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I Ching - Timeless Wisdom For Our Modern World

by Ian Wallace(more info)

listed in psychospiritual, originally published in issue 88 - May 2003

The I Ching Today

In today's world of complementary health and holistic living, there are many new and exciting topics to inspire our imagination and offer us new insights. However, one traditional source of wisdom that is timeless and is as relevant today as at any period in history, is the I Ching and the 64 hexagrams. The I Ching is a philosophical book that outlines the origin and nature of life on earth and has not been edited or altered in anyway since its creation. It is one of the worlds oldest books, approximately 5,000 years old.

To the ancient Chinese, everything in the world was governed by the law of Yin and Yang and the five elements. The belief existed that the world is in a constant state of change but that it was not changing at random. In fact it was changing according to a regular pattern.

Five element theory is based on accurate observations of nature, dating back thousands of years, in which the sages of the past tried to understand and to explain the natural cycles of life. The five elements interact with each other in specific ways producing certain trends and influences in the lives of human beings and the life of the planet.

Productive Cycle: Wood > Fire > Earth > Metal > Water
(Water feeds Wood);

Destructive Cycle: Wood > Earth > Water > Fire > Metal
(Metal clashes to Wood).

In any given situation, when a particular element is active or in excess, this has an effect on one of the other elements, giving it a deficiency e.g. excess Wood leads to a deficiency of Earth. If an element is passive or weak, this has an effect on the element that precedes it in the clash cycle, giving it excess e.g. passive Wood leads to an excess of Metal.

What I am trying to explain here is the importance of a good relationship between the five elements.


By helping the five elements to interact with each other in a ' friendly' way, we can achieve our goal of balance and harmony. By understanding five element theory in terms of achieving the right balance, an expert can deduce how best to bring a particular situation towards a more healthy and positive outcome.

Therefore the introduction of a particular element into an equation can help enormously to produce the desired result:

Each element relates to a part of the body;

Each element has a colour;
Each element has a number;
Each element can be adapted to time and the Chinese calender;
Each element has a trigram.

The Trigrams

A trigram is a symbol represented by three lines (either solid and positive, or broken and negative) relating to either Yin or Yang. There are eight trigrams which have names, directions, family links, body parts, body areas, elements, seasons and elemental features (shapes). The 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching are derived from the eight trigrams. A hexagram is one trigram's relationship with itself plus the other seven trigrams giving eight types of energetic influence. When we add all eight trigram influences together, 8 x 8 = 64. The trigram is a vital element of each Hexagram's meaning.

The I Ching is more commonly known for its use as an oracle and is a means of obtaining advice and answers to questions of importance to do with an individual's life. There are 64 symbols that make up the I Ching. A Hexagram consists of six lines relating to Yin and Yang. Each Hexagram has a specific name and will give an overall interpretation belonging to a dynamic state of being (or particular state of energy).

Daoism believes that nothing is fixed or permanent, and that everything changes. This fundamental truth is essential to understanding the I Ching. Time is a part of what we call change. The I Ching when translated means The Book of Changes. It is a universal code of life and it is immortal.

The Eight Trigrams

The I Ching and Positive Health

All of us at some time or another need help and advice concerning our health and well being both physically and mentally. The Book of Changes can provide not only expert guidance but also a spiritual wisdom. The I Ching concerns change, regeneration and evolution. In this ancient book, we find talk of cardinal points, natural forces, tendencies and trends, plus and minus polarities. Modern physics has only begun to broaden its horizons over the last one hundred years in terms of understanding life on earth and the universe. Modern physics also struggles to present its formulae and experiments in a language that is readily understandable and that is in conformity with natural laws. However, the advances that are being made in science and quantum physics have led to something very interesting happening: parallels can be made with Eastern philosophies.

It is wholly believable that ancient knowledge of the universe and its energies and states of being (through the I Ching) far outweigh modern science. The I Ching is not only a book on natural laws and science, but from a human perspective it can describe emotional and psychological states.

The Dao is the hidden truth of the universe. The way of all things. Subtle energy exists in everything everywhere and is connected and interlinked. This can be best represented by the famous Tai Chi symbol. The Dao itself being mysterious and unseen, is the surrounding circle. The interaction of the two forces of Yin and Yang are its manifestation.

Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, whose work a lot of modern counselling and therapy is based on, spent a summer trying to disprove the I Ching. He actually became so impressed by it, that he started using it in his work! Things that are connected in unexpected ways or coincidences, Jung called 'synchronicity' (when you think of someone and they phone, or you might be seeking something and find the answer in a newspaper or magazine).

Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, TCM, Reflexology, Sun Tzu's Art of War, Nutrition, Chinese herbalism, Feng Shui, Ba Zi Chinese Horoscope and the DNA genetic code are all disciplines and sciences have a connected to and derived from the I Ching and the 64 Hexagrams.

The DNA genetic code is made up of 64 parts (code words). The I Ching has 64 Hexagrams. All of these disciplines are in fact medical sciences; therefore the I Ching has a profound influence and a major role to play in the positive health of an individual and society as a whole.

The DNA spiral with the universal code written on the rungs of it's spiral ladder. Eight rungs through a 360 degree turn. Within Feng Shui and the I Ching, there are eight trigrams that represent the eight directions within a 360 degree turn...

A step towards physical health and spiritual cultivation is to become aware of the existence of Ch'i. Ordinarily, people's awareness and nervous systems are not sensitive enough to feel the Ch'i that is both within and outside their bodies. Ch'i is invisible. However, its coming and going can be observed through the phenomena of life and death.

Consistent study and practice of Chinese healing arts, with their intimate knowledge of the I Ching will refine our internal energies so effectively, that the indirect result in many cases has been the curing of a wide variety of illnesses, ranging from high blood pressure and ulcers to heart disease and arthritis. Its greatest health significance is its effectiveness in preventing disease by keeping the internal energies in a state of balance. According to ancient Chinese medical theory, disease is the manifestation of energy disorder and distortion within the body. It is a state in which the various organs and the nervous system are functioning incorrectly or inadequately in a way that is either too slow or fast, too weak or strong, too dry or wet. When the Ch'i flows through the different channels swiftly and smoothly the various organs are in a state of balance and therefore healthy. When energy becomes imbalanced or blocked, disease will manifest - indicating that the energy flow needs to be corrected.

Through the knowledge of the I Ching and five element theory, the vitality which has been locked within a tense and imbalanced body is released and allowed to restore and sustain natural health. This applies to all of the Chinese healing arts.

When we are not aware of the natural laws of the universe, it is easy to violate them, resulting always in a loss of balance and harmony both internally and externally. If these imbalances persist, they destroy physical and mental health. When our energy and every facet of our life is an expression of natural law, we are spontaneously in tune with the universe, and therefore naturally receive therefore a harmonious response from the universe.

The Feng Shui Connection

Feng Shui is more widely known in the Western world these days and concerns the positioning of buildings etc. to receive the best possible influence from the earth. As with I the Ching, its origins link with Daoism, but also with the patterns of nature, astrology and numerology. It is widely practised in the East and like the I Ching, is made up of Yin and Yang, the five elements and the 64 Hexagrams. Those who have studied both the I Ching and Feng Shui in detail know of their obvious connection.

Geographical Direction

Each of the 360 degrees carries within it an influence and strength according to nature. It was the Chinese who actually invented the compass, not for seafaring but to measure direction and the nature of Ch'i. Using a Lo-pan (Chinese compass) stresses the importance of a precise measurement of a direction.

(Imagine yourself tuning in a radio and T.V to a particular station. By doing this you want to gain the optimum reception and signal.)

The reading that is taken from the Lo-pan then explains the relationship of the five elements and the Hexagrams. Precise mathematical calculations are worked out and this determines how a person's life is affected. Amongst the wealth of information imprinted on every Lo-pan are the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching. The Lo-pan is in effect a miniature computer packed with information. Just like a DNA blueprint of life!

Tai Chi symbol
Tai Chi symbol


I recently looked at a property in Bedford. It was a terraced house with a West-East axis. Having flown the Hexagram calculations and stars for the inside of the property, the South East began to look interesting.

The South East is particularly active during this current fate cycle (1996 - 2017). This therefore makes the star and hexagram influence that lies here to be more enhanced. The front door happened to be in this position. When opening the front door, a lamppost is situated approx 30ft away directly opposite the front door. This has been causing Sha Ch'i (bad energy) but in particular within the South East sector of this house the influence signified the possibility of burglary or accidents. The elements related to the existing Ch'i of SE – Wood-4 feeding the Fire-9 (twice) of both the fate and visiting star attacking the site element of Metal-7. (Attacking the site of a house or a site element of a location weakens the house or particular location of analysis.)

When analysing the Feng Shui of a house we can also analyse the yearly influence. I looked at the yearly influence of 1999 with good reason as we shall see. During this year, a strong Fire-9 influence flew in to the South East trebling the Fire influence to attack the Metal-7. Not forgetting that it is in an active position according to the current fate.

In 1999, Mr G, the Father of the house was involved in a bad car accident, injuring his back, right leg and right wrist. This triggered off bouts of depression, thinking and reflecting on life and becoming more interested in health and spiritual matters. He was subsequently off work for some time. The Mother and two children were also in the car. Fortunately they escaped injury.

On other occasions in different years, the family have lost passports, wallets and important documents. Not through burglary but while out of the house, losing and misplacing such items which are very important.

So as you can see, knowledge of the I Ching Hexagrams and Feng Shui can actually provide you with a diagnosis of what is wrong or what has gone wrong before. Then just like a Doctor, a Feng Shui consultant will make a prescription of recommendations to balance the energy.


Brockley, South East London

This property had a particularly Yin quality about it and was quite dimly lit even when the lighting was on. A couple and their young daughter Julie, aged 4, lived in the house. Julie appeared to have a weak constitution, catching colds etc. When it was her bedtime she would have difficulty in accepting this. Most young children can be like this but Julie suffered from this acutely. She did not like her bedroom and suffered from nightmares. This compounded the problem. Having looked at the Feng Shui of the house and making certain calculations with the Lo-pan, I realized that Julie's room was in an area that carried a particular earth stress, North East. This type of energy would be too much for a young child. Looking out from her bedroom window, there was an ominous looking tree in the next door neighbours garden, which had an unusual branch that grew horizontally and then bent round slightly in the direction of Julie's bedroom window. In effect it looked like the tree was pointing at the window!

I explained that if it were possible for Julie to use another room, this would be more beneficial. The parents were quick to agree to this and in actual fact gave Julie their own room while they moved into Julie's room. A straight swap.

Something quite remarkable happened at breakfast the next morning. Without any prompting and with the usual morning routine going quite smoothly, Julie piped up quite cheerfully: "My bad dreams flew out of the window this morning." From that time on she became more comfortable and happy by simply being in a new room, and by extension her immune system strengthened. Ironically, the Father himself began to have more vivid dreams.

Ealing, West London

In December 2001, myself and a colleague carried out a Feng Shui consultation for a young couple who were purchasing a new house in Ealing, West London. The house was being completely renovated. We wrote a thorough and comprehensive report discussing certain angles for the front and back doors based on knowledge of Ch'i calculations, Hexagrams and the lines of the Hexagrams, which are also known as kinships.

The kinship lines of a Hexagram are yourself plus the lines of Parents, Brother Sister, Money, Power and Children. Sometimes a kinship can be missing, sometimes it can have a double and sometimes all kinships can be together in one Hexagram.

The lady of the house had explained that she had been trying to have a baby, and although she had undergone three IVF treatments they had not worked and was quite disappointed. She did not mention this as a requirement of the Feng Shui consultation but this knowledge was kept in mind, knowing that it was important to them.

We re-angled the position of their bed to support the personal numbers and Hexagrams of both the husband and wife (based on their year of birth). This direction and Hexagram included the kinship of children. This type of measurement is powerful because instead of using a whole direction to face, for example, East, we use a specific portion of a direction that covers five and a half degrees. This is one Hexagram influence. We deliberately placed the bed on the kinship line belonging to children.

The front door was re-angled to a Hexagram which in fact had two kinship lines according to children ('Double Children').

Recommendations were also made to change the quality of energy coming to the front door. This particular energy is called Chang Sang and carries the following meaning - newborn baby, budding life, beginning to develop, full of happiness and hope. Shows gentleness, kindness, joy, vitality and the promise of potential.

We heard nothing for six months until the lady contacted my colleague and explained that she was four months pregnant. The baby has now been born and is healthy and doing well.


A consultation I carried out with another colleague concerned a large property in Maidenhead with stables and a large portion of land that belonged to the property as well. There had been some health concerns with the family, in particular, the mother and teenage daughter. The mother was in a state of limbo, not really knowing what direction she wanted to go in as well as being concerned over her daughter's health.

In front of the property about five yards away was a long stretch of Lleylandi trees about 60 ft high! This was not only blocking the view but it was also quite overbearing on the house itself, creating pressure. This outside influence also happened to be affecting the Mother trigram. In effect it was blocking the future of everyone in the house (especially the females). I asked for at least six of the trees to be cut down to size. (Thankfully, they chose to cut them all back which was the better option.)

The back garden was designed in such a way that the flower beds on either side (which included shrubs and small trees) actually came inwards in a curve to meet each other creating a bottle neck of restricted energy flow for the garden, before opening outwards again as you went further back. This was compounded with a general feel of too much plantation anyway. When I asked if anyone was suffering from back problems, interestingly the Mother explained that she did. The situations at the front and also the back were combining with the influence of the Mother trigram being prominent having been affected by the blockage from the trees. The recommendation for the back was to open the garden up more allowing it to breathe, and also cutting back on the excess growth.

The sequence of trigrams and Hexagrams inside a property is different to the sequence outside a property.

The exterior of a property relates to what is known as the 'Early Heaven' sequence (before man) and the interior of a property relates to what is known as the Later Heaven sequence (after man).

Inside the house, the mother's desk was re-angled to a specifically good personal direction for her to face (the same method as previously mentioned for the young couple in story two). The daughter's problem was significant in that she felt particularly clingy to the house, to the extent that she could not travel long distances and be away from the house for more than half a day. This had been an on-going problem for some years.

The house had an indoor swimming pool which was long and narrow and had easy access from the inside of the house. This created a bird's eye view of the house as a large L shape. Therefore if we drew an imaginary square corresponding to the L shape over the top, we discovered that in fact the centre of this house, and therefore its identity, was missing. It had no heart. The recommendation was to block up the internal entrance to the swimming pool so that the only entrance was from the outside making the pool a separate building to the structure of the house itself. This was done to give the house it's Tai Ch'i (centre) position back which had been missing.

The daughter's bedroom was situated where some stress energy was being amplified by the colour of the room, which was purple - a Fire influence feeding the earth stress energy. We recommended for the room to be painted brilliant white to calm the energy down (Metal draining the Earth). Her bed was moved to a more supportive position within the room itself.

Over the months that followed, the daughter became more outgoing and adventurous, even having a tattoo done and going out to rock concerts. She also took up the study of Homeopathy - thinking of a possible career.

The improvement in her daughter's confidence helped to have a knock-on effect for the Mother, and with the increase in business at the stables, her time was occupied more constructively, giving her a new focus and drive.

The Pulse of the Universe

Chue Style Feng Shui and the I Ching (genuine and authentic Feng Shui) can not only improve health but also introduce experiences into your life associated with synchronicity. This is an ancient art form, a martial art, of choosing the best way to orient yourself with nature and its energies so as to tread a more fortuitous path.

There is a great quote from Wu Jing Nuan, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, taken from his book Yi Jing:

"In ancient times, pulse readings were taken at the carotid pulse, and measured in ratio to inhalation and exhalation. This gave way to using the radial pulses at the wrists, to monitor qi flow. Each wrist has six types of pulse, twelve in all for each meridian channel. When pressed by the Doctor, they exhibit different tactile sensations. Like designs and waveforms on a modern oscilloscope, their relative harmony or disharmony gives a picture of the qi flow in it's pathways. From these pictures, the Doctor can prescribe therapy to keep the patient in good health.

"Chinese medicine seeks to do more than remedy existing problems; it is preventative medicine, and to practise preventative medicine is to divine the future. The study of I Ching helps the Doctor or individual to understand forces both seen and unseen, by taking the pulse of the universe through the hexagrams."[1]

From measurements taken with the Lo-pan, precise calculations are made enabling a Feng Shui Consultant to see how the five elements and the 64 hexagrams interact with each other. Taking this measurement is like taking the pulse of a patient. We see how the energy is and then make a prescription to adjust and fine tune this energy.


1. Wu Jing Nuan. Yi Jing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-82-481362-6. 1991.


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About Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace is a practitioner of Chue Style Feng Shui, Ba Zi Chinese Horoscope, a Master student and graduate of Master Chan Kun Wah and a Member of The Chue Foundation - Feng Shui Research (the top governing body for Feng Shui worldwide - Ian can be contacted on Tel:0773 3460 347/0208 744 1339;;

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