reading the i ching – tricks and tips


Reading the I Ching is pretty simple. The key is to pick a method of casting you like and stick with it. Yarrow stalks are valid as is the m1thr0s method of d10 dice. The dice even have a precedent in early I Ching history, as bones were often shaken inside of a turtle shell to determine lines, using an undocumented method. Below are some tips and tricks to get you on the right footing with your I Ching journey.

  1. Use a backgammon cup. This special oblong dice game cup allows you to cast the dice into a straight line, allowing one to obtain Gematria numbers with precision. The I Ching likes to play with these numbers. It also offers a pleasant sound and allows one to incorporate a magickal knock into the rite more easily than can be done using just one’s hands alone.
  2. Use a magickal knock. A magickal knock is a certain key number of times to shake the dice. m1thr0s used 3, I prefer 6. The magickal knock is a signal and act of intent that augments the ritual. You should use a number you want to key into, for example, if you are focused on Venus for love or relationship matters we would use the corresponding number, which is 7. It’s okay to switch numbers, or stick with one number. 
  3. Keep your casting device in a special pouch. The dice or yarrow should always be protected. In China, highly ritualized container specifications were utilized by the scholars of the I Ching. Red, black and white are the traditional colors of the I Ching flux values, with red and white representing the two Yang flux types, and black representing Yin. Pale yellow and grey are associated with the Tao. I use a small natural leather pouch stamped with the Eye of Ra. 
  4. Use a wooden casting tray. Woodworkers make many beautiful shallow rimmed trays and bowls. The tray should be a round shape, representing Heaven, although you can use a square shape for certain styles of reading, representing Earth. Generally the Heaven shape should be used more. The tray should not be made of metal or plastic, which makes an unpleasant sound. Porcelain is also too hard on the dice. If you are using crystal dice, you should only case on cloth or felt lined bowls to protect the dice from chips, even though some will naturally occur over the course of time.
  5. Build from the bottom up. Even though this is repeated a few times in nearly every book on the I Ching, and I explain it from the start to everyone I speak to personally, more than a few people seem to forget it. 
  6. Learn how to examine the nuclears. If you don’t know what the nuclears are, you have not read the Wilhelm-Baynes I Ching. Read the Wilhelm-Baynes I Ching.
  7. Keep track of your hexagrams and the accompanying question or request for advice in a journal, set aside specially for that use. Date them. This serves two purposes. Number one, you’re going to forget the hexagrams very easily, and this will help keep track of the trajectory of the I Ching’s advice to you over time, and how that plays out into the future. Secondly, it commits your Will and Wyrd to Malkuth, or Earth, and is an act of magick.
  8. Use a red pen and a black pen to write your hexagrams. Red lines are Yang, black lines are Yin. This not only looks beautiful in the end, it’s a ceremonial act that can add gravity to readings by putting one in the right mindset.
  9. If you’re having trouble with a moving line, or the entire hexagram, or anything in particular about a reading, you may perform a crossing. A crossing is simply using a divination tool to divine details on a part of the reading you don’t understand. It is used in tarot readings extensively by classically trained magi and witches. You can perform another hexagram reading, or use the tarot. The Mutational Alchemy Tarot is perfectly aligned to the I Ching and can be easily used for this. One may also limit it to the ATU only, court cards only, or smalls only, depending on the focus. 
  10. The I Ching responds in crisis. You don’t have to be in a perfect mood or state of mind to use it. So don’t be afraid to go to it during an emergency. Crisis mode sometimes triggers individuals towards greater episodes of gnosis. 


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Succeeding m1thr0s 729 (Magister Ouroboros 729) izi is current guardian of the 418 current in this world. She upholds the young Nu Aeon tradition of Mutational Alchemy, a hybrid branch of Hermetic Alchemy developed by m1thr0s 729. Her current work to date includes the art and written analysis of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot, the development of Pentagrammaton (the 32 5-line binary structures unknown in the East) and the ongoing analysis of The Hidden Diamond Sutra.

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