易經 The Book of Changes
Classic online I Ching reading where prophecy is generated with the help of the Yarrow Stalks Oracle.
This illustrated online divination is based on the I Ching - the Book of Changes, a God's book that was never read by man because originally it had no written words. According to an ancient legend, one long-forgotten hero overheard the conversation of gods and was able to write down the meaning of the I Ching symbols.
Formulating a question
The first step to consulting the oracle is to come up with a question. The I Ching is best used with specific questions that are close to the heart. A simple yes or no question will not do, nor will you get a meaningful answer if you do not put in the necessary psychic energy. It may also help to write this question down to consult during your reading.
Before you ask a question, you will need to understand how to read your answer. There are two types of lines in the I Ching, the divided or opened line and the undivided or whole line. The adaptable and flexible energy of yin is represented by the opened line. The strong and unyielding energy of yang is represented by the whole line. This relationship between the opened line and the whole line, the young and the old, is one where each moves to transform into the other. A young line is considered to be stable, and an old line is considered a transforming line. These are generally differentiated by color.
These two lines can be configured into trigram, or a figure consisting of three lines, in eight possible combinations. Each trigram has their own attributes and as a whole, and is associated with a family member. The eight trigrams are combined to create the sixty-four hexagrams that make up the I Ching. These sixty-four hexagrams are considered to catalog all of the possible situations in the universe. When reading these hexagrams, you will read from the bottom to the top; the top line is the sixth and the bottom line is the first.
There are two methods you can use to form a hexagram. The coin method is the simplest and fastest of the two and was popularized during the Southern Song dynasty. The yarrow stalk method is the traditional method of forming a hexagram and is much a much slower process.
The yarrow stalk method
To perform the yarrow stalk method, you will need 50 short sticks. Traditionally, these sticks will come from yarrow stalks, but any smaller sticks under a foot long can be used. Of these fifty, one will be set aside to stand as a silent witness to your consultation with the oracle. It represents the stillness at the center of changer and transformation, the axis of heaven and earth. There are three steps to forming a line in this method which you must repeat for a total of six times to form a hexagram:
For the first step, you will divide your forty-nine stalks into two randomly created bunches. This is a simple but important gesture in the process because it requires one to be open to receive answers. Once you have two piles, you will take a stalk from the left pile and put it between your left ring finger and pinkie finger. Now, you will divide the stalks in the right pile into groups of four. Your last group is your remainder, whether it is one, two, three, or four stalks, and you will put this between your left middle finger and ring finger.
Next, sort the left pile into groups of four as well. Your remainder goes between your left index finger and middle finger. Now you should have five or nine stalks in your left hand. Set these aside while you gather the rest of the stalks into one big bunch once again.
Repeat everything from step one. Divide all of your stalks (minus the ones you set aside in step one) into two random piles again. Take one stalk from the left pile to put it between your left ring finger and pinkie finger. Divide the right pile of stalks into groups of four, take your remainders, and put them between your left middle finger and your ring finger. Now do the same on the left pile, making sure they take the remainders and put them between your left index finger and middle finger.
This time, the sum of all your remainders should be four or eight. Set these aside as well, but be sure to keep them separate from the pile you set aside at the end of step one. Now collect the groups of four into a single bunch again for step three.
Repeat the same process once again. Divide your stalks into two random piles, keeping them separate from your previous remainders. Take one from the left and put it between your left ring finger and little finger. Divide the right pile into fours and take your remainders. Put them between your ring finger and your middle finger. Now divide the left pile into fours, and put the remainders between your index and middle fingers.
The sum of your remainders should be four or eight this time. Now, instead of gathering up your groups of four, you will count them. This number will give you the first line of your hexagram:
The first line goes at the bottom of your hexagram. You will have to repeat steps one through three until you have six lines total, building from the bottom up. Make sure to mark whether each line is “young” or “old”
To perform the coin method, you will need to toss three coins six times. Decide which side will represent yin and which yang before you toss the coins. The yin side equals two and the yang side equals 3. Every time you toss the three coins, you will add up their values to get one of these lines:
Repeat this process until you have a total of six lines, starting from the bottom up.
Beginning your reading
The hexagram you have just formed is your primary hexagram, the whole answer to your question. If your hexagram contains any transforming lines, you will create a potential hexagram. To create your potential hexagram, simply copy down the primary hexagram, changing only the transforming lines to their opposites. You will not have any lines marked “young” or “old” in this hexagram. Your potential hexagram is meant to explore a possible development from your primary hexagram. By reading this potential tendency, we can assess whether this is a desirable possibility or if it is something to be avoided at all costs. Now, you can begin your reading by identifying your hexagram in a hexagram table.
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