Using the traditional yarrow stalks method to consult the i-ching (The Book of Changes) is a lengthier process than using the three coins. Where as the coins can be cast in a couple of minutes the yarrow takes fifteen minutes or more to arrive at a hexagram. If you have the time I would always recommend the yarrow stalks method, simply because I believe that the amount of concentration, commitment and energy you put into an act of divination is mirrored by the accuracy of the result you achieve. The i-ching should always be treated with sincerity and respect and for me that means in keeping with tradition. Using the yarrow stalks is a meditative endeavour in its own right and adds a certain ceremonial or ritual element that in my opinion, the coin method lacks.
As with the coins before asking the i-ching for guidance the querant should sit quietly holding the sticks and contemplating their question for a few moments before beginning.
Begin by placing the set of 50 sticks on the table in front of you.
1. Remove one stick and put it to one side, the stick is classed as the 'observer' and symbolises the Wu Chi - the unchanging ground of being. This stick is not used at all during the remainder of the process.
2.- Divide the remaining stalks into two random piles. Set the pile in your right hand down on the table.
3.- Talk one stalk from that right-hand pile and place it between the 4th and 5th fingers of your left hand while still holding the left pile in your left hand. I should probably mention at this point that a little dexterity is required!
4. Count off the left pile in groups of four, keeping the fours in a pile separate from the right-hand pile. When you have 4 or fewer left from the original left pile, tuck them between the 3rd and 4th fingers of your left hand.
5.- Now put the right-hand pile into your left hand and also count it off by fours until four or fewer sticks remain.
6.- If you counted correctly (ie. got fours not threes or fives each time you removed stalks) you now have a total either 5 or 9 sticks in your left hand. Think of 5 as a small number, equivalent to yang in the coin method, and think of 9 as a large number, equivalent to yin in the coin method.
7.- Lay these 5 or 9 stalks across the observer you removed in step #1 as they are no longer used for counting off purposes.
8.- Repeat steps 2 to 7 twice more. You will get either 4 or 8 stalks each time (not 5 or 9 as in the first time).Here 4 is small, yang; 8 is big, yin.
9.- Now look at the three piles that are lying across the single stalk. In effect you have three piles of sticks instead of three coins. There are only four possibilities:
All are small (4 or 5 stalks) -- This is a changing yang line -- solid becomes broken
All are big (8 or 9 stalks) -- This is a changing yin line -- broken becomes solid
Two are small and one is big -- This is an unchanging yin line -- broken
Two are big and one is small -- This is an unchanging yang line -- solid
This result represents the first (bottom) of the six lines in your hexagram - so you need to make a note of it. (As with the coins when constructing a hexagram you always start from the bottom and build upwards. )
10.- Pick up all the stalks except the single one from step #1, then repeat steps 2 through 9 five more times, this then gives you your six lines.
As with the coin method create two hexagrams, the original and the changed.
Look up the meaning of the first hexagram and read the commentry. Next read the additional commentry associated with any changing lines and then for further illumination read the commentary for the changed hexagram.
Remember it is perfectly acceptable to work solely with the guidance derived from the first hexagram that was thrown. The changed lines and resulting second hexagram serve only to expand upon the commentary of the first in relation to your situation, however if you take the time to use the yarrow stick method then there is much to be gained from the consultation process in its entirety.
Copyright © by The Book of THOTH - The complete guide to the Tarot, Magick and the Occult All Right Reserved.