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What do you give, when you give a reading?

Water bottles offered to runners
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Reading For Others

In 2014, Sheffield’s half marathon was cancelled. It was some kind of last minute organisational shambles: not until the spectators were lining the route and the runners waiting at the start did the organisers report that their water supplies hadn’t shown up, so they couldn’t go ahead.

The runners started running anyway – and as word of the missing water supplies spread along the 13 mile course, spectators started fetching water. Bottles they bought themselves (until the shops ran out), cupfuls from coffee shops, even rinsed-out milk cartons… hands reached out offering water, all along the route.

Well… of course they did. We know what it’s like to be thirsty, and we know runners need water.

Wanting to give someone a reading is very much the same: we know what it’s like to be stuck and adrift, and once you have the experience of what Yi does and gives, you want to share that.

So wanting to share comes of wanting to help, as anyone would. But what we’re giving with Yi is not so easily bottled, I think.


Certainly you start with the fundamental human gift of presence, attention and empathy – yet even that seems to me to take on an added significance in a reading. A (the?) core experience of meeting Yi is the sense that you’re being heard by the oracle. When someone meets Yi through you, then your listening is the first they experience, as a sort of place-holder. (Which is a fearsomely daunting thought.)

And then… Sheffield’s spectators did not line the route with banners reading,

‘You Must Be Really Thirsty!’

We don’t only want to listen, but to help – to make change possible for this person. But giving a reading is not ‘helping’ in any way we’re used to. It’s not offering our advice or sharing our opinion – it’s not even, ‘I really want this outcome for you, so let me help you get it.’ (Although we almost certainly do want something for them, so this part is tricky…)


In fact, I think part of giving a reading is to help the other person to take a few steps back from looking directly for solutions – to move instead towards an overview, finding how things flow, and escaping from problem-wrangling. Which is also not easy, because when someone’s in mid-wrangle it’s natural to want to line up with them, pitch in and help them work it out. ‘What are the pros and cons?’ or ‘Have you thought of this?’ or ‘Maybe he didn’t call because he didn’t realise you’d expect him to, so maybe you should call him,’ or ‘Look, he’s just not that into you and you really need to move on.’

Sharing a reading bypasses all of that. After all, if I were sure I knew the solution this person needs, what would be the point of involving Yi? I need to find my starting place in curiosity and openness – loosening my grip on anything I ‘know’ until it becomes only something I’m wondering about. Yes, that is a real puzzle; no, I don’t know what’s happening, I don’t know what’s true, I don’t know the way through… I wonder what’s true; I wonder what Yi will say.

(One of the joys of reading for others: finding more and more worlds of experience I know nothing about. After listening to a querent and helping them find their question, before they cast their reading and email me the results, there is a beautiful long moment for sinking into not knowing, wondering what Yi will say, looking forward to seeing the picture unveiled.)

Then you give the reading – and what you’re giving is the power to break out of problem-wrangling altogether. A reading can carry someone out of the traps in their thinking, away from the places where they’re stuck, into a bigger and more real world. (I think that’s just as true when the reading says, ‘This is falling apart; there is nothing you can do.’)


How does it do this? (What is the experience of a reading that we want to share?) I’ve heard so many descriptions, but I think the core of it is reconnection. Reconnecting with a wider reality, when your field of vision’s narrowing and your world’s shrinking; reconnecting with your own strength and confidence; restoring your awareness of connection with a cosmos that speaks with you. Which is probably, in the end, all the same reconnection.

And what makes this possible? What gets someone to ‘escape velocity’ from the gravity of their problems?

Trust in the oracle, of course – there’s no reading without the willingness to listen that first opens a channel of communication. But really, that’s something the querent already has; that’s how they could ask the question.

No… I think what the reader brings is smaller and subtler: the sure knowledge that this works. In interpreting someone else’s reading, you lend them your relationship with Yi – a relationship that’s made of practice and hindsight, of ways of engaging with and understanding a reading, of individual experiences with hexagrams and lines. This will hold the reading together, so it can carry the querent through.

Behind the scenes…

…there are a couple of reasons why I’m sharing this now.

First because I’ve been doing readings, and reflecting on what I’m doing. Then because I asked Yi the question, ‘When someone gives someone a reading, what are they giving?’ and received to 2 – an answer you’ll probably recognise in the post above…

And also because all this is part of preparing for the Reading for Others class next month.

It’s going to be especially important for this class to get together a group of people for whom it’s a good fit – people for whom my approach to the Yi resonates, and who can happily work together and bounce ideas off one another as we share readings and feedback. So another reason for sharing this post is as another step towards finding that ‘good fit’ group – to see whether it makes sense to you and whether it describes something you want to do.

If this resonates, and if you’re interested in next month’s class, then do make sure you’re signed up for notifications. (The next steps will probably be an ‘Is this for you?’ questionnaire followed by a conversation.)


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Reading For Others

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6 thoughts on “What do you give, when you give a reading?”

  1. Nice one. I have given few that placed me as official ” reader “,
    And other times as guide. On the occasiones when i was asked to read i was suprised to find the readings were spot on. I wasnt cluttered with my own nutty ways i suppose. I have done these readings using the 16 glass marble way and i had the person concentrate and pull the marbles themselves. I have a deep problem with putting someone in a position of knowing more than me. Tarot for example. I had alwayse felt there was a power trip going on. The beauty of the i cing is its fundemental egalitarianism. So i hope to give them the knowledge i can share.what i hope to give is the clarity click. Letting them read the nuclear, showing them the inner and outer trigrams, indicating the general info about the line positions that i know. I let them have the power and then let it resonate for themselves in the way the yi has an individual relationship with each individual. Then we share that and i put my two cents in as to what i think. In each case the experience was spot on. I felt proud of the yi when the individuals subsequently told me the reading was spot on and in one case the “advice ” i gave based on the reading induced an individual with addiction problems which he was in recovery from and working at a methadone clinic as councilor, to have his disability money put through a ” payee “. He was sure he would blow the money in las vegas he later told me. I recall he got the yang line of 15, he was waiting for the court date which would determin if he would be awarded his disability. But as i am on the same disability i know about it, i have known many addicts which im not quite so i counciled him that the reading indicated that it seemed he would get the award butbearing in mind he should be open and not forcefull. I suggested he have his doctor indicate to the judge that he needs a payee. He got his award without doing that but told the judge he would prefer to have a payee anyway. He had been waiting 3 years , having been denied on previous ocasions. On another occasion a friend asked to try. He got the ” he will uphold the family” and a line indicating a serios problem would happen involving a member of the familly. He was confounded that he and his wife and son lived with his mom and dad who were quite old when he was born. He wondered where he he should fit in life and lives in west virginia where work is scarce. I said he was clearly needed at home, which was a commodious one, to assist his aging parents. Its common to live away from other citizens in wild mountainous west virginia with little money but large tracts of land. Sure enough his mother had a heart attack and he was there to up hold the household. My advice for his reading was that he clearly needed to be there and that he need not feel a failure for not moving away and working. Incidentally, west virginia is called ” west by God ” there for its beauty and difficult roads to reach it.So Long story short , My goal as a reader is to highlight what is natural in a situation and ” loosening ” fretfull perigrination

    1. Thank you. Interesting you say you ‘let them have the power’ – that sounds like Hexagram 34, doesn’t it? I wonder if ‘Great Empowerment’ could be a good translation.

      (Sorry your comment took a while to show up – it must have been the mention of ‘methadone’ that frightened the automatic system into thinking it might be spam.)

      1. Thank you, and thats just what i mean. I feel they thus empower themselves with me. I would idealy be a vessel formed by my (limmited technical
        knowledge and containing open minded resonance……or a conduit for resonance, with its many meanings. I am a student with much to learn.only if asked without my prompting will i “read ” for another. My normal reading for those in serious quandry and desire for reading is to refer them here.

        1. Sorry, i meant to add I have had a huge issue in my life giving my “power”, or sense of self psychologically to others, compulsively. It has been a great work to overcome and remains in progress.

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