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Casting a hexagram

In this part of the course you will…

  • Be introduced to the simple three-coin method of casting a Yijing reading
  • Cast your own first reading, and…
  • …start to connect with and understand it

Casting your hexagram

This is where we get down to brass tacks: now you’ve chosen your question, how do you actually consult the oracle? This three-coin method is the most popular, and you can use it straight away – it needs no special equipment, and the only preparation is to know your question and hold it in mind.

You will need:

  1. Your question, written down and held in awareness.
  2. Three coins.
  3. A Yijing translation. (If you don’t have a book yet, here is an excellent online translation to start you off. There’s more help choosing a book here.)

Here’s my book on Amazon:
I Ching: walking your path, creating your future.

It’s designed to be immediately useful for beginners.


Cast the hexagram

Take your coins – any three coins of the same denomination, with heads and tails you can tell apart, will do fine. (Years of talking with Yi have convinced me that the cosmos is practically bursting with desire to speak with you and show you the meaning just below the surface. So it doesn’t in the least matter what you use – just opening yourself and listening is enough.)

Throw the three coins together.

Each head counts 3; each tail counts 2.

(Actually, if you prefer you can count heads as 2 and tails as 3 – either way round is fine and just as authentic. Just decide which way to use and – obviously! – stick with it.)

Add up the values of the three coins – the total will be 6,7,8 or 9. (For example, head (3) plus head (3) plus tail (2) makes 8.)

These four numbers translate into the four kinds of line you saw in this module, like this:

NumberLine typeYin/yangWritten
 6Changing broken lineOld yin6
7Unchanging solid lineYoung yang7
8Unchanging broken lineYoung yin8
9Changing solid lineOld yang9

Or if you’d rather not have numbers to remember, just remember this:

Three tails:6
Two tails, one head:7
Two heads, one tail: 8
Three heads: 9

Record the line you have received. This is line 1 of your hexagram, the bottom line. (Remember a hexagram is built from the ground up, like a house.)

Repeat the same process five more times, working from the bottom up to the 6th and last line.

Write down all six lines, and you have your primary hexagram – the basis for your whole answer. (There’s no more casting to be done.)

Previous: your question
Next: trace the changes