The 64 hexagrams and their development

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The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching are said to have been developed by Duke Wen around 1,200 BC , who was intensively involved with the trigrams of Fu His. He is considered the originator of the short judgments-  oracular sayings for each hexagram in the "Book of Changes." His son, the Duke of Zhou , is regarded as the author of explaining the various meanings of the mutable hexagram lines.

Various authors wrote further interpretations and accompanying commentaries over time. Among them were well-known philosophers such as Lao Tse and Confucius . The latter wrote a series of texts with his students and summarised them under "Ten Wings."  All commentaries start from the exact names of the individual hexagrams but may differ in their interpretation.


A hexagram consists of two trigrams each. Its meaning derives from the tension between the two trigrams and their different tendencies of movement. The signs always read from bottom to top. Line 1 is at the bottom, line 6 at the top.

In addition, each individual line has a special meaning depending on its position in the hexagram . For example, the lower line symbolizes our present situation, and the upper line shows where the path is leading. In addition, some lines are closely connected. For example, lines 1 and 4 stand for the earth (both are the lower lines of the respective trigram), lines 2 and 5 stand for the human being (these are the middle lines of the respective trigrams), and lines 3 and 6 symbolize the sky (upper lines of the respective trigrams). It is also important that each line be transformed, i.e., can transform into the other line. For example, a Yin line can become a Yang line and vice versa. If there are one or more transformable lines in a personal hexagram, then additional meanings apply, which can be read in the"Book of Transformations ."

The 64 hexagrams

No.   Name Picture
1   KIEN The creative
2   KUN The receiving
3   JUN The initial difficulty
4   MONG The youthful foolishness
5   SO The Wait
6   SUNG The quarrel
7   SHI The Army
8   BI The holding together
9   SIAU CHU The taming power of the little one
10   The Appearance
11   TAI The peace
12   PI The stagnation
13   TUNG YEN Community with people
14   DA YU The possession of greatness
15   KIÄN Modesty
16   The enthusiasm
17   SUI The succession
18   GU Working on the corrupt
19   LIN The Approach
20   GUAN The contemplation
21   SHI HO Biting through
22   BI The grace
23   BO The fragmentation
24   FU The Return
25   WU WANG Innocence
26   DA CHU The great taming power
27   I The corners of the mouth
28   DA GO Of the great overweight
29   KAN The abysmal
30   LI The adherent
31   HIÄN The influence
32   HONG The duration
33   DUN The retreat
34   DA JUANG The great power
35   DSIN The progress
36   MING I The eclipse of light
37   GIA YEN The clan
38   KUI The Contradiction
39   GIÄN The obstacle
40   HIÄ The Liberation
41   SUN The reduction
42   I The increase
43   GUAI The breakthrough
44   GOU The concession
45   TSUI The collection
46   SHONG The uprising
47   KUN The Affliction
48   DSING The Well
49   GO The upheaval
50   DING The crucible
51   JEN The Exciting
52   GEN The stillness
53   DSIÄN The development
54   GUI ME The marrying girl
55   FONG The Fullness
56   The Wanderer
57   SUN The Gentle
58   DUI The cheerful
59   HUAN The resolution
60   DSIÄ The restriction
61   JUNG FU Inner Truth
62   SIAU GO Of the small overweight
63   GI DSI After completion
64   WE DSI Before completion

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What is the I Ching? The I Ching is an ancient Chinese divination that uses coins to form Hexagrams. An interpretation is made and then translated as an oracle. Its teachings and descriptions are some of the oldest written texts and still contain relevant wisdom today. This book of instructions is commonly referred to as "The Book of Changes," a text dating back to 5000 B.C.