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Multiple moving lines, revisited

Multiple moving lines, revisited

It’s a common source of confusion and frustration with I Ching readings:

‘My answer has multiple moving lines, and they contradict one another. How am I supposed to make sense of this?’

Here’s an article to help you with that.

Why ‘revisited’?

Many years ago now, I wrote a rambling overview of ways people consider and work with (or avoid working with) multiple moving lines. You can read it here. This post is different: it’s about the approach I recommend. Obviously, this is not the One Right True Way to interpret these readings – it’s simply a way that works. If you want to work with multiple moving lines in a way that both engages with the depths of the reading and also gives you insights you can use, then read on.

About simplification, and why I don’t recommend it…

When you cast a Yijing reading, your answer normally has one or two changing lines – but it could have none, or six, or anything in between.

This range of possibilities is part of the Yi’s language. An unchanging hexagram might be saying something like,

‘Pay attention: here is the one simple thing you need to hear. Remember this.’

And a reading with multiple lines is saying,

‘This situation you asked about is more complex – here are the many factors at play,’ or, ‘Here are the many ways it could turn out’.

In other words, Yi will respond to your situation and give you exactly the kind of answer you need now. (I have lost count of the number of times I’ve received an unchanging hexagram because I needed something spelling out v-e-r-y s-i-m-p-l-y.)

So this is why, although there are many methods to simplify the Yijing’s answer and ensure you never have to think about multiple moving lines, I don’t recommend them. They take away Yi’s freedom to give you the kind of answer you need, and replace it with a system to ensure you get the kind of answer you want.

These methods all fall into one of two categories:

  1. There are methods to cast a reading that will always have exactly one moving line, no more or no less. That’s rather like emailing a question to tech support and adding, ‘You must answer in exactly 150 words.’ (What if they need 1000? Come to that, what if they could perfectly well answer in 15?)
  2. And there are assorted ways of casting normally, and then applying a formula to rule any ‘extra’ changing lines out of consideration. This is rather like emailing your question to tech support, receiving a long, detailed answer, and first counting its sentences so you can delete every third sentence with the letter ‘r’ in it, or some such.

It makes more sense to me to assume that if you get a short email, the answer is simple, and if you get a long email, that’s because the question you asked is more complex than you anticipated. Also, I feel this approach makes for a better relationship with the support department in the long run. And Yi is a considerably better communicator than your average tech support department.

…except when I do

6 coins cast in a column: thtHth

However, if you know you only have the time or energy to handle a short answer – if you need a quick reading and absolutely, definitely, do not have the time to deal with the complexities of multiple moving lines – then I think the first of those two options is acceptable.

You can ask Yi for a single hexagram (one very direct way of doing this is to ask the nearest person for a number between 1 and 64), or you can use a casting method that generates exactly one moving line. Here’s an easy way to do that:

  • Take 6 coins; 5 identical, one different.
  • Allocate coin faces to broken and solid lines. (Traditionally, the side with the value of the coin on it is yang.)
  • Shake up all six coins together and cast them together in a roughly vertical line.
  • The coin that lands nearest to you is the bottom line.
  • The one different coin represents the moving line.
  • Read your hexagram.

The illustration is one I just cast, with the question, ‘Yi, what do you think of this method?’

(Of course, left unrestricted, Yi might have given you an unchanging reading anyway.)

Understanding multiple moving lines

If, instead of simplifying the reading, you trust Yi to give you the answer you need, and then it turns out that that answer contains a lot of moving lines, how can you understand them?

As a story

Most often, multiple moving lines are telling a story. You can expect them to unfold over time, step by step, starting with the lowest line.

33, Retreat, changing to 8, Seeking Union?

changing to

At first you are tied and find it hard to retreat…

‘Tied retreat. There is affliction, danger.
Nurturing servants and handmaidens, good fortune.’

then you find a way to retreat out of love (though not everyone ‘gets it’)

‘Loving retreat.
Noble one, good fortune.
Small people, blocked.’

and ultimately the retreat enriches everyone:

‘Rich retreat.
Nothing that does not bear fruit.’

48, the Well, changing to 61, Inner Truth?

changing to

At first the well is unusable…

‘The well is muddy, no drinking.
Old well, no birds.’

…then it is repaired…

‘Well is being lined,
No mistake.’

…so that it can be used:

‘The well: clear, cold spring water to drink.’

Yi often tells stories this way, and if you receive multiple moving lines this is the first thing to try.

Start reading with the lowest changing line, and pay most attention to this one because it will be relevant first. Indeed, sometimes if you miss that line’s message, the following lines will never apply. If your first line is 43.1 –

‘Vigour in the leading foot.
Going on without control means making mistakes.’

– then you need to concentrate first on not rushing in and falling flat on your face, and worry about any other changing lines later.

An exception to this: if you have the first line of a hexagram changing, and recognise it as something from your immediate past. Maybe you have already gone ahead without control and made mistakes, and this is why you’re asking in the first place. In that case – and if you are perfectly sure you’re not about to do the same again – you’ll want to move your attention to the next line.

As alternatives

It’s very often true that Yijing readings contain an implied ‘if… then…’. (Here is an earlier post I wrote about that. This one shows you in more detail how to work with the lines.)

Often, the alternatives are encompassed within a single line. 23, line 6, for instance:

‘A ripe fruit uneaten.
Noble one gets a cart,
Small people strip their huts.’

There are two ways this could go, says Yi: one way for the noble one, another for the small person. Which are you?

Sometimes there are alternatives contained within a single line – and sometimes they’re divided between multiple moving lines. Lines that appear to be contradicting one another often simply represent alternative paths with alternative destinations. ‘If you take this attitude or adopt this strategy, then you create this outcome. But if, on the other hand, you go about it this way, then…’ Or, ‘If and when you find yourself in this position, expect to encounter this. But if instead you have to go about it this way, here’s what to expect…’

Here’s an example:

An imaginary example reading: to 18

Imagine you have a wonderful idea for a big new project. You’re full of energy and raring to get started, and ask Yi for comment.

‘What about this new project?’

Yi answers with Hexagram 34, Great Vigour, changing at lines 1, 4 and 6 to 18, Corruption:

changing to

All the power and vitality of 34, setting out to deal with the corruption of 18. In a real reading, we’d pause here to think about how those two hexagrams relate, to get a picture of the landscape. But for now, let’s jump ahead and ask how that relationship works out in the moving lines.

‘Vigour in the toes.
Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
There is truth and confidence.’

‘Constancy, good fortune.
Regrets vanish.
The hedge broken through, no entanglement.
Vigour in the axle straps of a great cart.’

‘The ram butts the hedge.
Cannot pull back, cannot follow through,
No direction bears fruit.
Hardship, and hence good fortune.’

Obviously, these can’t all be true at once: you can’t be simultaneously stuck in the hedge and rolling on through. Perhaps these lines could be the chapters in a story – a project that starts badly, then goes well, but then gets entangled again. But as a story, this is lacking in coherence – and it wouldn’t be especially helpful as a reading, either, as you try to decide whether it’s wise to start on your project. No – to understand this one, you need to read the three line as alternatives.

  • If/when you are at line 1, then setting out to bring order is disastrous.
  • If/when you’re at line 4, then constancy will pay off and you will be able to get free of all obstacles and hindrances.
  • But if/when you are at line 6, you’ll be stuck, and won’t be able to pursue your plans directly.

The question, of course, is how to tell when each line applies. Line 1, we can be reasonably sure, applies first: you shouldn’t rush into this unprepared. But further along, when I’m facing a thorny obstacle, I need to be able to tell whether this is line 4 (forge ahead, break through!) or line 6 (forge ahead, and you’ll only get more and more stuck). To work with an ‘if… then…’ you need  a full understanding of the ‘if…’.

The first and easiest place to look for an ‘if…’ is the text of the line itself. You simply need to slow down and use your imagination to engage with your answer. Do you have ‘vigour in the toes’ – are you raring to go, do you have itchy feet? Or do you have a ‘great cart’ with strong axle straps… a well-constructed plan, a solid means of making progress, something that holds together under stress? Those two situations will feel quite different. (And when you use your imagination to develop a clear inner sense of how those situations would feel, then you’re likely to be able to recognise them in real life.)

However, not all lines make their ‘if’ clear; some, like 34.2 (‘Constancy, good fortune.’), say nothing about their conditions at all. Lines 4 and 6 do make an important distinction – a well-constructed cart does better than a ram – but it would still be good to understand more about the conditions in order to be sure you can tell them apart in practice.

Line context: the line’s position

I already touched on this with lines as story. You know that line 1 is the beginning, line 6 is the end, and this basic idea applies to every hexagram. But line positions correspond not only to chapters in a story, but also to the layers of a psyche, and the different roles and relationships in a group of people. This means that ‘being at line 4’ has certain characteristics: someone asking, ‘What can I do here?’; the moment of emerging from the inner trigram into the outer, taking an idea out into the world, putting it into practice and finding what’s possible; the person responsible for this. Line 6 is quite different: at the end, at the higher level of a supervisor (or sage, or narrator), traditionally said to be removed from the action.

How could this apply to our imaginary reading?

‘Constancy, good fortune.
Regrets vanish.
The hedge broken through, no entanglement.
Vigour in the axle straps of a great cart.’

This is the experience of someone who takes a ‘line 4 position’: someone who’s thinking about applications and possibilities, who uses a well-made cart with attention to detail. But what about line 6?

‘The ram butts the hedge.
Cannot pull back, cannot follow through,
No direction bears fruit.
Hardship, and hence good fortune.’

The ram isn’t removed from the action, and that’s rather the problem. But perhaps this could be someone with a ‘line-6-ish’ mindset in the context of Great Vigour: looking at the long-term, the vision, charging powerfully towards that… gloriously unconcerned with little details like a hedge in the way.

And so you begin to understand some of your reading’s ‘if.., then…’.

When you are just beginning, don’t rush in and try to fix everything at once. If you do your thinking and planning and have a well-made vehicle for your idea, then it will go smoothly. But if you focus only on the vision and remove yourself from the practicalities, then you’ll have a long, hard struggle to get unstuck.

Line position is one of those brilliantly simple concepts that unlock whole realms of meaning in the Yi. I find it so useful that I made it the subject of a whole module of the Yijing Foundations Course.

Line context: the changed hexagram

This is the other line context I rely on in readings (and hence also included in Foundations). As you know, changing lines reveal new hexagrams. When you have multiple changing lines, your relating hexagram is the result of all those changes combined – but each individual line is still pointing to its own changed hexagram.

What would be the relating hexagram if this were the only changing line is still a ‘mini relating hexagram’ for this particular line. As such, it represents some of the same things a relating hexagram would do: a personal stance, or attitude, or aspiration, or context.

34 line 1 would change to 32, Lasting:


What mindset does that suggest lies behind the ‘vigour in the toes’? Something well-established, a truth long known and trusted (‘there is truth and confidence’, says line 1), or perhaps just an ingrained habit. Of course you think you can ‘bring order’ if you’re already absolutely familiar with how it all works; it would just be a matter of implementing what’s tried and true in new territory.

So… we have a picture of someone at the beginning, not yet familiar with the specifics of this project, in a big hurry to get going on the basis of what they know and trust – and maybe even literally bouncing on the balls of their feet in their eagerness. This is pretty clear, detailed picture; you’ll be able to recognise when it applies.

Line 4 points you towards Hexagram 11, Flow:


This approach is clearly a good fit: fluent energy, with the will to apply it (have a look at the Image of 11). ‘Small goes, great comes’: the great cart carries us through, and the obstacle of the hedge is swept away along with those vanishing regrets.

Hexagram 11 colours the line with its sense of momentum and aspiration – it’s an especially forward-looking hexagram, that sees how all things are possible.

And what about line 6? That would change to Hexagram 14, Great Possession:


This one might seem odd. Great Possession is another overwhelmingly positive hexagram –

‘Great Possession.
From the source, creating success.’

– where a great wealth of potential (talent, material wealth, social credit, spiritual gifts…) makes for a very promising beginning. Great Vigour with Great Possession – how can this end up with a ram caught in a hedge?

Well… the ram is in possession of great strength, and that is all he really knows about. (If you have my book, you may have noticed that these changed hexagrams often show up in the line commentary; the ram, I wrote, ‘has reduced the whole situation to the question of how much power he has’.) It’s just that now he needs to use that strength sideways, as it were, to wriggle free.

A tip: when the combination of hexagrams and line is unexpected, as it is here, that’s often a sign that the experience of the line will be unexpected in the same way. If you wouldn’t imagine that Great Vigour with Great Possession would look like a ram stuck in a hedge, then you probably also wouldn’t imagine that a project with a superabundance of energy, talent and potential at its disposal could run into trouble. Once you’re aware of the context of this line, if you hear something like,

‘We have enough capital to invest that we can get past that,’

or if you catch yourself thinking,

‘That’s not a serious obstacle for such talented people,’

then you should see flashing lights and hear klaxons. (Whereas if people are talking about testing the possibilities, believing in the vision, and strengthening the bonds of communication, you can feel more confident.)

What if we simplified the reading?

Imagine for a  moment what would happen with enforced simplification of to 18.

‘What about this new project?’ to 18.

‘This is over-complicated; the lines contradict one another; we must simplify them. Let’s use the rule passed on by Alfred Huang: “If there are three moving lines, consult only the middle one.” Line 4 – that’s good. Clearly this project is a good idea; we can forge ahead and will break through all obstacles in our path.’

Of course, this method of simplification isn’t always going to sweep warnings under the carpet; with some readings it will do the opposite, and make disaster seem inevitable. But either way, it changes the nature of Yi’s answer – from nuanced, detailed advice on how the project could work, what approach is recommended and where the potential traps lie, to something that requires a lot less thought and is a lot less informative.

This wouldn’t matter if lines 1 and 6 were genuinely irrelevant to the project – but please trust me on this: if you only needed the advice from one moving line, then that would be the only line changing. I’ve never yet seen a reading where it made sense to ignore any of the moving lines.

Summing up…

Yi gives you multiple moving lines when your question has a more complex answer. It makes sense to accept this complexity, not try to simplify it out of existence.

Multiple moving lines could be telling a story, starting at the lower lines and travelling up through the hexagram: ‘when you reach this point, then…

Multiple moving lines could also be describing alternatives: ‘if you do this, then…’

You need to understand the ‘if…’ or ‘when…’ as fully as possible, so that you will recognise each line when you encounter it in reality. The three most direct ways to do this are by reflecting on

  • the imagery of the line itself
  • the position of the line within the hexagram
  • the hexagram revealed when this line changes

Explore the depths of your reading…

river flows through deep, dark forest

23 responses to Multiple moving lines, revisited

  1. Reading all the changing lines is confusing and has no historic basis. I use a modification of the Nanjing Method to obtain a single text.

  2. Great thought, never wise to ignore the lines. Each hexagram to me contains a story and it’s reflected in the lines. Brilliant to see more insight in the resulting hexagram on only that line. Huang is a great resource that has given me direction and depth. Thanks for sharing your update and growth! Expanding our awareness!

  3. Method to interpret multiple lines
    From Zhixi Yixue Qiming, tr. Joseph A. Adler
    IV. Examining the Change Predictions

    (Excerpt and changes made by me based on my divination experience)

    Each hexagram can have all the immutable lines.
    In this case it is predicted on the basis of the declaration of the original hexagram, taking the inner hexagram (intrinsic) as the question, or the current situation and the external hexagram as the prediction, considering the line given by the dominant Lord identified in Wilhelm second part with the sign ‘o’.

    When only one line changes, take the mutant line of the original hexagram as the starting prediction, the corresponding line in the resulting hexagram completes the picture.

    When two lines change, one takes the statements of the two mutant lines of the original hexagram as a prediction, I consider the line above as ruler.

    When three lines change, the prediction is based on the declaration of the original hexagram and the resulting hexagram, and the original hexagram is used as root and the resulting hexagram as response in progress, {giving prominence to the median line of departure – Sherril & Chu, Antology of I Ching}

    When four lines are changed, the two immutable lines are used in the resulting hexagram as the prediction. I take the lower line as ruling the top line as a final outcome.

    When five lines change, the immutable line of the resulting hexagram is used as the prediction.

    When the modified lines are six, in the cases of Ch’ien and K’un, the predictions of both hexagrams are used.
    For the other hexagrams, the prediction is given by the resulting hexagram declaration.

  4. What you say is very interesting and it makes sense to me (I had already read your explanation on the subject in your course) yet I want to add something and hear what you all think of it. I may be just a silly idea but I can’t keep it off my mind. Several times I had the impression that even considering the complexity of the situation and the various possibilities one had, what the lines were telling me had no sense. While the resulting hexagram and its relation with the main hexagram were quite clear. So an awkward idea came to my mind: could it be that sometimes – just sometimes – the lines are not important for themselves but they are only functional in order to obtain the second hexagram?


    • Hi Donato,

      Perhaps it could be… who knows? I do always start with the relationship of primary and relating/resulting hexagrams, and that can certainly be easier to grasp than the ins and outs of multiple moving lines. But I’d still rather say that I understand the primary-relating relationship better in this reading and find it more helpful, and don’t (yet) understand the lines so well. It seems much more likely that my understanding’s lacking than that the lines don’t have anything to tell me.

      However… maybe I don’t need to understand the whole reading in order to benefit from it. Maybe I can get what I need from it now – Yi can engender the change that’s required now – just from that partial understanding. And while this isn’t quite the same as saying that the lines aren’t important in this reading, the effect’s similar!

  5. Example of my prediction:
    Days ago my wife asked me to tell her if a waiting package would be delivered.
    The answer was hexagram 4 that changes into 23. The second line of hexagram 4 (9 in second place) talks about a son in correlation to the housework, and that we must have patience and know how to take women with patience.
    (Our mail is delivered by a female postwoman)
    The related line of the series n ° 5 – Waiting- (9 in second place) says that we must wait with positive perspectives.
    The change (of the starting hexagram 4) to the hexagram 23 second line speaks of a bed (deposit) that crumbles or scours at the edge = the packs are gradually brought.
    The packages are visualized by the lines of Kunn that represent the stacked packs.
    The reversal of the hexagram 23 becomes hexagram 24 The Return and the second line says that someone comes again.
    Note that the reversal of 23 from 24 shows at work two hexagrams in the completed polarization.
    The 23 and 24 by rotating are formed by the same hexagrams. When this happens, the forecast is confirmed.
    In fact, it does not always happen.
    I predict that the package will arrive in two days, as happened later.
    The overturn of the change obtained 23-24 from 4, gave me the definitive answer.
    Umberto Capotummino

    • Hi Umberto,

      Glad the package arrived as predicted! and thank you for taking the trouble to give an example.

      A couple of questions if you have a moment:

      The related line of the series n ° 5 – Waiting- (9 in second place) says that we must wait with positive perspectives.

      Why are you looking at Hexagram 5? Would you always look at the next hexagram in the Sequence, or only under certain circumstances?

      The reversal of the hexagram 23 becomes hexagram 24 The Return and the second line says that someone comes again.
      Note that the reversal of 23 from 24 shows at work two hexagrams in the completed polarization.
      The 23 and 24 by rotating are formed by the same hexagrams. When this happens, the forecast is confirmed.
      In fact, it does not always happen.

      Well, all but 4 of the 32 hexagram pairs in the Sequence are inverse, so it will usually happen! But when you reverse Hexagram 23, of course its second line becomes 24’s fifth line, not its second. Why do you read 24.2?

      (Also a general caution, for anyone else reading: the fan yao – the reverse-direction change, in this case 23.2 – will always be relevant and resonant, but I would suggest being very cautious about reading it as an answer to the question. Part of the context for the answer, yes, but not the answer itself.)

      • In my experiences of gaining an I Ching reading with multiple lines, I have found that there is a time line from bottom to top and each line changes the hexagram to a new one. The next changing line applies to the subsequent hexagram and so on giving full predictive information for the reading. The time period can be for a moment, a day, a week, a lifetime, etc.

        • Sorry if I answer only now. The line that changes (but also more than one) of a hexagram as well it is revealing in its change, in the context of the new hexagram, announces personal destiny; at the same time in the contiguous line that appears in the King Wen Series, one can see the circumstances complementary to the events and which are not directly related to the subject. In the following example based on the hexagrams 19-> 24, if you look at the second line of hexagram 20 there is the description of the Lady asking Paul to help her look for a night porter!
          Happy reading then …

          – When you come into contact with the I Ching’s forces, a telepathic-psychic agreement is activated with other persons and events entering the flow of the question, mediated by the archetypes of the I Ching.
          The hexagrams orient the intrinsically best destiny for one who asks,
          the images of the hexagram announce the Way. Therefore, even if the conscious mind turns to the multiple desires, the unconscious mind causes the Hexagram to announce the Way. In this following prediction an example of the correspondence of the I Ching to the unconscious mind rather than to the conscious question of who asks . My friend Mario sent me a hexagram of the I Ching asking me to interpret it. His question was: “How will the business meeting with a co-worker in the Côte d’Azur go?” My friend asked to be hired as a night porter in a hotel on the Côte d’Azur, but in the meantime he was in Sardinia working in another hotel.

          The hexagram sent to me is
          19 -> 24
          Second mutant line (yang)
          __ __
          __ __
          __ __
          __ __

          which changes into an hexagram 24
          __ __
          __ __
          __ __
          __ __

          My prediction:

          I do not see a meeting with the co-worker of the Côte d’Azur, but rather I see him with a man you already know. Thus announces the hexagram 19: Approaching the second mutant line: two friends represented by the hexagram 19 in his two first male lines (yang) agree and this consensus produces a movement favorable to your career. In hexagram 24: the Return, the second line is in a relationship of solidarity with a man, a partner, trustworthy. It will happen this week: – Hexagram 24 “Friends come without blemish: the Way is serpent.On the seventh day comes the return Propitious is to have where to go” In particular the second line of the hexagram 24 describes the solidarity (of this line yin) given to a good man” who is the Lord of the sign that is represented by the yang line at the first place of the hexagram 24. Reference text: I Ching trad.R. Wilhelm.

          Mario’s answer after a week:

          -Yesterday morning, a longtime friend of mine, Paul at 10.30
          had a request from the director of a hotel in Sardinia:
          “You must help me” – “In what
          Mrs ? Paul asks her. – “I need a valid goalkeeper
          at night, for the next summer ”
          Paul: “No problem, I have one
          perfect for his case “Paul, knowing
          that I did not feel well where I worked
          he called me yesterday morning at 11 and he said about this possibility of employment in the country near the one where I was already working.
          I told him I was available. He gave
          my number.
          The general manager called me. I told him I could
          go there in the day. “Are you all right? At 5 pm?”
          Yes, perfect, in the meantime I send you my CV, for to
          read it while I drive. In an hour they are
          arrived from them, at 16 I was already there.
          I was greeted with great warmth.
          Interviewed at the same time
          from the administrator and from
          general manager. After 15 minutes
          they hired me.
          I gave joy to all the pores.
          After, as agreed,
          I phoned Paul, who he shared
          with me my happiness.

  6. Hi Hilary, now I answer your question …

    “But when you reverse Hexagram 23, of course its second line becomes 24’s fifth line, not its second. Why do you read 24.2?”

    I use 24.2 following the “position” of line development also in the reversed hexagram. I wrote that this reversal does not always happen, in fact the hexagrams 1, 2, 27, 28,29,30,61,62 are excluded from this process, the hexagrams remain identical if you turn these upside down.
    Note that in the example of prediction of arrival of the package given by the hexagrams 4-> 23, if you develop the intrinsic hexagram of 4 you get directly the hexagram 24 that together with the coincidence with the inverted hexagram 24 that comes from 23, seals the prediction.

  7. Thanks Hilary,
    here I present my reflections on a consultation of twenty-five centuries ago, reported by Zuozhuan, which shows a history of the Annals of Spring and Autumn (722-481 BC).
    From this study I took the key to an ancient and precise divination method based on the turn upside of the hexagrams. The article is in Italian, but you can use the automatic translator.

  8. Why don’t people take Mondo Sector’s transitional hexagrams seriously?

    At least it teases out each successive and additive change!

    This takes nothing away from Karcher or matrix methods…you can stitch together all the interpretations according to what your questions or inquiry needs.

    You’ll know if it hits the bull’s-eye, by the way your gut gets twisted or relaxed.

    Too much methodology drains the original impulse of your wife, for wanting to get guidance in the first place.

    You can always ask a few more questions to sort those multiple movers out,or, you can set up three or for variations on your question from different scenarios or angles, and sum up your sessions.

    What happens if x?
    What happens if not x?

    What doesn’t happen if not y?

    Harmen Metzgers trigram balancing, from old yand/ old yin.is also a good way to find the way through, using trigrams when lines are moving.
    His video is good on that.
    It uses the positive and negative associations of each of the eight trigrams for the hexagram analyses!


    • Hi Loco – thanks for commenting.

      I know a few people who use the transitional hexagrams method. It’s not for me – I like the way lines within a single hexagram talk to one another. But yes, I agree, your gut feeling tells you whether you’re hearing the answer.

      It’s Harmen Mesker, by the way, and yes, he’s a superb teacher.

  9. Hello Hilary,

    Thank you for your article. It is very interesting trying to interpret and understand the advise provided by the I Ching. I am in that exact situation in which I got two moving lines in the first hexagram and the second hexagram gives me a message completely opposite.

    I think I understood how we can interpret the moving lines in the first hexagram, but what about the second one? Do both hexagrams represent the present or the first one is present and the second one is the future?

    I will tell you why I am so confused even after reading your article… I asked a relationship related question: will my casual relationship transform into a serious one?
    I got number 14 first, with two moving lines ( both number 9 in lines 3 and 6), and 54 second.
    14 represents success overall and in my two moving lines. 54 is literally about lust only, not love. And might represent that I will only have a physical relationship.

    Any insights will be greatly greatly appreciate it.

    • Hi Lucia,

      The best place for free help with readings is the I Ching Community here. But since I’m here…

      Do both hexagrams represent the present or the first one is present and the second one is the future?

      They answer your question together, not divided between present and future. (You can read a bit more about this in this free beginner’s course, and a lot more in Yijing Foundations.) So your reading’s a portrait of your relationship as Great Possession in a context of the Marrying Maiden, or ‘pulled’ towards the Marrying Maiden.

      Two important things to know here:

      The moving lines are the core of the answer. It’s not that they happen first and then you arrive at Hexagram 54 (which also wouldn’t make much sense).

      You need to read the words of the I Ching itself, especially when it comes to Hexagram 54. The ‘lust not love’ idea is just someone else’s idea of what it means, not what the I Ching says. Here’s an article on Hexagram 54 which, yes, is just my ideas on what it means, but firmly based on what it says.

  10. Hilary,
    I’m a little late coming to the party, but after receiving a hexagram today with a lot of changing lines and conflicting readings, I thought I’d check in to see if you had perhaps revised or edited your previous thoughts on multiple changing lines (I contributed to your previous thread on this). I’ve been consulting the Yi-Ching going on 43 years now, and there is always much to learn.

    One thing I noticed in this thread is that you didn’t mention ruling lines and how they may be the more important points to consider when receiving multiple changing lines. In my hexagram today there were 2 ruling lines, both changing, and 2 normal changing lines. I’ve always thought of changing lines in terms of time, in fact, the entire Yi-Ching is, in my mind, about time (read The Order of Time by Rovelli), so I do see the lines as progressing through time and the outcomes dependent on our actions or non-actions, as the case may be.

    If I act in a certain way in a certain situation, that action (or non-action) affects many other outcomes, like ripples in a pond. That’s why I think the ruling lines are so important in a multiple changing line scenario — they are like the heaviest stones that create the farthest reaching ripples. I wondered what your thoughts on this might be? Do you consider ruling lines in your readings?

    • Hi Gary – good to hear from you! I don’t tend to pay a huge amount of attention to ruling lines – I just haven’t found that way of looking at hexagrams especially helpful. But as you say, always more to learn…

  11. I interpret multiple lines in the following manner:

    I read them all; lines closer to the bottom of the hexagram I take as older in age and more related to the internal (psyche) and more ingrained in the situation, something I have to deal with myself; lines closer to the top are younger in age and more related to external factors (“descending” on you at the time of reading, or will very soon). I read the text several times, make my notes, then let it rest for a while and create a complete picture in my mind. A peripheral vision, if you will, it usually takes a day or so to fully form. The resulting hexagram I always take as the possible outcome you get if following the advice of the dynamic lines.

    Fun fact: when I look at a reading in retrospect (weeks or months later), the mind’s picture that has crystalized as a whole always coincides with how the situation worked out in the end, while re-reading the texts exactly as they were presented at the time of casting can often seem quite detached.

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