I’ve been asked about my method for extracting Kua, or hexagrams, from the IChing. I’ve provided here a brief explanation of not only the method but my primary reason for using this method.
I use yarrow stalks. At first it was simply to engage in what I saw as the purest, oldest method. When I first undertook dividing and counting yarrow stalks to divine a kua I was nearly driven mad. When I learned the distributor of my yarrow stalks had included an extra one, my dilemma of accuracy was half over.
Basically you begin with fifty yarrow stalks. You purify them in the cense of a sandalwood joss stick and then set one stalk aside as your “observer.” You thank your observer for witnessing your rite of divination. You then proceed with the operation of dividing the stalks while you hold your client’s questions or concerns in your mind and begin counting the stalks. There are 18 separate operations of purifying, dividing and counting, further making simple calculations to arrive at number values which ultimately determine the solid, broken and changing lines in a Kua, or hexagram.
Why, you might ask, do I trouble with this obviously time-consuming method? Because the entire time I am doing this there are some quite magical things taking place. I am connecting with the magical properties of yarrow. I am connecting with the farmers who harvested the stalks with dedication and specific intent that they will be used for IChing, and I am placing myself in a transcendent state, enabling the oracle to operate as purely and unencumbered from interference as possible.
Would I rather toss three coins six times to arrive at a Kua? No, frankly. Now that I have experienced connecting with the oracle and the masters and sages by performing this trance-inducing task and have experienced the benefit for my clients, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.