How to cast your iChing hexagram

I am reading a book on Ramal-shastra, it is in Sanskrit. This is the basis of the Arabic and the European ‘Geomancy’. Ramal is a Sanskrit word which means ‘telling the future with dice’. It is a very precise method, you use a special dice to get the images, these are made of 4 lines which are then interpreted. Ramal travelled from India to Arabia to Europe and in this journey it became ‘geomancy’ and lost its precision.

So, iChing! Ramal reminded me of iChing. I use iChing sometimes when I feel lazy and have one single precise question. You use coins to get an image, made of 6 lines, called a hexagram. It is extraordinarily accurate and extremely easy. Everyone can use this system without too much trouble. This post is on getting you started on iChing! It is very easy and won’t cost you anything either.

To start, you need 3 small coins. Any 3 coins will do, just that they should be small and have a properly defined head/tail design. You will need to buy the original book ‘IChing, the Book of Changes’ translated from the original Chinese by Richard Wilhelm. This is the classic authoritative book. The style of writing is a bit different as it is translated from the original Chinese. (If you cannot afford to buy it right now or you want to try it out before you buy, here is a link where the entire text of this book is available.) And you will need a paper and a pencil.

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You basically create this figure of 6 lines called a hexagram. The coins help you get the line pattern. Then you match this pattern from the book and simply read. It is so easy.

  • Face east or north, sit, take a few deep breaths or bring your pran to the Ida naadi if you know how to. Relax.
  • Take your three coins, hold them in your hands for a bit, make a chi-ball, recite a mantra, think of your favourite deity or whatever you want. Your energy should get into the coins.
  • Now deeply think of your question, feel the question entering the coins. Suppose it is, ‘will my project give me money?’.
  • Shake the three coins in your hands and throw them down. Check if they have fallen heads or tails up. The heads are each worth 3 points and the tails are each worth 2 points. Add. Eg if you get two heads and one tail up, it is 3+3+2=8 an even total. Now draw a single broken line like this _ _ on your paper. This is the lowermost line of your hexagram pattern.
  • Then shuffle your three coins again and throw them down together. Suppose you get two tails and one head. So the addition is 2+2+3=7 An odd number. Draw a solid line like this  _    above your first line. So your diagram has 2 lines now, the lowermost is the broken line   _ _   and above this is your second line  _  a solid line.
  • Now shuffle and throw your coins again to get your 3rd line. Suppose this is all heads. 3+3+3=9. An odd number, so it is a solid line. But all the coins were all head up so this makes this line a bit special, so we call it a ‘changing solid line’ and we put a dot against it, like this   _ .   this is your third line which you draw above your second line.
  • These three lines are the first set of the I Ching hexagram. This is called the lower trigram.
  • You shuffle your coins again and throw them down. Suppose you get all tails this time. So you add, 2+2+2=6 . An even number so you draw a broken line, but as all the coins are same, tails up, you call this line a ‘changing broken line’, and you draw a dot against it like this    _ _ .    you draw this fourth line above the third line.
  • You continue tossing the coins to complete your hexagram.
  • Suppose your fifth line is two heads and one tail. 3+3+2=8. Even number, a broken line, you draw it above the fourth line.
  • And finally you toss the coins a sixth time to get your last line, suppose its is one head and two tails, 3+2+2=7 an odd number so a solid line at the very top.
  • These three lines 4th, 5th, 6th are together called the upper trigram.

So remember,

  • one heads = 3 points
  • one tails = 2 points
  • odd total = solid line
  • even total = broken line
  • all 3 heads = changing solid line
  • all 3 tails = changing broken line

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So your complete hexagram looks like this,

_

_ _

_ _ .

_ .

_

_ _

Now to interpret your hexagram. To look up the hexagram in the book or the website, on the first page you have a table. Your hexagram is made of two trigrams. Look up the lower trigram from the left column and the upper trigram from the top row of this table.

In this specific example, the hexagram has the Chinese name ‘Ku’ and is placed at serial number 18. It briefly means that you should ‘Work on what has been spoiled’. Read the text carefully for the interpretation and see how you can apply it to your question. Your question was about your project. With this hexagram, iChing says that you will need to evaluate what could have gone wrong and re-think. Then put in more work/ energy. Pay attention to the project as you start it, be decisive but cautious.

What I like about iChing is that it not only describes your current situation but also tells you what to do very clearly. There is also a very succinct philosophy in it but its eminently practical. IChing was used by Kings, politicians and army generals to plan their actions so has that sense of purpose built in. A tool that has been used for generations over thousands of years gains enormous potency. So it is with iChing, the distillate of the applied wisdom of generations. And it is all in a book, so you don’t need to learn anything by rote.

So back to the interpretations. You get the interpretation of the entire hexagram as a whole first.

Now in our hexagram we had those two special lines where the coins had fallen all heads up or all tails up. We have marked these lines as a ‘changing solid line’ and ‘changing broken line’ and drew them with a dot at the end. These specific lines and their meanings are especially important. So read these explanations extra-carefully and analyse them in context to your situation. While you are interpreting your changing lines, remember that you have drawn the hexagram from the bottom to the top. The first line is at the bottom and the sixth line is at the top. So the third and fourth lines are the changing lines. Their interpretations are also given in the text, I have just applied them to our question about the project.

  • The interpretation of the 3rd ‘changing solid line’ tells us that the project could have failed because of over-energetically compensating for the errors of the past.
  • The interpretation of the 4th ‘changing broken line’, says that the client was too weak to take prompt and appropriate measures for problems which were created in the initial inception of the project. And these problems have just started to come out in the open.

Now to the second part of the reading.

How to use the ‘changing’ lines. If, in your reading, there are no changing lines it means that your situation is quite solid right now and changes if any are less significant. You have only one hexagram to read from. If you get one or more than one changing lines, you have to draw your second hexagram. More lines changing means the rate of change in your situation is quite high.

The rate of change of the factors represented by these two changing lines is very high so the new hexagram adds more meaning to your reading. We will change these lines and draw one new hexagram for our example as above.

  • The broken line becomes a solid line in the new hexagram.
  • And the solid line becomes a broken line in the new hexagram.

_

_ _

_

_ _

_

_ _

Now this hexagram is our changed new one. If you look up the table in the book or the website, you will see this one at serial number 64, its Chinese name is ‘Wei Chi’ and it briefly means, ‘Before Completion’. Here too, you should read the text and apply it to your question like this. The project is going to go through a difficult phase and the client will have to take up quite a bit of responsibility. But there is a promise of success as everyone involved makes a joint effort.. and so on. You will read the meanings of the changing lines at position 3 and 4 to add more to your reading. These lines have changed from the earlier hexagram and are important. Thus you have your complete reading.

IChing is a very easy system of divination. If you can pick up the sense of the book and its writing style, you will be able to give truly extraordinary readings.

There are 64 hexagrams possible. It always seems strange to me that all of life and its experiences can be reduced to such small numbers.

 

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