Yijing Divination
From Turtles to Stalks to Coins
Divination with tortoise shell, yarrow stalks, and coins

  • To the Heads side, we associate the value 3. This represents the yang or positive principle.
  • To the Tails side, we associate the value 2. This represents the yin or negative principle.
six (old yin)
Tails + Tails + Tails = 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 (Old Yin)

seven (young yang)
Tails + Tails + Heads = 2 + 2 + 3 = 7 (Young Yang)

eight (young yin)
Tails + Heads + Heads = 2 + 3 + 3 = 8 (Young Yin)
nine (old yang)
Heads + Heads + Heads = 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 (Old Yang)
The old (moving) lines are called “changing” lines because they change into their opposite values. When these lines appear (and often times they do not), we have what is called a “moving hexagram.” This means one or more lines in the hexagram are 6’s (Old Yin) or 9’s (Old Yang). For these hexagrams, we draw a second hexagram next to the first one, replacing all old yin lines with young yangs, and replacing all old yangs with young yins.

For example, the following may represent a typical reading:

Initial Hexagram: Moving

Second Hexagram: Resolved
Line 6 = 8 (Young Yin)eight (young yin)
eight (young yin)8 (Young Yin)
Line 5 = 9 (Old Yang)nine (old yang) eight (young yin)8 (Young Yin)
Line 4 = 7 (Young Yang)seven (young yang)
seven (young yang)7 (Young Yang)
Line 3 = 8 (Young Yin)eight (young yin)
eight (young yin)8 (Young Yin)
Line 2 = 6 (Old Yin)six (old yin) seven (young yang)7 (Young Yang)
Line 1 = 7 (Young Yang)seven (young yang)
seven (young yang)7 (Young Yang)
Once you have your hexagrams, you can look them up with the following chart:
Trigram/Hexagram Chart

Then read the “judgment,” “image,” and any changing “lines” for the initial hexagram, as well as the “judgment” and “image” of the second hexagram:
I. Initial Hexagram
Following (#17)
Hexagram 17

The Judgment
Following has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. No blame.

In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself.  If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to follow him.  If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating factions, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence.  But even joyous movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, “Perseverence futhers” — that is, consistency in doing right — together with “No blame.”  Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm.
     The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is favorable.
Taiji with bagua

The Image
Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of Following.
Thus the superior man at nightfall
Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.

In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests.  Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image — thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion.  The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image.  Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates time of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night.  No situation can become favorable until one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.
six (old yin)
nine (old yang)

The Lines
Six in the second place means:
If one clings to the little boy,
One loses the strong man.

In friendships and close relationships an individual must make a careful choice.  He surrounds himself either with good or with bad company; he cannot have both at once.  If he throws himself away on unworthy friends he loses connection with people of intellectual power who could further him in the good.

Nine in the fifth place means:
Sincere in the good. Good fortune.

Every man must have something he follows--something that serves him as a lodestar.  He who follows with conviction the beautiful and the good may feel himself strengthened by this saying.
Chinese character for "change" (the "yi" of Yijing)
II. Second Hexagram
The Marrying Maiden (#54)

Hexagram 54

The Judgment
Undertakings bring misfortune.
Nothing that would further.

A girl who is taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave with special caution and reserve.  She must not take it upon herself to supplant the mistress of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to untenable relationships.
     The same is true of all voluntary relationships between human beings.  While legally regulated relationships evince a fixed connection between duties and rights, relationsips based on personal inclination depend in the long run entirely on tactful reserve.
     Affection as the essential principle of relatedness is of the greatest importance in all relationships in the world.  For the union of heaven and earth is the origin of the whole of nature. Among human beings likewise, spontaneous affection is the all-inclusive principle of union.
Taiji with bagua

The Image
Thunder over the lake:
Thus the superior man
Understands the transitory
In the light of the eternity of the end.

Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolizes the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will suceed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.
Yijing dude
Yijing commentary from the Wilhelm/Baynes translation:
The I Ching or Book of Changes