The young man stood in the midst of the
shop selling esoteric articles, gently shaking a set of three old Chinese coins
in his hands. You know the sort; they have a hole in the middle. It was clear enough he was weighing up in his
mind whether the coins were suitable for use in consulting the I Ching.

Doubtless the shop was charging a high
price for these ‘spiritual’ coins. I hoped he would decide against buying them,
and save himself some money. The truth is that any three coins will work, just
as a line and hexagram originated by the computer. For sure there are countless
other ways of creating a hexagram; all that is needed is that the method used
is apparently random.

The creation of an I Ching reading is very
easy. A child of four could do it with less effort than her learning to count
to twenty.

The difficult part is making sense of the
reading the I Ching has produced. It does seem sometimes that the oracle is
deliberately expressing itself in impenetrable, incomprehensible language.
Actually, the cryptic nature of the lines is a blessing in disguise, for a
particular line can then be applied to many widely differing circumstances. Of
course, this leaves interpretation even more in the hands of the person
performing the reading.

Here’s how to interpret the reading:

Become familiar with
the way the I Ching communicates.

You will
find that individual lines express themselves in a similar fashion in different
readings. Gradually a feeling for what the oracle is likely to be indicating
with a certain cryptic phrase will develop.

Learn as much as
possible about the background to the question.

The more you know
about the situation surrounding the question, the greater the chance that you
can hit the nail on the head.

Use your intuition
as much as possible.

person asking the question may have certain characteristics which will give you
an idea as to the heart of the matter, and your own intuition will help guide
you to the correct answer.

the night before the reading, you will have a dream which, when interpreted,
will lead you to spotting the right interpretation.

person asking the question may make a chance remark which rings a bell with
you, leading you to a quite different interpretation to that which you were
originally intending to give.

Practice makes

Before you try
interpreting someone else’s question, keep on using the I Ching oracle to give
advice on your own questions. Your familiarity with the way its expresses
itself will grow; simply comparing what you conclude as to the meaning of the
reading with what then takes place in physical life can be an excellent guide.

Good luck with the I Ching. It is an invaluable resource
if you learn how to understand it correctly.


Question of the month: What will Russian involvement in
Syria lead to?

Conflict (Hexagram 6) No moving lines

The I Ching urges care and a ‘cautious halt halfway’. It
seems Russia is defending its military ally in the Middle East, Bashar Assad,
the President of Syria, who has been losing the lengthy civil war in his

While Russian military aircraft have only just started
bombing the anti-Assad forces, Turkish, French and American air forces have
been bombing the blazes out of the Syrians for some time now. The Russians have
different objectives to the U.S. and French, wishing to inflict damage on all
anti-Assad forces. If the rebels were to prevail, it would mean Russia losing
its Mediterranean naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus.

By contrast, the Turks are primarily concerned with
inflicting damage on the Kurdish rebels in the north of Syria lest the Kurds
gain ground in Syria, providing a base for Turkey’s own Kurdish rebels.

France and the United States are supporting the rebels in
Syria who are not allied to the Islamic State (IS), an extremist group of Sunni
Muslims. They are actively bombing IS strongholds but are supportive of the
Kurds. Why the West is involved at all is unclear. Assad and the ruling clique
in Damascus are a nasty lot, reliant on brute force to counter all opposition.
But IS would almost certainly be nastier, and the wobbly coalition of Free
Syrian forces might turn out to be no better than those who came to power after
the West destroyed Ghaddafi’s rule in Libya.

In this dog’s dinner of a conflict, it is essential that
Russia, the Turks, France and the US all start coordinating their bombing
raids. If Russian bombers killed or wounded U.S. military advisors on the
ground, or an aircraft from one participant was shot down by another, the consequences would be incalculable.

Hence the I Ching recommends compromise and coordination.
The various parties involved would do well to seek intermediation from ‘the
great man’, an independent but respected person.