I-Ching Hexagrams

I-Ching Hexagrams


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I Ching Hexagrams

Traditionally it was believed that the principles of the I Ching originated with the mythical Fu Xi (伏羲 Fú Xī). In this respect he is seen as an early culture hero, one of the earliest legendary rulers of China (traditional dates 2800 BCE-2737 BCE), reputed to have had the 8 trigrams (八卦 bā gùa) revealed to him supernaturally. By the time of the legendary Yu (禹 ) 2194 BCE–2149 BCE, the trigrams had supposedly been developed into 64 hexagrams (六十四卦 lìu shí­ sì gùa), which were recorded in the scripture Lian Shan (《連山》 Lián Shān also called Lian Shan Yi). Lian Shan, meaning “continuous mountains” in Chinese, begins with the hexagram Bound (艮 gèn), which depicts a mountain (¦¦|) mounting on another and is believed to be the origin of the scripture’s name.

After the traditionally recorded Xia Dynasty was overthrown by the Shang Dynasty, the hexagrams are said to have been re-deduced to form Gui Cang (《歸藏》 Gūi Cáng also called Gui Cang Yi), and the hexagram Field (坤 kūn) became the first hexagram. Gui Cang may be literally translated into “return and be contained”, which refers to earth as the first hexagram itself indicates. At the time of Shang’s last king, Zhou Wang, King Wen of Zhou is said to have deduced the hexagram and discovered that the hexagrams beginning with Force (乾 qián) revealed the rise of Zhou. He then gave each hexagram a description regarding its own nature, thus Gua Ci (卦辭 guà cí, “Explanation of Hexagrams”).

When King Wu of Zhou, son of King Wen, toppled the Shang Dynasty, his brother Zhou Gong Dan is said to have created Yao Ci (爻辭 yáo cí, “Explanation of Horizontal Lines”) to clarify the significance of each horizontal line in each hexagram. It was not until then that the whole context of I Ching was understood. Its philosophy heavily influenced the literature and government administration of the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE – 256 BCE).

Later, during the time of Spring and Autumn (722 BCE – 481 BCE), Confucius is traditionally said to have written the Shi Yi (十翼 shí yì, “Ten Wings”), a group of commentaries on the I Ching. By the time of Han Wu Di (漢武帝 Hàn Wǔ Dì) of the Western Han Dynasty (circa 200 BCE), Shi Yi was often called Yi Zhuan (易傳 yì zhùan, “Commentary on the I Ching”), and together with the I Ching they composed Zhou Yi (周易 zhōu yì, “Changes of Zhou”). All later texts about Zhou Yi were explanations only, due to the classic’s deep meaning.

Modernist view

In the past 50 years a “Modernist” history of the I Ching has been emerging, based on context criticism and research into Shang and Zhou dynasty oracle bones, as well as Zhou bronze inscriptions and other sources (see below). These reconstructions are dealt with in a growing number of books, such as The Mandate of Heaven: Hidden History in the I Ching, by S. J. Marshall, and Richard Rutt’s Zhouyi: The Book of Changes, (see References, below).

Scholarly works dealing with the new view of the Book of Changes include doctoral dissertations by Richard Kunst and Edward Shaughnessy and a 2008 study by Richard J. Smith. These and other scholars have been helped immensely by the discovery, in the 1970s, by Chinese archaeologists, of intact Han dynasty era tombs in Mawangdui near Changsha, Hunan province. One of the tombs contained more or less complete 2nd century BC texts of the I Ching, the Dao De Jing and other works, which are mostly similar yet in some ways diverge significantly from the “received”, or traditional, texts preserved historically.

The tomb texts include additional commentaries on the I Ching, previously unknown, and apparently attributed to Confucius. All of the Mawangdui texts are many centuries older than the earliest known attestations of the texts in question. When talking about the evolution of the Book of Changes, therefore, the Modernists contend that it is important to distinguish between the traditional history assigned to texts such as the I Ching (felt to be anachronistic by the Modernists), assignations in commentaries which have themselves been canonized over the centuries along with their subjects, and the more recent scholarly history aided by modern linguistic textual criticism and archaeology.

Many hold that these perspectives are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but, for instance, many Modernist scholars doubt the actual existence of Fuxi, or think Confucius had nothing to do with the Book of Changes, and contend that the hexagrams came before the trigrams. Modern scholarship comparing poetic usage and formulaic phrasing in this book with that in ancient bronze inscriptions has shown that the text cannot be attributed to King Wen or Zhou Gong, and that it likely was not compiled until the late Western Zhou, perhaps ca. the late 9th century BC.


List of hexagrams of the I Ching


This is a list of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, or Book of Changes, and their Unicode character codes.

Hexagram 1 is named 乾 (qián), "Force". Other variations include "the creative", "strong action", "the key", and "god". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is the same.

Character information
Preview
Unicode name HEXAGRAM FOR THE CREATIVE HEAVEN
Encodings decimal hex
Unicode 19904 U+4DC0
UTF-8 228 183 128 E4 B7 80
Numeric character reference &#19904 &#x4DC0

Hexagram 2 is named 坤 (kūn), "Field". Other variations include "the receptive", "acquiescence", and "the flow". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is identical.

Hexagram 3 is named 屯 (zhūn), "Sprouting". Other variations include "difficulty at the beginning", "gathering support", and "hoarding". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 4 is named 蒙 (méng), "Enveloping". Other variations include "youthful folly", "the young shoot", and "discovering". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water. Its outer trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 5 is named 需 (xū), "Attending". Other variations include "waiting", "moistened", and "arriving". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 6 is named 訟 (sòng), "Arguing". Other variations include "conflict" and "lawsuit". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 7 is named 師 (shī), "Leading". Other variations include "the army" and "the troops". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 8 is named 比 (bǐ), "Grouping". Other variations include "holding together" and "alliance". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 9 is named 小畜 (xiǎo xù), "Small Accumulating". Other variations include "the taming power of the small" and "small harvest". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 10 is named 履 (lǚ), "Treading". Other variations include "treading (conduct)" and "continuing". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 11 is named 泰 (tài), "Pervading". Other variations include "peace" and "greatness". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 12 is named 否 (pǐ), "Obstruction". Other variations include "standstill (stagnation)" and "selfish persons". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 13 is named 同人 (tóng rén), "Concording People". Other variations include "fellowship with men" and "gathering men". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 14 is named 大有 (dà yǒu), "Great Possessing". Other variations include "possession in great measure" and "the great possession". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.

Hexagram 15 is named 謙 (qiān), "Humbling". Other variations include "modesty". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain and its outer (upper) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 16 is named 豫 (yù), "Providing-For". Other variations include "enthusiasm" and "excess". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 17 is named 隨 (suí), "Following". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 18 is named 蠱 (gǔ), "Correcting". Other variations include "work on what has been spoiled (decay)", decaying and "branch". [1] Its inner (lower) trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn ) bound = ( 山 ) mountain. Gu is the name of a venom-based poison traditionally used in Chinese witchcraft.

Hexagram 19 is named 臨 (lín), "Nearing". Other variations include "approach" and "the forest". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 20 is named 觀 (guān), "Viewing". Other variations include "contemplation (view)" and "looking up". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 21 is named 噬嗑 (shì kè), "Gnawing Bite". Other variations include "biting through" and "biting and chewing". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire. [2]

Hexagram 22 is named 賁 (bì), "Adorning". Other variations include "grace" and "luxuriance". Its inner (lower) trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer (upper) trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain. [3]

Hexagram 23 is named 剝 (bō), "Stripping". Other variations include "splitting apart" and "flaying". Its inner trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 24 is named 復 (fù), "Returning". Other variations include "return (the turning point)". Its inner trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 25 is named 無妄 (wú wàng), "Without Embroiling". Other variations include "innocence (the unexpected)" and "pestilence". Its inner trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 26 is named 大畜 (dà xù), "Great Accumulating". Other variations include "the taming power of the great", "great storage", and "potential energy". Its inner trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 27 is named 頤 (yí), "Swallowing". Other variations include "the corners of the mouth (providing nourishment)", "jaws" and "comfort/security". Its inner trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 28 is named 大過 (dà guò), "Great Exceeding". Other variations include "preponderance of the great", "great surpassing" and "critical mass". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 29 is named 坎 (kǎn), "Gorge". Other variations include "the abyss" (in the oceanographic sense) and "repeated entrapment". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer trigram is identical.

Hexagram 30 is named 離 (lí), "Radiance". Other variations include "the clinging, fire" and "the net". Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is identical. The origin of the character has its roots in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix.

Hexagram 31 is named 咸 (xián), "Conjoining". Other variations include "influence (wooing)" and "feelings". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 32 is named 恆 (héng), "Persevering". Other variations include "duration" and "constancy". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 33 is named 遯 (dùn), "Retiring". Other variations include "retreat" and "yielding". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 34 is named 大壯 (dà zhuàng), "Great Invigorating". Other variations include "the power of the great" and "great maturity". Its inner trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 35 is named 晉 (jìn), "Prospering". Other variations include "progress" and "aquas". Its inner trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.

Hexagram 36 is named 明夷 (míng yí), "Darkening of the Light". Other variations include "brilliance injured" and "intelligence hidden". Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 37 is named 家人 (jiā rén), "Dwelling People". Other variations include "the family (the clan)" and "family members". Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 38 is named 睽 (kuí), "Polarising". Other variations include "opposition" and "perversion". Its inner trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.

Hexagram 39 is named 蹇 (jiǎn), "Limping". Other variations include "obstruction" and "afoot". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 40 is named 解 (xiè), "Taking-Apart". Other variations include "deliverance" and "untangled". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 41 is named 損 (sǔn), "Diminishing". Other variations include "decrease". Its inner trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 42 is named 益 (yì), "Augmenting". Other variations include "increase". Its inner trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder, and its outer trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 43 is named 夬 (guài), "Displacement". Other variations include "resoluteness", "parting", and "break-through". Its inner trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 44 is named 姤 (gòu), "Coupling". Other variations include "coming to meet" and "meeting". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☰ ( 乾 qián) force = ( 天 ) heaven.

Hexagram 45 is named 萃 (cuì), "Clustering". Other variations include "gathering together (massing)" and "finished". Its inner trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 46 is named 升 (shēng), "Ascending". Other variations include "pushing upward". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☷ ( 坤 kūn) field = ( 地 ) earth.

Hexagram 47 is named 困 (kùn), "Confining". Other variations include "oppression (exhaustion)" and "entangled". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 48 is named 井 (jǐng), "Welling". Other variations include "the well". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 49 is named 革 (gé), "Skinning". Other variations include "revolution (molting)" and "the bridle". Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 50 is named 鼎 (dǐng), "Holding". Other variations include "the cauldron". Its inner trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.

Hexagram 51 is named 震 (zhèn), "Shake". Other variations include "the arousing (shock, thunder)" and "thunder". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 52 is named 艮 (gèn), "Bound". Other variations include "keeping still, mountain" and "stilling". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain.

Hexagram 53 is named 漸 (jiàn), "Infiltrating". Other variations include "development (gradual progress)" and "advancement". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 54 is named 歸妹 (guī mèi), "Converting the Maiden". Other variations include "the marrying maiden" and "returning maiden". Its inner trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 55 is named 豐 (fēng), "Abounding". Other variations include "abundance" and "fullness". Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 56 is named 旅 (lǚ), "Sojourning". Other variations include "the wanderer" and "traveling". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.

Hexagram 57 is named 巽 (xùn), "Ground". Other variations include "the gentle (the penetrating, wind)" and "calculations". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 58 is named 兌 (duì), "Open". Other variations include "the joyous, lake" and "usurpation". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp.

Hexagram 59 is named 渙 (huàn), "Dispersing". Other variations include "dispersion (dissolution)" and "dispersal". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 60 is named 節 (jié), "Articulating". Other variations include "limitation" and "moderation". Its inner trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 61 is named 中孚 (zhōng fú), "Center Returning". Other variations include "inner truth" and "central return". Its inner trigram is ☱ ( 兌 duì) open = ( 澤 ) swamp, and its outer trigram is ☴ ( 巽 xùn) ground = ( 風 ) wind.

Hexagram 62 is named 小過 (xiǎo guò), "Small Exceeding". Other variations include "preponderance of the small" and "small surpassing". Its inner trigram is ☶ ( 艮 gèn) bound = ( 山 ) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☳ ( 震 zhèn) shake = ( 雷 ) thunder.

Hexagram 63 is named 既濟 (jì jì), "Already Fording". Other variations include "after completion" and "already completed" or "already done" . Its inner trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire, and its outer trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water.

Hexagram 64 is named 未濟 (wèi jì), "Not Yet Fording". Other variations include "before completion" and "not yet completed". Its inner trigram is ☵ ( 坎 kǎn) gorge = ( 水 ) water, and its outer trigram is ☲ ( 離 lí) radiance = ( 火 ) fire.


Casting I Ching Hexagrams

Yarrow stalks have been used in China for divination since ancient times. There are reference of yarrow stalks divinations being used to get a "second opinion" on important matters for which divination with cracks in tortoise shells were already be perfomed.

Unfortunately, the method that was used in such ancient times has been lost. The procedure we use today is a reconstruction dating back the 12th century CE and is described in the commentaries that form the Ten Wings.

This method is quite laborious and requires some dexterity (to hold the yarrow stalks) and focus (to properly count them). Its complexity is both its strong and weak point: some find it too bothersome while others consider the time required to be well spent as they can meditate on the question.

  1. Split the 49 stalks in two groups
  2. Take one stalk from the left group and put it aside
  3. Count the left group by four until you have four or less stalks left in the group
  4. Put the (one to four) remaining stalk together with the one you took on step 2
  5. Count the right group by four until you have four or less stalks left in the group
  6. Put the (one to four) remaining stalk together with the ones you got from step 2 and 5
  7. If you remained with nine stalks, mark 2, if you remained with five stalks mark 3
  8. Put the stalks you counted all together (they should be 40 or 44), split them in two groups and repeat steps 2-6
  9. If you remained with eight stalks, mark 2, if you remained with four stalks mark 3
  10. Put the stalks you counted all together, (they should be 32, 36 or 40) split them in two groups and repeat steps 2-6
  11. If you remained with eight stalks, mark 2, if you remained with four stalks mark 3
  12. Sum up the three numbers you got, the sum should be either 6, 7, 8 or 9, and draw the line according the following table.
    6789

An alternative method of counting is to ignore steps 7, 9 and 11 and group all the stalks you get in a single heap. After you have performed the split three times, you divide the stalks in the heap (which will contain eather 24, 28, 32 or 36 stalks) by four to directly get the number of the resulting line: 6, 7, 8, 9.

  • if you get four stalks, pick four stalks from the other group and count 2
  • if you get three stalks, pick one stalks from the other group and count 3
  • if you get two stalks, pick two stalks from the other group and count 3
  • if you get one stalks, pick three stalks from the other group and count 3
  • if you get four stalks pick three stalks from the other group and count 2
  • if you get three stalks pick four stalks from the other group and count 2
  • if you get one stalks pick two stalks from the other group and count 3
  • if you get two stalks pick one stalks from the other group and count 3

Searching on YouTube will provide you with a great deal of video example on how to use the Yarrow stalks to get hexagram lines.

Probabilities

The probabilities for this method are usually considered to be:

  • On the first subdivision, 49 stalks, we can get 2 with a probability of 1 /4 and 3 with a probability of 3 /4
  • On the second and third subdivision, we can get 2 with a probability of 2 /4 and 3 with a probability of 2 /4
  • Hence the probabilties for each possible outcome are:
    Prob (2+2+2)= 1 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 1 /16
    Prob (2+2+3)= 1 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 1 /16
    Prob (2+3+2)= 1 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 1 /16
    Prob (3+2+2)= 3 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 3 /16
    Prob (2+3+3)= 1 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 1 /16
    Prob (3+2+3)= 3 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 3 /16
    Prob (3+3+2)= 3 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 3 /16
    Prob (3+3+3)= 3 /4 * 1 /2 * 1 /2 = 3 /16
  • Summing up the probabilities for each possible result, we get:
    Prob (6) =Prob (2+2+2)= 1 /16
    Prob (8) =Prob (2+3+3) + Prob (3+3+2) + Prob (3+2+3)= 1 /16 + 3 /16 + 3 /16= 7 /16
    Prob (7) =Prob (2+2+3) + Prob (2+3+2) + Prob (3+2+2)= 1 /16 + 1 /16 + 3 /16= 5 /16
    Prob (9) =Prob (3+3+3)= 3 /16

Expecially for the first step:If we assumed all the possible split of 49 stalks to be equiprobable, the chance to get a 2 would be 11 /47, meaning that getting a 6 as final outcome would have a probability of 1,28% which is much lower than 1 /16 (6.25%).

However, how "random" would you consider a split where one group would contain just one stalk? Not much, I guess.

In fact, the closer the 49 stalks are split in the middle, the closer the chance of getting 2 approximates 1 /4 (and hence the probability of getting 6 get closer to 1 /16).

This is true for the second and third subdivision as well, but the effect is not very relevant and the probability to get 2 or 3 are really 1 /2 .

This leads to the interesting conclusion that we cannot tell the exact probability distribution of the yarrow stalks method:


History of the I Ching

The I Ching is the oldest of all the classical divination systems. It is also one of the oldest books in the world. Its first interpretive text was composed around 1000 B.C. The I Ching’s actual discovery and much of its early history are the stuff of legends.

There are a number of myths surrounding the origins of the eight trigrams and the development of the I Ching divination system. In one tale, Fu Hsi, the first emperor of China (2852–2737 B.C.), is said to have observed a turtle emerging from the Yellow River. Knowing that true wisdom came from the direct and close observation of nature, he had a sudden realization of the significance of eight symbols he saw on the turtle’s back. He saw how the sets of three solid or broken lines, the trigrams, reflected the movement of energy in life on Earth.

A similar myth describes Fu Hsi’s contemplation of other patterns in nature, including animals, plants, meteorological phenomena, and even his own body. These myths describe how he identified the trigrams that arose from his understanding of the connection of all things, through the interplay of yin and yang.

There is evidence of early Chinese divination where tortoise shells were heated over a flame until they cracked, with the emerging patterns (presumably trigrams) being read. In some cases the shells were marked with their interpretations and stored for reference, and I have had the privilege of seeing a few of them preserved at the National Museum in Taiwan, China. Fu Hsi was the mythical First Emperor of China. He is reputed to be the inventor of writing, fish-ing and trapping, as well as the discoverer of the I Ching trigrams on the back of a turtle. He lived around 3000 B.C.

Another version also involving tortoise shells describes descendants of the “many Fu”—an ancient clan of female diviners—who read the shells of live turtles. According to the legend, they became the queens and royalty of the Shang Dynasty—which had been considered mythical until archeological evidence proving its existence was unearthed in 1899. Some say Lao Tzu, the enlightened forefather of Taoism and the author of the Tao Te Ching, was a descendent of this clan.

The Taoist/Confucian tradition posits that juxtaposing a set of the possible permutations of yin and yang with the elements of Chinese creation mythology produced the foundation of the I Ching. Pairing up the various combinations of yin (the literal ancient meaning of which is the shady north side of the hill) and yang (meaning the sunny south side of the hill) gives you four primary symbols. With the addition of another yin or yang line, the eight trigrams emerge.

The earliest composition of I Ching interpretations is attributed to King Wen. Toward the end of the Shang Dynasty, when the unjust emperor Zhou Wang imprisoned Wen, he reportedly used his confinement to meditate on the trigrams, pairing them up to produce sixty-four possible hexagrams. Each pair of trigrams took on a meaning specific to their combination. In what we might assume was an enlightened state of mind, King Wen assigned each of the sixty-four hexagrams a name, adding a few sentences to explain its meaning. It is said that his son, King Wu, added additional interpretative text, bringing the I Ching closer to its current form.

Confucius, who came a few hundred years later, was possibly the I Ching’s greatest patron, taking the interpretative texts to the next level with the addition of his extensive commentaries. Confucius was primarily interested in the I Ching as a manual for how to live a life of the highest virtue, as opposed to its usefulness as a divination system. According to his Analects (VII, xvi), Confucius, who lived to be an old man, is reputed to have said, “If some years were added to my life, I would devote fifty of them to the study of the oracle, and might then avoid committing great errors.”


Interpretation and influence

The Sinologist Michael Nylan describes the I Ching as the best-known Chinese book in the world. In East Asia, it is a foundational text for the Confucian and Daoist philosophical traditions, while in the West, it attracted the attention of Enlightenment intellectuals and prominent literary and cultural figures.

Eastern Han and Six Dynasties

During the Eastern Han, I Ching interpretation divided into two schools, originating in a dispute over minor differences between different editions of the received text. The first school, known as New Text criticism, was more egalitarian and eclectic, and sought to find symbolic and numerological parallels between the natural world and the hexagrams. Their commentaries provided the basis of the School of Images and Numbers. The other school, Old Text criticism, was more scholarly and hierarchical, and focused on the moral content of the text, providing the basis for the School of Meanings and Principles. The New Text scholars distributed alternate versions of the text and freely integrated non-canonical commentaries into their work, as well as propagating alternate systems of divination such as the Taixuanjing. Most of this early commentary, such as the image and number work of Jing Fang, Yu Fan and Xun Shuang, is no longer extant. Only short fragments survive, from a Tang dynasty text called Zhou yi jijie.

With the fall of the Han, I Ching scholarship was no longer organized into systematic schools. The most influential writer of this period was Wang Bi, who discarded the numerology of Han commentators and integrated the philosophy of the Ten Wings directly into the central text of the I Ching, creating such a persuasive narrative that Han commentators were no longer considered significant. A century later Han Kangbo added commentaries on the Ten Wings to Wang Bi’s book, creating a text called the Zhouyi zhu. The principal rival interpretation was a practical text on divination by the soothsayer Guan Lu.

Tang and Song dynasties

At the beginning of the Tang dynasty, Emperor Taizong of Tang ordered Kong Yingda to create a canonical edition of the I Ching. Choosing the 3rd-century Zhouyi zhu as the official commentary, he added to it a sub commentary drawing out the subtler levels of Wang Bi’s explanations. The resulting work, the Zhouyi zhengi, became the standard edition of the I Ching through the Song dynasty.

By the 11th century, the I Ching was being read as a work of intricate philosophy, as a jumping-off point for examining great metaphysical questions and ethical issues. Cheng Yi, patriarch of the Neo-Confucian Cheng–Zhu school, read the I Ching as a guide to moral perfection. He described the text as a way to for ministers to form honest political factions, root out corruption, and solve problems in government.

The contemporary scholar Shao Yong rearranged the hexagrams in a format that resembles modern binary numbers, although he did not intend his arrangement to be used mathematically. This arrangement, sometimes called the binary sequence, later inspired Leibniz.

Neo-Confucian

Main article: Neo-Confucianism

The 12th century Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi, cofounder of the Cheng–Zhu school, rejected both of the Han dynasty lines of commentary on the I Ching, proposing that the text was a work of divination, not philosophy. However, he still considered it useful for understanding the moral practices of the ancients, called “rectification of the mind” in the Great Learning. Zhu Xi’s reconstruction of I Ching yarrow stalk divination, based in part on the Great Commentary account, became the standard form and is still in use today.

As China entered the early modern period, the I Ching took on renewed relevance in both Confucian and Daoist studies. The Kangxi Emperor was especially fond of the I Ching and ordered new interpretations of it. Qing dynasty scholars focused more intently on understanding pre-classical grammar, assisting the development of new philological approaches in the modern period.

Korean and Japanese

In 1557, the Korean Neo-Confucian Yi Hwang produced one of the most influential I Ching studies of the early modern era, claiming that the spirit was a principle (li) and not a material force (qi). Hwang accused the Neo-Confucian school of having misread Zhu Xi. His critique proved influential not only in Korea but also in Japan. Other than this contribution, the I Ching was not central to the development of Korean Confucianism, and by the 19th century, I Ching studies were integrated into the silhak reform movement.

In medieval Japan, secret teachings on the I Ching were publicized by Rinzai Zen master Kokan Shiren and the Shintoist Yoshida Kanetomo. I Ching studies in Japan took on new importance in the Edo period, during which over 1,000 books were published on the subject by over 400 authors. The majority of these books were serious works of philology, reconstructing ancient usages and commentaries for practical purposes. A sizable minority focused on numerology, symbolism, and divination. During this time, over 150 editions of earlier Chinese commentaries were reprinted in Japan, including several texts that had become lost in China. In the early Edo period, writers such as Itō Jinsai, Kumazawa Banzan, and Nakae Toju ranked the I Ching the greatest of the Confucian classics. Many writers attempted to use the I Ching to explain Western science in a Japanese framework. One writer, Shizuki Tadao, even attempted to employ Newtonian mechanics and the Copernican principle within an I Ching cosmology.This line of argument was later taken up in China by the Qing scholar and official Zhang Zhidong.

Early European

Leibniz, who was corresponding with Jesuits in China, wrote the first European commentary on the I Ching in 1703, arguing that it proved the universality of binary numbers and theism, since the broken lines, the 𔄘” or “nothingness”, cannot become solid lines, the 𔄙” or “oneness”, without the intervention of God.This was criticized by Hegel, who proclaimed that binary system and Chinese characters were “empty forms” that could not articulate spoken words with the clarity of the Western alphabet.In their discussion, I Ching hexagrams and Chinese characters were conflated into a single foreign idea, sparking a dialogue on Western philosophical questions such as universality and the nature of communication. In the 20th century, Jacques Derrida identified Hegel’s argument as logocentric, but accepted without question Hegel’s premise that the Chinese language cannot express philosophical ideas.

Modern

After the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, the I Ching was no longer part of mainstream Chinese political philosophy, but it maintained cultural influence as China’s most ancient text. Borrowing back from Leibniz, Chinese writers offered parallels between the I Ching and subjects such as linear algebra and logic in computer science, aiming to demonstrate that ancient Chinese cosmology had anticipated Western discoveries. The Sinologist Joseph Needham took the opposite stance, arguing that the I Ching had actually impeded scientific development by incorporating all physical knowledge into its metaphysics. The psychologist Carl Jung took interest in the possible universal nature of the imagery of the I Ching, and he introduced an influential German translation by Richard Wilhelm by discussing his theories of archetypes and synchronicity. Jung wrote, “Even to the most biased eye, it is obvious that this book represents one long admonition to careful scrutiny of one’s own character, attitude, and motives.” The book had a notable impact on the 1960s counterculture and on 20th century cultural figures such as Philip K. Dick, John Cage, Jorge Luis Borges, Terence McKenna and Hermann Hesse.

The modern period also brought a new level of skepticism and rigor to I Ching scholarship. Li Jingchi spent several decades producing a new interpretation of the text, which was published posthumously in 1978. Gao Heng, an expert in pre-Qin China, reinvestigated its use as a Zhou dynasty oracle. Edward Shaughnessy proposed a new dating for the various strata of the text. New archaeological discoveries have enabled a deeper level of insight into how the text was used in the centuries before the Qin dynasty. Proponents of newly reconstructed Western Zhou readings, which often differ greatly from traditional readings of the text, are sometimes called the “modernist school.”


Equal Temperament

Interesting how Zhu Zaiyu, in China in 1584, was creating music based on mathematical ideas (Zhu Zaiyu was the first person to solve the equal temperament problem mathematically), while in Italy, Jacopo Brocardo (Anglicised as James Brocard(e), Latin: Jacobus Brocardus Pedemontanus) (c.1518 – 1594?), who was an Italian Protestant convert and biblical interpreter, had prophesied the year 1584 as the inauguration of a major new cycle.

The two figures frequently credited with the achievement of equal temperament are Zhu Zaiyu or Chu-Tsaiyu in 1584 and Simon Stevin in 1585. According to Fritz A. Kuttner, a critic of the theory, [1] it is known that “Chu-Tsaiyu presented a highly precise, simple and ingenious method for arithmetic calculation of equal temperament mono-chords in 1584” and that “Simon Stevin offered a mathematical definition of equal temperament plus a somewhat less precise computation of the corresponding numerical values in 1585 or later.” Both developments occurred independently. [2]

Kenneth Robinson attributes the invention of equal temperament to Zhu Zaiyu [3] and provides textual quotations as evidence. [4] Zhu Zaiyu is quoted as saying that, in a text dating from 1584, “I have founded a new system. I establish one foot as the number from which the others are to be extracted, and using proportions I extract them. Altogether one has to find the exact figures for the pitch-pipers in twelve operations.” [4]


What is I Ching and it’s History

The I Ching itself began life as the Chou I, or Changes of Chou. It was the oracle of the Chou people, which they brought together at the time when they were working to overthrow the corrupt Shang dynasty. Brilliant research by Steve Marshall (published in The Mandate of Heaven) has evoked the social and spiritual turmoil of these times – and even suggested a date when a total solar eclipse gave the Chou king Wu his mandate to invade: June 20th, 1070BC.

The Chinese I Ching, or Book of Changes in English, represents sixty-four archetypes that make up all the possible six-line combinations of yin and yang, called hexagrams.Yin/yang is the fundamental duality of the Universe whose dynamic tension gives shape to all phenomena and the changes they go through. Examples of the yin/yang polarity are female/male, earth/heavens, dark/light, in/out, even/odd, and so on. The interpretations of the sixty-four hexagrams describe the energy of human life divided into sixty-four types of situations, relationships or dilemmas. Each hexagram can be analyzed in a number of ways. Divide the six-line forms in half and you get trigrams (three yin or yang lines) that represent the Chinese version of the eight fundamental elements: sky, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain, and lake. These eight trigrams, known as “Hua,” also serve as the compass points in the ancient art of placement known as Feng Shui (pronounced fung-shway).

The I Ching is the oldest of all the classical divination systems. It is also one of the oldest books in the world. Its first interpretive text was composed around 1000 B.C. The I Ching’s actual discovery and much of its early history are the stuff of legends.

There are a number of myths surrounding the origins of the eight trigrams and the development of the I Ching divination system. In one tale, Fu Hsi, the first emperor of China (2852–2737 B.C.), is said to have observed a turtle emerging from the Yellow River. Knowing that true wisdom came from the direct and close observation of nature, he had a sudden realization of the significance of eight symbols he saw on the turtle’s back. He saw how the sets of three solid or broken lines, the trigrams, reflected the movement of energy in life on Earth.

A similar myth describes Fu Hsi’s contemplation of other patterns in nature, including animals, plants, meteorological phenomena, and even his own body. These myths describe how he identified the trigrams that arose from his understanding of the connection of all things, through the interplay of yin and yang.

There is evidence of early Chinese divination where tortoise shells were heated over a flame until they cracked, with the emerging patterns (presumably trigrams) being read. In some cases the shells were marked with their interpretations and stored for reference, and I have had the privilege of seeing a few of them preserved at the National Museum in Taiwan, China.

Another version also involving tortoise shells describes descendents of the “many Fu” — an ancient clan of female diviners — who read the shells of live turtles. According to the legend, they became the queens and royalty of the Shang Dynasty — which had been considered mythical until archeological evidence proving its existence was unearthed in 1899. Some say Lao Tzu, the enlightened forefather of Taoism and the author of the Tao Te Ching, was a descendent of this clan.

The Taoist/Confucian tradition posits that juxtaposing a set of the possible permutations of yin and yang with elements of Chinese creation mythology produced the foundation of the I Ching. Pairing up the various combinations of yin (the literal ancient meaning of which is the shady north side of the hill) and yang (meaning the sunny south side of the hill) gives you four primary symbols. With the addition of another yin or yang line, the eight trigrams emerge.

The earliest composition of I Ching interpretations is attributed to King Wen. Toward the end of the Shang Dynasty, when the unjust emperor Zhou Wang imprisoned Wen, he reportedly used his confinement to meditate on the trigrams, pairing them up to produce sixty-four possible hexagrams. Each pair of trigrams took on a meaning specific to their combination. In what we might assume was an enlightened state of mind, King Wen assigned each of the sixty-four hexagrams a name, adding a few sentences to explain its meaning. It is said that his son, King Wu, added additional interpretative text, bringing the I Ching closer to its current form.

Confucius, who came a few hundred years later, was possibly the I Ching’s greatest patron, taking the interpretative texts to the next level with the addition of his extensive commentaries. Confucius was primarily interested in the I Ching as a manual for how to live a life of the highest virtue, as opposed to its usefulness as a divination system. According to his Analects (VII, xvi), Confucius, who lived to be an old man, is reputed to have said, “If some years were added to my life, I would devote fifty of them to the study of the oracle, and might then avoid committing great errors.”

Historical evidence substantiates the theory that the Book of Changes and its sixty-four hexagrams were part of an ancient oral tradition that predates recorded history in China. The basics of the I Ching text — the names of the hexagrams and their judgments — were likely composed in the eighth century B.C. However, the practice of using the hexagrams to refer to specific interpretations probably didn’t occur until the fifth century B.C. Between 475 and 221 B.C. (known as the Warring States period), the I Ching texts were consolidated into a book to make it easier to consult and share with others during that time of extreme upheaval. Shortly after, the I Ching was spared in the Ch’in Dynasty’s massive book burning because it was considered one of the five “Great Classics.”

The Book of Changes was canonized and studied intently by scholars during the Han Dynasty of 202 B.C.–A.D. 220. Between the third century B.C. and the turn of the millennium, significant additions, known as the ‘Wings’, were written regarding the individual lines in the hexagrams, and the meaning of the trigrams. These commentaries are generally attributed to Confucius, who lived around 500 B.C. More work was done, and the I Ching we use today is not substantially different from the 168 B.C. version. The main difference is that the hexagrams appear in a different order. The order in use today was first proposed around 100 B.C., but was not the standard until the third century A.D.

Throughout what we know of Chinese history, the rulers of China, as well as the general public, used the I Ching as best they could before printing was available. It is woven into the fabric of this ancient culture and its influence has been fundamental to the Eastern worldview as a whole. It has only been in the last 150 years or so that Western culture was even exposed to basic Taoist concepts — such as German and English translations of the I Ching and Tao Te Ching. Carl Jung’s explanation of the I Ching’s psychological validity and value, and the widespread open-mindedness about all things spiritual during the 1960s, made using the I Ching a common experience in the Western world.


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I Ching--to many Westerners it seems mysterious and obscure, not to mention incredibly complex. Yet it's treasured by million of Orientals as a valued oracle and tool for divination.

Thanks to J. H. Brennan and his latest book, The Magical I Ching, the ancient wisdom is now accessible to all those wishing guidance in making choices. Brennan emphasizes that I Ching does not predict the future. It works by giving you "insight into what's likely to happen if you take a certain course of action." He adds, "perhaps even more usefully, it will give you advice on the best course of action to take in order to achieve the ends you desire."
How can something that's thousands of years old be effective in a contemporary world? It's based on the principle of synchronicity and the knowledge that everything is in some way connected. I Ching works "because it senses the hidden linkages" in situations.
Like computers, I Ching is a binary system. It uses a broken line and a solid line. These lines are grouped into hexagrams--each hexagram contains a unique arrangement of six lines. There are a total of 64 hexagrams. Each hexagram is generated line-by-line.
Hexagrams may be generated in several ways, some of them quite simple. Brennan discusses the various methods fully, presenting complete details and illustrations. Once the lines of the hexagram has been determined, it must then be interpreted. Once again, Brennan comes to the reader's aid--he includes a complete and contemporary translation of every hexagram.
Those consulting the I Ching may use it for advice in everyday decisions, but it can also be used for pathworking, rituals, opening astral doorways, and spiritual guidance. Brennan weaves instructions for these activities in with the fascinating history of I Ching and his personal experiences.
Brennan has authored more than 70 books and lectures frequently on subjects like metaphysics, spirituality, and psychology. He says "the techniques, tips, and explanations given in [The Magical I Ching] are designed to bring you a new perspective on the I Ching and encourage you to use this ancient system in a magical way." Readers will find that he's provided all the information they need in an easy-to-understand way, and they will be able to generate their first hexagram with the simply process described on page 25. Once that's done, a whole new world opens up.


The Visionary I Ching

The guidance of the I Ching will turn on and tune up your intuition. If you get even one outside-the-box idea or inspiration that helps you make a more creative or timely decision, the Visionary I Ching has done its job — helping you to make better decisions, better relationships and less stress!

TO PURCHASE the new “Visionary I Ching” App go to the iOS or Android market … For the price of two coffees you will have lifetime access to elegant I Ching readings anytime you want wherever you go!

Note: The App is listed in the stores as “Visionary I Ching Oracle Cards” (it is not listed under Divination Foundation or Paul O’Brien)

You can find the Visionary I Ching for iPhone, Android, Amazon devices and iPad!

If you’ve cast the coins or yarrow stalks, you can use this chart to look up your hexagram number, which links to that reading. The first three lines you cast are the “Lower Trigram” and the second three form the “Upper Trigram.” Remember that if you have changing lines, pay special attention to those lines. You can get a sense of what the future holds by looking up your future hexagram that the changing lines produce when they are flipped into their opposite.

“I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful service. Your translations of the I Ching hexagrams are my favourite on the internet and I’m very thankful for the help and connection that your site has provided for free. My deep thanks to all those who have provided the time, love and energy.” -Arman, Visionary I Ching user


Watch the video: Goodies I Ching - #16 Enthusiasm Hexagram


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