I Ching – The Book of Change

What is I Ching?

The I Ching, known as The Book of Change in Western parts of the world, is a divination book (or oracle) that originated in China over three thousand years ago. (Many people believe that is the oldest book in the world, but no one is exactly sure who wrote it.) It is considered a book of Chinese wisdom that has had a profound influence on art, religion, philosophy, medicine, and many other things among the different cultures in East Asia.

Why do people still have an interest in I Ching?

Many people refer to it for advice and to gain an understanding of human nature and as a way to foretell the future. It is believed to be a collection of wisdom that addresses every scenario that a person may find themselves in. There are 64 different kinds of situations in the I Ching. A hexagram, a symbol made up of six lines that may or may not be broken, differentiates between the situations.

How to do an I Ching reading and How do you interpret the I Ching?

This is best described in steps.

    1. To obtain advice from I Ching you must consult the oracle.
    2. Determine what question you want answered and write it down. Make sure you have a means of translating the I Ching. (You must have this available to understand your results.)
    3. You cast a hexagram. There are numerous methods of doing this, but a popular way is to use three Chinese coins. If you do not have them available, it is okay to use three identical coins. (If you do not want to use this method, there is also the yarrow stalks method.) It is believed that these “random” results actually reflect the situation you are in.
    4. Throw the three coins together and look at how they have landed. Add up the results. Heads counts as 3 and tails counts as 2.
    5. Look at the chart found here (www.ichingfortune.com/hexagrams.php)
    6. Write down the sign that corresponds with your number. This is your first line of the hexagram which goes at the bottom.
    7. Continue this process five more times working your way to the top for the final throw.
    8. You now have your primary hexagon which is what will determine your answer.
    9. Now look in the book that you have for interpreting the I Ching results.

Is I Ching considered a religion?

I t is not a religious text book. There is no scripture and it does not tell stories. However you may occasionally hear people say “The I Ching is my Bible.” When this is said it means that the believer gives them religious ideas in a way that replaces what they have learned in The Bible and that it helps them to foresee their future. This was especially prevalent during the 1960’s when young adults in the United States began to realize that there was something missing in their lives and it was not a material possession. These individuals, many of whom were Beat writers such as Allen Ginsburg, did not trust churches and began to; instead, look for a way to make their lives meaningful. They thought that their inner being was just as important as their outer being and began to look at such religions as Muslim and Buddhism. This is when the I Ching was truly introduced in America. While it is not a religion, per say, people who believe in feel that it gives them a clear understanding of how to live their life and into what the future holds in store for them.

What does the I Ching have to offer you?

It is said that the I Ching can bring about many positive changes to your life including improving relationships with others, strengthen your spirituality, and providing reassurance that good things will happen when in a crisis. Many believers think that it can help you achieve your goals simply by asking it how to obtain them. Believers feel that the I Ching should be consulted before every big decision including marriage, moving, and changing jobs. The I Ching can help you to make the right decision by giving you an idea of what lies ahead for you. It gives you more clarity when considering your options by giving you a full view of the situation that you are in.

How does the I Ching work?

It is said that the I Ching works by picking up on subliminal messages that you missed out on and went straight to your subconscious.

How are I Ching and Taoism connected?

Essentially the I Ching follows many of the principles of Taoism including the thought that the universe underlies all actions and infuses all beings. The best way to measure this is through the yin and yang. The amount of yin and yang in a situation is represented by the lines in the hexagram that is formed from throwing the coins above.

    • 2 black lines represent yin
    • 1 solid black line represents yang

**If either of the lines are red this is indicative of a changing line and is said that your results will be the direct opposite.

    • A red broken line represents a yin line that is being transformed into a yang line.
    • A red solid line represents a yang line that is being transformed into a yin line.

Yin is said to be female, negative, introverted, reactive, unconscious, tails, dark, and night.

Yang is said to be male, positive, extroverted, non reactive, conscious, heads, light, and day.

Suggested Questions to Ask I Ching

    • What do I need to know?
    • It I make a true commitment, what will likely happen?
    • What effect could this have on ( ? )?

While you can ask I Ching “what is going to happen?” it is not advised because the answer depends on a lot of your choices and it will not give you an exact answer, but more of “well, you might face these choices” or “if you can manage this.”

Give it a try and see what happens!

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