The I–Ching, based on an ancient classic Chinese text, uses a system of images formed by stacking a series of six lines one upon another. These six lines identify an order to seemingly chance events. Thousands of years ago, rulers in ancient China would consult the I-Ching for counsel, much like ancient Greeks consulted the Oracle at Delphi. Around the third century, a young scholar by the name of Wang Pi realized that the real value in the I-Ching would be found in using it as a tool for self-discovery. By developing a little personal understanding of the imagery and words used in the I-Ching, it is possible to advance your inner understanding of both the world around you and your personal response to it.
This ancient system forms a core of Chinese cultural beliefs. The philosophy of the I-Ching centers on the view of that life operates in a dynamic interplay of balancing energetic opposites. Yang energy, represented by an unbroken line, is masculine energy, described by the term Heaven. Yin, represented by a broken line, is feminine energy, described by the term Earth. These two energies are in constant motion, weaving in and out of our lives. The I-Ching teaches that the unfolding of events in any situation or process carries the inevitability of change.
The I-Ching images are represented by 64 hexagrams, or patterns, of six lines each (384 Lines). These hexagrams each convey an energetic image that communicates wisdom passed through the ages. Each of the 64 hexagrams is made up of two trigrams. Each trigram is composed of one set of 3 lines that represent the balance of Yang, or masculine, active energy, and the Yin, or feminine, receptive energy. The meaning of each hexagram is determined by the pattern and arrangement of Yin and Yang energy in each symbolic image. The Yin (receptive/feminine) or Yang (active/masculine) balance of energy in any given trigram is based on the number of Yang lines that appear and the number of Yin lines that appear.