Structure of a Hexagram

Once we have formulated our question to the I Ching and determined the oracle‘s response, we now have the answer of the I Ching in the form of a hexagram.

A hexagram (where hexa is the Greek prefix for six, referring to six lines) is built from bottom to top, and that is also the way it is read. The lower trigram (with a green background) is followed by the first core character (outlined in purple), then the second core character (outlined in turquoise) and the hexagram ends with the upper trigram (with a pink background).

A Hexagram Consists of Trigrams and Core Characters

Trigram (where tri means three) refers to a character composed of lines, whether broken or solid. The lower (with a green background) and the upper (with a pink background) are always called trigrams. The two core characters (outlined in purple and turquoise) are also trigrams, but due to their position within the hexagram, they are referred to as the lower and upper core characters.

For example the hexagram depicted above consists of the following trigrams:

upper trigramKun, the earth
second core characterZhen, the thunder
first core characterDui, the lake
lower trigramQian, the heaven

The no2DO Interpretation Model

If we read the trigrams and core characters of a hexagram (as seen in the table of our example hexagram) from bottom to top, we obtain the following basic interpretation: Qian, the heaven, transforms into Dui, the lake. From there Zhen, the thunder, emerges which further develops into Kun, the earth. This reading corresponds to the interpretation model of no2DO, where a hexagram is deconstructed into its trigrams and core characters, and consistently read from bottom to top.

So far I have not encountered this method of reading in the I Ching literature. However, since a hexagram is constructed in this precise manner during the process of oracle consultation – from bottom to top – this approach appears to be logically sound to me. In any case, the interpretation model has proven o be helpful in practical application.

Excursus: Complete interpretation of hexagram 12 – peace
Excursus: The no2DO interpretation model