Fire (the hottest element) and metal (the hardest) both are associated with yang. Nevertheless, the Blue Dragon that symbolizes wood is a principal symbol of yang, while the White Tiger that symbolizes metal is a principal symbol of yin. This kind of reversal turns up frequently in the I Ching..Newborn, 1986

The I Ching is based on the principle of a broken line, representing yin, and an unbroken line, representing yang. There are eight trigrams: The I Ching Y” Jing1 uses the trigrams by combining pairs of them into 64 hexagrams. The hexagrams reuse the trigrams by combining pairs of them into 64 hexagrams. The hexagrams represent states of affairs, and the I Ching is consulted through the construction of a hexagram to answer one’s question. The construction is carried out either through a complicated process of throwing and counting yarrow stalks, or by throwing three coins. The obverse (head) of each coin is worth 3 points (odd numbers are yang), while the reverse (tail) is worth 2 (even numbers are yin). Toss three coins six times and record the results. The first coin is the bottom of the trigram, the second is the middle, and the third coin is the top. Three coins will therefore add up to either 6, 7, 8, or 9. The numbers 7 and 8 represent “young” yang and yin, respectively. Starting from the bottom up, these add a plain yang, or a plain yin, line. The numbers 6 and 9, in turn, represent “old” yin and yang, respectively, and are called “changing lines.” This illustrates an important aspect of the theory of yin and yang: Because the “Way of the Tao is Return,” yin and yang, when they reach their extremes, actually become their opposites. The “old” lines therefore change into their opposites, giving us two hexagrams if any changing lines are involved: the first hexagram, representing the current state of affairs; and the second hexagram, after the changes have been made, representing the future state of affairs. Changing lines are usually denoted by writing for a 9 and for a 6. The text of the I Ching describes the significance of each hexagram. Many interpretations have been written since the time of Confucius. I have chosen to represent only one of them. The subject of interpreting the I Ching is very complex and scholars of Chinese philosophy study it for years..Newborn, 1986

The answers one finds in the I Ching give the relations between people, within a family, or in a state. Though quaint images may be used, the center of concern in the I Ching is always ethics and morality, the behavior of human beings. For this reason, Confucius greatly favored its use as a great humanist document. No matter what “fortune” one may find in it, one learns something essential about the human condition, and, like the answers of the Delphic Oracle in Greece, the answers may have to wait a long time for the right questions to be asked. Newborn, 1986

The following table is an explanation of the trigrams.Information compiled from Newborn, 1986.

CH’IEN (chee en) the Creative

Heaven, God, strong, male, light giving, virtuous, good, the father, the leader or ruler, direct, aggressive, forceful, rigid, unyielding. the motion of the trigram is upward.

K’UN (kwen)* the Receptive

Earth, mother, female, yielding, receptive, gentle, devoted, hollow. the motion of the trigram is downward.

Neither Ch’ien nor K’un is greater than the other, nor are they opposites. They work together to bring into being All That Is. Neither one can bring things into a state of being without the help of the other.

Chen (jen) the Arousing

Thunder, the force that excites to action, the oldest son, development, forceful. The motion of the trigram is upward.

Sun (soon)* Wind, Wood

Penetrating, oldest daughter, gentle, adaptive, a tree, influence. the motion of the trigram is downward.

K’an (kun) Water, the Abyss

Danger, rain, middle son,. blood, fear moon, dark, winter, work, a pit, as in a deep hole.the motion of the trigram is downward.

LI (lee) Fire

Light, reason, clarity, middle daughter, flying bird, flame, cow, weapons. the motion of the trigram is upward.

KEN (gen)* Mountain

Stopping, heavy, youngest son, unmoving, calm, a gate or a door, pausing, inner reserve. the motion of the trigram is downward.

T’UI (dway) Marsh or Lake

Joyous, reservoir, marsh, youngest daughter, gaiety, mouth, magician, pleasure, to break in pieces or to break apart. {the motion of the kua is upward.

After the trigrams are determined, the meanings can be looked up in a book of I Ching. There are many different version now on the market. The interpretations are complex and involve the flowing and movement of the five elements and yin and yang within your life now. The I Ching interprets the direction in such energies are currently moving and give clues as to how one can act to change this movement of energies to their favor. It is still used to determine the best timing for starting a new business, if a marriage is a good idea, or where a building should be placed. It can give insight to a current situation as well as clues as to where a situation is going. The I Ching is consulted in a time of change, or to find out what needs to be done to bring a situation into balance. It does not predict the future, as many believe, but only helps one to balance in an attempt to gain harmony with the life forces in the universe. When one is in harmony, they are happy and peaceful. A condition of imbalance causes stress, anger and depression. Our goal in life as human beings is to become more in harmony with the energies of the universe. I Ching is one method that we can use to find the answers that we seek.

Works Cited

Hooker, Richard. Chinese Philosophy. Confucianism. Undated 6-6-1999. Accessed February, 2002.

Newborn, Sasha ICHING: The Book of Changes. Bandanna Books.1986

Ross, Kelley L. Ph. D. Confucius. 2000.

Accessed February, 2002.

Wei, Wu Interpreter. A Brief History…

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