The Yijing on the web

(Last updated: May 2022) See also: The I Ching on YouTube. If you find any of these sites down or gone try plugging the URL into the waybackmachine. Some academic institutions seem to love changing the URLs of PDFs, as if they haven't heard the web is made of linkages, so now I'm just uploading them here. This page is ongoing, new links and site reviews are usually fed in at the bottom.

Yi Jing: Oracle of the Sun

LiSe Heyboer is one of the few whose interest in the Yijing has inspired her to research the original etymology of the Chinese characters. The site used to be called 'Book of the Moon'. I pointed out in The Mandate of Heaven that the character Yi was the name of an ancient sacrifice to the sun, essentially to bring the sun back after prolonged rainy weather. The original title character appears to be a pictograph of the sun emerging from behind rain clouds with three rays of sunlight streaming down.

This is an excellent site, and encouraging to any who delve into the Chinese characters themselves. There is a complete translation of the Zhouyi, as well as an ever-expanding selection of essays. Her commentary on her own translation shows great insight, clearly derived from divination experience. Some of the translations are speculative, but based on her study of early graphs.

LiSe is one of the wives of the Dutch artist Anton Heyboer, who has a website here too put together by LiSe. Anton, a self-styled Zen master who died in April 2005, had some very curious things to say about the Yi, written down in dictation by LiSe, which are hard to understand but very engaging nonetheless. LiSe would take a drawing of an oracle bone graph over to Anton's 'shed' – a concrete structure without windows in which he did his paintings and apparently never left in 20 years despite photographs of him out and about appearing in Dutch newspapers – and Anton would spontaneously talk about hexagrams and the Yijing in channelling style. I love Anton's art so am only too willing to listen to what he had to say, though many might regard it as somewhat strange. The stories are prefaced by 'The master says', like the Confucian Analects.

I Ching with Clarity

A lively site by Hilary Barrett geared towards practical divination in what has become the 'traditional' western approach to the oracle, although it's interesting to see the piecemeal dissemination of some of the more modern ideas coming out of Yijing scholarship also gradually finding an audience. (It's fair to say 'the shock of the new' has not fully impacted as yet in the popular arena of Yijing interest – it only does when you begin to realise that the cosy Yi you've been consulting all these years has disappeared, changed beyond recognition, but what most people don't realise is that this is when the Yijing gets truly interesting – the real revolution and therefore the real power of it.) The site has a Community section, with message boards you can contribute to, and the Answers blog.

The I Ching on the Net

Greg Whincup's site of Yijing links. Whincup wrote 'Rediscovering the I Ching', one of the first mainstream books to detail modern scholarship on the Yi. A nice selection of links, together with sample texts from Whincup's book: his translation and commentary on hexagram 1 and hexagram 21.

Yijing Bagua

Well laid-out excerpt from Stephen Field's article that was originally published in 'The Oracle' Vol. 2, No. 9, pp 20–27, titled 'Recovering the Lost Meaning of the Yijing Bagua'.

Yijing Matrices

[Internet Archive copy.] I think this is a very interesting site, a lot of material on structural matters by Pieng-Lam Kho. Particularly good is the diamond transposition of the circular arrangement of the hexagrams in binary notation, which I haven't seen before and I believe is original to Mr Kho. This diagram is really quite brilliant. Kho attributes the circular original to Fuxi, mainly because the Earlier Heaven [Xiantian] arrangement of the 8 trigrams is attributed to the legendary Fuxi. In actual fact, the mathematical properties of the Earlier Heaven arrangement in a three-stage evolution that lead by extension in a six-stage evolution to the circular diagram of the 64 hexagrams doesn't appear to have been realised until Shao Yong made it apparent in the 11th century. Kho's transposition to a diamond, though adding nothing to the original thought of Shao Yong, provides a fresh way of looking at the diagram. Also an essay on the DNA-Yijing correlation on this website. (For further information on hexagram arrangements, see my article on Yijing hexagram sequences and archive of Chinese diagrams.)

I Ching Cosmos

Notes on a few individual lines, with a particular interest in hamsters, together with materials on the Marquis de Sade and essays on various aspects of Yijing studies. Enthusiastic site by Tony Saroop of Niiza, Japan, with a delightful essay on Yijing finds on visiting Mr Kan's Chinese bookshop in Tokyo, so crammed with books and space so tight between the shelves it is likened to a submarine. The site also has a good annotated bibliography of Yijing books and dictionaries, though not as complete as the book by Hacker, Moore, and Patsco. [Internet Archive copy.]

Yijing Algebra

Andreas Schöter's Yijing site, coming out of his two-part article on Boolean algebra and the Yijing, which first appeared in issues 7 and 8 of 'The Oracle'. Also an in-depth review of Z D Sung's mathematical ideas from his book The Symbols of the Yi King [PDF], as well as reviews of the 'Omei I Ching' by Monica Salyer and Gilbert Leal and 'The Numerology of the I Ching' by Alfred Huang (some of this material originally appeared in 'The Oracle'). A lot of excellent in-depth material on structural matters.

Yijing Research

Harmen Mesker's Yijing site. Currently Harmen is making translation notes hexagram by hexagram. There's some particularly useful PDF downloads: the influential 1927 article by Homer Dubs from the journal T'oung Pao, 'Did Confucius Study the Book of Changes?'; diagrammatic information from the He-luo lishu for calculating month hexagrams intended to supplement 'The Astrology of I Ching' by Sherrill & Chu; a concordance to the Yi by Chinese character; the Chinese text of the Yi; the Chinese text of the Shenshu oracle; a 400-year solar calendar; a small portion from the Baihutong (The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall) about stems and branches; and Harmen's own article about the Eight Houses or Palaces. Especially valuable is the 25 Mb download of 'Sprüche der "Wandlungen" auf Ihrem Geistesgeschichtlichen Hintergrund', the complete 193-page book in German by Gerhard Schmitt, published in 1970 in Berlin and long out-of-print. You can also get the Yilin in Chinese, the 'Forest of Change', a first century BCE text of disputed authorship that provides a poetic image for every possible change of one hexagram into another. Harmen also has an archived blog. [UPDATE: On a recent visit I failed to find most of the PDF downloads mentioned above. Anyway, I thought I may as well upload the book by Gerhard Schmitt and the article by Homer Dubs here.]

C F Russell Cubed

Cecil Frederick Russell (1897–1987) was a follower of Aleister Crowley who was more than a little eccentric and had an interest in the Yijing. He published 'Book Chameleon' on the oracle with his own Chinese calligraphy, which looks like it was 'brushed' with the chewed end of a matchstick dipped in ink. The introduction to 'Book Chameleon' is available online. Russell's extremely rare collected memoirs, entitled 'Znuz is Znees' Vols. 1–3 (1970–72), with a fourth volume in 1982, are completely mad (the Warburg Institute in London has signed copies from Russell). This website, however, makes him out to be a magical mathematician and logician of unsung genius (contents page for ease of use). Certainly their graphics of Russell's 'logic cube' are sufficiently appealing to make one wonder whether there was something in his ideas after all. Frankly, I still think Russell was round the twist, but that doesn't stop me finding him an endearing character and part of me hopes one day I may come to realise that he was a genius after all, but, sadly, I don't think that will happen. Make you own mind up. (See Steve Moore's article on Russell, Change in a parallel world.)

The Master Therion Yi King

Aleister Crowley's 'translation' (he didn't know Chinese) of the Yijing rendered as six-line poems. I never did like this work for all I appreciate Crowley's serious-minded attitude to the oracle in his magical journals. One interesting thing about this text, often not noticed at first, is that Crowley rhymes yang lines with yang lines and yin with yin. (See the review of Red Flame's Beastly Book of Changes.)

Alex Chiu’s Super I Ching

This site is hilarious. Alex Chiu specialises in using the Yijing to protect people from horrific accidents, all spieled out like a salesman trying to sell his grandmother. There's a photograph of a crashed car, if only the occupant had listened to the Yijing's advice everything would have been all right. And if only the family of nine swept away in a flood had listened they might still be picking water chestnuts today. Naturally, he advises on stocks and shares. From this online book you can learn to predict the exact time of death of your friends and know when the earthquake will strike. Amusingly eccentric. Alex Chiu has also invented an Immortality Device, which appears to involve walking around with magnetic clamps on your feet and small fingers. It's all kinda charming.

I Ching Lexicon

The Zhouyi in Chinese where each character is a gif link to its definition, with related information such as radical, stroke count, tone, pinyin, and sometimes comparative English translations. An impressive site, a labour of love by Chuck Polisher, but not complete as yet. This site is certainly very useful, but note that the definitions do not necessarily include the findings of modern Yijing research, such that, for example, 'heng' is defined as 'persevere; to be successful; to pervade' (the standard Mathews' Dictionary definition) but there is no mention of its earlier meaning in the Zhouyi: 'sacrifice' (Bernhard Karlgren, incidentally, in his Grammata Serica Recensa [GSR], defined 'heng' in the Shijing as 'sacrificial offering'). That said, this site is a great tool, particularly for the amateur translator. I couldn't see any source text specified for the Chinese, which would be useful since there are variants floating around.

Zuozhuan divination stories

Bro. Andrew Thornton has put extracts dealing with historical incidents of Zhouyi divination from James Legge's out-of-copyright translation of the Zuozhuan on the web, for a course at Saint Anselm College [Internet Archive copy]. The Zuozhuan, 'Chronicle of Zuo', covers the period 722–468 BCE. The text itself dates from the third century BCE and is probably semi-fictional in parts. The Zuo is of interest to those studying the Yijing because it contains a number of purported genuine early consultations of the oracle, the quoted text of which occasionally differs from that in the received text we use today. The text on the website was taken from Legge's 1872 translation in 'The Chinese Classics', Vol. V, which was reprinted by Hong Kong University Press, 1960. Thornton has usefully updated Legge's archaic romanisations of Chinese to pinyin.

Not all of the Zhouyi divination stories have been included. Richard Rutt translates all 19 stories from the Zuo concerning hexagrams in Zhouyi: The Book of Changes (pp 173–197). Rutt's translation is a lot more readable than Legge's, and he also includes examples of Zhouyi divination found in the 5th century BCE Guoyu, the 'Discourses of the States'. Some of the material from the Zuo has also been translated by Kidder Smith in 'Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies' 49 (1989): Zhouyi Interpretation from Accounts in the Zuozhuan [PDF]. See also Hellmut Wilhelm's paper from 'Journal of the American Oriental Society' 79 (1959): I-Ching Oracles in the Tso-chuan and the Kuo-yü [PDF].

Rick Kunst’s unpublished Yijing Notes

Richard Kunst's 1985 PhD dissertation containing his translation of the Yi and other materials, such as the very useful glossary of Chinese characters with Karlgren GSR numbers, is a gateway to the scholarly study of the Yijing. The PhD dissertation itself is available for purchase online as 686 pages printed both sides on loose sheets from University Microfilms International (the order number is 8525020). It would be advisable to read this before his scanned handwritten notes from this endeavour, which he has made freely available as 64 PDF files covering each of the hexagrams (average 1–3 Mb in size). These notes were mostly taken during the period 1979–1985 and sometimes explain things in the translation in the dissertation that would otherwise be unglossed. Not easy reading by any means, but for anyone investigating the Yi in depth these notes are of course worthy of study. I find they are easier to read if printed out rather than viewed on-screen. See also 'Rick Kunst's Miscellaneous Chinese, Yijing, You-name-it Page'.

Joseph Adler

Adler's field of research is Neo-Confucian religious thought in China. Of particular interest are chapters 6 and 7 on Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi) from the excellent book 'Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching' (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990). Adler's translation of Zhu Xi's 'Introduction to the Study of the Classic of Change', a Song dynasty work on the Yijing, is now back online in a corrected 2017 PDF edition (the hardback published in 2002 had a lot of production errors). Also available is Zhu Xi's 'Commentary on the Xicizhuan': Part A and Part B (both PDF). There is an attractive page showing the hexagram names in both Wade-Giles and pinyin, which may be useful to some, and a table of the 10 stems and 12 branches. Also a review of I Ching: An Annotated Bibliography by Hacker, Moore, and Patsco (my own review of this book is here).

Adler used to have some interesting material here on Zhou Dunyi (Chou Tun-i), such as his translation of the Tongshu with Zhu Xi's commentary, but this is currently offline as it was published in 2014 in: Reconstructing the Confucian Dao: Zhu Xi's Appropriation of Zhou Dunyi. The original web material, however, is doubtless in the Internet Archive. Zhou is also known for his brief 'Explanation of the Diagram of the Supreme Polarity' or Taijitu shuo. The Tongshu is conventionally translated as 'Penetrating the Classic of Change' after Zhu Xi's explanation that the real title was 'Yi Tongshu', though literally 'Tongshu' is simply 'Penetrating Writing'.

Joseph Adler is currently translating Zhu Xi's full commentary on the Yi, which will be something of a milestone in Yijing publishing when it appears.

Western-language works on the Yijing

[Internet Archive copy.] This annotated bibliography is a supplement to Professor Richard J Smith's article from the Fall 2003 issue of 'Education About Asia' 8.2, 'The Yijing (Classic of Changes) in Global Perspective: Some Pedagogical Reflections'. The bibliography is a little different in that it is organised according to topics. The section on the transmission of the Yijing to other lands is particularly good. Also a PDF containing a selection of translations of the 64 hexagram names, of particular interest because he includes those of Joseph Needham, which are not so well known (there is now an expanded version of this). Richard J Smith wrote the book 'Fortune-Tellers & Philosophers: Divination in Traditional Chinese Society', which is focused on the Qing dynasty, and in 2008 had a new book on Yijing history published: Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World.

Early History of the Zhouyi cantong qi [PDF]

Article by Fabrizio Pregadio from 'Journal of Chinese Religions' 30 (2002), pp 149–176. An Italian sinologist interested in Chinese alchemy, Pregadio wrote the book 'Zhouyi cantong qi: dal Libro dei Mutamenti all'Elisir d'Oro. Con un'edizione critica e una concordanza della recensione di Peng Xiao (947 dC). Venezia: Cafoscarina, 1996, 248 pp. This translates as: 'Zhouyi cantong qi: From the Book of Changes to the Golden Elixir. With a critical edition and a concordance of Peng Xiao's recension (947 CE).' Further works by Pregadio are available from The Golden Elixir Press.

Yu Yan's Diagram of the Fire Phases

This circular diagram has the bigua on one of its concentric rings, the 12 'sovereign hexagrams', about which I have written in my article on Yijing hexagram sequences. (See also my Chinese diagrams archive.)

Chart of the Great Ultimate

Explanation of the taijitu.

Bigua and yin-yang symbol [PDF]

Article from 'Fengshui for Modern Living' magazine pointing out how the bigua sequence in a circle could potentially be the origin of the familiar yin-yang symbol or taijitu, also known as the 'yin-yang fishes' (yinyangyu). (This is yet another webpage that has gone down the swanny, but I was able to make a PDF of it from my saved copy.)

Ralph Abraham’s I Ching work

Abraham is a chaos mathematician with an interest in the occult, Enochian magick, John Dee, Euclid, and the Yijing. As he writes:

During the second half of 1971, while living in Amsterdam, I began a book of commentaries on the I Ching. The project was discontinued in early 1972 due to professional duties in Amsterdam and Paris. The extant parts of the manuscript are presented here for what they are worth, and perhaps the project will be resumed one day.

Much of the historical basis of the work is dated, but it is interesting to read because of Abraham's influence in other areas. I hope maybe he might pick up the work again concentrating on the mathematical chapters he had outlined. The full extent of Ralph Abraham's interests can be seen at ralph-abraham.org, including an article on the Yijing in relation to lunar astrology: The Hexagrams of the Moon [PDF]. Abraham used to present lectures and discussions at Esalen along with Terence McKenna and Rupert Sheldrake. He mentions McKenna's 'Timewave' in his book 'Chaos · Gaia · Eros'.

The Watkins Objection

Matthew Watkins is a British mathematician who wrote an objection to Terence McKenna's theory of 'Timewave', a convoluted theory of cyclical history based on a fractal generated from the King Wen sequence of hexagrams. McKenna had the idea on a psilocybin mushroom trip, see 'The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching' by Terence and Dennis McKenna. Terence McKenna came to agree with the objection made by Watkins. Email addresses are given for both McKenna and Watkins, but this webpage was last updated in 1996 and McKenna is dead now and the last I heard of Watkins he was wandering around Ireland with a donkey and a mule, planting trees. [UPDATE: The above link is the Internet Archive copy of the original page I found years ago, but the same piece has appeared with the figures supplied, under the title Autopsy for a Mathematical Hallucination? I had an email from Matthew Watkins in February 2006, pointing out that he is now at the mathematics department of Exeter University, where he has a website. He tells me he is happy to discuss 'Timewave Zero' with anyone who wants to get in touch. In July 2010 he launched a site dedicated to a trilogy of books he has written explaining some fairly heavy duty mathematical ideas in layman's terms with cartoons: Secrets of Creation. And in August 2010, in time for the December 2012 doomsters' convention, he wrote a splendid account of his association with Terence McKenna, giving a short and sweet version of the Timewave idea and the essential points of his criticism. He also addresses John Sheliak's 'incredibly dense' paper, the one linked to below, and has put up a scan of McKenna's article Temporal Resonance (PDF)]

Mathematics of the Timewave [PDF]

Very detailed examination of the Timewave theory of the King Wen sequence, by John Sheliak. Whatever one thinks of Timewave, whether it is an enormous projection onto the sequence or not, it has certainly inspired some dedicated and complex investigation by mathematically-inclined minds who presumably didn't think they were wasting their time. [Internet Archive copy.]

The End of the River

A critical view of linear Apocalyptic thought, and how linearity makes a sneak appearance in Timewave. Gyrus attempts to get his mind around McKenna's doomed theory.

I Ching Sequencer

This excellent Flash animation was the point of departure for my article on Yijing hexagram sequences.

Four Pillars

Information on Four Pillars Chinese astrology, fengshui, and Yijing by D H Van den Berghe. His explanation of the King Wen sequence on the articles page has some very good diagrams; they perhaps suggest more structure than they prove but nonetheless worthy of study. His article on 'Harmonious hexagrams' has some intriguing ideas.

Scott Davis’s hypothesis

Thoughts on the King Wen sequence of hexagrams. Although pointing out some interesting symmetries in parts of the sequence, Scott's idea is essentially based on associating decades of hexagrams with decades of life in ancient Chinese society rather than on the structure of the hexagram diagrams. [Internet Archive copy.] UPDATE: Scott Davis has now written a book explanding on his ideas: The Classic of Changes in Cultural Context.

The I Ching Binary System And Natural Phenomena

Very interesting piece of work looking at analogies between the I Ching binary system and DNA, and 'interacting' trigrams and hexagrams, by artist Stanley Tomshinsky. I've not yet studied it in the depth it requires, but my gut instinct is that there may well be something well worthwhile investigating here. This is an internet-rendition of projects Tomshinsky realised between 1974 and 1978. [Internet Archive copy, actual site appears to be in flux.]

Energy As It Flows In The Universe

Billy Culver's mindboggling 'Energy Map Using The Polar Diffusion Of Opposing Yet Complementary Forces As Illustrated By The Hexagram Lines Of The I Ching/Binary Notation.' [Disappeared, but a selection of saved versions at the Internet Archive.] UPDATE: Culver's materials have re-appeared on the web in a re-jigged version entitled Energy Language. Andreas Schöter has written about the Culver Lattice.

I Ching geometric relationships

Pretty diagram, not sure what it means. Looks like what you would get if you strung string around 64 nails sticking out around the circumference of a wooden disk, the presence of hexagrams in Shao Yong's circular sequence appears to be superfluous. I stand to be corrected. Presumably you can wind the string around the nails till it looks pretty and something a Spirograph can do and then you take the hexagrams connected by string and ask what changes in one hexagram lead to the hexagram it is connected to. Don't quite see the point, and the text on this website will win no prizes for clarity.

Tai Chi Symbol and Hexagrams from the I Ging

Observations by Prof Klaus-Dieter Graf from Berlin on the geometric properties of what is properly called the taijitu, the 'Diagram of the Supreme Polarity' or what we crudely call the yin-yang symbol. This paper was originally published in: K Yokochi and H Okamori (eds): 'Proceedings of the Fifth Five Nations Conference on Mathematics Education', 1994, Osaka, Japan, pp 15–21. Prof Graf has also written some very interesting papers on 17th century Chinese calculating machines, with fascinating photographs, see his homepage.

Origins of the yin-yang symbol

Useful discussion on the origins of the taijitu from the archive of the H-Asia list. (See also the paper by François Louis from 'Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies' 63 [2003]: The Genesis of an Icon: The Taiji Diagram's Early History [PDF].)

Geometry of the I Ching

The 'Cullinane sequence' of the 64 hexagrams 'was discovered during an investigation of the six-dimensional affine space over the two-element field by S H Cullinane on January 6, 1989'. The Marie-Louise von Franz style of drawing the hexagrams shown on the site is also of interest, although hexagram 1 leaves something to be desired, being invisible. I hadn't come across the von Franz style before, apparently it comes from her book 'Number and Time' (1970).

Liber de Octo Mutationibus

Essay entitled 'The Book of the Eight Changes: Universal Cycles and the Trigrams', by John Opsopaus. A discussion of the eight phases that occur in any cycle between opposing poles, and their relation to the eight trigrams of the I Ching, on the Biblioteca Arcana site. Arcane is the word for it: Caput II: Clavis illius libri vicis (The Key to The Book of Change). Most curious and worthy of study.


Hexagram cartoons by Luis Andrade. Inspired idea. Also an Yi-Blog as part of the same site, and scans of many of the diagram pages from the books on the Yijing by General George T Cheng. You can also download a PDF of Louis Culling's L. R. I. I Ching.

I Ching Mastery

'Master' Alfred Huang's website, who apparently wrote the 'definitive' Yijing translation. The subtitle of the site is: 'Spiritually Prosperous and Prosperously Spiritual.' 'Spiritually Preposterous' might be more apt, given that Huang has recently registered the phrase 'I Ching Master' as a trademark. See A note on Alfred Huang's I Ching books. [UPDATE: This domain expired as a going I Ching concern on November 28, 2004, but you can still find it in the waybackmachine if you go back before then. After that date the domain appears to have been squatted by some dubious concerns.]

Mei Hua Xin Yi

A page by Makoto Ogino on the 'Plum Blossom Numerology' method for constructing hexagrams. Other Yi-related subjects are linked to from the home page, including one on Qimendunjia.

Wilhelm-Baynes translation

The full text of Book I on a single webpage, useful for searching. The top-level of the domain, akirarabelais.com, gives a random hexagram along with an assemblage of unexplained material. An 'art project' I suppose.

James Legge translation

Complete text and plates as published in 'The Sacred Books of the East', Vol. 16 (1899), which was the 2nd edition. This web version is convenient to use, but, if you want to check the transcription any time, I've uploaded the facsimile 1899 edition in PDF. [UPDATE: Turns out that the scanned version is missing two pages, 104 and 105, but I've left it here as it's still useful. If anyone has a complete scan, or has the book and can scan the missing pages, let us know.]

Mary Halpin’s Midaughter ‘Journal of I Ching’

Halpin likes to present herself as a scholar of the Yijing, but her work lacks rigour. She takes at face value many ideas about the Yi and its history that are fallacious. Her site, though apparently impressive to beginners, singlehandedly manages to mislead students of the oracle into a mishmash of personal obsessions presented authoritatively but that do not bear critical scrutiny. Beware of getting your education in Yijing history here, you may have much to unlearn later. Seen in its proper context as wild speculation the site is not without merit. Halpin also runs a Yahoo group. She fancies herself as spiritually advanced, but it is merely the usual New Age narcissism. [The site above appears to be an old version stuck in cyberspace, and Halpin currently gives an Internet Archive address from January 2004 as her URL, but as is often the case with copies saved by the Internet Archive, most of the images are missing.]

Bradford Hatcher’s Yijing

A lot of interesting material here and some great resources. A translation of the Yi, historical notes, a Big5 Chinese Yijing, and, particularly useful, a 'matrix translation' that provides the Mathews' dictionary numbers for the Chinese characters, as well as the pinyin. Brad also has a matrix translation of the Daodejing (Laozi) and has started compiling a bibliography of Yi studies books, a work-in-progress.

Wengu zhixin

Absolutely marvellous rendering of the Yijing, Lunyu, Daodejing, Shijing, Tang Shi, and other texts, in Chinese and translation. Beautifully presented in encoded vertical Chinese linked to dictionary definitions and superimposed on a graphic of strung bamboo slats. An obvious labour of love made with considerable technical expertise. (The title means 'Reviewing the old to learn something new', which comes from Analects 2.11.)

Richard S Cook

Cook, of the Linguistics Department of the University of California, Berkeley, submitted a proposal (with Michael Everson and John H Jenkins) to the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) to encode all 64 hexagrams, the 2 monograms (broken and unbroken yin and yang lines), and 4 digrams into Unicode, the trigrams already there. The proposal [PDF], which was accepted, has an appendix showcasing various Yi-related text samples, mainly to illustrate to the UTC that hexagrams widely feature as component parts of Chinese and English printed materials. This section contains an extract from Cook's monograph 'The Etymology of the Chinese Chen' that has an interesting composite interpretation of hexagram 51 drawing on the Mawangdui version and the received text.

Cook, with Everson and Michael Nylan, also submitted a proposal [PDF] to add the monogram, digram, and 81 tetragram characters of Yang Xiong's Taixuanjing to the Unicode character set; this too has also been accepted. The Taixuanjing has been translated by Michael Nylan as 'The Canon of Supreme Mystery' and by Derek Walters as 'The Alternative I Ching'. Interesting in the tetragram proposal is that Cook points to the subset of 16 tetragrams containing only the kind of broken and unbroken lines found in the Yijing as being useful in the study of 'nuclear trigrams' for Yijing scholars, as an example of incidental benefit.

Cook also has an attractively laid-out Big5 Chinese Yijing Daxiang (Great Images) commentary on the Yi, plus a note on the Daxiang in English. (You may need to set the 'Big5 Traditional' Chinese encoding by hand in your browser for these pages.)

In 2006, Cook claimed to have discovered the solution to the King Wen sequence in Classical Chinese Combinatorics. His publisher didn't respond to my request for a review copy and as the book is $100 I haven't bought it. I periodically look for reviews, but haven't found any. You can preview some of its pages online. And I have seen this very attractive graph from it, which I understand is the main diagram he takes 660 pages to explain. It is always possible that this isn't the solution to the King Wen sequence. [UPDATE: This book has now been reviewed: The solution of the King Wen sequence?]

Unicode hexagrams test page

Alan Wood has put together a page to test browser support for the Unicode hexagram characters. The free font Fixedsys Excelsior has narrow hexagrams in it. The Open Source font DejaVu Sans Book contains wider hexagrams (DejaVu Sans Condensed gives marginally less wide hexagrams). The trigrams are shown on the Unicode Miscellaneous Symbols page. These are contained in Arial Unicode MS, as well as the fonts mentioned above. The monograms and digrams also appear on this page – DejaVu Sans Book and Condensed contain these. If you copy and paste the desired symbol from Alan Wood's pages into a program with Unicode support, such as Indesign, and give it the appropriate font, you will get the symbol by virtue of Unicode, doing away with the need for amateur fonts. There is also a test page for the 81 tetragrams of the Taixuanjing in Unicode. These work in DejaVu Sans Book and Condensed. Browser support for these Unicode symbols appears sketchy, but Firefox works fine. (The shareware font Code2000 also displays the hexagrams, but when I last used it I found it messed up the display of Chinese on my computer by competing with my Chinese font of choice, which wasn't much good since it had a limited character set. Apparently the character set has been much improved now.)

Canon of Supreme Mystery

Detailed introduction to Yang Xiong's Taixuanjing by Michael Nylan and Nathan Sivin, first published as chapter 3 of Sivin's book 'Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China' in 1995. [Internet Archive copy.]

Script for building hexagrams

A script written in the J programming language for generating monograms, digrams, trigrams, hexagrams, the 81 tetragrams of the Taixuanjing, and Shao Yong's 'Great Horizontal Diagram'.

Mr Fang Xuanzhen’s prediction with Yi-Jing

Enthusiast's website in China in English and Chinese. Apparently in 1984 Fang resigned his job to study the Yijing full-time (coincidentally, that is precisely what I did in 1984 as well). In 1988 he predicted he would be a skilled diviner if someone gave him the gift of an extraordinarily huge tortoise (hexagram 42/2 I imagine). He dedicated himself even more to study of the Yi and then at the end of November 1995 someone gave him a tortoise so large it made the Jiang-Nan Evening News. I was interested in his sample divination for a man of 29 born in the year of the Pig who had fallen in love with a girl born in the year of the Rabbit who wanted to know whether their marriage would be fortunate and happy. So too the divination for a man born in the year of the Mouse 'intending to drill a fresh spring well', Fang Xuanzhen tells him it will be hopeless at that location. [Internet Archive copy.]

YiSheng College

Mr YiSheng Cai is a 'Zhouyiologist' after studying Zhouyiology. His Zhouyi business consultancy appears to be geared towards 'fate management'. Interesting example of a Chinese diviner's website in English and Chinese. He says he was at Shandong University and 'for four years studied zhouyiology under the instruction of Da junliu'. I assume he means Liu Dajun, whose work is reviewed here. [Internet Archive copy.]

Studies of Zhouyi

Selection of articles translated into English from Liu Dajun's journal 'Studies of Zhouyi', published by the 'Center for Zhouyi & Ancient Chinese Philosophy' at Shandong University. The Zhouyi in English they present is the same as the one that Richard Rutt has reviewed in book-form, but the web version doesn't include the annotations.

The Chameleon Book

Self-published translation of the Yijing with remarks by Freeman Crouch. An interesting and enthusiastic work which is far too kind to my good self. (Not to be confused with 'Book Chameleon' by C F Russell.)

Yijing Poetics

Essays on hexagrams and the King Wen sequence by Denis Mair. The specimen divinations I found particularly interesting. Denis is a poet and his reflections have a lyrical quality to them. [UPDATE: Denis's site is no more, Internet Archive copy of the front page substituted, but his PDF articles don't seem to have been saved there. You can, however, find them at Clarity. Or you can download all 37 of them at once as a zip file here.]

Fuyang Zhouyi [PDF]

Edward L Shaughnessy's article from 'Asia Major' (third series) 14.1 (2001), pp 7–18, on the bamboo-slip Zhouyi discovered in a Han tomb.

Fuyang Zhouyi fragments

In Chinese. [Internet Archive copy.]

A touch of ancients

Allan Lian's reflections on the Zhouyi, Daoist immortals, and ancient Chinese literature.

The Useless Tree

Sam Crane writes in his blog about what modern America can learn from ancient Chinese literature, regularly consulting the Yijing about political matters. The title of his site comes from Zhuangzi (chapter 1), the idea being that no-one bothers cutting down a useless tree so its uselessness ensures it has a long and tranquil life.


French Yijing site under the auspices of Cyrille Javary. 'Djohi' is the non-pinyin phonetic pronunciation of 'Zhouyi'.

Deciphering Wen

A fascinating site by J M Berger exploring the structure of the King Wen sequence. Some attractive diagrams, animations, and mandalas are put forward in an ongoing personal study that seems to be heading in an interesting direction. Also a subsite of blog entries detailing references to the Yijing in the enigmatic TV series 'Lost'. Berger otherwise is a journalist specialising in al Qaeda's activities within the United States.

Logical ordering of hexagrams and trigrams [PDF]

Peter D Loly's paper entitled 'A Logical Way of Ordering the Hexagrams of the Yijing and the Trigrams of the Bagua', which was first published in 'The Oracle: Journal of Yijing Studies' Vol. 2, No. 12 (January 2002), pp 2–13.

I Ching Consultation

Cesca Diebschlag offers I Ching readings in person in Sussex, UK, or by phone/email. She is also a herbalist and acupuncturist. The site has a number of articles to download in PDF, and an external blog, Moving Lines, which is not solely about the I Ching, which is good as far as I'm concerned as I am always interested to hear about people's gardens. Insights into the Book of Changes are more grounded in the concrete than the abstract. Cesca has another blog, I Ching News, which seems to be the current one.

I Ching Meditations

Adele Aldridge's blog of paintings and thoughts, subtitled 'A Woman's Book of Changes'.

Pure Yang Mudra

I think Wu Zhongxian's connection of the mudra to hexagram 63 is rather fanciful, since it requires a hidden yin line at the top to take account of us being a finger short to make a hexagram in a naturally elegant way. Still, interesting [Internet Archive copy]. In 2009 his book 'Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing Prediction System' was published. We've now reviewed this book.


The Xicizhuan or Dazhuan (Great Treatise), Wings 5 and 6, in Chinese. I've also made a PDF version of this useful page. (One of the best papers on the Xicizhuan is by Willard J Peterson: Making Connections: 'Commentary on the Attached Verbalizations' of the Book of Change [PDF]. From 'Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies' 42.1 [1982], pp 67–116.)

Comparison of variant Zhouyi texts

Today's received text (in simple and traditional characters), the Mawangdui silk manuscript, and the Chu bamboo-slip Zhouyi (Shanghai Museum), transcribed by Liu Dajun. I've uploaded a PDF of this webpage. (See also Harmen Mesker's review of Pu Maozuo's work on the Chu bamboo Zhouyi other variant texts.)

The mystery of the number nine

Ted Harper's site about the I Ching and sacred geometry. Some fascinating material here. Ted also has two PDF papers here and here.


Interesting page on the ancient Chinese board game of liubo, which may have a connection to the Yijing. The game is intriguing because the rules have been lost and it looks a rather good game from surviving representations. The author has attempted a reconstruction of the rules.

Working with clients

A good post by Harmen Mesker on his approach to giving professional Yijing readings. A response to an equally good post by Allan Lian on the same subject from a more traditional point of view.

Siku Quanshu Yijing books

The books, in Chinese, from the Yijing section of the Imperial Encyclopedia, downloadable in 40 PDF files.

Drumming the I Ching Patterns

Three pages on drumming the yin and yang lines of hexagrams, based on Melinda Maxfield's book and CD, 'Drumming the I Ching'. Hilary Barrett has mentioned her experience of drumming the sequence. There is a book on Lulu by Michael Drake on the same subject, I Ching: The Tao of Drumming, which has an accompanying CD. The I Ching reading page on his website has his version of the oracle fed into it, which is Part Two of his book. More or less an I Ching based on Wilhelm with a small section geared towards drummers called 'The Rhythmic Pattern'.

Iulian Shchutskii

Biography and photographs of the Russian author of 'Researches on the I Ching' (this work is featured in T H Barrett's review article from 'Numen' 29 [1982]: Change and Progress in Understanding Chinese Religion [PDF].)

Hellmut Wilhelm

Biography and photographs of the author of 'Change' and 'Heaven, Earth, and Man in the Book of Changes'. (Also a short biography at the University of Washington site.)

Arthur Waley

Biography and photographs of the author of the influential 1933 essay The Book of Changes. The same site also has a hexagram index to that essay. [Internet Archive copy]

Unveiling the mystery of I Ching

Tuck Chang from Taiwan provides an interesting translation and commentary. Some good insights and ideas that will repay close study. A fairly traditional approach but freshly done by a native speaker. I'm not that interested in some of the line relationships and trigram associations he goes into, finding all that kind of Yijing study a little too airy for my tastes, but it is certainly an area many Chinese commentators have written on down the centuries and it is rare to see it done with this level of detail in English.

Binary wheels

The relevance of this arrangement to the hexagrams of the Yijing is discussed in a thread about a loop of 64 black and white beads on the Clarity site, and in The Changes and the de Bruijn sequence. Russell Cottrell has added further information in I Ching Memory Wheels.

Oracle watch

Now you can generate a hexagram from your wristwatch.

Original I Ching

A 'self-awareness practice' by Dan Stackhouse. Concentrates on early glyphs of the title characters of the hexagram title-tags, rather than the text of the judgments and lines. It shouldn't be thought from the title of this site that it represents the Yi as it was originally, it is simply getting a few layers closer to one aspect of the Yijing, the hexagram names. In any case, I gather the material is intended to be inspirational rather than scholarly, though references to Karlgren, Lindquist, Mathews, and Weiger are cited.

Gregory C Richter’s translations

The Yijing is among Prof Richter's translations (well, the Zhouyi to be precise, the judgments and lines). He provides the pinyin, followed by a word-by-word translation, then a translation that makes sense of the words. The actual characters translated are in capitals, while added words for sense are lower-case. Quite a tight and agreeable translation in a PDF of 128 pages. Well worth looking at. Also translations of 'The Doctrine of the Mean' and 'The Great Learning', as well as Sunzi's 'Art of War', all presented in the same manner [Internet Archive copy].

Thomas Meyer's Yijing translation [PDF]

This very interesting translation is tucked away on The Jargon Society site. The title of Meyer's 159-page work is 'easy answers: THEY ARE NONE', with the sub-subtitle: 'Being a novel tracing of THE I CHING seen to by Thos. Meyer.' Quite quirky, and yet done with a lot of care and knowledge. The actual translation is pretty good, if a little staccato. Contains at the end a lexicon of characters and concordance by pinyin. I was surprised though, given his familiarity with Chinese, that he translated the second line of hexagram 44 as:

A tank. In there a fish. No worries. No benefit to the guests.

and the fourth line as:

A tank. No fish. This leads to disaster.

That 'tank' is an error originating with Cary F Baynes, who could not envisage any other form of 'container' a fish might be in from Richard Wilhelm's German (Behälter). It is better translated from the Chinese as a 'wrapper' or 'wrapping'. That said, the work is definitely worthy of study. Meyer also has a print translation of the Daodejing available from Flood Editions.

The Virtual Yarrow Stalks I Ching

Nicely done computer consultation mimicking yarrow-stalk manipulation, by Russell Cottrell. Some useful short book reviews too and an expanding I Ching miscellany.

I Ching Rhythm Study

About halfway down this page on George Marsh's site there are links to four PDF worksheets to experiment with (the link to page 3 will only work if you click the first part of it, the rest is mucked up).

Yi diagram database [PDF]

This Chinese site (Yi tu ziliaoku) no longer exists on the web, but I saved it some years ago for my own archive and have made a PDF (108 Mb) of it seeing as the copy in the Internet Archive's waybackmachine lacks the diagrams.

Albert Terrien de Lacouperie’s troglodytic Book of Changes [PDF]

This book is a good example of why the web is amazing. When I was doing my research for my own book I wanted to see a copy of Albert Étienne Jean-Baptiste Terrien de Lacouperie's 'The Oldest Book of the Chinese: The Yh-king and its authors' (1892). The only place I could see it was at the British Library on microfilm. What a rigmarole. Now you can get it at the click of a button sitting at home. I found it a surprisingly interesting read, something of a pioneer work, and thought Legge's harsh criticism of it a little unfair. This is one of those books various web archives have digitised but I found the process of getting to an actual download link strangely convoluted so I thought I'd tidy up the PDF and upload it here. (The Warring States Project has a brief biography of him [Internet Archive copy].)

Probabilistic studies of I Ching with use of APL [PDF]

Pavel Luksha, the author of this 1994 paper, believes, as a result of forming a large number of hexagrams by a computer programmed to simulate the yarrow method, that the resulting order of frequency of appearance shows significant similarities to the King Wen sequence and therefore provides 'a satisfactory explanation of the hexagram order' as a probability distribution (rather than because someone just ordered them that way one sunny afternoon). He surmises that the historical King Wen could have used a store of divination results to create the sequence (consider how long it would have taken to collect such a data set by hand, particularly given that these hexagrams would only have been formed when there was a need to consult the oracle over real issues). The author does not appear to be aware that the yarrow method we have today is a late reconstruction.

Someone easily blinded by 'science' wrote to me taking exception to certain statements on my probabilities page. He cited Luksha's paper and taking it a stage further he drew the inference that it provided 'strong statistical evidence that a yarrow stalk method with asymmetric probabilities was the “proper” method of divination when the King Wen sequence was established' (meaning the late reconstruction faithfully represented the probabilities of the original early Zhou method). Not having read the paper at that time, this was a strange idea to me, since what does a hexagram sortilege procedure have to do with the King Wen sequence? Nothing whatsoever, common sense would dictate. But now I have read Luksha's paper I see the trouble people will go to to 'prove' a hypothesis without ever sitting down first to ask themselves whether the very basis of it is at all realistic. As for the coincidences presented as a 'satisfactory explanation', they really aren't particularly exciting when you eventually get to what little meat there is on this bone.

Yijing scholarship in late-Nguyen Vietnam [PDF]

A study in English of Le Van Ngu's 'Chu dich cuu nguyen' ('An Investigation of the Origins of the Yijing', 1916), by Wai-ming Ng. The author of this 24-page paper leads up to the conclusion that Le's ideas are not particularly exceptional and did not break new ground. He says that the main worth of Le's book is 'its spirit of doubt, openness and pragmatism'. The most interesting thing I found out here is that Mr Le referred to himself as a 'crackpot'. Style over substance can sometimes be worth looking at, though not enough is quoted in this paper to form much of an impression. Nonetheless, there is a useful summary of Vietnamese Yijing studies.

The I Ching in late-Chosŏn thought [PDF]

16-page overview from 'Korean Studies' 24 (2000) of the Yijing (Yŏkkyŏng) in Korea in the late-Chosŏn period, by Wai-ming Ng. Sparse on detail but leaves an impression that Korean scholars found a need to distance themselves from Chinese thought on the oracle, taking cultural pride in Jizi from the fifth line of hexagram 36. The Viscount of Ji is thought to have taken the Yijing to Korea, although Richard Rutt has told me that the story of Jizi is no longer believed there.

Review of Ng’s Tokugawa I Ching book [PDF]

A review by James McMullen of Wai-ming Ng's book 'The I Ching in Tokugawa Thought and Culture', from 'Japanese Journal of Religious Studies' 29 (2002). I came across another review [PDF] from 'The Journal of Asian Studies' 60, by Gregory Smits. And another by Mark McNally. You can read the introduction [PDF] to the book on the publisher's website.

The I Ching in the Shinto thought of Tokugawa Japan [PDF]

24-page article by Wai-ming Ng from 'Philosophy East & West' 48. Contains on p 581 an intriguing figure showing the transformation of jindai moji ('script of the age of the gods') into hexagrams. (Jindai moji is a historical hoax by nationalists who wished to show that the Japanese didn't get their writing system from the Chinese but had one of their own.)

Study and Uses of the I Ching in Tokugawa Japan [PDF]

21-page article, another from Wai-ming Ng on his specialist subject, from the journal 'Sino-Japanese Studies' 9.2, which has a lot of other interesting material freely available in PDF on their archive site (including a couple of studies of Kawabata Yasunari in China and an essay on sencha, tea of the sages). Mentions on p 33 that Nakae Toju (1608–1648) made a statue of the 'God of the I Ching', named here as Ekishin, which from the characters simply translates as 'Yi spirit', and worshipped it every day. He identified this deity with another called Taiotsushin, which again from the characters is Taiyi, 'Grand Unity', the primordial unity of yin and yang, who became the supreme deity in the Han dynasty. Taiyi appears in trigraph #17 in the Lingqijing, but I wouldn't say he is specifically the god of Yijing. Personally, I have a shrine to Guandi, the god of war. The paper also has a little bit about the study of the Yijing among Zen monks, mention of the Ashikaga School in Rinzai and interest in the 'five ranks' in Soto, though details are sparse.

Model for cubic inversion of the I Ching

This page has a link to a fascinating 24 Mb movie showing manipulations with a cubic model of the hexagrams made with magnets. There is also a PDF paper entitled 'N-Dimensional Modeling with the I Ching' by Zachary Jones that explains the procedure. Making the cube with magnets permits turning it inside out while keeping it sticking together, thus showing these ideas with some elegance. Quite inspired.

The 1934 book The Symbols of the Yi King [PDF] by Z D Sung contains some good diagrams related to this. Andreas Schöter has reviewed this book at length.

Historical Atlas of China

Albert Herrmann's 1935 atlas [Internet Archive copy]. See also: History, Cultural and Commercial Atlas of China.

The Yi-globe

József Drasny, a retired cybernetic engineer living in Budapest, wrote to me pointing out his exploration of a spherical model of the Yijing, which he calls the Yi-globe. In 2005 his findings were published in Hungarian under the (translated) title of The Forgotten Worldview of the I Ching: The Yi-globe. The website is an English rendition in a more concise form, although he has a longer manuscript in English he would naturally like to interest a publisher in (UPDATE: József has now made this freely available in PDF). It is a simply superb extension of an idea seen in two-dimensional form in diagrams such as ztd394 and ztd1502 in my scans archive, where hexagrams are arranged in a 1–6–15–20–15–6–1 distribution according to the number of yin and yang lines (there are 20 hexagrams with three yin lines and three yang lines, 15 with two yang and four yin and 15 with two yin and four yang, and so on). The ramifications of this ordering are astounding and have never been brought out in any of the many Chinese Yijing diagrams I have collected over the years. What József has demonstrated with admirable simplicity of explanation (for such a complex idea) is that this ordering naturally implies a sphere.

What I find particularly good about his work is the way he explains how each of the 15 hexagrams on level II of his model is the 'child' of two of the six hexagrams on level I (which has risen up from the solitary hexagram 2 at the base in a manner Ed Hacker also noted with his 'hexagram flower' idea, the six hexagrams visualised as the petals). All of the hexagrams find their natural placement in this manner. It is fascinating how the six mixed hexagrams (both yin and yang lines) that have the same trigrams – 29, 51, 52 with two yang lines and four yin, and 30, 57, 58 with two yin lines and four yang – get placed at the centres of levels II and IV with hexagrams 63 and 64 at the centre of level III, the centre of the sphere itself, all as a straightforward progression. The two remaining hexagrams with the same trigrams, hexagrams 1 and 2, are at the apex and base of this vertical axis. This striking feature, once realised for what it is, is a spine-tingling discovery because of the sheer harmony and balance of it.

Further discoveries then become evident. Such as the way the 12 bigua 'waxing and waning' hexagrams get placed in a smooth continuous loop around the surface of the sphere through all the levels. From this József is able to derive a three-dimensional taijitu or yin-yang emblem, placing hexagram 14 as the white eye of the black 'fish' and hexagram 8 as the black eye of the white fish. I am not so concerned whether this is or is not a convincing derivation, since I am already sold on the meat of the argument. Certainly it is a supplementary observation of interest. Similarly his later excursions into Chinese medicine and yantra diagrams I regard as suggestive without need of being conclusive.

The basic presentation is easy enough to follow and understand, and all the diagrams are beautifully drawn. It does seem to be the case that this spherical structure, even if not actively imagined by the ancients, must have been a subconscious archetype pressing for understanding, because the Yi-globe is innate and implied by the very form of the 64 hexagrams. It is just that it has taken a long time to see what can be said to have been there from the beginning. This being so, József naturally thought to look for signs of the canonical King Wen sequence in the sphere. He points out that many hexagram pairs can be found without difficulty, which immediately alerts the attention since the King Wen sequence is a progression of 32 paired hexagrams.

Basic elements of the Yi-globe appear to be recognisably present in strands of the King Wen sequence. József discusses how shiftings may have occurred but I think he is to some extent muddying the waters of his thesis in attempting to account for the historical sequence. Because one thing is clear: the King Wen sequence, and whether time may have rearranged it (as Lama Govinda had to conclude), doesn't matter any more, save as an artifact. I think it can be said that the truly 'original' order of the hexagrams is exactly this sphere, even if it has only just now been discovered. The King Wen sequence is but rickety scaffolding set against this solid understanding that has built up, and Shao Yong's arrangement, as József disarmingly puts it, 'is nothing more than the binary numbers'. He makes this key point:

If it is supposed that the above described assumption aiming at the origin of the traditional, canonical sequence is correct, it makes further guessing needless in respect to the possible connotations implied in the sequence of the hexagrams. It seems that the meaning of the hexagrams as a whole lies not in their sequence but in the archetypal image, the Yi-globe. That is to say, the sequence itself is nothing but the simplified, one-dimensional variant of the Yi-globe. This variant is without space and time; the interrelations of the hexagrams are hardly recognizable. Moreover, the changes that occurred in it in the course of time almost completely annihilated the little information that remained. Any other deduction made on the basis of this sequence can only lead astray.

I couldn't agree more. And I rather think it makes any bold claim to have solved the King Wen sequence as it stands look a little ham-fisted.

This is seriously good work, with that impressive elegance one always looks for in ideas that advance understanding of the Yijing in one giant leap all by themselves.

It should be pointed out that Andreas Schöter has also been thinking along similar lines with his web notes on what he calls Chorand Spheres – named after Henri Chorand who broached the subject on the Yixue mailing list in October 2005 – but has not gone as far with it or explained it quite as fluently, for those who really like it spelling out, as it is put across on Drasny's site. Andreas's notes are useful for a different perspective, particularly given his accumulated work on cubic lattice structures that he has gone into in more depth. (UPDATE: Andreas has now addressed Drasny's sphere in detail, see Addendum III below.)

[ADDENDUM I – Shortly after I wrote this review, it came to light that another person had independently come up with this spherical model of the hexagrams, roughly at the same time that József Drasny arrived at it. Lothar Teikemeier published a diagram of the hexagram arrangement, different in only one minor detail, in his 1998 book 'Lyra, I-Ging gleich Tarot' (I Ching = Tarot). The diagram can be seen at the bottom of a page on Teikemeier's tarot site (the graphic is clickable to reach a large version). This was pointed out to me by a member of the now-defunct Hexagram-8 list, on which Lothar posted a description of his finding [PDF]. Oddly enough, I remembered that I had myself previously seen Lothar's diagram, but it had faded from my mind. Its significance had not dawned at me at that time. There are some further versions of the diagram on the Tarot History Forum.]

[ADDENDUM IIChris Willmot has made a revolving Yi-globe that can be turned by increments of 10°, 30°, or 90°. This presentation may not work in all browsers.]

[ADDENDUM III – Andreas Schöter has revisited the old discussions he had with Lothar and has updated his website with a detailed analysis of the Teikemeier and Drasny constructions, the relationships to Chorand's work, the relationship to the Boolean lattice, and has made what he considers a more consistent reconstruction of the structure. Andreas makes an interesting point:

I wish to note an identical assumption that is made by Chorand, Teikemeier and Drasny in their different constructions. At the outset, they assume the existence of a spherical surface onto which they project their structure (in Teikemeier's case, he also allows symbols within the volume of the sphere). This is done because of the "perfect" nature of a sphere and its role as a metaphysical ideal. However, it seems to me a better approach would be to make the construction without any such assumption and then infer the actual geometry of the structure that results.

Andreas suggests that it does not look like the structure's geometry is spherical, but rather it looks like a hexagonal cross-section prism. Fertile and fascinating stuff.]

Tantrix and the Yi Jing

Tantrix is a game invented in the 80s played with 56 hexagonal tiles (company website). Jay Dunbar of the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School has written an intriguing 38-page PDF article you can download that looks at Tantrix in relation to the Yijing. Looking around their site I see that the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School originated and sponsor the Jou, Tsung Hwa Memorial Dantian Challenge, named after the author of the excellent 1983 book 'The Tao of I Ching'. They say they give the 'Jou Medallion'…

… as a prize to any taijiquan player of two or more years experience who can toss a U.S. penny one vertical foot with their lower abdomen. Yang Banhou (1837–1892) practiced this demonstration of dantian development with rice grains; Jou, Tsung Hwa (1917–1998) suggested the one foot standard, and used pennies.

Apparently lying on his back Jou could toss it several feet into the air even with his clothes on.

Casting I-Ching Hexagrams

Remo Dentato goes into more depth than usual on probabilities and different ways to consult. The site hasn't been updated since 2004 though.

Robin Armstrong’s Sequence of Change

Robin Armstrong is a Canadian astrologer with a long-term interest in the I Ching who has combined the two into his own system for producing natal charts. He published an ebook in 2007 entitled 'The I Ching: The Sequence of Change', which is on sale from his website. This is supplied in numerous PDF files completely filling a CD. It is a work of correlative exploration of the I Ching and astrology, qabala, music, taiji, genealogy and other topics, such as building a forest woodhenge. The material will appeal most to people who are already studying western astrology. I was particularly fascinated to learn that Robin invented, in 1977, the celestial harp, a musical instrument where each string relates to a particular hexagram. It sounds quite beautiful.

The Difficulty of the Yijing [PDF]

Kidder Smith's excellent 15-page article from 'Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews' 15 (December 1993). When I first read this article I was very taken by Smith's characterisation of the Yijing as a fragmentary text floating in a sea of indeterminacy, containing a 'disembodied language'. The Yijing as pure literature is too often overlooked and Smith's paper remains one of the best essays on this aspect.

Cubic transformations

Attractive animated cubic model of the hexagrams with some detailed exposition, though I'm not sure that it's worth persevering through its complexity in its present form. The patterns are found in the 8 × 8 hexagram finding chart popularised by the Wilhelm-Baynes translation, under the impression that this arrangement is somehow a 'standard layout'. Actually that arrangement is only a convenient and relatively recent western means of locating a hexagram (John Compton similarly subjected this grid to a great deal of scrutiny under the impression it was ancient). It cannot even be said to be a 'standard' hexagram locator, since Greg Whincup, Kerson Huang, and Liu Ming use a different layout. This work will do itself a favour by concentrating on, say, the Shao Yong (Fuxi) square, or one of the other Chinese arrangements.

The Luoshu: Language of Numbers

Extensive site by Robert Dickter on the Luoshu and magic squares. Once you press one of the nine chapter numbers on the central magic-square graphic you are provided with much easier-to-use contents-style navigation. This site – a condensed version of Dickter's book 'Number, Time, and Archetype' – will appeal to those who have enjoyed Schulyer Cammann's papers on Chinese and other historical magic squares (Islamic and Indian) and Lars Berglund's 'The Secret of the Luo Shu', or open up the door to those who have yet to explore this area.


A way of representing octal numbers that has an obvious application to trigrams.

I Ching 3D – Wolfram Demonstrations Project

The Mathematica Player will need to be downloaded for use of active controls in the live version. The same author, Michael Schreiber, also has an interesting yin-yang demonstration.

Drew Lesso – The Creative Principle

Drew Lesso taps out the hexagrams around the circular arrangement, one tap for a yang line, two taps for a yin line.

Oracle poems [PDF]

Well-written 99-page study of Shijing poetics, occasionally drawing comparisons with the Yijing. A 2006 MA thesis by A E S Jones from the University of Sydney. Will be of great interest to those who have read the studies on the Shijing by Marcel Granet, C H Wang, and Arthur Waley.

Douglas A White's Yijing translation

Despite translating the junzi as 'wizard' and a desire to draw parallels with ancient Egypt, this is quite an interesting translation and commentary, with the Chinese included, available in 15 PDF files. [UPDATE: It seems these files are no longer freely available.]

Kiang Kang-hu’s 1925 article on the Yi Ching [PDF]

An article from 'The China Journal of Science & Arts', Vol. III, No. 5 (May, 1925), pp 259–264. After some basic introductory material, there are two very interesting personal anecdotes, one concerning a prediction of the 1911 revolution in China made with the Book of Changes and the other concerning a political prisoner eager to pass on his commentary on the oracle before he was executed.

The Book of Changes in terms of Nietzsche’s philosophy

2009 doctoral thesis by Hay Lin Helen Ku from the University of Pretoria, in eight PDF files. Entitled: 'The hidden/flying dragon: an exploration of the Book of Changes (I Ching) in terms of Nietzsche’s philosophy.'

Studies of the I Ching: I. A replication [PDF]

A study by Lance Storm and Michael A Thalbourne of the University of Adelaide to determine whether transliminality 'might function as a connecting principle between paranormal effects and other personality variables', where transliminality is defined as 'a hypothesised tendency for psychological material to cross thresholds into or out of consciousness'. Unbelievably dense bunch of probabilistic twaddle from 'The Journal of Parapsychology' 65 (June 2001), pp 105–124. One might think parapsychology was a science after reading this, as opposed to a doss option at college. A marginally interesting look into a discipline that has elevated the art of getting little or no tangible results to the status of seeming important and worthy of 19 pages to describe it. Further parapsychology papers involving the I Ching are detailed in the references, if you're at all interested.

On Harmony as Transformation: Paradigms from the I Ching [PDF]

A 23-page article by Chung-ying Cheng of the University of Hawaii, from 'New Asia Academic Bulletin' 7 (1988), pp 225–247. This paper was also published in 'Journal of Chinese Philosophy' 16.2 (1989), pp 125–158. The 'Journal of Chinese Philosophy' is edited by Cheng. Curious how little this paper ends up saying. The two instances of the character for 'harmony' in the Zhouyi, in hexagrams 58/1 and 61/2, are not discussed.

The Unity of Yin and Yang: A Philosophical Assessment [PDF]

A 14-page article by Thaddeus T'ui-chieh Hang of the National Chengchi University of Taipei, from 'New Asia Academic Bulletin' 7 (1988), pp 211–224. (This and the above paper were from a monograph entitled 'Harmony and Strife: Contemporary Perspectives, East and West', edited by Shu-hsien Liu and Robert E Allinson.)

The Narrative Model of Yijing [PDF]

Interesting eight-page article by Xiaosui Xiao from the Hong Kong Baptist University that sees the Yijing as a book 'that tells great stories about the changing of fate'. From 'China Media Research' 5.3 (2009), pp 102–109. There is a strange translation of the third line of hexagram 47: 'This one suffers an impasse on rocks, so he tries to hold on to the puncture vice for support, and then he enters his home but does not see his wife.' I tried to picture a puncture vice, until it dawned on me it is a typo and should be the thorny 'puncture vine' or Tribulus terrestris. The article observes that if the King Wen sequence really represented some kind of gradual evolution from hexagram to hexagram, as suggested by the rather forced Xugua or 'Sequence' text, then one might expect to see some regular and gradual change in line arrangement from one hexagram to the next, but in fact:

… two-line and four-line differences are most prevalent in the King Wen sequence, with twenty each. There are even nine cases of a six-line difference, but only two one-line differences (between hexagram 52 and 53 and between 60 and 61).

Just to check, I went looking for the nine six-line differences. They are between hexagrams 1 and 2, 11 and 12, 17 and 18, 27 and 28, 29 and 30, 38 and 39 (why was I surprised by that one?), 53 and 54, 61 and 62, and 63 and 64. Maybe the reason the 38/39 pair took me by surprise is because it is the only even/odd pair, and so not one of the 32 odd/even pairs.

Ten Wings in Chinese

You can get the Ten Wings (Shiyi) at Donald Sturgeon's wonderful Chinese Text Project site. These are: Tuanzhuan (Wings 1 and 2); Xiangzhuan (Wings 3 and 4); Xicizhaun part 1/upper and part 2/lower (i.e., the Dazhuan, 'Great Treatise', Wings 5 and 6, also here as unbroken text); Wenyan (Wing 7); Shuogua (Wing 8); Xugua (Wing 9); and Zagua (Wing 10).

I-Ching and the Formal Language of the Metaphysical

Sun Yu-Li is a sculptor in Singapore who has published some interesting material on the metaphysics he sees underlying his work. These ideas remind me a little of Paul Klee's 'Pedagogical Sketchbook'.

Yijing dustjacket [PDF]

A beautiful and clever design by Micaela Blaustein from Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Site has disappeared, so I made a PDF from the Google cache.)

I Ching and public relations [PDF]

Article by Jensen Chung and May Ho. The material on different kinds of qi and strategic advantage is quite interesting.

The I-Ching and the Formation of the Hua-yen Philosophy

Article by Whalen Lai from 'Journal of Chinese Philosophy' 7.3 (1980), pp 245–258. Here we come across the idea that the eight trigrams are 'of the mind', which is not found in traditional Yijing study but appears in the 'Flower Garland' school of Buddhism (flourished in the Tang dynasty). Whalen also suggests that Shao Yong's xiaohengtu (small horizontal diagram) and further xiantian diagrams may have been inspired by the diagram of 'Suchness and Ignorance in interaction' by Zong Mi (780–841, Tsung Mi in this paper) from three centuries earlier. [UPDATE: Here's a PDF of the paper in its original published form.]

Livia Kohn’s review of ‘I Ching: An Annotated Bibliography’ [PDF]

In addition to my own review, and Joseph Adler's, this is Livia Kohn's review of 'I Ching: An Annotated Bibliography' by Hacker, Moore, and Patsco.

I Ching Acupuncture

Articles by David Twicken, author of 'I Ching Acupuncture' with Chao Chen (the originator of the system) and his son Yu Chen. See Dr Chen's site. Twicken has also written a book on Qimendunjia.

Divination in China: Patterns of Time [PDF]

English abstract of a lecture presented by Matthias Anton at a conference entitled Prognosen über Bewegungen, held in Berlin in December 2007. This PDF is eight pages, longer than an average abstract, and has some interesting notes on time words in the Yi.

William H Littlefield and the I Ching [PDF]

This 36-page PDF exhibition chapbook contains an essay by Miriam Zolin on the use of the I Ching by the artist William H Littlefield (1902–1969). Some fascinating photographs of hexagrams on the reverse side of his paintings. Zolin points out that on the back of 'Where ideas unlock the future' he has drawn hexagram 54 but labelled it as its inverse hexagram 53. She doesn't appear to have realised there is a simple explanation for this, because actually if you look closely all of Littlefield's hexagrams on the photographs included here are upside down, so I presume he simply wrote the lines down starting at the top going down rather than from the bottom upwards, but nonetheless correctly labelled them. He refers to hexagram 37 where the title in Wilhelm-Baynes is altered from 'The Family [The Clan]' to 'Family (Clan of Painters)'. It is speculated that Littlefield revisited his paintings at some later point and either left them unchanged or did further work on them on the basis of hexagrams received. On the back of his painting 'In a metaphysical vein' he is clearly asking the oracle about the 'Present state of work'.

Professional Yijing Divination Diploma [PDF]

Someone has put their diploma from Master Joseph Yu on the web. They must reckon it looks impressive. I hate to break the news, but, no, it really doesn't.

Who told the fortunes? [PDF]

Stephen L Field on the identity of the speaker in early Chinese divination records, from 'Asia Major' (third series) 13.2 (2000), pp 1–14. Field has a shorter version of this paper on the 'Center for Zhouyi & Ancient Chinese Philosophy' site: Some observation on milfoil divination.

Driving out demons and snakes: Gu syndrome [PDF]

An excellent eight-page article by Heiner Fruehauf from 'Journal of Chinese Medicine' 57 (1998), pp 10–17, on 'Gu syndrome', a disease that 'catapults a person's mind and will power into a state of chaos' and is related to hexagram 18. (I have dealt with the probable earlier meaning of gu as an ancestral curse in chapter XII of The Mandate of Heaven, pp 127–135.)

Gu syndrome: An interview with Heiner Fruehauf [PDF]

Expanding on the views expressed in the above article. A further and different interview on 'Gu syndrome' here [PDF].

Photographs of Richard Wilhelm

Nice images from the Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), clickable to get to larger photographs.

Wilhelm’s 1924 German translation of the I Ging

Richard Wilhelm's German is closer to the Chinese in a number of places, for example the 'superior man' was an unfortunate choice by Mrs Baynes, Wilhelm had the much more accurate der Edle, 'noble'. Also, the fish was never in a tank, and 'no blame' is not quite kein Makel, 'no blemish'.

Ancient Chinese Civilization Bibliography

Extensive bibliography of materials in western languages, aiming to be inclusive from the Bronze Age through the pre-Buddhist era. The bibliography is a continuing work-in-progress maintained by Paul R Goldin.

Don't forget the Germans

Harmen Mesker's round-up of a handful of good German books on the Yijing.

The Book of Changes as a Mirror of the Mind [PDF]

A 19-page paper by Richard J Smith prepared for the Fourth International Conference of Analytical Psychology and Chinese Culture, Fudan University, Shanghai, PRC (April 10–12, 2009). Parts of this paper have been drawn from Professor Smith's 2008 book 'Fathoming the Cosmos and Ordering the World: The Yijing and Its Evolution in China' (see review) and the companion volume he is writing tentatively titled 'Eternal Writ: The Globalization of the Yijing'. The main topics are the varied interpretations of hexagram 52 through time, the psychoanalytical view of the Yi by Professor Shen Heyong, and the spread of the Yijing to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Tibet. There is also a section on the Jesuits, which Smith has written about in much greater depth in his 36-page article Jesuit Interpretations of the Yijing [PDF].

Meditation, Divination, and Dream Interpretation [PDF]

A 22-page paper by Richard J Smith subtitled 'Chan/Zen Buddhism, the I Ching (Book of Changes), and Other Chinese Devices for Jungian Self-Realization'. The text was prepared for the Third International Conference of Analytical Psychology and Chinese Culture, Guangzhou, PRC (September 22–24, 2006). Some interesting material on Chan 'capping phrases' used in koan practice based on Victor Sogen Hori's book 'Zen Sand' (2003), the 97-page introduction [PDF] to which is available online. The rest of Smith's paper contains material on hexagram 52, which he seems to have recycled for the Fourth International Conference (above), and traditional-style Chinese dream analysis. The categories of dreams from 'The Complete Book of the Duke of Zhou's Explanation of Dreams' (Zhougong jiemeng) are quite fascinating.

I Ching author Wu Wei [PDF]

It turns out that 'Wu Wei', a mediocre I Ching author popular with those who know no better, is a pseudonym of Chris Prentiss, who is doing a roaring trade in the alcohol and addiction cure business. In this article from the 'LA Weekly' Prentiss proudly tells the reporter that he has written more I Ching books than anyone in the world (he's only got Stephen Karcher to compete with I'd have thought) and that 'Wu Wei' means 'no name', which it doesn't. If he wanted that he should have called himself 'Wu Ming'. Apparently Prentiss found the I Ching difficult at first and 'he couldn’t truly understand the text until his head was partially crushed by a boulder'. This article says Prentiss 'schemed and scammed' to make a living and he is quoted as saying 'my business dealings were always shady'. Well, it was quite possible to 'know the seeds' back in 1995 when I briefly reviewed the first two books.

Chinese medicine and Yijing [PDF]

A seven-page paper from 'Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine' 3.1 (2008), pp 17–23. Historically, Chinese medical texts frequently acknowledge the importance of the Yijing for medicine. In the Tang Dynasty (618–906 CE), Sun Simiao said: 'If you don’t understand the Changes, you cannot practice medicine.'

Panther-Webworks Wilhelm-Baynes I Ching

Quite a clever and attractive presentation for the web of the material from Book I.

Yijing Journal

Interesting site in French by Nathalie Mourier, who does Yijing and fengshui things in Paris.

The principle of hexagrams’ numbering in the Book of Change

The English translation of this Russian book by G A Fomyuk and E A Kudina is available to download as a zipped 125-page Word document from a link on this page. Deals with the King Wen sequence in terms of the Luoshu magic square.

Takashima Ekidan‏ [PDF]

The University of Virginia has made this out-of-copyright 1893 work by the Japanese author Takashima Kaemon (1832–1914) available to download on Google books. However, the book can't be downloaded by anyone outside of the United States, so I have obtained a copy and put it up here. It's strange that this book is so little known. It consists of an abridgement into one volume of Takashima's ten-volume 'Ekidan', translated into English by Sugiura Shigetake (1855–1924). The Yijing in Japanese is the Eki-kyo, the Yi is the Eki, and the 'Takashima Ekidan' is 'Monograph on the Eki of Mr Takashima'. There is a complete translation of all sixty-four hexagrams, together with many fascinating practical examples of divinatory use. The first edition of the Legge translation, by comparison, was published in 1882 in Hong Kong, with the second edition [PDF] coming out in 1899.

Thomas Kingsmill – The Construction of the Yih King [PDF]

This four-page article from 'The China Review' 21.4 (1895), pp 272–275, has some surprisingly modern translations of hexagrams 3, 7, 28, 36, and 37. See also his The Yih-king – A note [PDF], from Vol. 25.1 (1900), pp 50–51, concerning hexagram 3. (Kingsmill was influenced by Terrien de Lacouperie's 1892 work The Oldest Book of the Chinese [PDF].)

Canon McClatchie – The Symbols of the Yih-king [PDF]

13-page article from 'The China Review' 1.3 (1872), pp 151–163. Thomas McClatchie's translation of the Yijing was published in 1876 in Shanghai, six years before Legge's. I have read it in the British Library, but have not yet found a digital version of it, but this article from 1872 gives a flavour of McClatchie's somewhat delirious style of comparative mythology. [UPDATE: Harmen Mesker has now made a scan of McClatchie's translation available online.]

Joseph Edkins – The Yi King, with Notes on the 64 Kwa [PDF]

From 'The China Review' 12.2 (1883), pp 77–88, with part 2 [PDF] appearing in Vol. 12.5 (1884), pp 412–432. Some interesting notes, such as hexagram 3 as 'bursting', 4 as 'covering', 12 as 'closing', and 18 as 'destruction, as by insects'. Edkins had hexagram 23 as 'flaying' way before Kunst, Shaughnessy, and Rutt. Hexagram 40 as 'loosening' is more accurate than 'deliverance' or 'release'. 51 as 'startling movement' is good, 57 as 'bending to enter' is interesting. He says of McClatchie that he finds in the Yi 'a grotesque mythology identical with that of the pagan West'. By contrast, Edkins' work is lean and of sharp intelligence, hampered only like all these old works by the obsolete romanisation of the Chinese. See also his article The Yi King and its Appendices [PDF] from Vol. 14.6 (1886), pp 303–322. One can sense his palpable relief to find Fuxi and other progenitors represented in the Great Treatise 'not as monstrous beings half fish and half man, dressed in leaves and newly sprung from chaos, but as wise men and teachers endowed with royal authority'.

GupaJuhe's Yijing-inspired art

Some very nice work, concentrating on the development of Yijing diagrams through art, by the French artist GupaJuhe (Guillaume Hebert). In 2010 he founded the 'Yi Jing Artistic Development Studio' in Boulogne-Billancourt.

I Ching hexagrams, DNA codes, and the ‘principle of existence’ [PDF]

Intriguing six-page paper by Hu Huping and Wu Maoxin involving something they call the 'principle of existence', which is gone into further in their 70-page paper [PDF] in 'Prespacetime Journal' 1 (2010): 'Prespacetime Model of Elementary Particles, Four Forces & Consciousness.' They appear to be applying mathematics to omnipotence. Fascinating. The latter paper puts forward answers to many questions without mathematics, including 'where did we come from?' and 'where are we going?'. More from these two out-there scientists, or preachers of quantum entanglement, or prophets of prespacetime, can be found at QuantumBrain.org.

An I-Ching Archetypal Approach to Homosexuality [PDF]

A ludicrous 'post Jungian' attempt by Professor Chang Wen-cheng of Yuanpei University to explain homosexuality through the I Ching, although much of the paper is given over to a potty theory that certain phonetic sounds are homosexual. Hard to believe this person is drawing an academic's salary. Still, this is a good example of how modern psychology in China has seized on the Yijing to pad out mediocre ideas. (If you have difficulty opening this one in a browser, right-click to download directly.)

The Black Magic in China Known as ku [PDF]

I have decided to put up the famous Feng and Shryock paper on 'gu' black magic practices in ancient China ('ku' in Wade-Giles transliteration). This is from the 'Journal of the American Oriental Society' 55 (1935), pp 1–30. The paper is certainly useful as background information for my chapter on gu in The Mandate of Heaven, 'The curse of the ancestors', about hexagram 18, and has now influenced an article in Strange Attractor 4 by Phil Legard and Andy Sharp, about how occult author Kenneth Grant read this paper and fabricated a secret London branch of the 'Cult of Ku' he wished his readers to believe actually existed.

The Francis Crick Archive at the Wellcome Library

I have often wondered whether Francis Crick was aware of the comparison made between DNA codons and Yijing hexagrams, and, if so, what he thought of it. One passage on this page caught my attention:

Pity Mrs K S Wu, who, in 1973, had sent Crick her manuscript: 'Dr Crick', wrote (Miss) Sue Barnes (Crick's secretary at the time) 'has asked me to return to you your manuscript entitled The I-Ching, The Unravelled Clock as it appears to him to be complete nonsense from beginning to end'. The sting is all the sharper for being delegated. To add further insult, the letter to Mrs Wu – more correctly, as is apparent from her covering letter, Dr Wu – was copied to Dr Joseph Needham and Dr Dennis Gabor. But, if Dr Wu had thought that Crick was likely to be impressed by the proposal of an elaborate scheme of correspondence between the sixty-four DNA codons and the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching, she had not done her homework.

I don't know of any published book or manuscript by K S Wu on the Yijing, so one presumes her work never saw the light of day and is still in a dusty attic box somewhere. So it is hard to say whether Crick didn't think much of the comparison itself, or the work in question. After all, there is the reasonable way to point out parallels, and the crackpot way. Perhaps he would have been more amenable to Johnson Yan's work. Or maybe not. (See also my note on the early history of the DNA/I Ching analogy.)


Addendum – K S Wu is apparently also known as Eleanor B Morris Wu, who, undaunted by Crick's criticism, later published the following books:

1. 'Information Puzzles and Astronomical Predictions in the I-Ching' (Taipei: Cheng Chung Book Co, 1978)
2. 'Functions and Models of Modern Biochemistry in the I-ching' (Taipei: Cheng Chung Book Co, 1978)
3. 'New Statistics of Physical Chemistry according to the Teachings of the Chinese Book of Changes' (Taipei: Chinese Culture University Press, China Academy, 1983)

Schizophrenia and The Book of Changes

Philip K Dick's 1965 essay. He clearly recognised that the book does not tell the future:

True, the book seems to deal with the future; it lays before your eyes, for your scrutiny, a gestalt of the forces in operation that will determine the future. But these forces are at work now; they exist, so to speak, outside of time, as does the ablative absolute case in Latin. The book is analytical and diagnostic, not predictive.

The Chinese called it knowing 'the time' (shi). Dick first started using the I Ching in 1961 and throughout the rest of the 1960s he based all his decisions on it. In this essay he talks about why that's not such a good idea, asking at the end: 'Got any suggestions as to how I can extricate myself from my morbid dependence on the book?' Dick used the I Ching to plot his novel 'The Man in the High Castle' (1962), as he mentions in a 1974 interview. In a 1976 interview he blames the oracle for not knowing how to finish the novel off. He also makes this statement:

I don't use the I Ching anymore. I'll tell ya, the I Ching told me more lies than anybody else I've ever known. The I Ching has a personality and it's very devious and very treacherous. And it feeds ya just what you want to hear. And it's really spaced out and burned out more people than I would care to name. Like a friend is somebody who doesn't tell you what you want to hear. A friend tells you what's true. A toady is the old word for somebody who told you what you wanted to hear. The Kings all had their toadies around them who told them what they wanted to hear. The King said, am I the greatest King in the world? Yeah, you're the greatest King in the world, yeah. Well, this is what the I Ching does. It tells you what you want to hear and it's not a true friend. One time I really zapped it. I asked it if it was the devil. And it said yes. And then I asked it if it spoke for God, and it said no. It said I am a complete liar. I mean that was the interpretation. In other words I set it up. I set it up. I asked two questions simultaneously and it said I speak with forked tongue, is what it said. And then it said, oops, I didn't mean to say that. But it had already …

It's certainly possible to get that deep into delusion and create an I Ching psychosis through continually asking leading questions. You rarely hear it put as bluntly as above. I completely recognise what he's talking about, but I always blamed my own interpretative ability – the other way madness lies.

Yijing for the fingers [PDF]

I have often thought myself that hexagrams resembled Braille, and now Fabio Galassi has had a go at rendering the 64 hexagrams in a kind of pseudo-Braille. The trouble with it is, of course, that some of these symbols are already taken, his hexagram 20 for instance is a bracket in Braille, his hexagram 44 is an apostrophe, and his hexagram 64 is the letter 'L'. Still, the thought is there.

Tracing the Source of the Idea of Time in Yizhuan [PDF]

Very good 17-page paper by Zheng Wangeng that appeared in 'Frontiers of Philosophy in China' 5 (2010), pp 51–67. Examines the notion of time (shi) and timeliness in the commentaries to the Yi, and other early texts.

The True Nature and Interpretation of the Yi-King [PDF]

Article by de Harlez from 'The Asiatic Quarterly Review', Vol. VII, No. 14 (April, 1894), pp 386–395. The follow-up article: The Ancient Chinese Books of Divination [PDF], from Vol. VIII, No. 15 (July, 1894), pp 107–116.

The translation of the Yijing by the Belgian Charles de Harlez (1832–1899) I find very interesting. It was published in French in Brussels in 1889 (with a revised edition in 1897), and translated into English by J P Val d'Eremao in 1896. The latter appeared first in serial form and in 1897 was published as a book by the Oriental University Institute, Woking. I have not yet tracked down a digital copy of the book (there is a hard copy in the British Library), but myself and Luis Andrade managed with some difficulty to find three of its serialised parts, one chunk strangely missing because it looks like the publisher left it out by mistake (perhaps this is the reason it was published so shortly afterwards as a book). Here are the parts we have:

Part I [PDF] from: 'The Asiatic Quarterly Review', Vol. IX, No. 17 (January, 1895), pp 117–132 (hexagrams 1 to 11).

Part II [PDF] from: Vol. X, No. 19 (July, 1895), pp 107–122 (hexagrams 12 to 30).

Part III should have been in Vol. X, No. 20 (October, 1895) according to the later contents list that was published but the actual issue had nothing, then January 1896 and April 1896 had nothing until:

Part IV [PDF] from: (Third Series) Vol. II, No. 3 (July, 1896), pp 115–129 (hexagrams 53 to 64).

Translating ‘The Book of Changes’ in nineteenth century Britain

A thesis of 130 pages submitted December 2010 by Wong Chi-Keung from the University of Hong Kong. A well-written and informative piece. The works of some of the people discussed can be found in the links above, such as Edkins, Kingsmill, McClatchie, Terrien de Lacouperie, de Harlez, and Legge.

Structural Elements in the King Wen Sequence of Hexagrams [PDF]

Steve Moore has kindly allowed me to put up his 2005 paper on the King Wen sequence, which was the first of two 'occasional papers' published under the auspices of 'The Oracle' after it folded.

W A Sherrill’s ‘Heritage of Change’

Harmen Mesker has scanned a little-known Yijing book by Wallace Andrew Sherrill, 'Heritage of Change'. Sherrill wrote, with W K Chu, the better-known work 'The Astrology of I Ching'.

Key Concepts of Fate and Prediction in the Yijing [PDF]

A 32-page paper by Richard J Smith on Yijing terminology.

Barry Fishman’s Yijing paintings

Representations of the hexagrams in 42 × 42 inch acrylic paintings.

Macau I Ching ‘Pa Kua VIII’ stamps

A rather nice set of eight hexagonal postage stamps (plus a 'souvenir sheet' stamp) issued in March 2012 in Macau. At first glance the hexagrams appear to be upside down, at least in relation to the text, except for hexagram 2, which of course is the same both ways up. But actually the hexagrams have the lower or inner trigram on the inside as in circular hexagram diagrams. These stamps complete the set of all 64 hexagrams, the rest having been issued in seven previous series starting in 2001. This post by a stamp collector has large scans of series V, VI, and VII. In these the hexagrams are at differing orientations but the inner trigram is always on the inside. Each set has the same inner trigram and consists of the eight hexagrams in each of the eight horizontal octets of the Fuxi sequence, with the stamps in the same order on the perforated sheet as they are in the sequence. From the specimens I've seen, the eight sets of stamps also appear to have been issued in Fuxi order, the latest and final set having the kun trigram inside, corresponding to the top horizontal octet of the Fuxi sequence (VII had gen, VI had kan, V had xun, and II had dui).

Richard Rutt obituary in The Telegraph

Richard Rutt, who wrote an excellent book on the Zhouyi, died on July 27, 2011, aged 85. There was also an obituary in The Korea Times and Biggleswade Today, as well as other places not online. There are two pieces on this site by Richard, his in-depth review-article on Shaughnessy's Mawangdui book and his shorter review of Liu Dajun. Richard was a delightfully erudite chap who also had a passion for knitting. There is a good photograph of him wearing one of his own creations on the cover of his book A History of Hand Knitting.

Octet Squared

Yijing-based 'Human Affairs Consulting' business by Paul G Fendos Jr, who wrote the PhD dissertation 'Fei Chih's Place in the Development of I-Ching Studies' (1988).

The Psychology of Divination in Cross-Cultural Perspective [PDF]

21-page conference paper by Richard J Smith.

Women and divination in traditional China

Some reflections by Richard J Smith.

The Writing of the Xici Zhuan and the Making of the Yijing [PDF]

Edward Shaughnessy's conference paper on the Xicizhuan, also known as the Dazhuan (Great Treatise). This was made available as part of a collection of papers entitled 'Measuring Historical Heat', a symposium held in Heidelberg, November 3-4, 2001, and was published in a rather slapdash fashion with the Chinese characters missing and black bars and garbled text substituted instead. Shaughnessy has some interesting views on the Xicizhuan, but this paper is not as informative as Willard J Peterson's Making Connections: 'Commentary on the Attached Verbalizations' of the Book of Change [PDF], from 'Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies' 42.1 [1982], pp 67–116.

Yijing lai zhu

All ten volumes of 'Yijing lai zhu' by the Ming scholar Lai Zhide (1525–1604) are online as page images at the Hathi Trust digital library. The title translates as 'Lai's annotated Yijing' or 'Notes on the Yijing by Mr Lai'. Volume 10 has many diagrams, although all the main ones are already covered in the scans archive. Volume 1 has examples of Lai's distinctive taiji emblem. Lai Zhide is discussed in some detail in the review of Richard Smith's Fathoming the Cosmos.

I Ching and John Cage in landscape design

Thesis for his Master of Landscape Architecture Degree by Barry R Morse, from 2007. 158-page illustrated PDF can be downloaded. Morse uses a similar method to construct a landscape as Cage used to construct visual art.

Perceiving Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Silence’ through I Ching

163-page 1995 thesis by Gordon A Lee, who attempts to fathom the significance of the film's imagery through the oracle. Interesting idea for a thesis, but doesn't go very deep really, despite the fact that it won an 'Outstanding Thesis Award'. For example: 'The sausage is a symbol of Yang' or 'His fear of horses means he is still a Yin, not ready to become a Yang yet' (both p 76).

The Plum Flowering Mind Method of Divination [PDF]

11-page article by Guan-Cheng Sun from 'Qi Journal' 16.1, Spring 2006, pp 37–47.

I Ching, Psychology of Heart, and Jungian Analysis [PDF]

12-page article from 'Psychological Perspectives' 49.1 (Jan–June 2006), pp 61–78, by Shen Heyong et al. Richard Smith deals with Shen Heyong's psychoanalytical view of the Yi in his article above.

Mengxiang Discoursing on the I Ching

Delightful extract from the autobiographical memoir 'Tracks in the Snow', by the Manchu Bannerman author Wanggiyan Lincing. After viewing chrysanthemums in the garden, Wen Mengxiang discourses to his guest on his theory that various characters in the 'Water Margin' represent hexagrams.

Steve Moore interview on the I Ching

As many Yijing aficionados will know, my good friend Steve Moore died in March 2014. The link is to the fifth part of Pádraig Ó Méalóid's extensive interview with Steve, specifically concentrating on his interest in the oracle. The earlier parts are linked to on the page. Steve didn't want to republish his book 'The Trigrams of Han' without revising it, but as that will never happen now, and as the book has been out-of-print for many years and available only at high prices, here is a scan of the original 1989 book in PDF. Pádraig also wrote a nice personal appreciation soon after Steve died. There was an obituary in 'The Telegraph'. There's quite a bit of stuff by Steve Moore on the Yijing Dao site.

Reflections on Time and Related Ideas in the Yijing [PDF]

Interesting article by Wonsuk Chang from 'Philosophy East & West' 59.2 (April 2009) pp 216–229. Also mentions the concept of ji or 'incipience'.

Book of Changes: Studies in Korea [PDF]

20-page article by Paul G Fendos from 'Asian Studies Review' 23:1 (March 1999), pp 49–68.

The Original Core of the I Ching

Lars Bo Christensen's site to supplement his translation, which is available on Kindle. Lars has a master's degree in Chinese from University of Copenhagen and his work deserves study.


Chris Tillam has a fascinating way of graphically demonstrating how the divining of the first hexagram line eliminates half of the 64 hexagrams. Divining the second hexagram line eliminates half of the 32 remaining leaving 16, and so on until, with the final throw, one hexagram is left, and whatever it may change into via moving lines, if there are any. Because his demonstration is so technically accomplished there are currently glitches depending on which browser you use, but the essential idea is there.

London Yijing Society

Meetings in central London. You don't have to be a member of 'Meetup' to attend, just turn up.

Ouyi Zhixu's Buddhist Hermeneutics of the Yijing [PDF]

Interesting article by Lo Yuet Keung that was in a special issue on commentaries on the Book of Changes in 'Journal of Chinese Philosophy', June 2008, pp 273–295. Ouyi Zhixu's work on the Yijing was translated by Thomas Cleary as 'The Buddhist I Ching', but unfortunately it is not a very good translation (see Kidder Smith's review [PDF]).

Contemplating the I Ching

Site by Barbara Davis, editor of 'Taijiquan Journal'.

The Origin and Significance of the Chŏngyŏk [PDF]

31-page article from 'Journal of Chinese Philosophy' 9 (1982) by Jung Young Lee on Kim Il-bu's Chŏngyŏk, the Korean 'Book of Correct Change' (not to be confused with the Chuyŏk [Zhouyi] or Yŏkkyŏng [Yijing]). The Chŏngyŏk is a 19th century new version of the Yi, regarding Fuxi's as the first Book of Change, King Wen's as the second, and Kim Il-bu's as the third. It is based on 'the movement of the moon's shadow', a trigram rearrangement, and prophetic vision (the Chŏngyŏk is said to represent the third and final kalpa or era of the world, with Korea fulfilling a messianic role for world peace).

Elemental changes in the I Ching [PDF]

Article by Alain Stalder about his new arrangement of the eight trigrams relating to Aristotle's circle of the four elements. The correlation of complementary trigrams on a Möbius strip is quite elegant.


I've given the Wikipedia address, so you can find the latest Sci-Hub URL, as it continually outfoxes take-downs. Sci-Hub is the secret jewel of academics, but now it is getting more widely known. The founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, was even named as one of the ten people who mattered most in 2016 by Nature. Now you can read scholarly articles on the Yijing (or whatever) despite not having access through a university library that has an overpriced journal subscription. Just go to the usual sources, for instance JSTOR, Project MUSE, Wiley, or journal sites themselves such as Journal of Chinese Philosophy, and search. When you discover the DOI (digital object identifier) of an article you'd like to read just enter it into Sci-Hub. You could also enter the URL of a JSTOR abstract, as sometimes they don't give a DOI. Sci-Hub will deliver the article to you then and there, free of charge. If you use Tor to browse the web you can also use the darknet site if for any reason the others get taken down.

The Unity of Opposites in the Yijing

New site by József Drasny, who also does the Yi-globe site mentioned above, about regular groups in the King Wen sequence.

Chinese Philosophy of Change (Yijing)

The excellent Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy site now has a detailed page on the oracle written by Tze-ki Hon.

Defragging the I Ching binary genetic code

Complex and curious article for those interested in the DNA relationship with the hexagrams.

Floaters and the I Ching

Suggests the I Ching may have been developed from the perception of eye floaters during altered states of consciousness, mainly from the similarity of floating dark and bright dots in the eye to the Hetu and Luoshu diagrams. Bit of a stretch, but not an idea anyone's had before.

River diagrams and trigram cycles

Detailed article by Joseph F Morales.

Meanings of the trigram li in the early Yijing [PDF]

Article by Adam C Schwartz from 'Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology', Vol. 5 (2018), pp 47-84.

Meanings of the trigram gen in the early Yijing [PDF]

Another in-depth article on a single trigram by Adam Schwartz. Emphasises what Yu Xingwu said in the 1930s, that the Yi is a study of images. From: 'Asiatische Studien – Études Asiatiques', Vol. 72, No. 4 (2018), pp 1133–1193.

Herbert William Mullin

Mullin is an American serial killer who killed thirteen people in California in the early 1970s, claiming in his defence that it was to prevent earthquakes. He is also a user of the I Ching and has some notes about it on his website. I don't know whether he was using the I Ching at the time he was a serial killer, or only later in prison, but the earthquake defence suggests hexagram 51 and certainly his sorrow and remorse on the site was clearly influenced by the oracle. His copy of the Brian Browne Walker version of the I Ching, signed and with drawings inside, appeared for sale once on a 'murder auction' site. His rationale of his crimes at his trial is suggestive of familiarity with the I Ching and is certainly an interesting statement: 'A rock doesn't make a decision while it's falling, it just falls.' (Source)

Song School [PDF]

Interesting article by Tze-ki Hon on the different approaches to the Yijing by the Song dynasty commentators Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi and how they were combined in later times. From: 'Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies', Vol. 11, No. 1 (2011), pp 1–15.

Yijing in Tibetan history [PDF]

The latest paper from Wai-ming Ng, who has previously written articles on the Yijing in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, linked above. Apparently 'Padmasambhava claimed that the Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva taught him how to use Yijing divination to enrich Buddhism'. Claims to be 'the first academic study of the Yijing in Tibetan history', but the author probably hasn't seen Trigrams and Tortoises: Sino-Tibetan Divination [PDF] by Gary Dickinson and Steve Moore, which came out as a special issue of 'The Oracle' in 1997. While I wasn't surprised this wasn't in his references, I was very surprised Compton was. From: 'Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies', Vol. 19, No. 1 (2019), pp 19–36.

Coping with Contingency and Uncertainty [PDF]

Article by Tze-ki Hon on hexagrams 18, 28, 38, and 39 as examples of decay and discord within a system that emphasises structure and stability. Nice angle for an essay. From: 'Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies', Vol. 19, No. 1 (2019), pp 1–17.

Yijing in the early modern Ryukyu Kingdom [PDF]

Article by Wai-ming Ng. Apparently they didn't study it much and the Yijing wasn't very popular there. From: 'Sino-Japanese Studies' 24 (2017), pp 23–37.

Comparison of Legge and Wilhelm [PDF]

Tze-ki Hon article from 'Monumenta Serica', Vol. 53 (2005), pp 315–336.

Hexagrammatics: Rules and Properties in Binary Sequences

Reflections on sequences by Larry Schulz in a 43-page paper, published in 2016.

On Shao Yong’s Method for Observing Things [PDF]

Article by Peter Bol on the 'Inner Chapters on Observing Things' from Shao Yong's 'Huangji jingshi shu'. Published in 'Monumenta Serica', Vol. 61 (2013), pp 287–299.

The History of I Ching in Medieval Japan [PDF]

Compares Fuxi drawing the eight trigrams with the Buddha reaching enlightenment, and states: 'There is a saying of Ch'eng I that I would rather read the hexagram ken (keeping still) than a set of the Garland Sutra.' Interesting details on Yijing scholarship in Zen Buddhist circles, a secret transmission with its lineage unbroken for centuries. Apparently there was also a taboo on studying the Yijing under the age of 50 as a result of a misinterpretation of Confucius. Paper by Wai-ming Ng in his series of studies of the Yijing outside of China. From: 'Journal of Asian History', Vol. 31, No. 1 (1997), pp 25–46.

The Yijing Modes

A 534-page book by Greg Rosser in which he converts six-line hexagrams to seven-note modes. The 'Autumn Leaves' explanatory video is very interesting. An intriguing study that requires some musical knowledge. Also a work on The King Wen Sequence [PDF].

A Textual Note on the I Ching [PDF]

An interesting idea on the second line of hexagram 2 by Jeffrey K Riegel in 'Journal of the American Oriental Society' 103 (1983), pp 601–605. I find it a good read but ultimately unconvincing, though Richard Rutt followed it in his translation.

Japanese ‘hakke’ trigram divination [PDF]

Article by Matthias Hayek from 'Japanese Journal of Religious Studies' 38 (2011), pp 329–368. The categories of divination enquiry on p 356 is rather good.

Predictable problems [PDF]

Article by Steve Moore from 'Fortean Times' 255 (November 2009). Steve wonders why the predominant Chinese use of the oracle to predict the future hasn't transplanted to the West much, where it is all about discovering how to live in the present instead.

Yijing art

Some really beautiful work by Philippe Thiriot.

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