Description of I Ching
_______________
_______________
_______   _______
_______________
_______________
_______   _______

     What is the I Ching? Well the I Ching is simply the name of a book; however the origins of the contents of the book go back to the early Bronze Age in China, which arguably makes it the oldest book on the planet. The name I Ching is of course Chinese and it means in English something like "The Book of Change(s)." The "I" part means Change(s) and the "Ching" part means book or perhaps classic text is a better translation. The work is often simply referred to as "The Changes." The contents of the I Ching consist of a number of arrangements of lines. The lines are either whole _________ or are broken ____ ____. The whole lines represent the qualities of Yang energy and the broken lines that of Yin energy. These lines are arranged in groups of six vertically one on top of the other. These groups of six lines are called hexagrams. Each of these hexagrams is given a name, has characteristics given to it and a meaning associated with it. There are 64 such hexagrams as this is the maximum number of ways that you can arrange these groups of broken and unbroken lines. The Book of Changes has been used as an Oracle since the Bronze Age in China, although modern research suggests that it may have originated as a farming almanac.
      It is the oldest Oracle that has come down to us unchanged from ancient times. Many scholars have written commentaries on the I Ching, on the work itself and also on the individual hexagrams. The most famous of these is probably that written by Confucius, or Kung-fu-tse, which dates to about 500 BCE. In fact many of the translations that are in print today incorporate a lot of what Confucius had to say on the subject. So it is likely that he would recognize a modern I Ching as not being that much different from the one that he worked with throughout his life.
    The mechanics of consulting the I Ching are for our purpose quite simple (although there is a much longer process involving manipulating strips of wood) and only require the tossing of 3 coins, such as pennies. This action is carried out six times and gives you the number of one (sometimes and quite often two) of the hexagrams of the I Ching. This hexagram is the one that is the answer to the question that you asked before you threw the coins down. In effect you have consulted the oracle and obtained an answer. Of course knowing how to frame a suitable question and how to interpret the answer you receive are the "secrets" behind the I Ching and there are no "easy" answers to this. Confucius said that he wished he had another 50 years of life which he would devote to studying the I Ching and thus avoid many errors.
    The I Ching is much more than just an oracle; its underlying philosophies are based around Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism and it is worth studying on its own, completely outside its uses as an oracle. There are nowadays many, many translations of the I Ching available and it’s difficult to name just one as it very much depends on if you want to use it simply as an oracle or for more philosophical purposes. I would recommend getting several, to see which translator/ interrupter suits you best. I personally like: "The Classic of Changes" as interpreted by Wang Bi and translated by Richard John Lynn. "How to use the I Ching" by Stephen Karcher. "I Ching or book of changes" The Richard Wilhelm translation. "The Book of Change" by John Blofeld. "The I Ching or Book of Changes" by Brian Browne Walker. There are as I say, many others and a search on Amazon.com will find a lot more than those listed above.
     I would like to conclude by saying that in the over 45 years that I have been using, studying and working with the I Ching that I have never had it give me an inaccurate answer.
     My name is John Docwra and I have been using and studying the I Ching since I was 17.