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I Ching divination with three coins

The three coin method came into currency over a thousand years later. The quickest, easiest, and most popular method by far, it has largely supplanted the yarrow stalks, and produces outcomes with different likelihoods.

While there is one method for tossing three coins (once for each line in the hexagram), there are several ways of checking the results.

How the coins are tossed

  • use three coins with distinct "head" and "tail" sides
  • for each of the six lines of the hexagram, beginning with the first (bottom) line and ending with the sixth (top) line
  • toss all three coins
  • write down the resulting line
  • once six lines have been determined, the hexagram is formed

How the line is determined from the coin toss

  • assign the value 3 to each "head" result, and 2 to each "tail" result
  • total all the coin values
  • the total will be six, seven, eight or nine
  • determine the current line of the hexagram from this number: 6 = old yin, 7 = young yang, 8 = young yin, 9 = old yang.

NumberSaoName
9old yangOld yang
8young yinYoung yin
7young yangYoung yang
6old yinOld yin

Each line of a hexagram determined with this method is either stable ("young") or changing ("old"); thus, there are four possibilities for each line, corresponding to the cycle of change from yin to yang and back again:

First hexagram
old yangyoung yang
young yinyoung yin
young yangyoung yang
old yinyoung yin
Second hexagram
old yangyoung yin
young yinyoung yin
young yangyoung yang
old yinyoung yang

Once a hexagram is determined, each line has been determined as either changing (old) or unchanging (young). Old yin is seen as more powerful than young yin, and old yang is more powerful than young yang. Any line in a hexagram that is old ("changing") adds additional meaning to that hexagram.



Free interactive emulator is presented in the «Classic I Ching (three coins method)». You can use the table shown on the site for offline divinations.