Guidelines for Interpreting Hexagrams
Oracle of Love


If the text of the hexagram you have cast offers an obvious answer to a question you have in mind, then its interpretation is straightforward. But if its meaning is not clear then it is likely that the Oracle is trying to draw your attention to another matter of higher spiritual priority. Similarly, if you have no question in mind, then the hexagram is relating to your most pressing spiritual issue. This interpretive technique is intended to help you identify the issue that is most important from the Oracle's point of view.

Understanding the relevance of a hexagram to your situation is not an exact science. The process is very subjective and intuitive. Boldness of imagination, caution, patience and inquisitiveness are the tools of a good explorer. The hexagram texts are a guide to what the Oracle is trying to say - they are not literally what the Oracle is saying. It is up to you to sift through the clues to arrive at the message that is relevant to you.

The most reliable guide to relevance is consistency. It is just as difficult for the Oracle to say what it means with a limited vocabulary and a volatile medium as it is for us to understand it. So rather than attribute great portent to a single hexagram, wait until the significance of a message becomes clear by repetition. Many hexagrams have similar meanings and common themes soon become obvious.

If a message is important it will be repeated in one form or another until you get it.

Regularly following up, or using the multi-hexagram conversation technique, is an effective way to establish consistency of theme.

The random fall of a hexagram means that it is free of personal and environmental control, thereby allowing the spiritual influence to be expressed. But it may happen that there is no spiritual interest in a situation, in which case the hexagram reflects only the raw play of Yang and Yin. A sure sign of spiritual interest is a consistent theme in your hexagrams.

There is always one particular thread running through your reality that the Oracle would like you to focus on. Of the many possible activities you could engage in or things that you could pay attention to, there is this one that the Oracle prefers. The challenge of finding how a hexagram is relevant to you is to find that preferred thread.

The first thing to notice is whether the meaning of a hexagram is obvious and something immediately comes to mind. One could say that the meaning 'clicks' or 'rings a bell'. This is a very good indication of relevance. But one is not always so lucky.

The next thing to do is to cast your mind over all the situations you are involved in and choose the situation that seems to best fit the meaning of the hexagram. Let your imagination roam. It is often an imaginative association of images and ideas that gives the clue to a hexagram's relevance. (Classical I Ching texts such as the Wilhelm/Baynes translation are rich in suggestive imagery.) Apply the indications of the hexagram to the chosen situation and proceed to act cautiously in that direction. At the next consultation, check to see if the meaning of the new hexagram remains consistent with and supportive of the activity you have undertaken. If yes, you are heading in the right direction and may proceed more assertively; if not find another situation to test. You will know you have found the right thread when you get a string of hexagrams consistent with and supportive of that activity.

Having found consistency and acted accordingly, you will know that it is time to move on to a new situation when the theme of your consultations change.

Except for matters of Love, I have found that the Oracle rarely suggests new activities for me to pursue. It's as if it feels that I am the best judge of what needs to be done in my life, as long as I don't neglect my duty as a Lover. But having embarked on a course of action on my own initiative, the Oracle will often comment on that action.

General Tips

Take it easy on portent. Rarely will a message have life-or-death implications. Conversation can relate to a major strategic issue in your life but it is just as likely to be related to the ice-cream you are eating right now. The Oracle places great value on the present moment, and on the depth and subtlety of perception and expression that we can bring to bear on it. For the Oracle, it is the directness of our engagement with immediate reality that is the chief determinant of our happiness. Even when it does relate to a long term goal, a message is more likely to encourage (or discourage) each small step as it is encountered along the way.

A hexagram may be requesting you to adjust your behaviour but it may also be providing only a neutral comment.

Be flexible about interpreting the tense of a hexagram. The message may referring to the present, past or future, no matter how tense specific the text of the hexagram may appear to be. For example, the text of the Hexagram SHOCK reads: "Make a strong effort to do something physical." It could well be that the hexagram is referring to a physical action that has already completed. It is usually quite obvious when a hexagram is describing something that has happened in the past or is happening in the present, for we have already become aware of it. It is those hexagrams that at first appear quite irrelevant that are usually indicative of future events. So when a hexagram appears irrelevant, try to keep it in mind for a while. An event may occur that makes the hexagram meaningful and it is then helpful to have the Oracle's perspective available.

An indication that the time is appropriate for a particular activity does not mean that the activity will be easy to accomplish or even that it will succeed, but that if you do accomplish it the experience will be spiritually rewarding.

It should not be taken for granted that you are the subject of a message. It could well be that another person is being discussed. It sometimes happens that the Oracle is referring to itself.

Situations are dynamic. The way an event unfolds or the action you take in response to a hexagram may radically change a situation to the point where a prognostication of just a short while ago may no longer be valid. So stay on your toes.

When a contrary indication is given, for example to both act and refrain from action, take it to mean that there is a question as to which is appropriate. If one or the other is not decidedly clear, it is best to err on the side of caution.

Remember it is ultimately your choice as to whether you follow the Oracle's advice or not.

About Love

Exhortations to Love abound in the Oracle. They beg us to pay close attention to our feelings and how our feelings are interacting with our environment and with other people. Love should be understood in the very particular sense described in the Introduction, notably as a palpable experience of vibrant feeling, especially when relating to others.

These exhortations to Love are very favourable, as expressions of Love are the pinnacle of achievement for the Oracle. An exhortation to Love means that, from the Oracle's point of view, Love is readily accessible. We should therefore look for or make opportunities to Love even at the expense of other possibly more pressing activities, to whatever degree we can afford.

I have found the following activities to be appropriate responses to these exhortations:

The most highly prized engagement in Love is an encounter with a partner in intimate sexual relation and this should be favoured if such relation is at all possible. Mutual orgasm elicits the deepest spiritual appreciation.

The opportunities for such a prize are rare. External conditions are often awkward, or partners not available or not agreeable. But sexual activity need not be put off until circumstances are perfect - a compromised arrangement is acceptable if appropriate and in harmony with the spiritual influence. Sexual activity alone or in the context of a one sided (but willing) relationship can deliver appreciable depth of feeling. This does not mean sex at all costs, for without desire, warmth and excitement, responses will be shallow if not impossible.

Sex is valued by the Oracle for its own sake. It does not see sexual activity as a reward to be earned only after hardship or as something to be transformed into a superior spiritual energy. Unless indicated to the contrary, there is no necessity to conserve sexual energy or avoid ejaculation, no compunction to either nurture or avert a pregnancy and no objection to contraception. The Oracle places no general constraint on the circumstances or regularity of sexual activity other than it be appropriate and consensual, and an exhortation to Love is an indication that sexual activity is spiritually appropriate. Note that spiritual appropriateness is not always consistent with social appropriateness, for example when social conditions are awkward or a possible sexual encounter contravenes a promise of fidelity one has made. Satisfaction will vary with every encounter but sex that is appropriate and consensual is always welcomed by the Oracle. A period of quietude after orgasm is also appreciated.

Meditation can be a deeply felt experience of Love. The considered use of some psychoactive drugs can also provide a deeper awareness of feeling. Encounters with beauty, in art, music or nature often provide a spontaneous opening of one's attention to Love. Great artists are capable of revealing Love to us and making it accessible.

Exercises such as meditation can also assist to tune one's mind towards purity of feeling. A mind thus practised can engage in Love with deeper sincerity and greater clarity. As well, becoming practised in focusing the attention and avoiding distraction means that valued moments of relational intimacy will be less likely to be interrupted when outside influences intrude.

Less intimate encounters with family, friends or even society at large can be enjoyed as expressions of Love when the give and take of their relational interaction can be directly felt and engaged with, like the feeling of a dance.


While exhortations to Love should be received favourably, they should not be taken to necessarily indicate success, not even in matters of Love. The Oracle is not a master of reality. It can't make things happen. The universal spirit, whom the Oracle aims to represent, influences the world but does not control it.

There are situations that the Oracle is quite blind to, particularly relating to the rules that operate in our formal social structures. When it comes to matters of business and politics extreme caution must be exercised. At such times it is well to remember that, although the Oracle offers an enhanced perspective of reality, its guidance is inclined towards matters of Love and spirituality. This can be illustrated by the simple example of the Oracle indicating that NOW is a really good time to seek Love when one is in a rush to catch the morning train for work. In cases like this, it becomes your choice as to what you can afford to do. I myself don't take risks if other people might suffer.

Many traditional scholars of religious texts seek deeper meaning by analysing the possible nuances revealed in finer and finer examinations of the details of a text, right down to the choice and placement of words in the text or even the spelling of a word. In the Oracle of Love meaning is more likely to be found in the larger theme of a communication than in its detail. There is an acceptance that the medium of the Oracle is inexact and that interpretations will be highly subjective. While particular words may trigger associations that are meaningful at the time of a consultation, searching for lasting meaning by analysing nuances of the text is more likely to mislead than enlighten.

The non-human nature of the Oracle also represents a risk for us. Its insistence on its agenda can sometimes lead to embarrassment and hurt feelings when not moderated by our own human sense of tact. It is well to remember that its agenda does not necessarily match our own, for many of our sensitivities arise from a human vulnerability that it does not share. Following its agenda requires a certain boldness, but it also requires a wariness for our own frailty.

There is an important aspect of the Oracle of which we need not be wary. I have found it to be entirely free of vengeance, deceit and sarcasm. Its messages are always simple and direct. This is evidenced in the patience and persistence with which it pursues its agenda. One need fear no kind of retribution if one does not follow its advice - there are times when the risk or discomfort is too great. No matter how inappropriate our responses may be, the Oracle always comes back to reinforce its message in the most direct manner.

Home Hexagram Lookup Table Introduction Conversations Free Ebook!