What is the I-Ching?
The I-Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. There are many translations of the I-Ching and you will want to personally look at different books and see which one you feel connected to. It is important to know that there are many different I-Ching translations, from general translations to business, relationships, magic, and etc.
For beginners it is advised to pick up a copy of The I-Ching Workbook by R.L. Wing
When learning about the I-Ching, you have to know it is not the same as fortune telling! When referring to the I-Ching you should consult it as a way to help you figure out how energy in your life is coming at you. The I-Ching is a tool to help a person make important decisions and how to move about life. Fortune telling refers more to the Zodiac system and what someone’s inherent “traits” are.
The I-Ching is derived from the Bagua (or 8 trigrams) where 64 different lines can appear. Each line has a certain development about an individual’s life and character which is put along side the way of the Tao. The grace of the Tao is something unique to everyone and should be held as such, everyone has their own path, their own way. Most importantly everybody should be able to have help finding that way, that is what the I-Ching (the Book of Changes) is all about. Taoists consider the I-Ching as a sacred text, and you should consult it and treat it that way when practicing it.
Guidelines for asking your questions
- Your question has to start with: How will (xxx) benefit me? The I-Ching is about energy flow in your life, so therefore it is important to know the benefits of what (xxx) might bring you if you choose that path.
- An example question might be: “How would going to the beach benefit me today?” You might get an answer like: Line 42, Benefit (Increase) meaning it would be for your benefit to go to the beach, but you might also get something like Line 29 for Danger, meaning that you should not go to the beach.
- There are also events when your future is changing, for example you might have a question like: “How would it benefit me to travel to California?” and the answer might be Line 60 for Limitations, but it changes into Benefit (Increase). This could easily be interpreted as whatever your limitations are right now that you have to get past them, and in the future it will benefit you greatly to go to California.
- You will want to write your question on a piece of paper as a reference for later in your divination. Before you throw your coins you will want to look with intention at your question and infuse your question’s energy to your coins.
- You can only ask 3 questions per day for one person! You should also refrain consulting it for the same question in the same week.
- When you throw your coins it as also important to have a sense of confidence in what you are doing, doubt will breed instability in your reading and you will have a harder time getting a good answer.
What can I use for the I-Ching?
There are a few methods for I-Ching reading and they are: coins, yarrow sticks, and bones. The coin and bone method has about a 85-90% success rate and you can be finished with getting your 6 lines very fast, the yarrow sticks method takes about an hour to get your 6 lines, but excludes consultation time of looking through the translations; has a 90-99% success rate.
Some tips when choosing what coins you want to use
- Think about the coins you use everyday, use those! (Pennies, nickels, dimes, etc.)
- Don’t use antique Chinese coins, they probably weren’t brought to the United States through good means.
- After choosing your coins, you should wrap your coins in a black bag or cloth when they are not in use. The reason for this is that black is an absorbing color, to have your coins always full of energy and ready to go when you want them is important.
Before your reading
- You will want to cleanse your coins! Some popular methods of this would be using a tiny piece of sage and smudging it, another would be soaking your coins in salt water.
- Set your heads and tails on your coin! This will help keep doubt away! (Say “this is heads” and “this is tails”)
- Know the source of your knowledge, is it Heaven? Is it Buddha? God? etc. Your source is very important and will decide the quality of your answer, you should be able to connect your source spiritually. It is important to not seek divination with an “ancestor” for a source. They will not give you the answer you need, your source has to be something universal, something cosmic, something powerful.
- Traditionally in Taoism the idea of a unified, brilliant, and enlightened Heaven is the source.
- Open up your crown and connect to your source before you throw the coins (the crown point (Bai Hui DU-20 in Chinese medicine), also the location of your crown chakra). To do this you will want to go into a meditative state by breathing calming and clearing your mind, and to focus only on your question. Yoga and Qigong practices are excellent for promoting the ability to do this quickly.
Getting your hexagrams
- HHT = solid line
- TTH = broken
- TTT = solid and change
- HHH = broken and change
When writing down your lines make sure you go bottom up.
When you finally get your line you will want to look and see if you have a dot or not, this dot represents that the future is changing.
Read both hexagrams (#46 and #23 etc. ) for the answer to your question, the first hexagram generally refers to a very recent past or the present. The second hexagram refers to the advise being given to your question and the reasons for this coming change. It is also important to read the “changing lines” as well.
After getting all your lines (and writing them from bottom up) you will then go to a chart to figure out what your hexagram is going to be, the first 3 lines correspond to the lower part of the trigram and the top 3 lines correspond to the upper part of the trigram.
Doing the I-Ching for other people
- Has to be the person who writes their question on the paper, and has to add their name to the paper to put their energy into the question.
- You are a conduit for a person when you oracle for them, you should not consider yourself special and you should not let your ego get involved when using the oracle for someone else. You are just there to help someone else on their path to the Tao.
- Stand body length away from the person when doing it for them, you have to be close and personal.
- You cannot be cold when doing for someone, if they need help afterwards, give it to them. The I-Ching is about helping people on the path to the Tao and you cannot refuse someone that help.
Tips before you begin
- Don’t toss coins on a table, if they fall off it is considered a bad omen and you are done for the day.
- Write a question you know the answer to in order to practice.
- Never do the I-Ching for fun, entertainment, illegal stuff or wrong ethics. Again, the I-Ching is sacred and should be kept that way.
- If the coin lands on its side, its not time for that question, you should wait at least a week.
- Don’t use “will” when writing your question down use “benefit”.
- How would it benefit me to travel to China?
How will it benefit me to travel to China?
- Using the word “will” interprets that the event is going to happen already, and you are not allowing anything to help you choose your path.
- Stay with the same coins (connect to your coins).
- To ask a oracle and then to not listen to it is something that you shouldn’t do, it is the same as to not listen to the universe.
- You might get an answer that does not make sense in anyway, and this could be because the book you are using for your translation does not connect to you. It is advisable to go through three different books for your question if it doesn’t make any sense to you.
Above all, drink from the well! You will learn the most through practice.
This style of I-Ching is taught by Grandmaster Dashi Steve Baugh and his masters before him.
If requested, the Lohan Temple offers I-Ching divination and oracle services. Get help from an experienced temple member about your question. The going rate is $50/hr. Please have your three questions ready before you come if you can.
You can email or call us at 1-702-659-6507.