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In the traditional Chinese triad of Heaven, Earth, and humanity, Heaven created everything, Earth nourished all, and humanity was responsible for balancing everything. These three comprise the three parts of each hexagram, with the bottom two lines representing Earth, the top two lines Heaven, and the middle part man.

Methods of consulting the I Ching vary. The traditional method uses fifty yarrow stalks and incense; arriving at a single hexagram requires at least twenty minutes, not counting the time to read or interpret the hexagram. However, three coins may also be used and are the fastest method.

Using Coins to Obtain a Hexagram of the I Ching

  • 1.

    Be very calm and think of a question on which you need guidance. Designate one side as yin (usually tails) and one side as yang (usually heads). Hold the three coins loosely, shake, and simultaneously drop them on a flat surface.

  • 2.

    Record the result (three heads or three tails, two of one and one of the other,etc.) as solid or broken lines. Three heads or two tails with one head = broken line. Three tails or two heads with one tail = solid line.

  • 3.

    Do this six times and draw lines from the bottom up.

  • 4.

    Then consult a book with tables of meanings for each of the sixty-four hexagrams.

  • 5.

    For example:

solid/yin solid/yin broken/yang

solid/yin broken/yang broken/yang

} }

upper trigram/sun (gentle, gradual, honest)

lower trigram/ken (tranquil, immobile)

Appearance of complete hexagram in a chart used for I Ching readings.

These two trigrams form hexagram 53. A simplified reading indicates that success will follow persistence; in other words, perseverance in a constant

direction despite obstacles will interpretations include: a virtuous


to progress



or happiness.


person will be



influence and will be recognized; favorable marriage Think of a reading as guidance for the question you "throwing" the I Ching.

for a maiden; good omen. had in mind at the time of

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