This section is just here to give you some ideas – maybe it’ll contain some questions you hadn’t thought of asking or realised you could ask. It’s good to vary the kind of question you ask and the topics you ask about: that way you experience the same light of meaning shining through all your experience. We moderns have a tendency to put everyday life and spiritual understanding into separate boxes; the Yijing demolishes the boxes and restores the connection.
Ancient Chinese kings might have asked whether to go into battle; the modern business owner might ask whether to launch a new product. I’ve also seen Yi help with decisions about relationships, moving house, legal options, which course of doctoral study to pursue and which phone to buy. Any time you’re standing at a crossroads, you can ask the oracle to show you what each direction would look like.
The simplest way is normally to ask,
‘What if took this path?’
But also don’t be shy of asking simply, ‘Which way?’ Perhaps there may be another road you haven’t noticed.
I’ve found that most people turn to the Yi for its ability to help in their relationships – maybe because relationships are our constant ‘growing edge’ as human beings. Yi’s answers are extraordinarily sensitive to the nuances of human connection: parents and children, friends, soulmates, marriage partners, business partners…
For myself, I have Yi to thank for life-changing relationship advice: a wonderful friendship rescued from the brink, understanding restored where I was being obtuse, not to mention – once or twice – the insight to give up and let it go. Also, in the weeks leading up to my mother’s death, Yi showed me how to open up that relationship for connection and healing. I will always be grateful.
You can ask for guidance in growing a relationship; you can ask for advice to hold in mind during a difficult conversation (an awkward conversation with a relative, reaching out to a friend, asking for a raise…). Also, you can ask where a relationship might be headed if you put your heart and soul into it. Such readings can reveal tremendous possibilities – and they can save you some heartache.
You could ask…
- ‘How could I help him?’
- ‘What if I moved in?’
- ‘What can I do to improve communication between us?’
Readings begin with your intent, which gives rise to your question, or questions. Whatever that intent is – emotional equilibrium, meaningful work, better sales figures, attracting a soulmate… – if you can desire it, you can ask Yi for advice on how to move towards it. It’s as simple as asking, ‘How to…?’ – or, perhaps better, ‘What would be my best next step towards..?’
Other questions that can help,
- ‘How am I doing with this?’ (a kind of oracular report card – not for the faint of heart)
- ‘What if I tried this?’
- ‘How best to tackle this obstacle?’
Looking into the future
The Yijing offers profound insight into the present – and by its nature that casts light into the future. I find the most creative way to work with this is to look more closely at your options.
- ‘What effect would it have on my workload if I took this on?’
- ‘How would this affect my children?’
- ‘What if we tried this…?’
Also, it’s surprising how often, when I think I’m desperate to know what will happen in the future, what I’m really looking for is a sense of what to do with myself now. Sometimes it’s simpler and more honest just to ask for that.
Hard to think of a question that doesn’t fall under this heading, really: every reading is about greater awareness and connection, and you never know what subject will suddenly open out into broader vistas. (While Yi’s answers to the ‘big questions’ may turn out to focus in on practical specifics.)
Possible questions for self-awareness and growth:
- ‘Please show me an image of myself at present.’
- ‘How can I change my reaction to this?’
- ‘Why do I feel this way?’
- ‘Please give me a guiding principle for the coming year of my life.’
When you’re ready, asking ‘What is my calling?’ can bring an extraordinary release of energy. An especially powerful combination is to ask two questions: one about your calling, one about your unique gifts. The two readings tend to work together in revealing ways.
There are many more ‘opening questions’, rich with possibilities for growing into your whole self.
You’re welcome to download Opening Questions: Invitations for Change to explore some of them:
My favourite question:
‘What do I need to know now?’
Nothing more than that: no agenda, no preconceptions. This is a quiet, meditative approach to the Yijing, allowing you to interact with it in a completely different way – and allowing it to draw your attention to whatever you’re not seeing. Try this as well as the more specific, direct questions: simply opening yourself to whatever the universe has to tell you in this moment.