Message from the London Yijing Society

The Yijing / I Ching (易經 / 周易) has been studied over at-least two millennia and remains today a cryptic text of un-certain origins. Despite being an enigmatic text, it has attracted countless people throughout time across the world to investigate it for a variety of reasons. People are encouraged to study the Yijing / I Ching as a form of Divination for:-

  • Self-Cultivation – to develop positive attitudes when confronted with difficult situations. Constancy and calm in the face of adversity
  • Self-Knowledge – to learn to notice and be confident with our inherent wisdom

The London Yijing (I Ching) Society has been set-up following a discussion amongst a few friends who have studied the text over decades. It is to be a place for anyone interested in the subject and want to share their ideas and experience. The society aims to inspire people to use the text wisely and effectively or at the very least encourage a serious approach.

Historically the Yijing / I Ching has been studied and used by people from a wide-range of backgrounds and in the same way the Society will receive diverse members from all walks-of-life. We will hold meetings in Central London over tea and biscuits and if enough people are inclined we may even partake in one of London’s cosy public-houses.
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The month hexagrams of Hu Yigui 胡一桂

pdfI originally wrote this paper (in Dutch) for a friend, but I thought I might as well share it with the community. The article discusses the origin of the month hexagrams as found in Jou Tsung Hwa’s The Tao of I Ching and reiterates the error in this book as mentioned earlier in my article on the Eight Houses.

The month hexagrams of Hu Yigui

The oldest source for the coin method

20140928_100256During the last meeting of the Dutch Yijing group there was confusion about the assignment of the numbers 2 (yin) and 3 (yang) to the sides of Chinese coins. Old Chinese coins have four Chinese characters on one side and the other side is blank or has two Mongolian characters. When I looked for Chinese sources on this I found that there isn’t much agreement on the designation of the numbers, one of my books says that the side with Chinese characters is yang (see picture), and in this lecture Moxiang Liao 廖墨香 seems to follow the same designation, but there are websites that say otherwise. Curious about the origin of the coin method and wanting to know how the Chinese people in the early times did it I did some digging. Continue reading

Yijing on your outfit

If you are looking for an original present, or would like to show your interest in the Yijing in a unique way, then take a look at this webshop: The images are taken from this deck of cards. At this time apparel with the images from hexagram 1, 2 and 40 are available. More items will gradually be added to the shop. If you have a request for a certain article, or would like to see the picture of another hexagram added to the available designs, please let me know and I will take care of it.

Yijing Cards

Years ago a publisher asked me to make a Yijing Agenda for the years 2000 and 2001. For attractive purposes I made 64 images of the hexagrams: 12 hexagrams for the months and 52 hexagrams for the weeks. Lately I found these images back in my archive, and I thought it would be nice to have these printed as a deck of cards.

The deck consists of  64 cards with on every card a hexagram and a picture that matches the atmosphere of the hexagram. The pictures are taken from the Zixi Huapu Daquan 自習畫譜大全 manual of painting published in 1928 by Ma Tai 馬駘 (1886 – 1937). The cards are very useful for meditation purposes and to expand the corpus of meanings of the line symbols.

To keep the price as low as possible no manual or bags are included. The cards are suitable for  Yijing users of every level and can be admired here.

The cards can be purchased through this website: The price is $ 19.99 excl. shipment.

I hope you enjoy the cards as much as I enjoyed making them.

The Picture that Covers Heaven and Earth

A few years ago I bought a book called Zhouyi Tu Jing Guang Shuo 周易圖經廣說, ‘Extensive Discussion of Zhouyi Pictures and its Scriptures’ by Wan Nianchun 萬年淳 (1761-1835). The book is more known by its original title Yi Mu 易拇, ‘The Great Toe of the Yi’. It contains Yi related pictures, and one of these pictures is an arrangement of the 64 hexagrams that I had not seen before. It is called Milun Tiandi Tu 彌綸天地圖, ‘The picture that covers Heaven and Earth’ (‘covers everything’).

At first the arrangement might look a bit arbitrary, but the key to the sequences in the four circles is to be found in the vertical hexagrams in the center: here we see the Xiantian Bagua 先天八卦 circle of the eight trigrams, doubled to make the Pure Hexagrams (chungua 純卦). In the first (outer) circle we have the hexagrams with Heaven and Earth either as top or base trigram, in the second circle the hexagrams with Lake and Mountain are given, but without the hexagrams which have Heaven or Earth in them (as these are covered in the first circle), the third circle is for the Fire and Water hexagrams (without hexagrams containing Heaven, Earth, Lake and Mountain), and the last inner circle has the hexagrams with Thunder and Wind (leaving out the hexagrams that contain one of the other six trigrams).

The circle is also mentioned with another title, Liushisi Gua Fang Zhong Zang Yuan tu 六十四卦方中藏圓圖, ‘The circular picture of the sixty-four hexagrams in (four) regions’. In the 彌綸天地圖 the twenty-eight hexagrams of the outer circle are linked to the twenty-eight xiu 宿. In the 六十四卦方中藏圓圖 the outer circle has hexagrams linked to the twelve Branches of the Chinese calendar.

To make the inner workings of the picture visible I have redesigned it with a color for each trigram. More information about the Yi Mu 易拇 and it’s sources see this dissertation.

More than words

(Most of the oracle bone images in this article are from the site of Richard Sears. Quotes from classics are from the site of Donald Sturgeon.)

The Chinese character yan is one of the most common words in the Chinese language, it is among the characters that you learn at an early stage when you study the Chinese language. The Hanyu Da Cidian 漢語大詞典 dictionary lists more than 30 meanings for this character, meanings which mostly have to do with words and language in general (vol. 11, p. 1). But the early usage of this character can enhance our understanding of the meaning and usage of this word in the Yijing. Continue reading