Here's a simple explanation for throwing the I Ching and determining your answers.
Find and bless three pennies (or any coin, the humbler the better). Throw them. Count the number of heads, multiply by 2; count the tails, multiply by 3; add the results.
In Chinese (just like Korean and Japanese), text is read starting from the bottom up. Therefore, the first toss gives you the bottom line of the hexagram. Subsequent tosses (up to a total of six) give you the next lines, from the bottom up. Here's an example:
Important NOTE: Throws that total 6 or 9 are known as changing lines, which we'll discuss more in a moment. If you toss either of those, make a mark beside that line to indicate a changing line.
An Example Question and a Throw:
The first toss (bottom line) was two heads
and a tail: 7 (yang)
These three yang lines stand for Ch'ien: the Creative, the Powerful, the Heavens (see tables below).
The fourth toss (third line) was two heads
and a tail: 7 (yang)
This trigram is Tui, the Joyous, Joyful, Reflective Lake.
The table below contains the trigrams, each of which has a number assigned. The upper and lower trigrams are combined to form a hexagram. In the example above, the lower trigram, Ch'ien, and the upper trigram, Tui, are combined to form Ch'ien-Tui. The lower trigram is always represented on the left side of the table, and the upper trigram is across the top. Look down the left column and find Ch'ien and across the top to find Tui and then move down and to the right until the boxes merge. There is the number 43, representing the hexagram Ch'ien-Tui. The bottom table gives the keywords for each number - in this case, Breakthrough.
The interpretation of keywords varies from author to author. An important aspect to note with each keyword is that it needs to be visualized and not thought.
Going back to our example, here is an interpretation of the image of Ch'ien-Tui (43):
An I Ching book would give much more detail than this basic description, but this gives a sense of how we might hold a vision of Breakthrough as we grow toward enlightenment.
The Changing Line: the forth line, or top line of the bottom trigram, is a changing line, indicating that we are in the process of changing from Breakthrough to another situation. The changing line becomes its opposite, in this case moving from yang to yin.
This is Tui-Tui (number 58), the Lake, the Joyous. Success. Perseverance is favorable. The image is now:
Lakes resting one on the other;
For full interpretations of the hexagrams,
you'll need to get a book of the I Ching. One we particularly like
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