I Ching Right Under My Nose

33Nicolas's picture

One of the things I love about getting older is revisiting things that were once part of my life. This has been happening lately and now the I Ching is coming back into my life, except this time, it is with a deeper appreciation and learning experience behind it.

And Thus, The I Ching Walks Back in My Life

A few weeks ago I an I Ching book, the famous Chinese Book of Changes. I used to have one in my twenties. It is great to revisit it with a fresher perspective, more experience, and hopefully distilled into wisdom.

Lately, a few things have made their way back into my awareness. Taoism particuliarly and now the I Ching. It is interesting because it is happening with fresh new sets of eyes. And I love it!

The I Ching is the ancient Chinese book of divination also called Book of Changes. It is used to get a sense of how things are going and if the path you are choosing is auspicious or ominous.

The gist is simple but a little preparation helps eek out more from the experience. As a matter of respect, the book should be kept above human shoulder height when at rest. Use a silk cloth, ideally white, to wrap it in.

In order to prepare for the divination, set yourself in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Light an incense stick. You can add a candle if you feel it is appropriate. Connect with the Universal energies, your guardians, and the I Ching guardian lineage, if you can. The idea is to turn it into a ceremony and make it as special as it should be.

The rest is simple. Traditionally, the ancient Chinese would use a turtle shell and throw sticks in it. Although that could be a hard thing to do for most these days, sticks can be used on two open bowl. But if you are like most modern I Ching users, three coins will suffice. Any coins will do. I will write about the coin method here to get you going.

Each coin side is assigned a numeric value, say 3 for head and 2 for tail. It does not matter if you assign the opposite but the values must be 2 and 3. This gives you the only possible results of 6,7,8 or 9.

Say you throw 1 head, which is 3 and another head, which is also a 3, and a tail, which is a 2, that would make 8. This gives you the first line of two trigrams, a hexagram. You build the trigram fro the bottom up.

It might sound complicated at first but persevere, You will get the hang of it soon enough.

The chart below taking from the OneClarity.co.uk gives you a good understanding of the results.

Changing broken line
Old yin

Unchanging solid line
Young yang

Unchanging broken line
Young yin

Changing solid line
Old yang

You can boil it down to:

Three tails:

Two tails, one head:

Two heads, one tail:

Three heads:

Every old yin line (6) –  6 – becomes young yang: 7.

Every old yang line (9) – 9 – becomes young yin: 8.


Continue throwing the coins 5 more times, 6 all in all to build your hexagram.

I found the following website from a Wiki page a good place to start, OneClarity.co.UK.

Although the I Ching can be complicated when you approach it first, a good way to cast the sticks or coins it is to find a website and rely on your book interpretation or the the website. Read more and more into it. Take your time to connect with the energies and let your instinct guide you. The I Ching is a multi-level source of information and a never ending source of information.

As for me, it is the beginning of a road I am revisiting again. The throws have been very revealing as I venture away from journalism into... well, I do not know yet. Public Relations seems to often knock at my door, but I would be just as fine selling my tea master's amazing teas in the west and working with therapy dogs. Either way, as Trinity Esoterics reminds us daily, Faith, Flow, Surrender, and Trust does the rest.