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Intuition in I Ching readings

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This article looks at the role of intuition in making I Ching readings

What is intuition? According to my dictionary, it's “the power of the mind by which it immediately perceives the truth of things without reasoning or analysis.”

"Immediately perceives" - that's the key. Analysis brings you to a conclusion step by step; intuition comes to you at once.

I Ching interpretation calls for a blend of intuition and analysis - and the analytical parts create more triggers for intuitive recognition. This is why interpreting I Ching readings is such a good way to develop your innate intuitive capability: it integrates it naturally into the flow of understanding. You don't necessarily realise you're 'being intuitive': you're simply responding to the imagery, in the moment, and insights are coming to you.

The process of understanding a reading begins with a single moment of intuition, when you perceive the connection between question and answer. Often this is something very simple. For instance, you’ve been thinking and talking about being ‘stuck’ and receive hexagram 12, Blocked. Sometimes it calls for a little more flexibility on your part: you might have to recognise that talking to your boss is a lot like treading a tiger’s tail, or that taking on a new project is like a entering into a marriage.

Once you’ve made that first intuitive connection, you can begin to unwrap the layers of your reading’s insights and advice, step by step. But the moment of connection itself is a leap, across the gap between your way of thinking and the oracle's language. This isn't really something you can break down into smaller steps.

You can learn to make these leaps more easily, though, and develop more trust in your intuition. The best way to learn is simply to practise. That means consulting the I Ching not just when you're desperate for an answer, but talking with it about all kinds of experience - the book you're reading, maybe, or an interaction with a stranger. Every reading is an opportunity to have that moment of recognition, to get to know what intuitive connection feels like.

And once you've consulted the I Ching, you can deepen your intuitive connection with it by asking yourself questions about the elements of the reading. For instance, if you received hexagram 48, the Well, you might ask yourself what in your situation was well-like. Where is there an ever-present resource, the only thing that hasn't changed? And what does it take to tap into that resource? Or if you received Hexagram 2, Earth, the Receptive, you would ask where you could be of service, how you could provide the space and energy to sustain growth.

This attitude of openness and questioning seems to give your intuition permission to come up with answers. Then the final step - the one that really empowers your intuition to help you - is to trust it, and be ready to act on what it tells you.

Hilary Barrett is the I Ching diviner at I Ching with Clarity. Her site offers free membership that includes a complete introductory I Ching course, with all you need to know to start consulting the oracle for yourself. There's also a warm and friendly I Ching Community, and downloadable resources to help you develop and deepen your own relationship with the I Ching.

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