I Ching Study Guide – Table of Content

The images stem from the ideas. The words make the images clear. In order to fully express the ideas, there is nothing better than words. The words are a result of the images. This is why you can see the images by looking at the words. The images are dominated by the ideas. This is why you can see the ideas by examining the images. The ideas are fully captured by the images and the images made clear by the words.
Wang Bi

I started to work more intensively with the I Ching in 2008. However, I was rather unhappy with the classical interpretations: they spoke to me very little. By chance I came across the above quote from Wang Bi and understood: It is not about a literal interpretation or translation of the original texts – it is about capturing the ideas!

So I set out to approach these ideas. I started to look into the meaning of trigrams and began to understand what their interlocking means.

The I Ching study guide is a new idea, born in August 2011. Today, after about 3 years of intensive work with the I Ching, I can read hexagrams without having to consult any of the classic books – simply because I now understand meaning and interconnectedness of individual the trigrams.

On the following pages I will explain my model of approaching the hexagrams. It is the result of several years of research where I’ve tried to rediscover the basic Daoist ideas behind the I Ching oracle. Most of the following statements are consistent with the classical writings, but there are (a few) exceptions which I then will point out. And yet, sometimes you will find that my study guide does not fully correspond to what you may have read with another author.

This is partly due to the fact that the original texts of the I Ching – as I recently found out to my surprise – are actually quite concise. And some of those billowing texts regarding the I Ching don’t but derive from the authors’ interpretation skills (and sometimes their imagination).

So the following remarks certainly do not represent the ultimate I Ching course – but probably there will never be one: many people have used the I Ching in many ways during its almost 5000-year history. But what you – as I hope – will learn here is an independent and sovereign way of using this extremely useful tool for guidance through our eternally changing world.

I wish for all of us all that we – just as Wang Bi suggests – go beyond the words and look behind the images. So that we capture the ideas and gain a deeper understanding of reality.
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