Unlock the Secrets of the I Ching Coin Method: A Comprehensive Guide

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Unlock the Secrets of the I Ching Coin Method: A Comprehensive Guide

The mystic charm of ancient Chinese wisdom shines brightly in the I Ching Coin Method. This age-old technique offers profound insights, guiding us through the labyrinth of life’s decisions. Let’s delve into this fascinating world and unlock the secrets of the I Ching Coin Method.

History and Origins of the I Ching Coin Method

The I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination tool that dates back over 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest texts in the world. Its enduring relevance is testament to its profound insight and wisdom.

The I Ching itself was initially composed in the Zhou dynasty, a period of great cultural and intellectual expansion. This original text, known as the Zhouyi, was comprised of 64 hexagrams and corresponding line statements. Over the centuries, additional commentaries were added, evolving into the I Ching as we know it today.

But what about the I Ching Coin Method, the most commonly used method for consulting the I Ching? Its origins are a bit more elusive. The older method of consulting the I Ching involved the use of yarrow stalks, a process that was quite complicated and time-consuming. It’s believed that the coin method arose as a simpler, more accessible alternative.

The Coin Method is thought to have been introduced during the Han dynasty, around 2,000 years ago. This was a time when coins were becoming more standardized and widely circulated, which could explain why coins were adopted as a tool for I Ching divination.

The most traditional coins used in the I Ching Coin Method are the old Chinese coins with square holes in the center. These coins have Yin Yang symbolism: the round shape represents heaven (yang), and the square hole represents earth (yin). In the I Ching Coin Method, the two sides of the coin also represent yin and yang.

The introduction of the coin method democratized access to the I Ching, making it easier for anyone to seek its wisdom. This ease of use has certainly contributed to its enduring popularity, and today, millions of people around the world consult the I Ching using coins.

While the I Ching Coin Method has evolved over the centuries, its core purpose remains the same: to provide a means of exploring the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events, and the possibility of insight and wisdom. Its history is a testament to the enduring relevance of this ancient wisdom in our modern world.

Understanding the Symbolism of the Coins

When delving into the I Ching Coin Method, it’s important to appreciate the profound symbolism embodied in the coins themselves. In traditional Chinese culture, symbolism plays a significant role, and the coins used in the I Ching are no exception.

The most traditional coins used for the I Ching Coin Method are the old Chinese coins, often called “cash coins,” characterized by their distinctive round shape and square hole in the center. Each aspect of these coins carries symbolic weight.

Round Shape and Square Hole

The round shape of the coin represents Heaven, and the square hole represents Earth. This reflects the fundamental Taoist concept of the unity and interdependence of Heaven and Earth. In the context of the I Ching, this symbolism reminds us that our individual lives are intimately connected with the larger patterns and cycles of the natural world.

Yin and Yang Sides

Each side of the coin also carries symbolic significance. The side with the four Chinese characters is considered the heads, or Yang side. Yang, in Chinese philosophy, is the active, masculine principle, characterized by light, warmth, and movement. The other side, with only two characters, is the tails, or Yin side. Yin is the receptive, feminine principle, characterized by darkness, coolness, and stillness.

In the I Ching Coin Method, the Yang side of the coin is given the numerical value of 3, and the Yin side is given the value of 2. This is further tied to the symbolism of Yang and Yin: Yang, as the active principle, is associated with odd numbers, and Yin, as the receptive principle, is associated with even numbers.

The Role of the Coins in Divination

When we cast the coins in an I Ching reading, we’re not just generating random numbers. Instead, we’re engaging with the rich symbolism of Yin and Yang, Heaven and Earth, and the dynamic interplay between these primal forces. The casting of coins, therefore, becomes an act of connecting with the universe’s inherent wisdom.

Balance and Transformation

Beyond individual Yin and Yang attributes, the symbolism of the coins also speaks to balance and transformation. When conducting a reading, three coins are tossed at a time, resulting in a sum of 6, 7, 8, or 9. The numbers 6 and 8 are associated with Yin energy, while 7 and 9 are linked to Yang energy.

However, 6 and 9, referred to as “old” Yin and Yang, denote changing lines, implying a transformation from one state to another. This reflects the constant flux and interplay between Yin and Yang, embodying the Taoist principle that the only constant is change.

The Trigrams

The coins also relate to the eight trigrams, fundamental symbols within the I Ching. Each trigram is composed of three lines—either broken (representing Yin) or unbroken (representing Yang). These trigrams are further combined to create the 64 hexagrams that form the core of the I Ching’s wisdom.

When we cast the coins, we are essentially building these trigrams and hexagrams, line by line. Each coin toss thus contributes to a larger symbolic structure, representing a snapshot of the dynamic forces at play in the situation you are consulting the I Ching about.

In the I Ching, each trigram is associated with specific natural phenomena and qualities. For example, the trigram composed of three unbroken lines represents Heaven, symbolizing creativity and initiative. In contrast, the trigram composed of three broken lines represents Earth, symbolizing receptivity and nurturing.

The Metal Element

Finally, it’s worth noting that in Chinese philosophy, coins, being made of metal, are associated with the Metal element, one of the Five Elements that are central to Chinese cosmology. The Metal element is associated with qualities such as clarity, precision, judgment, and the ability to “cut” through confusion to discern the essential truth of a situation. This adds another layer of meaning to the act of casting coins in the I Ching Coin Method.

In conclusion, the coins used in the I Ching Coin Method are far more than mere random number generators. They are potent symbols, each aspect of their design imbued with philosophical and cosmological significance. By casting these coins, we engage in a dialogue with the timeless wisdom of the I Ching, inviting insight and guidance into our lives. The coins serve as a bridge between our personal, subjective experiences and the larger, universal patterns and cycles represented by the I Ching.

The Basics of Using the I Ching Coin Method

The I Ching Coin Method is a fascinating process that involves casting three coins six times to create a hexagram—a six-line symbol that provides insight into your question or situation. This section will explore the basics of this process in more depth, guiding you through each step. Each line can be either broken (yin) or unbroken (yang), representing the different states of energy in the universe.

To start, you’ll need three coins. While any coins can be used, many practitioners prefer to use Chinese I Ching coins, as these carry a rich symbolism and historical connection to the I Ching tradition. Each coin has two sides: one side is denoted as Yin (value of 2), and the other as Yang (value of 3). This distinction is crucial when casting the coins to form the lines of your hexagram. If using coins of your country count heads as three (3) and tails as two (2).

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use the I Ching Coin Method

Before you begin casting the coins, it’s important to formulate a clear and concise question. This question should ideally be open-ended, rather than seeking a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The I Ching is not a tool for predicting specific outcomes, but rather a means of gaining deeper insight and perspective on life’s challenges and decisions. So, consider what you truly need guidance on, whether it’s a personal dilemma, a significant decision, or a situation you’re trying to understand better.

Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to using the I Ching Coin Method:

Step 1: Toss three coins with a shake of your cupped hands, and let them fall.

Step 2: Count heads as three and tails as two, and add the value of all three coins.</p>

  • Three heads equals 9
  • Two heads and one tail equals 8
  • One head and two tails equals 7
  • Three tails equals 6

Step 3: Generate the second line of your Hexagram by giving the coins another toss. Then, place this line above the initial line.

Step 4: Continue the process until you have 6 lines.

Step 5: As an example, let’s assume the following was rolled.

Note: 6 and 9 are changing lines. Even numbers 6,8 are drawn as open. Odd numbers 7,9 are drawn as closed.

Step 6: Determine your Hexagram by cross-referencing with the hexagram key. The bottom trio of lines forms the lower trigram, while the upper trio constitutes the upper trigram. The Hexagram can be identified by the number where the lower and upper trigrams intersect. In this case it is Hexagram 63.

Hexagram Key

Step 7: Read the text for that Hexagram up to the section that says ‘First Line.’ Beyond that, read only the sections for those lines which ‘changed’ in your Hexagram. Changing lines are those with a value of 6 or 9. In the example above, lines 2 and 5 are changing lines.

Step 8: Now that you’ve read the Hexagram’s meaning and corresponding changing lines, it’s time to switch them to their counterparts.Step 9: In the example above. Line 2 now becomes closed, and line 5 becomes open. Find where the new lower and upper trigram intersects using the key—Hexagram 11. To deepen the understanding of the initial Hexagram, one should delve into the text of the second Hexagram. However, it’s crucial to focus solely on the introductory sections. Do not read the text for any lines. Ignore reading lines 1 to 6. We only focus on the appropriate lines in the first Hexagram.

Advanced Techniques and Tips for Using the I Ching Coin Method

As with any form of divination, the more you practice and immerse yourself in the process, the more you’ll be able to glean from it. This holds especially true for the I Ching coin method. It’s not just about throwing coins and reading the resulting hexagrams. It’s about developing a deeper understanding and relationship with the I Ching. Here are some advanced techniques and tips to help you get even more from your I Ching coin method consultations.

Intention Setting: One of the most important aspects of any I Ching reading is the intention behind it. Before you cast your coins, take a few moments to meditate on your question or concern. By focusing your energy and intent, you can achieve a deeper, more meaningful connection with the I Ching. This helps to ensure that the guidance you receive is as clear and relevant as possible.

Coin Cleansing: Just as you would cleanse a tarot deck or a crystal, consider cleansing your I Ching coins. This can be done through various methods, such as smudging with sage, burying them in salt, or leaving them in the moonlight. Cleansing your coins can help to clear any residual energies and make them more receptive to your intentions.

The Fourth Coin: While the traditional I Ching coin method uses three coins, some practitioners like to add a fourth coin to the mix. This coin is known as the “controller” or “master” coin. If the fourth coin lands tails up, it means the other coins stay as they are. If it lands heads up, it reverses the other coins. This method adds an additional layer of complexity and depth to your readings.

Multiple Readings: Sometimes, a single hexagram might not provide a complete answer to your question. In such cases, you might consider casting coins for multiple hexagrams. This can offer a more nuanced view of the situation at hand. However, be cautious not to fall into the trap of casting repeatedly until you get the answer you want.

Note Taking: Keep a record of your readings. Note down your question, the date, the hexagram(s) you received, and your interpretation. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns and gain a deeper understanding of how the I Ching speaks to you.

Study: Finally, don’t shy away from studying the I Ching’s rich history and philosophy. The more you understand about the I Ching’s origins and the meanings behind its hexagrams, the better you’ll be able to interpret its guidance.

These are just a few techniques to help you advance in your I Ching practice. Remember, the key is not to rush the process. The I Ching is a tool for introspection and reflection, not for quick fixes. Take your time with it, respect it, and it will reward you with profound insights and guidance.”

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the I Ching Coin Method

The I Ching coin method is a powerful tool for introspection and guidance. However, as with any tool, it’s essential to use it correctly to ensure accurate and meaningful results. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the I Ching coin method:

Ambiguous Questions: The I Ching works best when you ask clear, concise, and specific questions. Ambiguous questions can lead to equally ambiguous answers, making the reading difficult to interpret. Spend some time formulating your question before you begin the coin toss.

Repetitive Questions: Once you’ve asked a question and received a response, it’s important not to keep asking the same question in the hope of getting a different answer. Trust in the wisdom of the I Ching and the response it has given you.

Ignoring the Present: While the I Ching can provide guidance about potential outcomes, its primary purpose is to help you understand the present moment. If you’re always asking about the future, you might miss important insights about the here and now.

Reading Too Literally: The I Ching speaks in the language of symbols and metaphors. Don’t make the mistake of interpreting its messages too literally. Instead, contemplate the symbolism of the hexagram and how it might apply to your situation.

Disregarding the Changing Lines: In an I Ching reading, the changing lines – those lines that are in the process of changing from yin to yang or vice versa – carry significant weight. They offer additional insights about the dynamics of your situation. Ignoring these changing lines can lead to an incomplete or skewed interpretation.

Rushing the Process: Consulting the I Ching is a thoughtful, introspective process. If you rush through the coin toss or the interpretation of the hexagram, you might miss important nuances. Take your time, be present, and allow the wisdom of the I Ching to unfold naturally.

Being Too Emotionally Invested: While it’s normal to have hopes and fears about a situation, being overly emotionally invested can cloud your interpretation of an I Ching reading. Try to approach the reading with a calm, open mind, ready to receive whatever guidance the I Ching has to offer.

Not Reflecting on the Guidance: The I Ching’s wisdom isn’t meant to be quickly read and then forgotten. It’s meant to be pondered and reflected upon. If you don’t take the time to truly consider the guidance you’ve received, you might miss its full value.

By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can ensure that your experience with the I Ching coin method is as insightful and meaningful as possible.”

Resources for Further Study and Practice

Embracing the I Ching Coin Method is a lifelong journey of discovery. There are numerous resources available for further study and practice, including classic texts like Richard Wilhelm’s “The I Ching or Book of Changes”, contemporary interpretations, and online forums where practitioners share their experiences and insights.

You can also download this app to help guide you. Discover the benefits of the I Ching app for yourself and experience the harmony it can bring to different aspects of your life, such as relationships, career, and personal growth. Download the App Store or Download the Play Store and start your journey to enhanced self-awareness and inner peace.


Mastering the I Ching Coin Method is a process of continual learning and self-discovery. This ancient tool doesn’t just provide answers; it encourages introspection, offers fresh perspectives, and empowers us to make wise decisions. So whether you’re at a crossroads, seeking clarity, or simply curious about this timeless wisdom, the I Ching Coin Method stands ready to guide you on your journey.

Useful Links

  1. Revolutionary I Ching App Harness ChatGPT for Hexagram Insights, Apple App Store – Google Play Store
  2. Collection of engaging and enlightening stories for children that explore the principles of Taoism. Download on Amazon
  3. Learn more about the aiching.app
  4. Interested in Tai Chi?