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How the I Ching works: beyond the jargon

As I said, the word Yi actually means ‘simple’ – as well as ‘Change’ – and this name’s a good fit.

This may not be the impression you’ve got so far – and that’s because the Yijing has its own little forest of jargon to get lost in when you’re new. So… I’ll show you the working parts (and decipher the jargon) first, and then how to cast a reading.

If you don’t run through the working parts first, it all sounds a bit like flibble-making – which goes something like this:

“You’re going to make a flibble. You need four simple ingredients: blup, twitbin, blib and furble. First you glinge the blup and twitbin together – you can easily tell when you’ve glinged them enough because the twitbin becomes paler in colour. Well – what are you waiting for? – get glingeing! This flibble isn’t going to make itself!”

So you don’t understand a word, you have no hope of making a flibble, you might as well give up. True.

Of course, if I’d said you’re going to make a cake, your four ingredients are sugar, butter, flour and eggs, and you need to beat the butter and sugar together… this becomes a bit more doable.

You just need to know what the basic ingredients and processes are, and then you can get going, and anything from Victoria sponge to pineapple cake with lemon frosting could be in your future.

Yijing readings can sound a lot like flibbles: primary hexagram, relating hexagram, changing lines, ‘Oh how interesting, all the moving lines are in the inner trigram!’ Right. Start glingeing the blup.

But happily, the Yi is a whole lot simpler than cake-making. Thank goodness – you might want a reading from me, but believe me, you do not want me to make you a cake. A reading has exactly two ingredients and one process.

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