I Ching

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Toss Coins for Line 1

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Changing to


This free online I Ching (Yijing) oracle is based on the 64 principles from the Book of Changes with interpretations inspired by the elements of nature. By clicking on the virtual coins 6 times a primary hexagram will be built from the bottom up.

About the Coins

The two coins used on this site accord with the Wilhelm Baynes translation where the side with four Chinese characters on the left, top, right and bottom are Yin with a value of 2. The side with the two symbols associated with the Phoenix and Dragon are Yang with a value of 3.

Changing Lines

There are four types of lines that can be generated by throwing the coins: Yang (solid) Yin (broken) old Yang (changing) and old Yin (changing.) Any changing or old lines will create a Secondary Hexagram which reveals both the basis of your question and the changes that are at play. Consider both Hexagrams and any changing lines as an answer to your question.

The meaning of line 1 is often about beginnings, line 2 can embody the inner world and whether we are reacting like a victim or owning our condition. Line 3 shows the response when our thoughts meet with manifestation, while line 4 can be the manifestation itself. Line 5 is often the highest expression of the lesson taught by each hexagram, and line 6 often refers to how the energy of a particular Hexagram becomes exhausted or ends.

No Changing Lines: If you receive a Hexagram with no changing lines, read the interpretation for the Unchanging hexagram. Unchanging Hexagrams are observed to be in a static condition and require careful examination in order to understand why the situation might be at an impasse or unchanging .

Primary and Secondary Hexagrams

The Secondary Hexagram can show both the foundation of your question and the potential outcome. In many cases, the transformed Hexagram will show the lingering atmosphere or longer influence at play while the Primary Hexagram is revealing your current mindset. For example, (64) Before Completion, line 3 changing to become (50) Cauldron would suggest that a situation requiring patience to 'simmer in the pot' (50) to define itself more completely is meeting your current mindset that it should be reaching completion already. So line 3 of Hexagram (64) warns you about moving too hastily on past assumptions and the need for patience to examine other possible outcomes.

The lines will offer advice about how to transcend any misunderstandings about the principles at work in both Hexagrams with the influence of the Nuclear Hexagram. This is important because many people use the wrong approach in assuming the first hexagram always changes to become the second. Change is not linear ~ it is usually circular. In this way the Primary and Secondary Hexagrams are interacting and influencing each other and the Primary Hexagram is being influenced by the Nuclear Hexagram too ~ one is not always destined to become the other. In the previous example is Hexagram (64) Before Completion with line 3 changing, the hidden influence or Nuclear Hexagram of (64) Before Completion is (43) Determination or Breakthrough. Hexagram (43) will always feel like closed doors and frustration unless we keep our mind open. That is the lesson of (64) Before Completion too, because its message is that all things change. Remaining inflexible or operating with impatience and hard line assumptions would creates something more like (64) Expecting Completion. Line 3 becomes the initiation/testing or challenge presented by (50) Cauldron which results from the line change. Any disappointment or 'dark night of the soul' testing occurs because you failed to heed the warning of line 3 ~ attack brings misfortune, change your mindset or 'cross the great river.'

The Most Comprehensive I Ching Reading

For deeper insight into the meaning of a changing line, all line interpretations include the resulting Hexagram that would have been generated if that were the only line changing. For example (31) Wooing with line 2 changing would become (28) Critical Mass. Line 2 is a warning about the same excess that (28) Critical Mass describes so the message of (31) Wooing line 2 suggests Wooing requires a strong foundation. The roof of your aspirations with a weak foundation and aggressive response won't work because (28) offers a message: too much. Also, to love others, we must first love ourselves. Add line 5 which would have changed to become (62) Small Exceeding and we are warned to honor the small and less significant aspects and not be too rigid. When both lines are changing (31) Wooing leads to (32) Duration because we establish a strong foundation (line 2) with flexibility, consistency and honor the small things (line 5.)

Hexagram interpretations also include the Hu Gua or Nuclear Hexagram as a secondary influence and the Zong Gua or Reversed Hexagram which shows the opposite condition.

The Hu Gua gives added insight into the meaning of a Hexagram because it shows the base motivation that is trying to manifest within the core hexagram. For example, the Hu Gua of (6) Conflict shows (7) Family as both the dynamics that can create conflict and how establishing clarity in expectations (like the Family) can solve it.

The Zong Gua of (6) Conflict would be (36) Brightness Hiding which is the opposite of what should be done in this situation. In Brightness Hiding we would have assumed nothing needed rectification and merely held to our inner light.

Which Line Prevails in an I Ching Reading?

There can be conflicting messages when an I Ching reading delivers multiple changing lines. Some oracle readers view the progression from bottom to top and consider the topmost line as the prevailing line. Others observe Line 5 as the highest expression in activating the message of the hexagram because at line 6 changing, the message of the Hexagram becomes exhausted. If line 6 appears in a multiple line reading, the Secondary Hexagram might be more relevant.

When line 1 and 6 are the only changing lines, the message of the Primary Hexagram is especially auspicious. A line by line examination of the teachings of the Primary Hexagram might be explored to avoid the outcome suggested by the Secondary Hexagram. A good example is (11) Peace which arrives at line 1, but is exhausted at line 6 where the battle is lost so (18) Decay is the result. If we were a better student of the balance required to maintain (11) Peace, then (18) Decay would never set in.

We can learn more about the deeper meaning of each hexagram too, when line 1 and six are changing. For example when Hexagram (5) Waiting has line 1 and 6 changing it becomes (57) Penetration. We get a sense of the (5) 'Waiting-ness' inherent in Hexagram (57). This underscores a message of slowness, or the patience required when approaching the changes you are attempting. Line 1 has a message about something new as a beginning, while line 6 talks about the unexpected arrival of help in the final hour, so slow down and stop pushing so hard.

The Splitting Apart of (23) with line 1 and 6 changing leads to (24) and can bring what is divided back together if we let go and become innovative with the discernment taught through the lines of (23) Splitting Apart. When the (56) Wanderer doesn't get the message to be a better house guest at line 1, he burns bridges in line 6 and can show the darker side of Hexagram (55) Abundance when it is overdone. In other words, learn what it means to be a stranger in a foreign land and be more appreciative of the hand that feeds you.

Line 1 and 6 changing can also suggest how a situation described by the Primary Hexagram is being viewed from completely opposite perspectives. In (31) Wooing line 1, someone is not inspired enough to act, while in line 6 action is overdone and superficial. When both lines change it leads to (13) Fellowship which is a superficial connection without intimacy. Why? If we explored each line of (31) Wooing, we'd understand the law of attraction, especially where the heart is involved.

Below are additional guidelines that can be used to determine which line prevails

No lines are changing: Read the unchanging interpretation for that Hexagram.
One line is changing: Read the line interpretation for that Hexagram.
Two lines are changing: If the lines are the same (changing broken/Yin or changing solid/Yang) the changing line closest to the top prevails. If there is one of each, read only the changing broken (Yin) line.
Three lines are changing: Read the middle line.
Four lines are changing: Read the uppermost line that is not changing.
Five lines are changing: Read the only non changing line.
Six lines are changing: Read only the transformed hexagram as the first hexagram has been exhausted.

Stephen Karcher on Line Changes: Voices of the Changing Lines

By examining all possible ancient and modern correlations we strive to bring you the most comprehensive free I Ching reading available online. All interpretations include quotes from the ancient masters of Chinese philosophy as well as being based on the power of nature which originally inspired the Book of Changes.

To get the most out of the I Ching oracle, approach it with an open mind and a respect for the process. I like to think of it as providing the same direction as our dreams, which requires the idea that dreams are teaching us something ~ and a willingness to be objective when looking back at how we create our experiences. The I Ching was originally composed by Taoist masters who's understanding of life matches to how modern physics describes it today. Additionally, they were inspired by natural processes where only now we are recognizing how nature can be a teacher. Think of the answer as a koan or riddle - this is not an oracle with random messages to be rushed through. Contemplate the Hu Gua, Zong Gua, lines and changing hexagrams until you understand the message prior to asking more questions.


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