Introducing: The I Ching

Text Box: What is the I Ching?

The I Ching is made up of sixty four figures, each containing six lines that we call Hexagrams.  The lines in each hexagram can be broken or solid (Yang represents solid and Yin represents broken lines) and between them, they symbolise all the stages of change and transformation operating within the universe.  Its basic philosophy is close to the Taoist belief that change is natural and occurs in all things.  The universe is in a constant state of flux and the texts of the I Ching describe these changes and how they apply to mankind.  

 The impressions of these lines are really quite beautiful as are the Chinese sayings behind them.  For instance, consider this image:  a flood rising above the tree tops.  What might this mean to you?  Well, this is Hexagram 28, Ta Kuo (excess or complacency) and one of its messages is that the floods are only temporary and as long as the trees remain rooted in the ground, things will return to normal.  In other words, be cautious so as not to flood your life with too many responsibilities and be steadfast.

 One way the I Ching differs from other similar oracles is that instead of regarding everything as 'fixed' or 'written', it sees the past flowing into the future and therefore life is in a state of flux, never the same from one moment to the other.  The I Ching will therefore offer a number of possibilities for the future, depending on the course of action that might be taken. This can be exceedingly helpful for people who may be confused about their relationships, their job situation or life in general.  It can help give an objective view of the present and sensible guidance as to future possibilities.
Finally, a fitting ending to an introduction to the I Ching, is to use the words of one of the greatest Chinese philosophers, Confucius, who when he was nearly 70 years old (in 481 BC) said: "If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the I Ching, and might then escape falling into great errors."