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The Methods of the I Ching

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There are two commonly known ways of communicating with the I Ching. These are the Coin Toss Method and the Yarrow Stalk Method.  Both of these are verifiable ways to  create the hexagrams vital to the consultation that will lend insight into the questions of human life.

Yarrow sticks are not easily handled, particularly since it uses forty-nine sticks in random piles.  This is why the most used method of consultation is tossing coins.  This is much easier because it uses only three coins, simply tossed six times to create the lines of the hexagram.

The yarrow stalk way is complicated as it requires the selection of fifty sticks. Out of these only forty-nine are used.  They are divided into piles. Then a stalk is selected from the pile to the right of the reader. This stalk is drawn between two fingers of the left hand.  The left pile is sorted by fours so that the remaining can be held with between the ring and middle finger.   This is then repeated with the other pile to create one change.  The two piles are then combined so that this process can be done another two times, except both of these times only four-eight stalks are selected. This may seem to get complicated as the changes must then be added to the factors of nine, which makes a yang, also knowns as firm moving line.


The reason behind this particular ritual is divined from the nature of the world and the New I Ching Matrix System.  If you use fifty stalks, it represents this diagram. If you take out one that one represents Oneness and Wholeness. The forty-nine stalks divided by two stand for Heaven and Earth.   The single stalks taken from the pile stand for Heaven, the Earth and the Human.  The pile counted by four stands for the separate seasons of the year.  The others stand for the remaining months. The repetitions form the hexagram.  Using the Yarrow Stalks is the best way to put to use the I Ching Book of Changes

The popular use of the tossing of coins  is due to the complicated nature of the stalks.  The three coins stand for The Heavens, The Earth and the Humans. The three coins are tossed six times. This forms six lines of the hexagram. Since the seasons are not used in this method, the Chinese animals and the accompanying six stars of animals are used along with the five elements associated with the month and year with the lunar calendar.

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