I
Ching, or Book of Changes
The I Ching was used
for many thousands of years as a book of enlightenment and wisdom, long
before its use in divination.
Eight
trigrams of alternating solid and broken lines combine to form 64
hexagrams. As each trigram has its own image and meaning, the hexagrams
are combinations of these images.
By studying these combinations
over many hundreds of years, many wise men developed interpretations
of the hexagram and each of the six lines within.
In addition, some lines
are 'changing.’ One seeks to understand not only one set of hexagrams,
but also the one that is produced by the evolution of the changing lines
within it. Even the position of the changing lines are meaningful.
Clearly, the I Ching
is the most complex of all the oracles. Their study can be most compelling
and challenging.
There are two basic
methods for developing hexagrams. Both are designed to build the hexagram
from the bottom (1st) line to the top (6th) line. Both are basically mathematical
in structure.
The oldest technique is
counting through 49 yarrow stalks. This method takes longer and
the repetitive nature of the counting produces a calm, meditative state.
A quicker method uses
three of the same type of coin. Each side is arbitrarily assigned
to be yin or yang, which each have a numerical value of 2 or three.
Using
the I Ching
The
Coin method is the easiest to learn and use. Select three coins of
the same type, such as the Chinese coins shown above or any other
coin that feels comfortable to shake in your hands.
Traditionally, when using the Chinese
coin, the inscription side had the value of 2, the blank side value
was 3. Values can be assign to other coins, such as 3 to Heads and
2 to Tails, but should be consisent.
Shake the coins and throw them down
to build the bottom line of the hexagram. Continue until all six lines
have been built.
Add the numeric value of the visible
faces of the coins. A total of 9 is a changing yang (solid line changing
to broken). A total of 6 is a changing yin (broken line changing to
solid). A total of 7 is a young yang (solid), and a total of 8 is
young yin (broken).
The hexagram resulting from six throws
of the coins is your image. Compare that image to the interpretation. 
