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The Simplest Way To Cast An I Ching Hexagram

Updated on March 16, 2011

What you will need

  1. A peaceful space
  2. Paper and a pen
  3. A copy of the I Ching*
  4. Sixteen marbles of the same size: seven of a first colour, five of a second colour, three of a third colour and one of a fourth colour
  5. A storage box or pouch to draw your marbles from

The marble method

The four colours of the marbles represent the different lines that make up your hexagram.

  • Seven marbles of the first colour = stable yin
  • Five marbles of the second colour = stable yang
  • Three marbles of the third colour = transforming yin
  • One marble of the fourth colour = transforming yang

Simply choosing a marble from your pouch or box generates your line. This 16 token method replicates exactly the odds of the traditional, complicated yarrow stalk method, but is a much quicker and more direct way to consult the oracle.

How to consult the I Ching

  1. Take yourself to a quiet place where you won't be disturbed and set out what you need
  2. Create your question, taking your time to focus on what you actually need to know and adding in as much detail as you can. You may want to meditate on your question for a few minutes before you ask it.
  3. Write your question at the head of a blank sheet of paper
  4. Without looking, draw a marble from your pouch or box. This represents the first line of your hexagram. Mark the line beneath your question on the left hand side of your paper, remembering to leave space above for the other five lines - hexagrams are drawn from bottom to top.
  5. Replace the marble in the pouch or box.
  6. Draw marbles for your second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth lines, remembering to replace each marble back in the pouch or box before drawing again. Note the lines represented by each marble on your sheet of paper to complete your hexagram.
  7. If your primary hexagram includes any transforming lines, generate the relating figure.
  8. Consult your copy of the I Ching* to discover the number of your hexagram(s) and to read the accompanying guidance. You may want to write notes beneath your hexagrams to keep a record for future reference. Pay attention to any phrases that 'grip' you, even if you're not yet sure of the relevance to your question.

* I'm a big fan of Stephen Karcher's Total I Ching: Myths For Change.


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