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Hexagrams of Change

The Steps of Change, or Zhi Gua

When you have more than one changing line, you can gain further insight into their context and what you need to do about the situation they describe by looking at their step of change hexagrams. These are created by changing each line separately to its opposite. For example, Hexagram 33 looks like this:

So if the first line were changing, you’d read Hexagram 13, People in Harmony as its step of change:

with step of change

And the fourth line’s step of change is Hexagram 53, Gradual Development:

has the step of change

These show you a context for each individual changing line, and a directional ‘pull’ on it.

The Patterns of Change

The Patterns of Change consist of a pair of complementary hexagrams. They’re also referred to as change operators by Stephen Karcher, who’s done the most work in developing them as part of his extensive interpreter’s toolkit. (That’s a pdf link: right-click to download and save the file.)

The Yin Pattern is created by replacing each changing line with a broken line, and each unchanging line with an unbroken line. The broken lines represent the spaces that are open for change – fertile ground for transformation – while the unbroken lines represent persistence. So any reading with lines 1 and 4 changing has a Yin Pattern of Change of Hexagram 57, Gently Penetrating:

This hexagram provides a general picture of how (or by what means) the situation may change – the landscape that defines the scope for change, or how you might move in order to open new space for change. It has the feel of a ‘gate’ through which you might go out from the reading.

The Yang Pattern of Change is simply the opposite of this, formed by replacing each moving line with an unbroken line, and each stable line with a broken one. So with lines 1 and 4 moving, the Yang Pattern of Change is Hexagram 51, Arousing:

Here the unbroken lines represent how change acts, and the broken ones represent unchanging form. This provides a more dynamic picture of the pattern of change at work in the situation. It might feel like a gate through which you enter the reading.

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