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The I Ching and Divination

The I Ching, or "Classic of Changes",  is an ancient Chinese oracle, one of the five classics of Confucianism, traditionally used for divination and as a moral, philosophical, and cosmological text.

It is based on a binary system of yin and yang, or negative and positive.  The combination of six lines, which could be either broken (yin) or unbroken (yang) gives the sixty-four kua or hexagrams, which together make up the totality of archetypal principles.  Each hexagram consists of a pair of trigrams. There are eight basic trigrams, each with specific corerspondences.  The symbolic significance of each hexagram as a whole and each of its six lines is expressed in a cryptic poetic passages  ("the judgment") and a philosophical commentary (the "ten wings").

The I Ching is consulted by casting yarrow stalks or coins six times to determine the appropriate hexagram and moving lines (if any).

Table of 64 Hexagrams

web pageDETAILS OF THE I CHING DIVINATION PROCEDURE - very technical - shows parallels with DNA, etc

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 9 March 1999, last modified 11 November 2005