to Cast a Hexagram
The most convenient method of casting a hexagram
uses three coins. The coins are tossed simultaneously to fall randomly.
It is most important that no attempt be made to control which
side up the coins fall. The way they fall yields a Yang or Yin ‘line’,
as described below. This is repeated six times, to give a pattern of
six Yang or Yin lines – a hexagram.
The only requirement in choosing coins is that
every coin has an equal
chance of falling with either side up; that is, there is no bias built
into the coins themselves. Some people may choose coins with a special
significance; I just use the change in my pocket. Small coins of the
same size are what I find most convenient.
There is no requirement of setting or location.
It can be done whenever
and wherever you are comfortable. Nor is there a particular state of
mind or attitude required. Scepticism is quite acceptable. However, in
light of the introspection involved I do recommend that the Oracle be
consulted in a private setting rather than, say, as
a party game.
It is not necessary to ask a question. The
message delivered will be
indicative of your most pressing spiritual needs, whether or not that
coincides with any question you have in mind.
Toss your three selected coins. It doesn’t matter
if they bump
up against something
or fall off a table, as long as the fall is random. If you feel unhappy
with the fall, repeat it - but only if you have not already become aware
of the result (in other words, a repeat is not valid if, for example,
you got a Yang line and you would have preferred a Yin line).
Record the resulting pattern as follows :
tails and one
head as a Yang line:
|Record two heads and one
tail as a Yin line:
|Record three heads and no
tails as an accented Yang line:
tails and no
heads as an accented Yin line:
(It is irrelevant which way you assign Yang and
Yin to heads and tails. If you prefer the opposite order to the one
illustrated, feel free to use it as long as you are consistent.)
Toss the coins again and again, six times
altogether. Record each successive line on top of the preceding line,
so that the first line is at the
bottom of the hexagram and the sixth line at the top.
After the sixth toss the hexagram is complete.
Find its interpretation
using the lookup table and read the text,
mindful of the interpretation guidelines
To illustrate the process, I am going to
cast a hexagram:
|My first toss
is two tails and one head. My partial hexagram therefore looks like:
is three tails and no heads. My partial hexagram now looks like:
|My third toss
is two tails and one head. My partial hexagram now looks like:
is two heads and one tail. My partial hexagram now looks like:
|My fifth toss
is three heads. My partial hexagram now looks like:
|My sixth toss
is also three heads. The hexagram is complete:
I consult the lookup table
and find the corresponding
hexagram, in this case
'Family'. (Note how I have ignored the accents for the purpose of finding the hexagram.) I read its text and interpret, with accents, according to the guidelines.