Life is about change. Whatever age you are now, next year at this time you will be one year older. By the same token, last year at this time you were one year younger.
In ten years’ time you will be a whole decade older. How do you feel about that? Are you prepared for the process of aging? The I Ching can help you come to terms with constant change because it is all about change — that’s what the I in Chinese means — change. Ching means book; therefore the I Ching is the Book of Changes.
There are internal changes and external changes; internal are more of a yin (feminine) nature, whereas external ones are more yang (masculine). Either can be dramatic or subtle, sudden or slow.
Change means transition — from one state to another. We are always in transition, never static or fixed, even if we might think we are settled and “home.” Therefore, one hexagram can never define one’s complete predicament; we must always look at the transition from where we are to where we are going. So we always work with two hexagrams — the first one defines our position at this time while the second one is where we are heading, what beckons, what is possible. It is an opportunity to be fulfilled, an opening that awaits, a position to move into. The book I Change or any book that interprets the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching gives a basic understanding of each hexagram but does not interpret its placing next to each of the hexagrams because there is a total of 4,032 possible readings when combining any two of the eight hexagrams (not to mention the fact that even two readings with the exact same two hexagrams will be interpreted differently for each person). Thus the possible number of I Ching readings is infinite. When placed next to each other, within the two hexagrams there are three possibilities for each of the six lines: each line either stays constant (this is a young line), or changes from yin to yang, or from yang to yin (a changing line is considered old). So change can be small (only one or two lines change from the first hexagram to the second), or even non-existent if none of the lines change and the first hexagram is the same as the second. If all lines change, it will mean that the person for whom the reading is performed is in a time of total transition and change. If none change, a person is experiencing a period of no or little change.
The I Ching is a guidance during times of change. Since we are always transitioning from one state to another, the I Ching is always relevant. It points to a direction; it is then up to the person to decide what to do. The I Ching does not give advice; it is more like shining a light into a dark room, because we are always facing the unknown. In this analogy the future is the dark room.
When reading the I Ching, we throw three coins or anything that has two different sides to it. One side represents an unbroken line (usually heads, but if it is, say, a penny with the queen’s head on it, heads will represent a broken line) and the tails will usually represent a broken line. The straight line is masculine in its nature (yang); the broken line is feminine (yin). To create a hexagram, each throw of the coins represents one line (broken or unbroken). Hexagrams are drawn from the bottom up, starting with the first line and then building the next five lines on top of the first. So each line will be represented either by two heads and one tail (usually an unbroken line), two tails and one head (usually a broken line), three heads (usually an unbroken line) or three tails (usually an unbroken line).
When we draw each hexagram side-by-side, the first one represents where we are coming from, while the second is where we are heading toward. Our present moment is being in the middle, between the two. When we compare the two hexagrams, we will usually see that some lines remain the same and some lines will have changed, unless both hexagrams remain exactly the same, which is a very unusual occurrence, since each hexagram has only one in 64 chances to materialize. If it does happen, it will mean that the person is in a time of little change or stagnation.
The second hexagram can be drawn immediately after the first or the person doing the reading can read about the first hexagram and draw the second one later.
Joanna is an accomplished author and is editor-in-chief of the Kora Press publishing company – www.KoraPress.com – dedicated to publishing books with spiritual content. She is also co-founder of Energy Worlds with her partner David Price Francis – further details can be found on www.energyworlds.com