Generally, when consulting the I Ching you can treat the Oracle as a friend who knows you well. Therefore there is no real need to formally write down your questions. So if all else fails it is OK to mull over your situation for a few seconds, rummage through your dice or coins and then just cast a hexagram.
However, on this web site, it is necessary to put in a question because if you are going to share with other people, they need a point of reference. Also to help build meaningful questions, the form requires that you put in a minimum number of words for each of the fields.
To get you started when you can’t think of a question, I have posted the example questions from the book and of course there will be shared questions from other users.
Yes / no or either / or and multi-part questions should be avoided. It is best to ask about the effect of a particular action; the path toward a certain goal; the status of a specific relationship, and so forth.
Whether you use coins or dice, getting a good tumble is very important to ensure that the hexagram is random. When using dice, you also seem to get a better throw, and have more control over where they land.
In the book I have included details of two methods for consulting the I Ching. These are the traditional coin method and the dice method.
I devised the dice method out of frustration with coins going everywhere when tossed yet again! My wife and I have also found that the very act of rummaging for the “right” dice; while thinking about the question helps us to relax and “tune in” to the I Ching.
The following is just a handy reference.
1a: With coins take 3 ‘like’ coins. Count ‘heads’ as 3 and ‘tails’ as 2.
1b: With dice chose 3. Count ‘odd’ numbers (1, 3 and 5) as 3 and ‘even’ numbers (2, 4 and 6) as 2. Tip: Do NOT count the ‘dots’.
2: While thinking about your question, cup the coins/dice in your hands give them a good shake then toss them onto a table. Your total will come to 6, 7, 8 or 9. Repeat for each of the six lines. The first toss gives the bottom line and so on upward. Much like the floors in a building the lines of a hexagram are numbered from the bottom/ground up.
3: Traditionally; a ‘9’ line is drawn as a solid line with an ‘O’ to act as a reminder that it changes to a broken line in the second hexagram. A ‘6’ line is drawn as a broken line with an ‘X’; to indicate that it becomes a solid line in the second hexagram. The table below shows how each line is considered in the first and second hexagram. As you look up the hexagram disregard the Xs & Os and just think of broken and solid lines.
|Count||Line||First Hexagram||Second Hexagram|
|8||―― ――||―― ――||―― ――|
I have been using the dice method for over ten years. In that time I have noticed that when a throw comes up with three of a kind (all 2’s, all 5’s all 6’s etc.), that line has more relevance to the question.
When this happens, I draw a star by the line number as a reminder to pay extra attention to that line when reading the changing lines of the hexagram.
Therefore when you get multiple changing lines in a hexagram, the text of the ‘all of a kind’ changing lines stand out as having more meaning and relevance to the question being asked. This text re-iterates the answer being given.
For example, in the worked examples (How is my future looking?) The first hexagram lines 2, 3, 4 and six are changing but line 3 is a three of a kind line. So the text for that line could well be more significant to you than the text for the other changing lines.
This all of a kind situation is more relevant when you have multiple changing lines in the answer the I Ching gives you. The rest of the time, an all of a kind changing line on its own should just be treated as a regular changing line.