The I Ching, or the “Book of Changes”, has been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures. It contains 64 hexagrams, each represented by a different combination of 6 moving or still “yao”, or lines. Each hexagram is reflective of a different moment in a larger cycle of change. By reflecting on the hexagram that is cast in response to a question, one can gain insight into the circumstances surrounding the question and clarity on the best way to relate to the matters at hand.
Richard Daiensai Kirsten, my grandfather, was the first western man to have the title of I Ching priest bestowed upon him by his spiritual teachers in Japan. He taught his son, Honshin Kaigen Kirsten, the methods of the I Ching. My father, Honshin Kaigen Kirsten, then taught me the methods and meditations of the I Ching. I also received instruction directly from Richard Daiensai Kirsten.
The method of casting the oracle is an oral tradition held by our family. It is simple, concise, and beautiful. At the most, one will recieve one moving line in the hexagram, allowing for a clear message that is not over- thought. From that casting and one moving line, with further questioning all facets of a question can be known so the answer becomes clear and fruitful.
Personally, I cast it formally once a year at the beginning of the New Year. It can be cast at anytime though to have insight into a question when you are seeking answers.
Here is the ritual preparation for casting the I Ching in order to discover answers or insight into a question. The ritual is used to contemplate and place one’s mind in a proper place to be receptive to the oracle. First the Brush is opened, by feeding it fresh spring and creek water. This gives the power of the Serpent of Change to the Brush.
Next, the Brush is blessed with the Will of Heaven by bathing it in the fire element. Purifying mantras are recited at this time in order to to purify the question, the one asking the question, and the one casting the I Ching.
Then, the Yarrow Sticks are purified. All things great and small must be purified until Buddha Nature is realized.
Next, the 50 Yarrow Sticks are offered a drink of tea, satiating their thirst and honoring their spirit.
Before formally casting the oracle using the Yarrow Sticks, I will then recite the heart sutra mantra to arrive at the meditation of, as my grandfather Daiensai would put it, “no mind”. This is the proper place from which to consult the oracle.
For those who feel that they would benefit from an I Ching casting, I offer the service of performing this ritual and sharing the hexagram that the I Ching reveals in response to your inquiry. Your true answer will come from meditating upon the hexagram and its meanings. If desired, I am happy to have a short conversation with you to discuss the traditional interpretations of the hexagram.
If you would like to receive an I Ching reading to gain insight into the course of your year or in response to a specific question, email the question to me and make an offering. I will typically respond with your casting within 24-48 hours. For the New Years reading, the offering is at your own discretion. At all other times I suggest a $25-$50 donation, depending upon the depth of the consultation, but I will turn no serious question away.