How to Consult the Yijing


The Importance of Asking the Right Questions

As an oracular book, the Yijing has all the answers. But to make sense of these answers and to apply them to our situations, we need the right questions to do so.

From my experience, it is preferable to ask questions that do not make unnecessary assumptions. These leading questions will influence the answers you receive and lead you to the wrong conclusions. It would be better to ask a general question about your situation first. From the answer, you can decide if there is a need to ask more specific questions.

Also it is better not to ask 2 questions in 1 sentence. This makes the interpretation of the reading very confusing. It is better to ask 1 question at a time. For example, don’t ask “Should I do A or B?” Instead, ask “What will happen if I do A?” and “What will happen if I do B?” By comparing the results, you will have a better understanding of which path to take.

What questions should I ask about my situation you say? Well it depends very much on what you want to know. One method I use is to ask myself what I need to know about my situation to make a decision. For example I might want to know about the outcome of a particular course of action. So I would ask 2 questions. One would be about the outcome of the action and the other could be about the consequences of not acting. Once you know the answers you need, it is a matter of formulating the questions to get them.

The Methodology

Once you have decided on the question, you will need the following:

-Something to write on; a piece of paper or a notebook
-3 identical coins
-A Yijing text and table

Now you will toss your coins to form a hexagram. Each hexagram, constructed from the bottom to the top, has 6 lines. While focusing on your question, toss the coins to form a hexagram. Each toss of the 3 coins will form one line of the hexagram from the bottom up. You will have to toss the 3 coins 6 times to form a hexagram. Heads has the value of 3 while tails has the value of 2. There are 4 possible combinations for each toss:


Odd numbers, 7 and 9 are yang lines. 7 known as young yang does not change. 9 known as old yang changes to young yin.

Even numbers 6 and 8 are yin lines. 8 known as young yin does not change. 6 known as old yin changes to young yang.

The Hexagrams and the Changing Lines

Introducing the hexagrams:

Let us assume that you have cast a hexagram and gotten the following results:

Primary Hex 1, changing line 5

___ (7) (6th toss)
___ (9) (5th toss)
___ (7) (4th toss)
___ (7) (3rd toss)
___ (7) (2nd toss)
___ (7) (1st toss)

Secondary/Resultant Hexagram 14

_ _

By referring to the Yijing table, you can determine the number of the hexagram which you need to refer to. In this case the primary hexagram is 1 with changing/moving line 5. The resultant or secondary hexagram is 14. Therefore the relevant parts of the text regarding the question would be the judgement and the image for Hexagram 1. This is followed by the moving line section where you read the text for “Nine in the fifth place.” Finally you should read the judgement and image for Hexagram 14.

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