I Ching Divination Methods

I bought an I Ching, pocket-sized version, from a thrift shop around here (well worth the 50 cents) and didn’t actually do anything divination-related with it until last night, when I used to internet to learn the 3 coin method. I heard that traditionally I Ching hexagrams were translated from yarrow sticks, and I’ve seen I Ching Tarot floating around the internet. Are there any other methods to consult the I Ching?


Over the years individuals developed their own way and style with the I Ching (eg Tarot). Traditionally as you mentioned it is done with yarrow sticks. I consult very often the I Ching, and I have found out that the coin method is very reliable. Here are the 3 most popular methods:

The Classical Method.This is the most popular method, where by 3 coins are cast six times to produce 6 lines of a hexagram from the bottom up. The “Book Of Changes” is used as a reference for deciphering the metaphorical message of the I Ching Hexagrams. These texts are sacred. They have been developed through the ages, spanning the history of Taoism and Confucianism. For this section, we recommend the book, “The Complete I Ching: The Definitive Translation by the Taoist Master Alfred Huang”, which we find to be the best translation available to date. This method is very flexible and is best done personally. The readings require contemplation, and intuition of the diviner, in order to be fully understood, and utilized.

The Plum Blossom, or Mei Hua method. This method is interesting and very popular with some practitioners. It does not require the casting of coins or other objects, but rather formulating the hexagrams using the Chinese solar calendar, and/or other objects in the immediate surroundings. Often used for predictions, it is especially useful for making quick readings. This method requires memorizing the properties of the trigrams in the Bagua and takes lots of practice to be used effectively.

The Na Jia Method. This is a more mathematical method, quite similar to the numerology. This practice of the IChing can be very revealing to those who have mastered this technique. Like the Classical Method, three coins are cast six times, to form the hexagram. But there are no texts to refer to. Readings are done by detailed analysis of each line on the hexagram. This technique is very abstract. However, it can reveal tons of information to those who are well versed in the technique.


Dude! You found an I Ching set at a THRIFT STORE??!! I’m moving, our thrift stores suck ass :persevere:


I use the coin method.


@SabahSnoblod Hello. I’ve used the I Ching extensively for years; it’s my primary method of divination. With that said, I’d recommend you get at least 2 - 3 reliable translations. Of course the “tried and true” would be the Wilhelm / Baynes translation, but aside from that it’s a good idea to have at least one or two other translations for reference. The language and metaphors is archaic and much is lost in translation into english, so it’s important to have a decent translated version. I’d strongly recommend you stay away from most modern versions in which the author took it upon himself in creating his own personal rendition.

Alexander12 gave a good rundown on most of the known methods of working with it. The yarrow stalk method is ancient and in my opinion not necessary; you can if you like the aesthetics of it, but it’s not required. I’ve used the method with the 3 coins for the first two years or so; it works, although sometimes the coins can roll under furniture and such. I’ve since moved on to a much simpler and convenient method, and it’s served me well: I use 16 cards with either a yin/yang line drawn on the back to draw from, much like in cartomancy. Traditionalists will no doubt stick their nose up and blah blah about accuracy and such, but frankly it’s all bullshit because my experience over the years using this method says otherwise.