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 »  Home  »  I Ching  »  3 Different Methods to Consult The I Ching

3 Different Methods to Consult The I Ching
By TarotReadingSecrets Admin | Published 04/24/2007 | I Ching |
3 Different Methods to Consult The I Ching

I ching Yarrow StalksThe ancient divination method of the I Ching or “Book of Changes,” was reportedly the casting of tortoise shells. Later, the stalks of yarrow flowers were used, and are still considered the highest form of reading the I Ching.

The problem with tossing the yarrow stalks is that it’s extremely complicated. You’ll need 50 dried yarrow stalks (these may be purchased online or in stores that specialize in spiritual tools and books) and use them to cast your hexagram.

First, remove one stalk from the pile and set it aside. Randomly divide the remaining stalks into to piles. Take one stalk from pile on the right and hold it between the ring finger and little finger of your left hand.

Now pick up the pile on the left in your left hand. Remove the stalks from the pile four at a time, placing them in front of you, until you have four or less left. Tuck these remaining stalks with the others between your fingers.

Pick up the pile on the right with your right hand, and remove the stalks four at a time like you did with the left-hand pile. When you have four or less left, add those to the stalks tucked between your fingers. Now count the stalks in your left hand, not including the one you picked up first. If there are 8, count them as 2. If there are 4, count then as 3.

Set these stalks aside and repeat the process again with the piles of stalks, and include the first, single stalk when you add them up. Set them aside and repeat the procedure one more time with the stalks that are left. Add up the numbers you got – you’ll get 6, 7, 8 or 9. This is the value for the bottom line of the first hexagram. Now repeat the entire process for the rest of the trigram, and then create a second trigram.

It’s a good technique, but extremely time-consuming. Most people prefer to use coins, and can do a reading with that method in just a few minutes. The coin method is ancient as well, and many people like using Chinese coins to maintain the connection with the I Ching’s originations. The circle on the coin represents yang – heaven without beginning or end. The square represents yin – the material world which has dimensions and limits.

Designate one side of the coin as “heads” and the other as “tails.” The heads side is 3 – the three-fold nature of Godhead, as well as the three-fold nature of man himself, as spirit/mind/body, or higher/middle/lower, or id/ego/superego, however you prefer to look at it. The tails side gets the value of 2, representing the negative yin principle which designates out limits, our thoughts and sense, and the duality of our relationship with the universe.

Throw the three coins together and add the numbers. Toss them three times for a trigram – each number represents a line of the trigram. 6 is a changing broken line, 7 is an unchanging solid line, 8 is an unchanging broken line and 9 is a changing solid line. Together, they make a trigram that can be read in the Book of Changes.

Another method, not used very often, if to consult the I Ching with specially printed cards. A set of I Ching cards has 24 three-line trigram designs that are drawn after the seeker formulates their questions. The first card is the lower trigram, the second card is the upper trigram. These cards have the advantage of being easy to carry, quick to use, and are good for very quick moments of insight by focusing on a questing and just drawing one card on which to contemplate. Purists, however, aren’t sure that this technique carries the same ritual purity as casting coins and yarrow stalks – again, whichever method you use is entirely up to you.

Of course, these aren’t the only methods for consulting the I Ching. There’s also a two-coin method, which is preferred by some people, and which provides a similar numerical probability to the ancient yarrow stalk method. First, toss two coins – if both are heads, the value is 2, otherwise the value is there. Repeat the toss and add that number to the first. Do that again. The sum of the three tosses with either be 6 (old yin), 7 (young yang), 8 (young yin), or 9 (old yang). This provides the first (bottom) line of the hexagram. By repeating the process for each line, you get your hexagram.

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