Of the millions throughout the world who study or read the Book of Changes most would have done so without teachers. If you count as one of the many, perhaps this entry could help you know the Yi a bit better.
After having read the Book for months which will quickly turn into years, we probably know little about the sixty four hexagrams, let alone understand any of the 384 individual lines. If we do not know the meaning of the hexagrams do not expect to understand the lines in detail.
Without the proper guidance of a real master, and in search for excellence, probably the best method available to any Yi student to know the Book a little better is through divination – if divination is not against your religion. When we consult the Yi, we will have to concentrate our mind on the question and then the answer. Yi’s answer or the prognostication comes in the form of a hexagram if there are no moving lines or two hexagrams, when there are one or more lines that change.
By reading and pondering on the answer, our mind becomes alert to the various possibilities indicated in the hexagram (s) and/or the lines that change. If we keep a journal or a log on the divinations, we leave a trail for later references where necessary. There can be occasions where prolific divinations are done on various subject matters or a hobby. But do not overdo the divinations.
Be serious. A day or a week is not sufficient time for most oracles to unfold. Prognostications need time to unfold. If you follow some Yi aficionados to divine daily or weekly on how to live out their lives, it becomes meaningless after a while. Not only can such incorrect practice(s) make you become dependent on the Yi, you could easily confuse the unfolding of answers because of various overlaps and by assigning them (the unfolding) to wrong hexagrams. Therefore, it is best if you could find an interesting subject (no, not your love life) for prolific divinations.
For me, a professional accountant, asking the Yi on various types of investment proves fruitful over the decades. At times the divinations especially where there is a bull run can be prolific. There is no cause for overlaps because of the numerous categories of stocks and shares to invest in. I usually wait for the unfolding of an oracle, the prognostication, on an investment before asking again.
Not only can one do the necessary homework on the investments, be it real property, foreign currencies, stocks or shares, the answers given by the Yi usually convey clear directions on what actions to take. After acting on each prognostication, the investor has to wait for the oracle to unfold. Since the questions can be on various investments across the world and on their timing, Yi’s answers allow one to learn how to master time and space.
For example, the Yi indicated with Hexagram 54 Gui Mei / The Marrying Maiden with the second and third lines changing to answer my investment question in August 2006. In the judgment it is said:
Undertakings bring misfortune. Nothing that would further.
The third line has this to say:
The marrying maiden as a slave. She marries as a concubine.
Investors in the KLSE at the time may not know that this counter in question, Time Dotcom, would be married off as a concubine, that the prognostication, and therefore the investment, is not good. And while the other share investment which one had consulted the Yi on at about the same time had more than doubled – more than tripled if we count its lowest price before the rebound - Time Dotcom’s price has only gone up by a third over these past eleven months. (Refer to the relevant entries dated August 27 and September 3 2006.)
This explains why in my 64 hexagrams table, there are definitive good and bad hexagrams for investments. And there are good and bad lines too. Only by referring to past divination records, can we learn to discern and interpret the meanings of each prognostication since we can check into details, specifics, and the timing?
Conjectures and 'umbrella covers' given on prognostications do not work with investments. To be dead right, one really has to put the money where the mouth is!
Consulting the Yi on serious matters, scientific experiments, and investments allow for good divination experiences. And if we can foreknow of major events that will affect lives or investments in any parts of the world, then we can be said to have mastered time and space.
What you want to do with your affinity with the Book of Changes is entirely up to you. There are no prerequisites to your class, status, religion, wealth, and/or intelligence to study the Yi. All you need is a good translation of the Book of Changes in a language that you can understand, together with the ability to read and the interest to study this ancient classic and Chinese civilization.
However, as Richard Wilhelm has indicated in his translation, the Book is meant for the Junzi - superior persons - and not suitable for everyone. If we care to look at the Great Images, Da Xiang, we cannot help but agree. But, if you follow others to ignore the Great Images on the false premise that they are written only for kings and/or the Confucians, because it is a Confucian classic, you do not know what you have missed out in your Yi studies and the requisite cultivation of a Junzi.
By trying out the various suggestions in this entry, you could come to know your Yi better. Perhaps one day, in your endless search for excellence, you would achieve a higher degree of clarity and a deeper understanding of this profound Book of Changes. Who knows, certainly not me!