Interpretation of I Ching Hexagrams

These educational videos take a  lot of time and effort to make,   and are offered here for free. One little thing  you can do to fully call it even is to just like,   subscribe, and comment. That would really help me  in terms of the algorithm. So thanks in advance.

We’re continuing from a previous  video, “Yarrow Stalk Divination,”   in which we walked through a step  by step guided divination ritual. The first part of this video is lecture, for  a high-level overview of I Ching scholarship   and schools of thought on hexagram  interpretation. Then we’ll get into  

The practicum component to workshop  your yarrow stalk reading result. Study of the I Ching has its own name:  Yì Xué, meaning I Ching scholarship. And with almost 3,000 years  of I Ching scholarship,   influenced by contributions from scholars  of so many different ethnic, national,   and philosophical backgrounds, it’s  very diverse in terms of opinions.

I would say the biggest misconception about the  I Ching is that there is only one authoritative   method to casting and interpreting,  and historically, that’s just not true. One way scholars organize different interpretative  approaches is the Image and Number Tradition,   xiàng shù pài, and the Meaning and  Principle Tradition, yì lǐ pài.

The Image and Number Tradition  focuses heavily on metaphysical   correspondences. Here’s where you  integrate numerology, astrology,   and also, imagery—the imagery the  hexagram itself evokes, as a diagram. The image of the diagram is your  foundation for interpreting the   meaning. The other side of the coin is its number,  

And numbers in general. Mathematics. Calculations.  Heavy integration of the Lo Shu magic square. If you have a really specific question,   and you want to divine on dates and  times, locations, personalities,   characters, then you would interpret your  reading through an Image and Number lens. Intuitive scrying, channeling,  

Vision work is also generally covered  under the Image and Number Tradition. Another approach to interpretation is  the Meaning and Principle Tradition,   which tends to be more philosophy-based,  where cultural context matters,   or where authoritative scholarship from trusted  perspectives will help shape your interpretation. The Meaning and Principle  Tradition is like engaging  

In the Socratic Method with the Book of Changes. If and when you want to experience knowledge  and conversation with higher powers,   especially from a Taoist perspective, then  you’ll adopt a Meaning and Principle approach. Yili tends to be a rationalist and  humanist approach, a philosophical  

Interrogation to get at the nature  of reality, truths, and ethics. We attribute the Meaning and Principle Tradition  to Wang Bi, during the Three Kingdoms era,   and which was later inherited by  philosophers such as Cheng Yi. In terms of the esoteric or  mystery traditions of the Yi,  

There are six schools, or Six Temples, six zōng. The divination method is being  able to foretell what is to come,   whereas the invocation method has more of an  operation of prayer and petitioning for answers.  Spell-crafting with the I Ching is to take a  very proactive role in transmuting qi energy  

In the universe. It implies alchemy. The Ancient Ways is, to put it crudely,   efforts at reconstructionism. Whereas  the Humanist-Rationalist Approach,   Ru, is Confucian. This is academic  inquiry with the Book of Changes. This   is integrating the Socratic Method. And finally, the Historical Method  

Is like The Ancient Ways perhaps, but less  mystical, more fact-based, research-oriented,   archaeological even, and seeks to base its  interpretive methods on material evidence. The philosophical and cosmological premise of  the I Ching is really important to understand,   because it’s what informs how  you approach an I Ching reading.

The Book of Changes is premised on  the theory that there is an order   to the natural chaos of this universe,  and it goes round and round in cycles. It’s a series of syllogisms, immutable  rules of logical flow, tautologies. If A,  

Then absolutely B will follow. If no A, then  C, D, or E are the possible outcomes. You   then need to input more data to determine  whether it’ll be the path of C, D, or E. There’s also this quantum aspect of  your situation and personal events  

Existing on a multidimensional state,  meaning quite simply and intuitively,   that something you think is related to, say,  love and relationships, is actually related to   finances, or something related to career is  actually related to geopolitics, and so on. And, also, something happening in your  mind, among your thoughts, even though  

No action is taken, is influencing events in  your orbit that you might not be aware of. Physical actions you’re taking today  are paving the consequences for   spiritual implications that will  come up far, far down the line. Extenuating circumstances happening to you  right now might be the butterfly effect,  

Where the causal connection is  from, who knows, lifetimes ago. So when you approach the Book of Changes for  divination, asking to pinpoint a specific   location on the space-time continuum, as it were,  what you’re actually getting in response from the  

Divination process is a circle drawn around  that center point you want to know more about. The reading yields a 360-degree view  of the situation. The divination ritual   itself establishes the given radius  of the circle for the Oracle to draw. Once you get that triangulated  view of your situation,  

The Book doesn’t tell you an answer,  it doesn’t tell you what to do. It   won’t feel like a direct answer to your  specific question, even though it is. You’re getting that triangulated panoramic view,   and then you need to take  the initiative to decide,  

Which pinpoints within this circle the divinatory  result has drawn you that you want to focus on. So over the centuries of I Ching practitioners,  certain agreed upon principles arise. Like if you really want to pinpoint,   then the lines of text associated with your  changing lines is a good place to start.

The oracle message or key themes of the hexagrams  give you the thesis. And maybe all you really   want is the short answer thesis. Maybe you  don’t want to read the entire dissertation. With the yarrow stalk divination method,  your result is either something like this,  

Which you see on screen, with two  hexagrams because you got changing lines. Or it’s going to look something  like this, a single hexagram,   due to no changing lines, which  we’ll call a locked hexagram. That’s your triangulated view of your situation.

So that’s the extent of my lecture today,  because I do want you to read my book. And now we get into the workshop portion.  Go get your I Ching reading result from   the yarrow stalk divination you  did, per the previous video. But first, a quick relevant  review of Taoist cosmology.

The Taiji numinous void gives  rise to the binary yin and yang.  There are four permutations of this binary  yin and yang, which we call, left to right,   Elder Yin, Younger Yang, Younger Yin, and  Elder Yang. These are the four affinities,   the Four Faces of the Tao. They combine in trinities to  

Produce Eight Trigrams, the Ba Gua. The four affinities, Four Faces,   denote how the primary hexagram of your  I Ching reading result changes into   the transformed or secondary  hexagram you’ll be casting. To demonstrate, I’ll review my own I Ching  reading result carried over from the Yarrow  

Stalk Divination video. My result yielded  only two changing lines, marked by the red Xs   on screen at the Line 4 and Line 6 positions. That means the unchanging or immutable lines,   Lines 1, 2, 3, and 5, are Elder Yang  where you see the yang line, and  

Elder Yin where you see the yin line. From the  Four Faces, the four affinities of yin and yang.  The bottom line of the affinities (the Four  Faces) correspond with the yin or yang line   cast in the first hexagram. The upper line of the  Four Faces will correspond with the yin or yang  

Line you cast for the secondary hexagram. And so you essentially carry over or draw   the same yin or yang line as the primary. Lines 4 and 6, marked by the Xs, are the changing   lines, Younger Yang and Younger Yin respectively.  The bottom line of the affinities corresponds with  

Your primary hexagram lines to the left. The top  line of the affinities, these Mutable, changing   faces of yin and yang, correspond with what you’ll  cast for your secondary hexagram on the right.  The top line of Younger Yang affinity in  the Line 4 position is yang, so the line you  

Draw for the secondary hexagram is yang. The top line of Younger Yin affinity in   the Line 6 position is yin, so the  line you draw on the right is yin. Identify the upper trigram result of your primary  hexagram. As an example, mine is Wind. I also like  

To note the driving force behind the trigram,  which for Wind is the changing phase Wood.  Do the same for the lower trigram  of your primary hexagram result.  In my example, the lower trigram remains  the same, Thunder, which is driven by the   changing phase of Wood, corresponding with  Jupiter, the chrysalis stage of alchemy,  

And the Language functions of the brain. My upper trigram transforms to Lake,   driven by the changing phase Metal.  Metal corresponds with the planet Venus,   the division and dissolution stage of  alchemy, and the Memory function of the brain. Here is where correspondence tables  are useful. There are a bunch of  

Correspondence tables for you to reference  in I Ching, The Oracle, and you’re going to   want to brainstorm correspondence notes for  your trigrams and changing phase results. Wind over Thunder yields Hexagram 42,  Burgeoning for my primary hexagram.  Lake over Thunder, where the  lower trigram doesn’t change,  

Yields Hexagram 17, Inspiring Followers,  for my transformed or secondary hexagram.  Recall how my Lines 4 and 6 are changing lines.  That means when I go to interpret Hexagram 42,   I’m going to focus or place more  emphasis on the text for Lines 4 and 6. 

They forge direct causal links to  Lines 4 and 6 of the second hexagram.  The divinatory text corresponding with the Lines  marked by the Xs on screen are the volatile,   changing forces at play. Whereas the unchanging,  immutable lines are what cannot be changed.  

These are past forces long put into motion  that has brought you to where you are now.  At this time, pause the video and take a moment  to take notes on your own I Ching reading result. Turn to the page entry in the book  for your primary hexagram. Read The  

Oracle section to help orient you on  the key themes of counsel the Oracle   is endeavoring to convey to you about  your situation. Read the translations   of the relevant Ten Wings passages  and annotations for this hexagram. The text corresponding with the Fourth Line of  my first hexagram is going to give me important  

Information I need to change my situation in  ways that will be most advantageous for me,   in terms of the outcome I’m seeking. The fourth line position itself,   in any and every hexagram, has certain  correspondences that will also help guide   your interpretation of the hexagram text  message. Each of the six lines exhibit  

Innate qi qualities that then interact with the  actual yin or yang line of your hexagram result,   so these innate attributes are the  lens you filter your reading through. Same goes for the Sixth Line of my  primary hexagram. The Oracle is giving  

Me important information I need to know  so that I can create certain Change that   is going to better align me with the  outcome that I’m seeking to achieve. The Wu Xing are the five fundamental phases  of change, or categories of phase changes.  

A more literal direct translation of  Wu Xing might be the “Five Movements.”  Note the changing phase correspondence for  the trigrams in your I Ching reading result.   There’s a lot you’ll be able to discern about your  situation, really specific details, based on this. 

Pause the video here and consult the  information on screen to determine   the driving movements behind what’s going on  in the subject matter you’ve inquired about. We look to the metaphysical correspondences  for the underlying phase of change,   the underlying movement of  qi driving the trigrams. 

Pause on any of the slides in this video for  a closer look, or you can find these tables   in my book, I Ching, The Oracle, Chapter 6. In theory, these correspondences will reveal   very precise details in its assessment  and predictions of your situation.

Cycle through this correspondence table once  more, pausing on each slide and write down   everything that makes an impression on you  relating to your changing phase attributions.  Create a mind map of the dominant changing  phases driving the forces of Change for   you. Conceptualize each one of these  relevant keywords as another symbol,  

Or omen, another image to ponder upon.  These keywords are signaling a much bigger  download, a packet of insights that are coming   through by way of the keywords. Pause the  video and free-write what’s coming to mind. Let’s return to that theoretical principle  of each hexagram line containing innate qi,  

An inherent essence or attributes. The odd ordinals, Lines 1, 3, and 5,   are innately yang, assertive, light, creative,   and express waxing qi, or life force. The even numbers, Lines 2, 4, and 6,   are innately yin, recessive, dark,  destructive, and express waning qi. You know how you have a certain  nature, inherent attributes.

But then depending on the  circumstances you’re put in,   you might act in accordance with your innate  character or you might act against it. Likewise, we say that each  of the six line positions   possess inherent attributes based on innate qi. But of course, when presented  with certain conditions,  

It may act in alignment with its inherent  attributes or it might have a chemical   reaction with the conditions in a way  that goes against its inherent attributes. Let’s take a look at my primary hexagram result  and compare the yin and yang outcomes with  

Their innate qi. Just as a reminder, we’ll  note that my Lines 4 and 6 were changing.  Note how the lines marked with the blue  circle and cross show alignment. My yin   and yang outcome in Hexagram 42 align with  the innate qi of the hexagram lines. This  

Lines signal areas of harmony and balance. Note how Lines 3 and 6, marked with the   brown circle and Xs, show that the yin  and yang outcome in Hexagram 42 negate   or are in opposition with the hexagram line’s  innate qi. To use Western occult terminology,  

These lines are ill-dignified, whereas the  lines marked with the blue cross are dignified.  Because Lines 4 and 6 are my changing lines,   marked by the red X, those are the  ones I want to pay closer attention to. 

I see that my Line 4 is dignified, and  so this is probably going to be good   news. But my Line 6 is ill-dignified, so  this is probably going to be a red flag. At the risk of totally confusing you,  you really didn’t need to know any of  

That. But I wanted to make sure you saw  the rationale for where the divinatory   text comes from. Reconciling the  innate affinity of the hexagram   line with its actual yin and yang affinity  reveals dignified vs. ill-dignified qi. While I think it’s reductive to  say that Confucianism is classist  

And all about class rank and hierarchies,  it also kind of is about rank and hierarchy,   and you’re going to see that, historically,  in how we approach I Ching interpretation.  Chéng Yí, a 11th century Confucian  scholar and philosopher, underscored   the importance of understanding  Lèi (類), translated as “kind,  

Class, genus, category, or order,”  which implies the meaning “to know.” Chéng Yí’s philosophy is premised on Taoist  cosmology, though he’s considered a Confucian. In Taoist cosmology, there was this unit whole,  the Tao, that had to keep subdividing itself   and with each subdivision, created different  classes, categories, and types of creations.

Likewise, one must divide, subdivide,   and categorize to know the holistic  meaning and principle at hand. So, to be a good I Ching reader, under the Chéng  Yi school of philosophy, you have to divide,   subdivide, and deconstruct the  whole hexagram into its parts,  

And study the parts before you put it back  together again to try and understand the whole. And then in this process of subdividing  and categorizing, Line 5 is considered the   hexagram ruler. Above it, Line 6, is the spiritual  influence, what rests in the hands of the gods.

So one approach is read the divinatory message for  each line of a single hexagram from your reading   result, and filter the line’s text message  through its innate subject matter attributes.  This is particularly fruitful in the instance  of a locked hexagram or when reading the  

Divinatory result of a single hexagram. For example, the innate attributes of Line 3,   reconciled from various traditions, schools of  thought, and authoritative I Ching scholars,   will inform how you interpret the prophetic  text you see on screen for the Third Line,   as it applies to your question presented. The downloadable worksheet that goes along  

With this video lecture will help you navigate  interpretation of each line of your hexagram.  As previously noted, Line 5 is every hexagram’s  ruler. If Line 5 is one of your changing lines,   this is a big deal. Pay attention. Big shifts  happening to the matter at hand, and willpower  

And decisions will make all the difference.  Listen to the counsel of the ruling line.  If your reading resulted in changing lines, then  you can choose to read only the changing lines,   through the subject matter attributes  of those lines. The subject matter   attributes of your changing lines  denote what key areas to focus on,  

And the divinatory message itself reveals  who, where, when, why, and/or how. Pause the video here to complete  the prompts of your worksheet. The next section will address  locked hexagrams only. Recall the four yin and yang affinities,  which we call the Four Faces. 

A locked hexagram result from the yarrow stalk  method means you yielded no changing lines,   no Younger Yin or Younger Yang. The lower  line of the Four Affinities corresponds with   the (quote) primary hexagram (unquote)  and the upper line corresponds with the   (quote) secondary hexagram (unquote),  which is the same as the first, right? 

So that’s why you only read the single locked  hexagram, and read the line text for each of   the six lines of your locked hexagram for more  detailed insight into specific sub-topics or   sub-plots and themes within your inquiry, bearing  in mind that Line 5 is your hexagram ruler,  

And is thus tantamount to a changing line  in terms of emphasis of importance to you. Now, if your yarrow stalk divination  resulted in changing lines, then proceed. In my reading, my transformed hexagram was  Hexagram 17. Sui. Inspiring Followers. I’ll   start by reading the Oracle section to  receive the general divinatory message  

Expressed by this hexagram. You’ll do the same. The next step is to focus your attention on the   changing lines. The changing lines in your  second hexagram connect to the changing lines   in your primary hexagram. So remember that  these are the points of causal connection. 

I’ll then look to the Fourth and Sixth  Lines of Hexagram 17, which provide   important information I need to know about what  actions to take to ensure the success I seek.  Likewise, take a look now at the corresponding  changing lines from your second hexagram.

Compiling your I Ching reading result in a table  will help you stay oriented. In one column,   top row, note your primary hexagram, and some  general sights about it. In the second column,   note your transformed hexagram. Then create a row to compare,  

Side by side, each Line of the two hexagrams. In my example, I’ve only got two changing lines,   Lines 4 and 6. I also like to note the  general indications for those lines.  Then populate your table with notes on the  corresponding line text. On screen you’re  

Only seeing the translations from the Zhouyi, and  not the annotations. It may help to look at the   annotations, as they’ll explain what otherwise  may feel too sparse in the direct translations.  If you’re workshopping your I Ching  reading result, and I hope you are,   then pause the video here  to generate your own table.

The primary hexagram of your I Ching reading  signifies yang forces, the natural order,   that which is supporting and continue to  generate the momentum of your current Path.  Whereas the secondary or transformed hexagram  signifies yin forces, and is the force of ongoing  

Change on its path toward its ending. This is  how the Path is going to develop and mature.  Are you reminded of the He Tu and Lo  Shu Book of the River Maps diagrams?  The two hexagram results, in essence,  mark the beginning and the end,  

Forces that supplement and how to defeat,  subdue, or more to the point, change.  So in my own I Ching reading result, Hexagram 42,   my primary, shows what forces and factors  are pushing me further along on the Path  

While Hexagram 17 is giving me insight into  how I can change the course of that Path,   how I can cultivate its development and  maturation to achieve the end result I seek. You can dive as deep into every nook and  cranny of your I Ching reading as you’d like.

Generally, the focus remains on the changing  lines of a reading because it’s theoretically   “time sensitive” in terms of enacting change to  shift the course of the Path and ensure success. Those with a locked hexagram or  single hexagram reading, Line 5,   the ruling line, is typically  considered the key point.

Whereas insights that the other  lines yield are just considered   “good to know.” But let’s get  into the “good to know” parts. Let’s take Line 1 of Hexagram 17 for example. The  innate implications of Line 1 of every hexagram,   if we’re following Zheng Yi’s school of thought,  correspond with the interests of the commoner,  

What it is the local barons want, and  foundations. In a practical modern-day   reading, I’m going to interpret Line 1 as  insight for seeking a new direction in life. I’m moving through a lot of historical  and academic content really fast,  

And just skating across, basically, the table of  contents of my I Ching book. So if you want to   pause and go down a rabbit hole behind any point  I’ve raised here, go check out the 800+ page book. One more example before we move along.  Line 3, though it wasn’t a changing line,  

You’ll recall was ill-dignified  when alchemizing with its innate qi,   which should be yang. But in  Hexagram 17, Line 3 is yin.  So we’re going to read Line 3 to see what’s up  with this ill-dignified energy in our lives. Read  

The Oracle entry for the Third Line through  the filter of Line 3’s general implications. When you come across divinatory lines that  reference husbands, wives, sons and daughters,   concubines, kings, lords, and ladies, in the  21st century, we interpret them figuratively. They’re symbols of something. So a husband,  for instance, might be symbolic of reciprocal  

Benefits, a representative of the outer sanctum.  Wives, then, are symbolic of the inner sanctum.   Sons are symbolic of future potential, but also  of one-way dependency. The son is dependent on   the parent. Daughters might be symbolic  of opportunities, diplomacy, alliances. With your secondary hexagram, the  innate attributes and sub-topic or  

Thematic correspondences for  each line reveals forecasts,   projections. These are possibilities,  and glimpses into the “what if.”  So yes, it’s totally valid to cherry-pick  one of these lines, based on the general   thematic correspondences of that line, for the  Yi’s sound bite on that specific sub-topic.

To recap, your primary hexagram triangulates  information and insight related to the Path   of Nature. Destiny, you might call  it. What is predestined, but really,   is just the laws of cause and effect. Your transformed or secondary hexagram   triangulates knowledge and calculated  information and the myriad methods that  

Destiny can be diverted, that Nature  can be Nurtured into something else.   This is the quantum state, a map  of probability distributions for   the outcomes of each measurement in the  system that is your question presented. Since I’m better known as a tarot  reader, a European divination tool,  

And many of you watching are probably  tarot reader as well, it’s worth the   time to talk about how I compare the  two, in terms of divination systems. Historically, in so far as we  understand the systems today,   tarot’s origins are as playing cards, games,  that centuries after its popularity was  

Repurposed by occultists for divination  and to wax poetic on occult philosophy. In contrast, the I Ching was  designed, at its inception,   as a divination tool, one premised on a whole  lot of math…mathematics that seems to add up. The perfection of the system appealed to scholars  of many different schools of Eastern philosophy,  

Be that Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism,  which yes, just to get through this   surface-level conversation I’m going to  call a philosophy, Legalism, and so on. And these scholars wrote tome after  tome about how philosophically sound   the I Ching is. So it became part of philosophy.

I’m releasing this video in advance  of I Ching, The Oracle’s launch date,   so I hope that once you do have the book in  hand, with my translations and annotations,   you’ll revisit the yarrow stalk  divination video and this one. Until then, if you’re working through the two  video workshops with a different translation,  

Share in the comments section  which translation you’re using.

#Interpretation #Ching #Hexagrams