Introductor y I Ching Course

from Clarity Covering everything you need to know to start divining with the I Ching

Please send any questions or comments about this course to: Hilary Barrett +44 (0)1993 881984


Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011

Part 1: Where does it come from, and what is it for? The I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle: its name means Book of Changes. Change is the only constant, in your outer and inner experience alike. The I Ching offers ways of changing your own life, and of understanding and moving with the changes around you. The oldest parts of the I Ching oracle were first written down some 3,000 years ago in ancient China. However, they are thought to come from oral wisdom traditions that are immeasurably older: how old, it is impossible to say. But what is truly remarkable about the I Ching is that it has developed organically from these ancient roots, with new ‘branches’ of theory and experience growing and flourishing over the millennia. The very oldest texts within it are known as the Zhouyi – the Changes of Zhou. This has been in continuous use since the kings of the Zhou dynasty used it to plan their campaign to overthrow the corrupt Shang rulers, in about 1000BC. Since then, generations of people who studied the oracle and consulted it for guidance in their own lives have added their own commentaries to it – practical, spiritual, and philosophical. Some of their words have been enshrined as part of the I Ching in use today. But it isn’t called the Book of Change for nothing. The modern world is finding new meanings within the oracle: it’s answering questions about everything from stock market investment to the latest New Age gurus, and new I Ching books are proliferating! (In the next part of the course, I’ll cover how to recognise a good I Ching book, and recommend some of the best available.) As you develop your own relationship with the oracle, I think you’ll find that its timeless voice speaks directly to modern concerns. 2 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011

000 years!) Probably these examples have already started you thinking about what you can achieve with the I Ching. in the 21st century. it’s more likely to be about the emotional consequences of moving in together than the political repercussions of an arranged marriage – but things do change a little over 3. all this potential remains beyond your reach. just a way to predict a future that’s set in stone.So what is it used for? You can consult the I Ching as a meditation. Early Chinese diviners asked whether they should invade a certain state. people have most often asked it specific questions about projects in their lives. authentic translation.” The I Ching brings both the wisdom to know the difference and the insight and confidence to make one. you might ask ‘what if I take this job?’ and ‘what if I don’t?’. The important thing is that it isn’t. And then as now. people have always asked the I Ching about their relationships. The Marquis of Wei. and the wisdom to know the difference. without any particular question in mind. the courage to change the things I can. I often do dream interpretation readings for clients. and give you some links where you can find free texts and information on the I Ching. (This could be because there’s no such thing…) Do you know the Serenity Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. But if you don’t get hold of a true. in 478BC. (True. was following an age-old tradition when he asked the oracle to help him understand a dream. business people ask about advertising campaigns. 3 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . However. The ancient diviners would ask two questions – ‘If the king sets forth?’ ‘If the king does not set forth?’. In the next lesson I’ll show you how to discriminate between the good translations and the all-too-common wastes of paper. and never has been.

you will need to start with a copy of it. But the I Ching as a whole contains a wealth of additional. judgements and line texts. they write out their own explanations and paraphrases. how can the I Ching speak to you if its words are taken away? A single image contains a great concentration of significance. Even when you’ve already received exactly the ‘same’ answer several times in response to other questions. part of the Ten Wings. you will find that this one is new. 4 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . who feel that the original imagery of the I Ching is simply too remote from modern perceptions. There will also be comments from the author on the original texts.Part 2: How to identify a good I Ching translation If you want to use the I Ching for yourself. (There’s a full account of the Wings and how to use them in divination in the complete I Ching Course. you create a unique relationship between your question and its answer. no? But in fact the shelves in the ‘New Age’ section of the world’s bookshops are groaning with ‘I Ching’ books that have very little to do with the I Ching. Look for the original images: the Well at Hexagram 48. The basic requirement for a I Ching translation is that it should be a translation. Beware of the words ‘modernisation’ and ‘simplification’. but make sure you can see clearly which is which. Another factor is how much of the I Ching you are getting. some who don’t. no doubt. you can perform perfectly good divinations without the more metaphysical of these commentaries. but it would all be rather flavourless… Seriously. though. Every time you ask the I Ching a question. and can be understood on many levels at once – there are always new depths of meaning to be uncovered. this creative interaction never takes place. It’s as if I told you there was someone I’d like you to meet – but instead of bringing you and him together to talk.) To be honest. The most important part is the ancient Zhouyi. But if you’re stuck with someone else’s ‘one size fits all’ interpretation. the rivers to cross and directions to move in. Sounds obvious. later commentary. What kind of communication would you have? You’d manage to share some information. and a unique set of meanings. Instead of translating it. There are many authors out there. I kept you in different rooms and ran in-between passing on summaries of what he said (or what I’d understood of what he said!). the tiger in Hexagram 10. some of whom know the I Ching well. which consists just of the name of the hexagrams.

onlineclarity. In the recommended books below.but you can manage without!) In fact. (Ideally. thanks to these two outstandingly good translations. especially in the oldest parts of the text. you can do very well without buying a single you would have a large collection of individual translations. The same character can be a verb. both available wholly free online: Yi Jing. Oracle of the Sun by LiSe Heyboer The Book of Changes: Yijing (I Ching) – Word by Word by Bradford Hatcher There are many more resources available online. and the translator’s choice of where to insert a comma can change the meaning completely. so you can begin to develop your own. This is because the Chinese characters do not work in the same way as English words.especially if they are replaced by insightful interpretations from the modern author. it could be the object or subject of a verb. with in-depth reviews and extracts to enable you to choose the translation that suits you best. I have one further recommendation for you: buy more than one if you possibly can. Having a second translation does more than just give you alternative versions to choose Here’s an up-to-date listing including translations: http://www. It liberates you from the ideas of any translator. I mention which ones include the complete I Ching. these things come and go. 5 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . Even between faithful translations of the I Ching. there are enormous differences in meaning.php In the next part: some of the best I Ching books you can get. personal understanding. But it is good to have the option of reading the complete book. noun or adverb. including complete commentaries – but in the nature of the internet. There’s practically no punctuation. a concordance and a Chinese dictionary .

and these are some questions the Oracle might be asking you with its response. It’s based on my ten years or so of experience as a diviner. There are also ‘key questions’ for each hexagram: divination with the I Ching is an ongoing conversation. creating your future This is my own work. Turning the original Chinese into ordinary. and designed to make it easier to put your readings to use. (Obviously I’m not the best person to write an impartial review of this! But you can find other people’s comments on Amazon. starting with an unusually complete introduction that offers some tips to help with interpreting your readings. and a lucid and beautiful translation built exclusively from the original Chinese characters. that was usually because it was open in front of me! It is not a ‘traditional’ I Ching .) Available from Amazon in the US and UK. Sequence and Contrasts – that I find most helpful in divination. but they are the best I know of when you’re starting out. published in 2010. Hilary Barrett: I Ching: Walking your path. It’s intended to offer an authentic experience of the I Ching to beginners. every word has been tested out on real-life readings. There would be two large piles of I Ching books on either side of me as I worked.) This is one of the books that got me started with the I Ching. lines. They’re not the only ones you can work with. I’ve included the text of the oracles. The commentary is brief and clear. flowing English is tricky: all translators have to add the odd word and bit of punctuation to make 6 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . Stephen Karcher: I Ching Plain and Simple (This is a reprint of How to Use the I Ching. and if this one wasn’t on top of a pile.Part 3: Reviews of some of the best I Ching books Here are reviews of my favourite I Ching books. and the three of the ten Wings – doesn’t have the moralising tone you find in some older translations. What it does have is probably the best introduction of any I Ching book anywhere.

Each hexagram is set out across a double page. His is not a traditional I Ching. And finally comes a sample reading. a mere 180 pages of slim paperback that includes all the parts of the I Ching you need for divination. plus insightful. and a truly comprehensive account of how to divine with it: a lot of the methods I now use with my clients were adopted or adapted from get another perspective. so it’s quick and easy to find what you’re looking for. the core of the situation) Sequence (where you’ve come from) Definition (sums up where you are) Symbol (how to work with the energies of the situation) The moving lines Lucid commentaries from Karcher on the hexagram as a whole and on each line As for that introduction I was singing the praises of… There is an account of what happens when you divine that is full of food for thought. but contains far more depth than other ‘beginner’s’ I Ching books. Available from Amazon in the US and UK. and since they are all in italics you are not limited to his understanding. All that . and it doesn’t include the Confucian commentary on each hexagram and line (he doesn’t like the Confucian approach much).something intelligible. And each includes…          Name (the title of the hexagram. This is also the I Ching I would always take away on holiday. challenging commentaries from Karcher himself. But Karcher gets away with very few to be found in 7 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .and a great wealth of traditional I Ching interpretation . showing you how to put all this together.which is what he is about to give you! There’s a brief history of the I Ching. when I can’t take the 10 or 15 translations I’d like to have with me! It packs an amazing amount of information into a tiny space. why would you want another copy? Simple . Then Karcher explains all the key words and concepts within the I Ching that you really need to understand in order to divine with the real I Ching . If Karcher’s book is all that. It is a perfect place for the beginner to start. and its associations) Image (the oracle) Outer and inner worlds Hidden possibility (the nuclear hexagram.

Alfred Huang: Complete I Ching This has another fascinating introduction. Notify your own city. display it in the king’s chambers. which seek to explain their meanings in terms of the way they relate to one another. poetic and uniquely easy to relate to. there is danger. The translation itself is in crisp. Available from Amazon in the US and UK. Likewise Huang’s own commentaries on the hexagrams are the product of centuries of I Ching tradition. Sincerely howling: There is adversity. Fruitless to take up arms. cry out even if there is adversity. To give you an idea of how different translations can be. Declaring at the king’s court. with every hexagram having ‘additional reference information’ at the end. modern English. this book is very handy as a quick reference for patterns within the I Ching. It is not advantageous to approach with arms. I often turn to Huang for his translations of the Wings . And finally. call out. Notify one’s own city: 8 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . I also very much value his personal comments on the changing lines. It is advantageous to have a direction to go.’ …and from Huang: ‘Eliminating. With truth. here is the Judgement to Hexagram 43 from my own book… ‘Deciding. Fruitful to have a direction to go. yet still with a distinctive traditional Chinese flavour. which includes many ways of consulting the oracle that you won’t find elsewhere. The information originates from the capital. but he can still relate them sensitively to modern concerns. tell it in the king’s chambers.clear.’ …and from Karcher’s… ‘Deciding. There is a connection to the spirits.

What you do get are clear. Dening has actually used the I Ching in her own work as a therapist. There are many more I Ching books .Unfavourable to use arms. simply because it isn’t one there’s no translation here. Favourable to have somewhere to go. and how it works. 9 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . they show you a creative way to understand the sometimes obscure imagery in the I Ching and translate it into modern thinking. This is definitely not a book to use as your only I download or new book .all those that I’ve bought. and developed a wealth of experience and understanding as a result. Even if they don’t apply to your particular situation (and it’s so well written that they very often will). Please feel free to drop in and browse! Wherever you choose to find your own I Ching . used and reviewed .’ If you find this more confusing than Clarity’s online I Ching bookstore. intelligent and sensitive comments on every hexagram and line of the oracle. the Everyday I Ching. There are many books of commentary on the I Ching out there to help you while you find your own ‘interpreters’ feet’.in the next part of the course you’ll get an understanding of what it’s made of. One of the best of these that I know of comes from Sarah Dening. don’t worry.

which have their roots in the basic insights it contains. This is the basic Chinese understanding of every cycle of nature: the sun shines out (yang). which can be broken (yin) or solid (yang). yin and yang. What’s more. while yang becomes more yin. everything is always moving and changing. the moon waxes (yang) and wanes (yin). the summer changes to autumn and winter changes to spring. Please bear with me! This is the knowledge you need really to understand what is happening when you consult the I Ching: it’s what makes it a complete and beautiful world of divination. The I Ching’s 64 hexagrams are simply stacks of six lines. yang show the sunny side. Yang is dynamic. If you’ve read any books on feng shui. Yin is more passive. you’ll learn an easy method of consulting it. and they only exist in relation to one another. the ideas and concepts that give you your reading. yin receives and responds. and so the beings with yin qualities are constantly becoming more yang. however: they are more like ways of relating. it is bright and vivid. But first I’d like to share a little more of the extraordinary architecture of the I Ching. (And it also gives Amazon time to deliver you your own copy!) In Chinese thought. you may well have seen long tables comparing and contrasting yin and yang. You can see that this is true from the Chinese characters for yin and yang: yin shows the shaded side of a hill. You can’t have half a hill. The I Ching adds that those who are small and humble naturally grow. The lines represent the way yin and yang are interacting and working 10 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .Part 4: The working parts Have you got your own I Ching yet? In Part 6. All you need to remember is that yang initiates and drives things. not just a random collection of obscure aphorisms. and you can’t have yin without yang or yang without yin. receiving the yang impulse and growing it into something real. These aren’t ‘forces’ as in ‘force of gravity’. But the I Ching is both older and simpler than these systems. and those who are ‘over-full’ are naturally diminished. it starts things and drives them forward. flexible and responsive. the whole universe is built up from two fundamental forces. then sets (yin).

like flicking a light switch. You’ll remember that I said yin and yang were perpetually changing into one another? This understanding is also represented in the way the I Ching works. sometimes (in one reading in 4) none are. The dark. 11 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . the answer begins as just one of the 64 hexagrams. and all six lines will be changing! Associated with every line of the I Ching is a ‘line text’. and people who receive this hexagram are often feeling impatient. There is a tradition that this hexagram represents the winter solstice. You can see how in time it will grow and surge up through the hexagram. Very. capturing the essence of what is involved. from the bottom line to the top: you can almost think of them as footprints. or ‘moving’. Usually there are one or two that are changing their state. solid yang . quiet yin still dominates the situation: this isn’t an instant return. The yang energy of light and initiative is represented only in the first.there are really four distinct energies that can be present: Young yin.broken yin.together in this unique situation. When you consult the I Ching. The hexagram of your answer can contain any combination of these kinds of line. bottom line: it is just beginning to enter the situation. which has just become yin and will be stable for a while Old yin. which is just changing into yang Young yang. For example… X Hexagram 24 represents return and rebirth: any situation that is completely turned around and begins afresh. the darkest moment of the year that is also the moment when light begins its return. everything will be in flux. changing into yin. newly yang and stable for now Old yang. they offer no resistance. you read its text: an image telling you exactly where you stand (or might choose to stand) in relation to the landscape painted by the hexagram as a whole. The energy flows upwards through the lines. But the yin lines are open to welcome the returning yang. But in most answers. very occasionally. visible signs of the way everything is moving. If a line is changing. Even though there are just the two kinds of lines . it doesn’t stop there.

See lesson 6 of the I Ching Course for many strategies and worked examples. Often it shows the energies that you are bringing to the situation. In fact. yin and yang. you’ll probably want to look further into the hexagrams of sequence. nuclear hexagram and patterns of change. You can explore all these at onlineClarity. Do you begin to see the scope and subtlety of this? You can find out what the situation is and where you stand in it. there is a lot more technical information you can use to explore the full depth of the I Ching.Aside: One of the most common questions from I Ching beginners (and advanced users) is how to cope with the readings with many changing lines. All this from the unfolding of just two simple energies. moving lines also give you a further perspective on your question. As your relationship with it develops. This can show you how the situation could develop. For now. the contrasts and opposites. the most important thing is to start a conversation with the oracle. But as well as the line text(s). And I’ll be happy to help you to learn to get the most out of your own readings through the personal tuition option. so that the points in it represented by the moving lines change to connect it with you. and also develop a greater understanding of yourself and your role. When all the moving lines have changed into their opposites . or how you personally are responding to it. though.broken becoming solid. solid becoming broken . called the Relating Hexagram.a new hexagram is created. The next part of the course will look at some of the questions you might ask… 12 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .

Any of these is fine . the I Ching will encourage them to ‘retrace the oracle consultation to its source’. you have to begin by asking yourself a series of searching questions! Think of it as the beginning of the conversation. The most important thing from the start . Let all the issues. where it comes from. If it doesn’t. and the ideas behind it. or for prediction.the foundation for the whole experience . none of the above. You can do this before you start. and I’ll show you how to make the most of your relationship with this extraordinary oracle. ask yourself this: ‘What do I most need to know about this?’ Basically there are three different questions you are likely to find yourself asking the I Ching:  What is happening here? Please explain!  What can I do to change this? Please show me how!  What if I tried doing this? Please show me what this might lead to! In other words. Hopefully you also have a I Ching of your own! But try to tear yourself away from it for long enough to read this. you might be asking for a description. hopes and fears involved come to the surface. Before you phrase the question. you need to immerse yourself in it. the translation you buy. This is the longest section so far . the method and ritual you observe? the question you ask. The I Ching is asking silently ‘How can I help? What do you need me to show you?’ You owe it to your Self to be fully present in your answer.for good reason! What is the first and most important thing in any act of divination? The oracle you use. Sometimes when people ask questions they haven’t clearly thought out. What has brought you to the oracle? What do you want to achieve? How do you expect this answer to help? What are you expecting to hear… dreading hearing… hoping to hear? Odd but true: to bring a real question to the oracle. Often this process will lead you straight to the question you want to ask. solid understanding of what the I Ching is.Part 5: Finding the real question By now you have a strong. or for long as you are clear in your own mind about what you are 13 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .

If someone asked you this question. Otherwise there is always the temptation to say ‘no. Why ‘almost’? Because sometimes what we ask doesn’t reflect what is really bothering us. Often a single problem will lead you to ask all three kinds of question in turn. start by asking for a picture of the situation. like ‘should I do this or that?’.at least three things wrong with it. The I Ching has 64 hexagrams. But it will almost always give you a direct answer to your question. Before you cast your hexagram (more about how to do that in the next part of this course!). ‘I don’t know. write your question down. as your conversation with the I Ching develops your ideas. asking the I Ching questions with alternatives in. ‘Am I going to become a millionaire and am I going to marry the girl of my dreams?’ Not a good question . the question. and 384 lines. I find that such answers are rare indeed . now reduced to ‘Am I going to become a millionaire?’ Well. or ‘no’.) The I Ching itself may choose to answer with a combination of description and advice according to what you most need at the time.and it often will! And that leads us straight to the basic problem. there are just two answers to that: ‘yes’. I would definitely recommend that you assume that the oracle has answered your question straightforwardly. or what we really need to know in that moment. for example. the I Ching can find a way to answer my question directly and also to show me any misconceptions behind it. (If in doubt. Take. Unless the reading speaks to you quite clearly about something else. You just need to follow the tradition of the earliest diviners and ask two questions: ‘What if I tried option a?’. Likewise. it must be about something else!’ Are there any wrong questions? There’s certainly nothing you can’t ask about. They need asking one at a time. in fact! Firstly. that can’t be right. it’s a bit more complicated than that…’ . what are you planning to do to become a millionaire?’ 14 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . and none of them say ‘yes’ or ‘no’! That doesn’t mean you can’t get a straight answer from it . how would you answer them? Maybe. there are two questions here.expecting from the answer. ‘what about option b?’ Back to our useless question.just that it is well equipped to say to you ‘actually. (Though people who try to use the oracle for immoral ends may well find that it doesn’t say what they’d like to hear!) But there are good and bad ways to phrase your question. does not work well.most often.

15 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . if you do nothing about it. There are more productive and more interesting questions to ask than just ‘What’s going to happen to me?’ Like. Actually there is a fourth: What do I need to know now? Nothing more than that: no subject. Whatever. When you’ve tried clear. allowing you to interact with it in a completely different way. direct questions.other people have free will. no preconceptions.simply opening yourself to whatever the universe has to tell you in this moment. you won’t get far. The I Ching might answer something like ‘Well. ‘If I devote my whole life utterly to promoting my new musical toothpicks. So there’s no definitive answer to ‘will my Aunt Aggie lend me the money?’ if Aggie hasn’t decided yet.) One other point . But as a question for the I Ching. too. meditative approach to the I Ching. you have free will. this really is a great improvement. most popular way to consult the I Ching. In the next chapter: the simplest. What happens depends in the first place on what you do. Yet it’s amazing how many people encounter an oracle and seem to forget who is actually in control of their lives. will it make me a millionaire?’ (Hmmm. I said that there were three basic questions you could ask. This is a quiet.Seems sensible. But if you were to try this…’ In other words. You might learn how she feels about it at the moment. but she’s free to change her mind. try this as well .

one tail: Three heads: {PRIVATE}Record the line you have received. You will need three identical coins with recognisably different faces .the primary hexagram. bottom line of your hexagram.Part 6: How to consult This is where we get down to brass tacks . Now. Add up the result .once you’ve chosen your question. just remember this: Three tails: Two tails. each tail counts two. You remember .e. how do you actually consult the oracle? This three-coin method is the most popular. though you can buy special Chinese coins if you wish. Throw the three coins together.the coins in your purse are fine.) Number 6 7 8 9 Line-type changing broken line unchanging solid line unchanging broken line changing solid line Yin/yang old yin young yang young yin old yang Written Or if you’d rather not have numbers to remember. Repeat the same process five more times. and you can use it straight away. Write down all six lines. one head: Two heads. working from the bottom up to the 6th and last line.they’re just a convenient way to get a reading.7. the landscape where you find will be 6. i.8 or 9.the basic answer. and you have the key to your answer . did you get any changing lines? 16 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . This is the first. (And don’t worry about the numbers . Each head counts three.

actually consulting the I Ching is the only way you’ll learn to understand the answers. if deep knowledge you never imagined you had is stirring within you.If not. the question you need to ask is simple: ‘What role is there for the I Ching in my life?’) Go on. (There’s much more information on what to do with a single-hexagram answer in Lesson 7 of the full course. and it probably won’t be hard to think of a question! (But if you still can’t think of one.with your reading done.if you are enveloped by an extraordinary feeling of being understood and recognised. Believe me. if you can feel the first tremors of a great inner explosion of new ideas. this hexagram is your answer. you’re probably experiencing one of two reactions: “Aha!” or “Eh??” If it’s “aha!” .let them change! Every old yin becomes young yang Every old yang becomes young yin The other lines stay the same. Could anyone get to know you just by browsing through your photo album? But odd though this seems. And then . if you are smiling at the book or weeping over it… …then you are one of the lucky and gifted few! 17 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . If you’ve got your I Ching (even just a free one you downloaded) why not consult it now? Ask yourself what you most need to know to make your life better.) If you did receive changing lines. you also read the ones associated with the changing lines you received. This is where things stand and where they stay: read the basic texts and commentaries in your translation. there are academics out there who imagine they can ‘know’ the I Ching just by reading about it… So . but none of the line texts. And you’ve built your relating hexagram. then as well as reading the basic texts for the hexagram.

but for now why not take the time to live with your own for a while? I’m not going to try to sell you my professional help with it until you’ve had the time to absorb it for yourself. it will work for you. Enjoy them!  Let it rest: why not get away from the computer screen and go outside for a while?  Sleep on it. And in a way. Don’t worry: given time and acceptance. and there’s nothing wrong with you. 18 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .  Does the I Ching mention any people? Armies. and look for them in your life. The I Ching’s been working for some 3. This is your answer. I know I didn’t. Tomorrow I’ll show you a sample reading. your intuition is still older. what next? First. understand there is nothing wrong with the I Ching. So if it’s “Eh??”.Most people don’t achieve such a wonderful rapport with the I Ching on their first reading. kings.  Try reading what the I Ching said without paying much attention to the translator’s commentaries (including mine).000 years. sages? Do you recognise them?  Let your imagination play with the images.  Read right through your whole answer. it hasn’t broken yet.  Look at the actions the I Ching describes.

things are not brilliant. Favorable to cross great rivers. But not all of the I Ching’s words here seem to apply . Being sincere and faithful. Brilliantly prosperous and smooth. and being steadfast in the relationship had not brought good fortune. But she couldn’t bring herself to make a conclusive break . and they’d already split up several times in the past.she felt as if there must be something of value to be saved.Part 7: A sample reading While there’s really no substitute for experience in building your own relationship with the I Ching. the relating hexagram seems to be more about what she desperately needs than what she has right now.or. giving a relating hexagram of 5. It answered with primary hexagram 48. So she asked the I Ching about the future potential of her relationship. Her partner was violent and abusive. she doesn’t need violence and abuse any more than the fields needed storms and floods… ‘Needing. ‘The superior person eats and drinks. I think you’ll still find it helpful to look at a sample answer from someone else.’ Huang explains that this means both waiting for what you need. So here it is: “What’s the potential in this relationship?” Her relationship was not in good health. because it can show how you relate to the issues. but suffering in the meantime. and also confronting danger. Perhaps there could be another way to be steadfast and upright? Maybe by taking the risk of crossing the river to something completely new? Overall. as Alfred Huang calls it in his Complete I Ching.’ She is on something more like a starvation diet: waiting for the climate in the relationship to change. feasting with joy. Of course. Waiting . the Well. She needs the emotional sustenance of a relationship like a parched field needed rain. Needing. with the first line changing. Being steadfast and upright: good fortune. She is the one who is waiting and watching for what she needed. 19 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . It’s sometimes a help actually to start with the relating hexagram.

surely she can find what she needs? The relationship certainly came and went. Neither loses nor gains. Looking back at her original question. And they report that.misfortune. Old well. after this reading. she needs to look at the moving line: ‘Mud in the well. It’s not just that this is what she has experienced in the past . drawing. maybe what you need or fear most. Coming and going. Not the well.What she really needs to know is whether the wait is worthwhile. no birds. This reading is based on a sample question and answer in ‘The I Ching Made Easy’ by Amy and Rod Sorrell. drawing water from its well to keep her alive. The primary hexagram should tell her more of the objective reality of the situation . Somewhere deep in this relationship. she moved in and out. 20 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . (Note: all the readings I do for customers are completely confidential: I never quote them. Break one’s bucket .) To sum up You might like to look at the relating hexagram first.’ She can almost smell the stagnant.’ The well has to be the source of sustenance she is looking for. she’d actually asked about the future potential of the relationship. the questioner finally managed to break free. but whatever was there stayed the same. The site of a village may be moved. not even anonymously. What she needs is just not here. Nearly out of the well. But remember it’s your response to the situation.what is it really about? ‘Replenishing. No drinking. The only problem came when she couldn’t quite get to the water… But to find out exactly where she stands. drawing. lifeless water.she can expect more of the same.

The I Ching came back with Hexagram 54.(Actually. so she’s stuck in a subordinate position.and it’s a very emphatic one! For example. (And so I didn’t!) I hope you are enjoying your own conversation with the I Ching! I’ll step out now and leave you to get to know each other .-) 21 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . Look to them for the definitive answer to your question.I couldn’t compete with the huge.) The primary hexagram contains the beginnings of the objective answer to your situation. I once asked about advertising in magazines. evaluating the role of the relating hexagram in your reading is probably the most difficult part: lesson 5 of the full I Ching Course is devoted to this.offer the most direct. the Marrying Maiden. The moving line . personal response. This hexagram describes a young girl who arrives in a household as the second wife. There's no point in her trying to take control or pursue her personal goals. No moving lines? Then your whole answer is right here in this hexagram . Better not to get into such an unrewarding situation. established companies that already advertised in the magazines. with no moving lines.or lines . This was simple and to the point .

You can recognise a good translation when you see one.Part 8: What now? As you’ve worked your way through this course. As you connect the hexagrams of the I Ching with real life. and asking for help. 22 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 . People come from all over the globe. you’ve built up an impressive knowledge of the I Ching.) So how can you take this to the next level.according to Pocossin. This is what makes Clarity . But you can magnify this growth enormously by sharing your insights. in a community. You know how the I Ching works. how and when you want. and bring a wealth of experience in both the I Ching and other divination methods. there is simply no substitute for experience. I wish I could explain how much! (I won’t succumb to hype and tell you that “this will change your life”. You know how to find the right questions to ask the I Ching . I hope you’re impressed with yourself! :-) Do you begin to see the potential of what you have begun here? You could use the I Ching to get to grips with the most important issues in your own life. your own understanding will grow. It could – but it’s your life to change. and grow the seed you’ve planted here into a skill you can feel confident in? Become a friend If you are to become truly confident in your I Ching divination skills. one of the members there . You know where it comes from and what it can be used for. and become part of the community who share readings and advice at our forums. There is so much depth in this oracle that no one person will ever comprehend it all. And you have the opportunity to help your friends and family to do the same. to clarify your dreams and find practical ways to make them happen. the technical jargon can’t faze you. I would like to invite you to join Clarity as a Friend. I still find I gain new insights from every new translation or commentary I read.‘absolutely the most practical I Ching site on the Internet. … There is nothing like it even in print’ Get some different translations Even with a dozen or so I Ching translations stacked on my desk (and a good few more on the bookshelf…). I’ve found helping others through the I Ching to be fantastically rewarding.and you’ve talked with the oracle yourself.

and it frees you to develop your own understanding. I also review them in the I Ching Bookstore .please feel free to visit and browse! 23 Introductory I Ching Course © Hilary J Barrett 2011 .But reading more I Ching books is not just a matter of ‘collecting’ interpretations until you have one for every occasion! Seeing the wealth of interpretations that are possible lets you reach towards the unchanging core they share. As I add I Ching books to my own collection (and only then!).

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