Divination with yarrow sticks

i-ching-yarrow-sticksThis yarrow sticks method is the oldest known method for consulting the Zhou Yi.

1. 49 thin sticks are divided in two heaps.

2. One stick is put aside. (This helps to keep track of the three operations).

3. One heap is counted in fours until 1, 2, 3 or 4 remains. The remainder is put aside.

4. The heap that was first put aside is also counted in fours and the remainder is likewise put aside.

5. Repeat step 1-4 two more times, three operations in all, using only the sticks that have not been put aside.

6. Count how many groups of four there are left; it will be 6, 7, 8 or 9.

7. Make a note. This produced one line out of six.

Repeat this procedure six times and write the numbers or lines from below.

Changing lines can be marked with an x on the side.

———    ——— x   6 (called Old Yin;  it will soon reach its climax and change to Yang)
———————      7 (called Young Yang;  it will stay Yang for some time).
———    ———      8 (called Young Yin;  it will stay Yin for some time).
——————— x    9 (called Old Yang;  it will soon reach its climax and change to Yin).

Zhou Yi fortune teller using yarrow sticks. Japan 1914