The I Ching or Yi Jing Book of Changes, the I Ching Hexagrams & I Ching Readings

The I Ching or Yi Jing Book of Changes, the I Ching Hexagrams & I Ching Readings

Having mentioned the ancient Chinese art of divination known as the I Ching in a recent post (“Phone Psychic’s Oracle Readings: The Wisdom of the Oracle Cards”), I thought you may want to know a little more about it, so here is a brief introduction to the I Ching or Yi Jing Book of Changes, the I Ching hexagrams and what I Ching readings can tell you…

The I Ching or Yi Jing Book of Changes

Considered one of the oldest methods of divination in the world, the I Ching (or Yi Jing) dates to the Zhou dynasty (approximately 1046–256 BC), when the stalks of yarrow plants were used to create numerous linear signs serving as oracles. Recorded as the “Book of Changes” during the latter part of the 9th Century BC, the I Ching not only served as an oracle but became a major influence not only on China’s philosophy but also on its literature and statecraft.

While some diviners still use yarrow stalks today, many use the “more modern” method of using the values of three coins “thrown” 6 times to obtain the relevant lines and hexagrams required to get an I Ching reading.

The I Ching Hexagrams & I Ching Readings

When you purchase an I Ching set today, you will typically receive a set of 3 coins similar to those shown in Image 1 and a book containing instructions how to use the coins and the “interpretations” – usually consisting of a beautiful collection of philosophy, poetry, imagery and advice – of the hexagrams formed during the process of throwing your coins.

These interpretations will be divided into 64 chapters corresponding to the 64 different hexagrams (which are basically stacks of 6 either broken or solid lines; see Image 2) that can be formed while throwing the coins.

You can, however, also use ordinary, “everyday” coins and find the relevant interpretations of your lines and hexagrams online. Some of these interpretations (like the one at IChing-Online.Org, for example) are more accessible and easier to understand than others, so it pays to look around a little.

Either way, you begin by assigning numeric values to your coins’ heads (value: 3) and tails (value: 2).  Having taken a moment to consider the question you wish to ask, you then throw your coins (onto a flat surface) and add up the total thrown, which will be either:

  • 3 Tails = 3 x 2 = 6;
  • 1 Head + 2 Tails = 3 + 2 + 2 = 7;
  • 2 Heads + 1 Tail = 3 + 3 + 2 = 8, or
  • 3 Heads = 3 + 3 + 3 = 9

Note down the total you have thrown and repeat the same process another 5 times, so you end up having a list of totals from 6 separate throws. These totals determine the yin and yang of each of the lines that will make up your hexagram/s and whether they are changing or unchanging, broken or unbroken, with the total of:

  • 6 being a changing yin line, which is represented by a broken line featuring an X in the middle;
  • 7 being an unchanging yang line represented by an unbroken line
  • 8 being an unchanging yin line represented by a broken line, and
  • 9 being a changing yang line represented by an unbroken line marked in the middle with a circle.

Image 3 shows an example of 6 different throw, their totals and the corresponding lines & hexagram.

You then find the hexagram you have thus created in your book or online to explore its meaning and interpret it in view of your question. If your hexagram does not contain any “changing lines”, you will only need to find this specific one.

However, if there are changing lines, you will look up the meanings of the two corresponding hexagrams to get the full sense of your reading, with changing lines being considered both in their original broken or unbroken forms and in their “changed”, or opposite forms (i.e. a broken changing line changes to an unbroken line, etc., see Image 4 for an example).

Interpreting your reading’s is, however, a rather more complicated process than simply looking up a hexagram or two, because it not only takes the meaning of the hexagram/s into account but also considers the meaning of each individual line within the context (i.e. it’s position) within said hexagram/s.

So, What Can an I Ching Reading Tell You?

Like any other method of divination, the I Ching can answer any questions you may have, from relationship and family to work/career issues and more.

It should, however, be noted that:

  • The hexagrams and their meanings are not static images with hard and fast meanings but elegant, often somewhat poetic and vague representations of the energies flowing throughout a situation. Answers given are therefore more about ways to proceed (i.e. learning, waiting or beginning; discussing, receiving, sustaining or creating, etc.) as the situation develops, as opposed to being “straightforward instructions”.
  • While a beginner will undoubtedly get a general sense of what the I Ching is saying, to fully understand the Book of Changes and everything it can tell you takes years of practice and study.

The full complexity of what is involved in the I Ching can be seen at

Psychic Phone Readings

The divinatory power of the Yi Jing or book of changes is unquestionable, but interpreting your readings will invariably take time, especially if you are new to this system of divination.

If you need answers fast, I therefore suggest calling me or a member of my team for a psychic phone reading today. Delivering our answers with empathy and honesty, we will tell you precisely how we see things and give you the straightforward guidance and advice you require.

For UK callers, the number to call me is UK 0800 999 3831, Australia 1800 558 140, Canada 1866 403 3407, USA 1855 864 9382, Eire 015 060 692, Rest of the World +44 1749 860 777.

For UK callers, the number to call a member of my team is 0800 999 8831. Australia 1800 018 367, Canada 1866 766 9422, Ireland 0150 60693, USA 1855 864 9383, ROW +44 207 111 6115.

Tony Hyland