Introduction to the I Ching

Apart from being a book of wisdom in the ancient Chinese tradition, the I Ching was also consulted on questions of state, warfare and personal decision making. It is this aspect of it which is dealt with here. Consulting the I Ching does not present us with statements of what will happen as a fated future. The wisdom behind the book does not see the future as unalterably fixed, but rather like a constantly shifting flux similar to the seasons, with which we can interact. What we receive in a consultation is like a conversation with a wise and experienced friend, who through their experience might point out that if we take our present course within the situation as it stands, the results might be in a direction we do not wish – but if we take another attitude circumstances could change, then we can act more forcefully and effectively.

The I Ching intrigued me, not so much because it is a very ancient book, the culmination of many great minds and a great culture, but because it was largely couched in symbols. My work with dreams and the way people use imagery in thinking and expression, made me want to tackle the I Ching. I wanted to see if I could put into clearer English what is usually said in rather poetic and indefinite prose. Below you can access two working examples of people consulting the I Ching. The text is from my interpretation – originally written for New Zealand Teletext as phone in scripts but never used by them. If you are unacquainted with the I Ching there is also a brief explanation of its principles.

“Your I Ching interpretation(s) are, ultimately, the best I have seen. DEEP BOW. – Sara”

The Hexagrams

1 34 5 26 11 9 14 43
L 25 51 3 27 24 42 21 17
O 6 40 29 4 7 59 64 47
W 33 62 39 52 15 53 56 31
E 12 16 8 23 2 20 35 45
R 44 32 48 18 46 57 50 28
13 55 63 22 36 37 30 49
10 54 60 41 19 61 38 58


-mario 2013-07-04 13:18:42

Hi, I’m reading I-ching an chinese zodiac at the websute oranum. I found this page very handy. Would you mind if I link to this page at my personal profile, so people can access a brief description on what is the I-Ching and how to make a consult, so they get a well written explanation on this and get encouraged to have I-Ching readings at their desire?

    -Tony Crisp 2013-07-14 9:54:46

    Mario – By all means link with my I-Ching page. You are welcome.


      -a belgian 2017-05-08 14:48:15

      Thank you for this useful translation

        -Tony Crisp 2017-05-09 8:10:39

        A – Thanks. It was a joyful exercise.

-jaga 2013-01-27 17:47:42

I’ve been working with i-ching for many years and I’ve been mostly finding it very wise, calming and helpful. Recently I’ve got a serious emotional problem and need advise but some of the readings seem to me a bit inconprehesible like having 25 with the fifth line changing and then 21. I find them giving opposite advice. I would appreciate a lot if you could you help me with understanding it (if possible, write to my e-mail address, please)

-Tony Crisp 2012-09-02 10:35:31

Burman – Thanks. I am still working on it.


-geoffrey 2012-02-24 5:50:39

I would like to know more about your work with the Yi Jing.


    -Tony Crisp 2012-02-24 10:40:55

    Geoffrey – There isn’t much to tell. As I said in the introduction I am interested in the symbols we live with and use. Also I used the Yi Jing, following Jung’s example, but later found that my own intuition and dreams were remarkable tools.

    But I did put it on my web site. I had a bad experience with New Zealand Teletext, who told me they would use it online. But after weeks of work they didn’t even reply to my mails when I told them the work was finished. So now I have published it on my site and also in Kindle.

    However, I do feel there is much I still need to understand about the Yi Jing.


-sarah clark 2011-07-24 8:02:09

Thank you for this introduction. Tomorrow I am going to find a beautiful spot to sit, clear my head, define my question and throw some pennies. Your introduction is clear and easy to understand.

-Sharyn 2011-07-05 12:30:43

How may I obtain a reading?

    -Tony Crisp 2011-07-17 8:38:02

    Sharyn – You simply write a dream to me here as you did with this question. It usually takes a while because I cannot keep up with the amount of people writing. But I will look for any dream you post her and will put you in front of the queue.


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