC. The sequence in which they were found was named the Former Heaven Sequence.
Around 1000 BC King Wen Who was an ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of the Chow Desting re-arranged these trigrams into another sequence which he then referred to as the Later Heaven Sequence (you can find below).
THE SIXTY-FOUR HEXAGRAMS OF THE I CHING ORACLE
In the early days it became obvious that the eight symbols of the trigrams were inadequate to contain more refined readings, so in order to represent more complex matters in the human society like feelings, relations and even fortune, pairs of trigrams were put together to form hexagrams.
By the pairing of each of the eight trigrams, sixty-four new symbols could be obtained and these were called the sixty-four hexagrams. They each represent six lines (yin and yang) The sixty-four hexagrams formed by the pairing of the trigrams ( 8 x 8 ) are all contained in the I Ching.
As these symbols were thought to hold all the information about the universe, one important use of these symbols in the ancient days was for forecasting. It became a tool for Oracle purposes, so that the ancient Chinese people could follow some sort of guidelines in choosing the right path of action in their lives. Many of the ancient Kings used these to make decisions regarding policies and even warfare. Considerable time and effort was spent explaining the interpretation of each of the lines.
Ch’ien – Origin
Trigrams: Ch’ien appears twice.
Represents: Strength, power, the beginning of all, peace and harmony.
K’un – Success
Trigrams: Kun appears twice.
Represents: Vitality and healthy growth. Calm and peaceful nature.
Chun – Birth pangs
Trigrams: K’an and Chen.
Represents: Dangerous and confused period. Advisable to seek good advise. Tread carefully before starting new venture.
Meng – Rebellious Youth
Trigrams: Ken and K’an
Represents: Patience and inner strength is needed at this time. Things will calm down and all become clearer. Soon it will become easier to make a decision.
Hsu – Patience
Trigrams: K’an nd Ch’ien
Represents: Make sure that there is a balance between work and play. Difficulties ahead but with care and patience you will be able to solve any problems.
Sung – Contention
Trigrams: Ch’ien and K’an
Represents: Struggle necessary to achieve success. Pursue aims, do not give in easily. Plans could fail if approached carelessly.
Shih – The Army
Trigrams: K’un and K’an
Represents: Powerful people wanting to take responsibility. Emphasis on good leader who is respectful and enthusiastic. Good can be achieved with co-operation and guidance.
Pi – Unity
Trigrams: K’an and K’un
Represents: People will be successful if co-operation is maintained. Problems to be sorted out quickly or they will become destructive. Ask others for their opinion.
Hsiao Ch’u – Holding Back the Less Able
Trigrams: Sun and Ch’ien
Represents: Thought should be given to the future and adequate preparations made. Need to be inwardly determined and strong and outwardly open and approachable. You are open to compromise, but do not lose sight of your visions.
Li – Walking Carefully
Trigrams: Ch’ien and Tui
Represents: Do not be too ambitious. Efficiency and honesty is required.
T’ai – Benevolence
Trigrams: K’un and Ch’ien
Represents: Positive combination which produces peace and harmony. Combination should
give confidence and contentment.
P’i – Obstruction
Trigrams: Ch’ien and K’un
Represents: Hard to know which direction to take as energy is at its low. Difficult to make
decisions, a strong will and patience is needed at this time.
T’ung Jen – Companions
Trigrams: Ch’ien and Li
Represents: Positive combination of people working together in harmony, however there must be one person that leads the others.
Ta Yu – Many Possessions
Trigrams: Li and Chi’en
Represents: Source of strength and encouragement. Element of obstinacy in the upper trigram
but helped by the powerful qualities in the lower trigram. Do not rush ahead with change.
Ch’ien – Modesty
Trigrams: K’un and Ken
Represents: The importance of consideration for others. Plans made will affect others.
If praise is made, accept it.
Yu – Enthusiasm
Trigrams: Chen and K’un
Represents: Successful period is on the way. With compromise on both sides problems will
be resolved. Co-operation from both sides is essential.
Sui – Reaching an Agreement
Trigrams: Tui and Chen
Represents: Tui is peaceful and Chen is powerful and active. The time is right to follow the guidance of another and it is also a time of change when the old is taken over by the new.
Ku – Decay
Trigrams: Ken and Sun
Represents: Remember that we pass through good and bad times. Time of disorder but
sign of hope. Best to start afresh.
Lin – To Draw Near
Trigrams: K’un and Tui
Represents: This is an encouraging and productive time. Those with less experience should listen.
Kuan – Examine
Trigrams: Sun and K’un
Represents: Think carefully before you act. Be in the right frame of mind before making important decisions.
Shih Ho – Biting
Trigrams: Li and Chen
Represents: Warning against the dangers of excess either in entertainment, food or furniture.
You need to exercise restraint in order to achieve success.
Pi – To Adorn
Trigrams: Ken and Li
Represents: Do not become too extravagant. We need to appreciate culture to brighten our lives.
Po – Peeling or Splitting
Trigrams: Ken and K’un
Represents: Bottom part of this hexagram not firm enough to support what is going on.
Take time to plan for the future. Do not carry out changes at this time.
Fu – Return
Trigrams: Ken and Chen
Represents: A period of growth after a period of disorder. Time for a fresh start with the help of others. Do not rush change let time take its course.
Wu Wang – Honesty
Trigrams: Ch’ien and Chen
Represents: Warns against tempting the impossible. Do not distress about events or happenings that have not happened. Be content with what you have.
Ta Ch’u – Great Powers of Domestication
Trigrams: Ken and Ch’ien
Represents: Make use of the things that you have not used or that have been stored for the future. Let others share what you have acquired.
I – Taking Nourishment
Trigrams: Ken and Chen
Represents: Do not over indulge and be too extravagant. Do not push yourself too far, find a natural balance.
Ta Kuo – Great Experience
Trigrams: Tui and Sun
Represents: Do not waste your energies on things that are not of importance. There are changes ahead that may come at a difficult time.
K’an – Watery Depths
Trigrams: Kan appears twice
Represents: Work with what you know and trust. The difficulties that are ahead should be confronted with patience.
Li – To Shine Brightly or to Part
Trigrams: Li, Fire appears twice.
Represents: The importance of allowing the natural order of life to take its toll. Consideration and planning are essential.
Hsien – All-Embracing
Trigrams: Tui and Ken
Represents: If you give advice you must also listen. Patience and reflection are important, do not rush into new projects.
Heng – Constant
Trigrams: Chen and Sun
Represents: Reflect on all that is around you and you will be unlikely to make mistakes. Do not expect immediate success from new challenges.
Tun – To Hide
Trigrams: Ch’ien and Ken
Represents: Time for thought and not for action. Consider implications before proceeding.
Ta Chuang – Great Strength
Trigrams: Chen and Ch’ien
Represents: Make most of opportunities at present to carry out plans that you have been considering. Do not offend others by being too confident.
Chin – To Advance
Trigrams: Li and K’un
Represents: Do not despair you will succeed. Sign of prosperity, but share it with others.
Ming I – Brightness Dimmed
Trigrams: K’un and Li
Represents: Do not be swept along by events, take time to make decisions. If under pressure rely on your own intuition.
Chia Jen – The Family
Trigrams: Sun and Li
Represents: Balance is needed between home and environment. Take the needs of those around you.
K’uei – Opposition
Trigrams: Li and Tui
Represents: Partnership works well on small but not large scale. Time of uncertainty so do ot lose sight of your visions.
Chien – Difficulty
Trigrams: K’an and Ken
Represents: Beware of possible problems. Consult others. Do not deliberate too long as you may lose your creativity.
Hsieh – Release
Trigrams: Chen and K’an
Represents: Try to stop and consider the suggestions that others give you. You feel trapped but this will soon pass.
Sun – Injured
Trigrams: Ken and Tui
Represents: Changes in fortune are on the way. Do not waste the money, be satisfied with what you have. Keep it safe for a special project.
I – Increase
Trigrams: Sun and Chen
Represents: Strong sense of movement and progress. Way ahead is clear and you do not
need to impress anyone.
Kuai – New Outcome
Trigrams: Tui and Ch’ien
Represents: Create harmony with others or a certain place. Honesty with yourself and those around you is advisable. Make the most of your own potentials.
Kou – To Meet
Trigrams: Ch’ien and Sun
Represents: Possibility of a beneficial meeting but do not be fooled if you are flattered or given attention. Before anything is changed make sure that the changes are appropriate.
Ts’ui – To Collect
Trigrams: Tui and K’un
Represents: Study the environment around you and give yourself time to reflect. Do not be too ambitious and take heed of the environment around you.
Sheng – Rising Up
Trigrams: K’un and Sun
Represents: Patience is important as you allow your plans to materialise. Everything will fall into place.
K’un – To Surround and Wear Out
Trigrams: Tui and K’an
Represents: This offers very little encouragement and it would be best to be very patient.
Do not overspend.
Ching – The Well
Trigrams: K’an and sun
Represents: Take heed of your surroundings and do not fight the force of nature.
Ko – Change
Trigrams: Tui and Li
Represents: Balance between success and failure. Be sure that is the right time before you change the old for the new.
Ting – The Cooking Pot
Trigrams: Li and Su
Represents: Perfection, time and experience to reorganise. Plan carefully before taking on new projects.
Chen – Shock
Trigrams: Chen appears twice.
Represents: Determination and strength reaches peak. Do not be afraid by certain shock or unexpected news.
Ken – Resting
Trigrams: Ken appears twice
Represents: Strength and determination have reached peak. Follow your own path.
Chien – Gradual Development
Trigrams: Sun and Ken
Represents: Without a solid grounding mistakes could be made. Seek advice.
Kueu Mei – Marrying the Young Sister
Trigrams: Chen and Tui
Represents: If in a family there are underlying disagreements or tension they must be sorted out. Correct mistakes when they happen.
Feng – Prosperity
Trigrams: Chen and Li
Represents: You have little to fear, however things do change which is the nature of the Tao.
Lu – The Traveller
Trigrams: Li and Ken
Represents: Some time you will need to let go of familiar surroundings. Choose the right
Sun – Gentle and Yielding
Trigrams: Sun appears twice.
Represents: Better to use gentle and decisive powers of persuasion, force is no good.
Understand who you are working with and what you hope to achieve.
Tui – Happiness
Trigrams: Tui appears twice.
Represents: Accept what is offered to you. Consideration for others is important for you to maintain a sense of satisfaction and well being.
Huan – Scattered
Trigrams: Sun and K’an
Represents: Parting, but efforts will be made to return to normal. Be open to change and
Chieh – Limitations
Trigrams: K’an and Tui
Represents: Do not be over indulgent. Regulate yourself and find a balance to live in
Chung Fu – Inner Confidence
Trigrams: Sun and Tui
Represents: All will succeed and flow according to the Tao. Do not forget others that come into contact with you.
Hsiao Kuo – Minor Problems
Trigrams: Chen and Ken
Represents: Time of uncertainty and minor mistakes. Confusion, but this will be overcome.
Chi Chi – Already Done
Trigrams: K’an and Li
Represents: Whatever the circumstances a successful outcome will be reached. A new
challenge will lie ahead.
Wei Chi – Not yet Done
Trigrams: Li and K’an
Represents: There is change on the way and it may be a struggle to achieve what you want. Patience is the only answer.
COINS METHOD – ASK YOUR QUESTION
An ancient method for casting an I Ching reading involved a relatively laborious process of sorting fifty stem stalks of the yarrow plant. A more modern method uses a series of coin tosses using three identical coins (copper pennies will work) with an identifiable heads and tails. In each case, the process is done six times, with each outcome producing one line of the hexagram. Like a building, the hexagram is assembled from the ground up, bottom line being considered the first line in the text interpretations.
A much easier hands-on method for casting the I Ching is to use three coins. If you are using Chinese bronze coins with the square hole in the middle, where there are no obvious heads or tails, be sure to choose for yourself which is which before beginning, and stick with that decision every time you use them.
2. Hold the coins loosely in your hands, shake them briefly, and then toss them, all the while contemplating your query. The line you record is determined by assigning numerical values to heads and tails, then adding the total. Each heads is a 3, and each tails is a 2. So, if you cast one heads and two tails (3+2+2), your starting line would be a 7 (see the chart below).
3. Collect the coins and toss another five times, recording the numerical values and the corresponding line each time, building your six-line hexagram from the bottom up.
The hexagram you’ve just created can be called your “present hexagram.” In order to produce a “future hexagram,” just change all the lines marked with an ‘x’ or an ‘o’ into their opposite. Any broken lines (Yin) marked with an ‘x’ flip into their opposite—a solid line (Yang)—and solid Yang lines marked with an ‘o’ turn into the broken Yin lines.
The I Ching means “Book of Changes” in Chinese and is all about Change, which is always happening, which is the one constant in life. If you get no changing lines when you cast a hexagram (i.e. no 6 or a 9 value), that signifies that conditions related to your topic are relatively stable or not in great flux at this particular time.
Once you have identified your present—and, possibly, future—hexagrams, use the hexagrams above.