Patterns of Energy
There is a wealth of Taoist knowledge revealed in the I Ching. The "Tao" can be translated as the "path." The I Ching contains Taoist notions of oneness and that everything in the Universe is part of a continuum.
The I Ching is the result of observation into the nature of reality. Everything that happens has a meaningful realtionship and significance of that moment. The I Ching is like a web of numerous strands that interconnect through a complex but orderly fashion with the rhythm of life.
There is an invisible yet powerful energy that flows through everything in the Universe. In Chinese philosophy this is known as "qi" and in yoga it is known as "prana." This energy is believed to be the result of shifting energies between the heavens (cosmos) and the earth plane. There are two primary poles defining this energy, the yin (receptive) and yang (creator). The combination or interaction of yin and yang results in the 5 stages of refined energy or what is known as the 5 elements (earth, metal, water, wood and fire). These elements refelct energy that moves in the macrocosm (universe) and the microcosm (human body).
The I Ching empahsizes the need for each human to experience the relationships between life's energies. This is what is referred to a spiritual approach to everyday life. When we are able to balance the combined energies of yin and yang we are able to experience a level of nirvana - "Being beyond the world while living in it." This is why it is so important to engage in daily meditations.
In Chinese beliefs, patterns created by heating up tortoise shells (plastromancy), was considered an oracle power to foretell the future. The tortoise symbolized long life and happiness and revealed unusual black and white markings on its back. At the time, (2953-2838), this was considered to be a sign from heaven and studied by many scholars.
This mathematical configuration is known as the Universal chart, representing the universe and life. The building of this chart is based on the interacting energies between heaven and earth. It is most commonly known as the ba-gua in modern feng shui practice. The trigrams within this chart developed into building the hexagrams (6 lines), reflecting specific spiritual principles based on heaven and earth interactions.
What The Hexagrams Tell Us
The hexagrams are associated with evaluations of specific information for us to learn from. It is about interpreting the state of play between the universe and yourself. Our actions, thoughts and dreams exist in the same universe as everything outside ourselves. In other words, the macrocosm (universe) exist simtaneously to the microcosm (us) and therefore there is a common origin. When we seek to learn from the I Ching we are actually tuning in to higher self, our intuition, and divine spirit.
When consulting the I Ching it is important to prepare yourself, empty your mind and tune into higher self. With that being said, sitting in meditation is a perfect way to prepare for your I Ching consultation. Addtionally, improving the flow of energy in the body is also beneficial with the practice of yoga or qi gong.
Allow your intuition to guide you to the questions you would like to formulate instead of letting the ego mind to take the lead. You should only ask one question at a time and reflect on the question prior to the coin toss - the most common method of casting. It is important to use 3 coins of like denomination and toss the coins using your left hand representing the "ida" or yin side or intuitive side of the brain. You must toss the coins 6 times to build the hexagram. There are specific formulas to determine whether the coin toss results in a yin or yang line in the building hexagram process. You may consult any I Ching book for this information.
Using 5 Element Theory
Using the I Ching for an oracle reading can be very involved at a master level; however, understanding 5 element theory can simplify the meaning for a present situation by evaluatingthe upper trigram to the lower trigram and their interacting elements.
Every hexagram falls into one of the 5 possible classes of element relationship (birthing, weakening, insult, controlling and assisting). For every hexagram we can take the elements represented by the upper the upper and lower trigrams and see which elementary relationship we have. Keep in mind it is always the upper trigram that acts upon the lower trigram. The lower trigram is more yin and receptive while the upper trigram is active or yang as it takes the heaven position. The lower trigram represents the situation (what is) and the upper trigram idicates the force or what is done.
Let's take for example the hexagram 36 (Ming Yi). This hexagram comprises the trigram of earth over fire or the trigram Kun (earth) in the heaven position (above) the trigram Li (fire) in the earth position. In 5 element theory earth weakens the fire. This means there is a weakening effect for success or advancement can be difficult.
Hexagram 3 (Zhun) comprises water over thunder or the trigram Kan (water) in the heaven position with the trigram Zhen (wood) in the earth position. In this scenario water is fueling or birthing to the trigram Zhen or wood and therefore there is full potential to build what you are trying to accomplish.
Using the 5 elemental relationship theory gives a simplistic everyday approach when consulting the I Ching for those times when you are looking for a little advice from higher self. Remember to stay in the moment and tune in to the wisdom that lies within.
Mary Jane Kasliner ~ Feng Shui Master * Yogi