A few words about the I Ching. This important book had its origin in Asia's antiquity and has exerted a permanent influence on Chinese culture. It is an oracle. Something regarded as a source of wisdom. Lao Tzu and Confucius studied the oracle deeply. They both wrote useful commentaries. Some of these were later incorporated into the text. The best translation, in my opinion, is by Richard Wilhelm. It was rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes, with an introduction by C. G. Jung. I have used this book for more than thirty years. It has taught me many things. You will find a diagram inside with 64 hexagrams. They are patterns, made of six horizontal lines. There are two kinds of lines. Whole lines and split lines. A group of three lines is a trigram. Three coins are thrown. You refer to another diagram, which indicates what kind of line is to be made. Whole or split. This process is repeated six times. The hexagrams are built from the bottom. Heads have a value of 2, tails have a value of 3. Calculate the sums obtained after each try. You will always obtain a sum of 6, 7, 8 or 9. If the sum is 6 or 8, you make a split line. If the sum is 7 or 9, you make a whole line. A sum of 6 is special and is marked with a small x. A sum of 9 is special and is marked with a small o. The first is a young yin line and the second is a young yang line. When you have built the hexagram, refer to the diagram of the 64 hexagrams. Find the hexagram you have made. Then, read about the hexagram in Book One, The Text. The top trigram and the bottom trigram are interpreted separately at first. Then they are interpreted again, as elements of the hexagram. There are 8 trigrams possible:
Ch'ien ~ Creative ~ Strong ~ Heaven ~ Father
K'un ~ Receptive ~ Devoted and Yielding ~ Earth ~ Mother
Chen ~ Arousing ~ Induces Movement ~ Thunder ~ First Son
K'an ~ Abysmal ~ Dangerous ~ Water ~ Second Son
Ken ~ Keeping Still ~ Resting ~ Mountain ~ Third Son
Sun ~ Gentle ~ Penetrating ~ Wind ~ Wood ~ First Daughter
Li ~ Clinging ~ Illuminating ~ Fire ~ Second Daughter
Tui ~ Joyous ~ Joyful ~ Lake ~ Third Daughter
Now read the parts of the book that pertain to the hexagram you have made. These parts are: The Text, The Judgment, The Image and The Lines. Then read from Book Three. The Commentaries were written by Confucius. His commentaries enrich The Text. After reading this material, read The Text once more. Allow time for this information to be absorbed by your subconscious. You will experience progressive enlightenment, as a reward for your patience. A beginner may think that they have obtained a lucky or unlucky result. However, that is not possible. The I Ching is a map of cyclic change. It is omnipresent. Consulting the oracle is similar to throwing a dart at a rotating diagram. The Text reveals what comes before and what comes after. The Commentaries provide wisdom. They suggest the wisest path to follow for any part of the cycle. If you practice the I Ching for many years, you will encounter each hexagram many times. A helpful tool for interpretation: Ponder the current situation at home or at work, then consult the oracle. Read The Text and The Commentaries. Substitute the characters from the book with people whom you know. With time, you will understand more. With more time, you will internalize the truth. Your subconscious mind will feed the truth to your conscious mind. You will have an internal pattern of the Wheel of Life.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.