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Chinese Traditions, The I Ching And New Year Symbols, Be Guided By Ancient Wisdom

Updated on April 4, 2012

Chinese Traditions - Wisdom of Ancient Ways

Look here for the best information on Chinese traditions.  This includes the I Ching information on the year of the 'chinese sign'.  Let me help you be guided by the ancient wisdom.

It happens on the new moon. It is the first lunar month of the year. Spring is only around the corner – between four and eight weeks after this event. What is it? This is the Chinese new year – year to commemorate the beginning of something new! A re-birth! Now is the time to make a future.

People’s beliefs in China, look at this time as a time to consult the Chinese book of divination to tell them what to do. They might meditate and focus on a question “What do I have in store?” they may ask.

As they grasp their three coins and shake them, cupped in their hands, they proceed to drop them. This is ‘tails and heads’ with a difference! They do this six times and create lines on paper - some broken, some straight.

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This is the hexagram of the I Ching - the book of changes. Since the time of the many incarnations of Buddha in China, Chinese symbols in astrology from the yin yang to birth signs, the I Ching has been fundamental to many in the Far East. The way of the Buddha in China, Mystic and Taoist is a way of life. This ancient wisdom co-exists within the essence of the people and the way of the people are the essence within the wisdom.

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Chinese New Year - Astrology and Zodiac divided into 12 Yearly Cycles.

The Chinese New Year – a time of change, hope and expectation for the coming year. The Chinese year of the tiger, rat, ox, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. Yes, there are twelve different Chinese astrological symbols, all represented by significant animals. Each animal has ownership of a given year, formulated over 12 yearly cycles. In the following grid, you will see a list of years with their corresponding significant animal. Which year were you born in? The year of the…Tiger? .. What animal year were you born under?

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What Chinese Astrological Sign Are You?

Now, for a bit of fun!  Click on the following survey and tell the world what animal represents you!  It will be fun to find out which Chinese astrological symbol comes tops!  I am a monkey, so what are you?

What's Your Symbol?

I was born in the year of the....

See results

What does your sign say about you?!

Each symbol represents certain personality traits and, depending on which animal’s year you come under, you are supposed to display similar traits. As a monkey, for example, I can say that I do share the same personality as my Chinese astrological zodiac counterpart! The following link will be able to calculate and tell you about your sign. Open a new browser and copy and paste this link. Click further and ‘Learn More’ - you will be able to see what personality you are! Clever eh? Thank you for this brilliant site!

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Chinese New Year – New Start! Yin Yang, Karma, Buddha and Feng Shui.

Beliefs in China are structured around a cultural norm. That is the way of the mystic, Taoist and the teachings of the many incarnations of Buddha. The firm belief comes from the idea of ‘first do no harm’, karma and natural forces.

First do no harm is a belief in neutrality. It can be symbolised in the form of the yin yang. Many people display this like this…

The Yin Yang 1 - a Balance of Extremes.

Yin Yang Balance of Extremes - Do You Want To Attract Negativity? Why Not Be Positive!

This display is a balance of extremes (look at how the rings and ‘S’ are displayed). It seems obvious that to display the yin yang like this is not about neutrality. Do you really want to attract a life with the forces working in extreme? This is not neutral! The way of the yin yang, therefore, should be displayed as follows…

Yin Yang 2

Beliefs in China's People.

This is a balance. It is about neutrality.

Karma is about what ever action that is performed there is a reaction. - what comes around, goes around., typically, with a three fold effect. This is why the first principal of ‘First do no harm’ is so important - because of the effect of karma!

Natural forces are ones that are around us all the time. We live in a finely balanced world. We have finely balanced bodies. These energies or forces are sources of ch’i – heaven’s energy (astrological energy for guidance), our own energy (water and wind in the form of blood and breath) from within our bodies and earthly energy (the energy of our environment). Beliefs in China’s people firmly reside in the influence of disciplining our body’s energy with a proper diet and meditation for the mind, body and spirit. Working with the energy in our environment, so is believed, and manipulating that energy though colours, materials, shapes and careful positioning, can be beneficial to people’s well being. This is called Feng Shui.

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Feng Shui... there must be balance and harmony between yin and yang.

All these themes merge like a tree. Which one is stronger? The oak tree or the bamboo? It is the bamboo. For, although it is hollow and small in comparison to the oak, there is great strength. When there is a storm, for example, the oak may fall, whilst the bamboo just goes with the flow. These beliefs in China are paramount to a way of life.

The yin and yang are two cosmic forces of energy. Both opposing, yet complementing. It symbolises the balance of the universe for which one could not survive without the other. The forces, therefore, of heaven are yang and earth are yin. Yang is the light, the male principal – yin is the dark, the passive female. For positive auspicious Feng Shui, there must be balance and harmony between yin and yang.

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An auspicious start to the Chinese New Year – good fortune, harmony and health!

This is a time for merriment, feasting and a time for well wishes with family and friends.  Houses are spring-cleaned, accounts settled, business suspended and strips of red paper have printed characters to symbolise long life, health, wealth and happiness, together with spells to ward off evil spirits.  These are placed on doorposts in the house.  It is red for the luckiest of colours and dominates the house’s décor.  Offerings to the gods and ancestors are made.  New clothes are worn and drums and symbols are sounded.  This is a time to ward off evil powers and this is done by letting off fireworks, being noisy – banishing the negativity. 

Consultation of the I Ching is one of the fundamental practices in the beliefs of people in China,

New hope is born for the coming year. Consultation of the I Ching is one of the fundamental practices in the beliefs of people in China, the Chinese New Year is as good a time as any, if not better, to consult the ancient Chinese wisdom. This form of divination “How can I make my present life more prosperous and fulfilling?” maybe one question you might seek an answer for. Consulting the I Ching, book of changes, is an ancient practice and is taken very seriously in the Far East. It can be very useful to help people arrive at the right decisions.

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Chinese Book of Divination

Some of the text within the book of changes is actually older than any other book in the world and many vowel that by consulting it people become more aware of the ever-changing conditions around and within them. I have consulted the I Ching for many years, just as Carl Gustav Jung (world famous Swiss Psychologist) and Nobel prize winner physicist Niels Bohr, this ‘system of changes’ has been invaluable to millions across generations. It teaches you to be like the bamboo and go with the natural flow of life.

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Where do you purchase I Ching Coins? Here you are..

Tap into the Ancient Wisdom with the I Ching, Book of Changes

There are sixty-four answer combinations to a question in the form of hexagrams. These are built by the throw of three coins, six times. Each throw combination equates to either a line or a broken line. You will need a paper and pen to build the hexagram drawing. This is the yin yang element. The most important part of the divination process is that of a clear mind with great focus upon the question in hand. If it helps, light a candle and listen to some soothing music. The ritual of throwing the coins can help with focusing too, but you need to be sure that you have the right question formulated precisely in order to achieve the right answer! A confused mind can lead to a confused answer. Some people find it best to write the question down, so be specific with the question.

I have my own I Ching coins with a hole in the middle, but you can use any ordinary coin as long as it is the same size. Just cup the coins and concentrate on the question in hand, shake and throw!

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Tails and Heads = Hexagram I Ching!

Two heads and one tail, draw a straight line like this: ________

Two tails and one head draw a divided line like this: ___ ___

Three heads, draw a divided line with an ‘X’ like this: ___ ___ x

Three tails, draw a straight line with an ‘X’ like this: ________ x

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Hexagram 64 - Wei Chi - Success Within Reach!

Hexagram I Ching Example
Hexagram I Ching Example

A Changing Line in the Hexagram is termed because it Changes from one situation to another.

With each throw, draw the relevant line starting, like the above example, from the bottom up to create a hexagram consisting of six lines. It is like a tower structure. The ‘X’ on the hexagram represents ‘Changing Lines’. Depending on what line the ‘X’ appears, then that corresponds to additional information. This is something that I shall not go into too deeply - it might be something you might want to explore more seriously in the future should you wish to consult the I Ching. What I can say is that the changing line refers to impending developments in your life.

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Tap into the ancient wisdom and be guided to a more spiritual way of life

The lines within the I Ching, book of changes, are always counted from the bottom up. The first three lines of the hexagram describe your life as it is now, while the last part indicates what might develop next. With changing lines, you simply convert the line to its opposing line. That is why it is a ‘changing’ line. This will create a different hexagram for you to refer to for further reading taken from the 64 answers.

An example of a changing line will go from this: ________ x to this: ___ ___

This then changes the hexagram, once built, into something different. You will, therefore, need to read both of the texts.

Please now take a look at the following reference diagram. The hexagrams correspond to the appropriate ancient text within the I Ching, book of changes.

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64 Hexagrams - a Reference for THE Chinese Book of Divination!

64 Hexagrams
64 Hexagrams

I have found a website that will give you brief meanings to each hexagram, this isn’t thorough but is helpful to use as an example. Please click here to view.

If you want a really good book, that includes the ‘changing lines’ feature, I have used 'The Living I Ching: Using Ancient Chinese Wisdom to Shape Your Life' for years and have found it perfect! It is comprehensive. The website link that I have provided is just for introduction purposes and is aimed as a taster for you.

This version, translated by Wilheim, of the I Ching, Book of Changes has some input from Carl Jung. It has great reviews and Amazon allows you a peak inside the book.

This one is a definitive translation. It might be harder to understand, so recommended for those who are familiar with the system.

You might want the package - find what is right for you!

Package sets are great, not only for gifts, but for the seeker who wants everything in one place. This is personal choice, of course. Access to the wisdom works in many ways to many different people. You have to find the right route to enlightenment yourself, no one can ultimately tell you. Anything you feel comfortable with is right, so look into your heart and allow the cosmic forces to guide you to what is right for you. Here are some that I have picked with the hope that it might help.

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Live and Let Live - The Way of the Mystic

Now is the start of a Chinese New Year of change. Change is an evolving thing. It doesn’t have to happen just for a new year! The Chinese book of divination, the I Ching, could help you to make a future or tell you what to do in a tricky situation. Beliefs in China ask you to respect the yin yang, the opposing cosmic energies and open your eyes to the natural order of things. The I Ching, the Chinese book of divination, the mystic, the Taoist and the beliefs of the many incarnations of Buddha in China, all advocate the idea of ‘first do no harm’. To live and let live, the Chinese signs and symbols in astrology from within the zodiac to the construction of the calendar, demonstrates the fine balance of the cosmos. We are, therefore, at one with nature and the universe and at one with the whole.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Cooki - and there is more to it too! So much in the universe and only a lifetime to learn it!

      Thanks for reading :)

    • cookibuq profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland / Hong Kong

      Very interesting and educational... Even I didn't know this much about our traditions (and I'm Chinese !) Thank you very much for putting this up :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Eco-ali - are any of us truly free? Are there not many in first world countries that have their human rights taken away?

      'You have the right not to be killed -

      Unless it was done by a

      Policeman or aristocrat,

      You have the right to food money

      Providing of course you

      Don't mind a little

      Investigation, humiliation,

      You have the right to free

      Speech - as long as you're not

      Dumb enough to actually try it.' The Clash 'Know Your Rights'.

      However, we are everso grateful! Down and out in New York, do they have human rights?

      Sorry for the cynical response. We can all hope to be positive for a future with world unity and rights for all - you, me and our friends in China!

    • Eco_Ali profile image

      Eileen M Antolino 

      9 years ago from Central New Jersey ~Trenton/Princeton area

      Hi again, Listen...I am having a difficult time respecting the Chinese government when they have so little respect for human rights, for the people of Tibet, for the Dali Lama in exile, for the way they are beginning to overtake the U.S.A. in this global economy all the while laughing in our faces. I know its not coming from the common folk who live in fear, but Communist China is a threat and I just have a difficult time ignoring that fact while giving them credit for ancient spiritual wisdoms they are ignoring the civil rights of fellow human beings.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Dream on... Im pleased you found it helpful. Have a great time playing with the i ching - I know the wisdom will guide you:)

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      10 years ago

      What an amazing hub.So much to learn and understand.I will have to come back and read more again.Thank you so much.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      @brianzen - thank you for your lovely comment :)

      @menkius - Now that is the million dollar question! Psychologists might say that it is the luck of the draw, that when you read the text your mind will only pick what is relevant to your situation and disgard the irrelevant.

      Spiritual people may say it is like guidance from an unknown higher source (angel, higher consciousness - whatever label you care to choose) and that is what guides the coins to be set in a certain way.

      Whatever the whys or wherefores, if it works - use it! It has worked for generations and it has worked for me.

      I have my own perception of the truth, my own personal path or development (spiritual, psychological and physical), as to how I make sense of the world and meaning to life (and death!). It is right that we all live in different realities as we are all at differing points of progression (or development). No one is wrong and no one is right - we are all just different!

      The question is, Menkius, how do you think the appropriate hexagram gets selected for the question asked? In asking yourself a question, like this or any other, this is the pathway to your truth, your wisdom and your enlightenment.


    • menkius profile image


      10 years ago

      Clearly explained! How do you think the appropriate hexagram gets selected for the question asked?

    • brianzen profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful site elegant direct wonderful content. Awesome

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi Lorlie! Well, this hub is very much a rough guide - despite the length of it!

      Firstly, you might not like your own characteristics (hehehe) and when you spot it in others, it annoys you - please don't take offence! Secondly, each year has it's own elemental influence. For example the 1968 monkey is earth - therefore, those in 1968 are earth monkies. This creates differences from the 1956 and the 1968 monkey.

      For example - generally, 'monkeys' aren't compatible with 'Dragons', but the exception to this rule is earth monkeys plus wood dragon - 1968 and 1964. They are compatible. This, perhaps should be saved for another hub!

      Maybe the silly nature of monkeys gets your goat! hehehe

      Thanks for reading - I hope that I am one monkey who is an exception to your rule! x

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      I wonder what it means to be born in 1956 yet detest monkeys? Strange, yet that seems to describe me in many ways. :)

      On the other hand, your description of the I Ching is very, very good-I'm a child of the 70's and it was my bible. I still own the same one.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      pddm... I found the I Ching very helpful. I am sure you will too! x

    • pddm67 profile image


      10 years ago from Queens, New York

      Another great hub! I so enjoyed reading it and it has thoroughly peaked my interest. Bookmarking this hub and will definitely be researching the subject more. Thanks for pointing me in this direction :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Mystique.. thank you. All the techniques that are adopted all tap into the same source, whether it is through visualization or chi.. same energy but different lables. Thanks for reading x

    • Mystique1957 profile image


      10 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela


      Exquisite! I have a fancy for Eastern cultures and their magical way of life! I have always loved I-Ching and related issues. This hub is well crafted, thought out and gives the reader lots of relevant information!

      Thumbs up!

      warmest regards and blessings,


    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Ed... I hope that you are a little wiser and will be able to live life in a peaceful way x

    • Ed Storm profile image

      Ed Storm 

      10 years ago

      A very comprehensive and informative hub shazwellyn, I knew very little about I Ching before I read this.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Ummm.. I will review the hub and put some summary bullet points in. This might help!

    • rmcrayne profile image


      10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      It didn't seem simple and easy when I read it. I'll have to go back when my nose is not stopped up (maybe a bit more O2 to the brain.). Interesting to me though. My naturopath frequently references Chinese medicine.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      rmcrayne - if you want to tap into the ancient wisdom, you are no dummy! The 'Living I Ching', as recommended in the hub is the first book that I have read and is easy to understand. If you understood my hub, then you are there! I have achieved what I have set out to!

      Throw the coins

      *Draw the lines

      *Check the reference

      *Look up the Chapter that the reference grid refers to (64 chapters)

      *Job done - the writing tells you where you are now and how things will go if you continue with the present course of action in your life. It helps you to tune into you!

      With my hub, you can do this straight away. I have provided a reference website - although not comprehensive - which provide an example. The sequence and how to do it is already provided in my hub.

      Go on... have a go! You can do it! x

    • rmcrayne profile image


      10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      shaz you have definitely captured my interest in I Ching. Where's the "I Ching for Dummies"?

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      ladyjane1.. Im glad you like it. I Ching is a way of life. It is a way of accessing wisdom. It can tell you where you are now and how things will be when you continue on a particular path. It is like the advice of a good parent.

      Thanks for reading x

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Pretty... it is actually very logical in its thinking.. Einstein stated with every action there is a reaction.. this is the Chi philosophy! Great psychologists and scientists saw the wisdom, why dont so many people in the Western World?

      Thanks for your comment x

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      10 years ago from Texas

      Very good hub I love to read about astrology it always seems to fit my life perfectly. Good job very well written.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      10 years ago from US

      Kung Hei Fat Choi, and thank you for this one, I like astrology Shaz congrats for putting this together, Balance is very important for them, the yin and the yang, wonderful isn't it? Maita

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Green Lotus, with a name of such distinction, I would have thought you walk the path of the mystic. However, when you take it down the basics, we are all singing the same tune with different beats. Blessed be x

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Miss Maudie... Im glad you liked it. I have used it for many years and it always hits the right note for me! A tradition that stands the test of time does this because it has been useful. This use has been handed down from generation to generation.

      I hope you will have good spiritual blessings bestowed on you. xx

    • Green Lotus profile image


      10 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi shazwellyn. I often read Tarot cards, and less often consult the i-ching. Since it's Chinese New Year and I've just read your compelling Hub, I think it's fitting I toss the coins. I'm thinking positively with a "do no harm" mindset :) Thanks!..and Happy New Year!

    • missmaudie profile image


      10 years ago from Brittany, France

      This is a really interesting hub, so much inforamtion, definitely one to bookmark. Great hub shazwellyn!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Hmrjmr1. It is very much ingrained in the chinese culture - it always amazes me that people complain in having an extreme life of good and bad - yet insist on keeping the yin yang as an 'S' shape! The beliefs in china is to keep neutrality until the tides of nature decide to turn... you go with the flow.. the chi xx

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Shaz- Great Hub! This old war horse is pushing the green button with his hoof. Ying and Yang are concepts incorporated in Tai Chi as well, and the principles reach much farther than the exercise class,excellent work Shaz-

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks bearclawmedia.. nice to see you have dropped by! I wonder what year you were born under?? Perhaps you are a dragon?

      Thanks for reading x

    • bearclawmedia profile image


      10 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      Extremely well crafted and thoughtful hub. So informative. I recently purchased a reading from which included a personality profile based on Chinese Astrology, it was really good. Thanks again for the great hub.


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