Frequently Asked Questions

What is the I Ching Oracle?
The I Ching Oracle is a divination method based on the ancient I Ching text, also known as the "Book of Changes".
What is the difference between the present hexagram and the future hexagram?
As your hexagrams are divined, you may notice some odd looking lines, like this line with X or this line with O. When this happens, it indicates an "old" or "changing" line in the hexagram. This means the hexagram for your divination is changing from a present state to a future state.
The I Ching does not say how long this changing process takes, but the focus should initially be on the present state (the first hexagram). However, the answer is in the process of changing to the future hexagram on a timescale thought to be in weeks or months (as opposed to years or decades), so you should keep the future hexagram in mind as you move forward.
In fact, which of the six lines are changing is a very important part of a divination. However, this requires an in-depth analysis that is difficult to do in such a simplified setting. A full I Ching consultation would take these nuances into account.
Why do you use four coins for your Oracle?
bundle of yarrow stalksYou may have seen other I Ching Oracles using a three-coin method for their divination. So why is ours different?
When the significance of the I Ching hexagrams were being settled upon, the most common divination method was to use yarrow stalks. This is a very slow, deliberate, and meditative process that takes about 30 minutes to do for a single divination. This process is intended to clear the mind so that it will be receptive to the Oracle's answer, and many serious I Ching practitioners still prefer it to this day.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to reproduce in online form, and of course no one wants to wait 30 minutes for their answers in this modern digital age! As a result, a shortcut method was created: the three-coin toss. This is widely used both online and physically by many practitioners, but the three-coin toss does not reproduce the same results as the yarrow stalk method! Specifically, the number of the old (changing) yin and yang lines divined with the three-coin toss do not match the yarrow stalk method.
Fortunately, there is a method that is just as easy to do, the four-coin method, that reproduces the same results as the yarrow stalk method. The four-coin toss produces just as few old yin lines, and just as many old yang lines, as the yarrow stalk divination. For an even more in-depth analysis of the probabilities of I Ching divination, please visit some of these sites:
Just how random is the Oracle anyhow?
pair of six-sided diceThe Oracle is using the standard random number generator from your computer. This pseudo-random number generator (or PRNG, as they're called) is used for everyday randomness in your computer all the time. For most purposes, it is more than "random enough".
It helps to think of the random number generator as part of the Oracle itself, so that its exact state at the time of your question is part of the overall scheme of the universe. It is a tool through which the Oracle can speak to you. As a result, you are no doubt getting the answer you're supposed to :)
Who did all of the illustrations?
An initial set of 15 were done by us. The remainder were contracted out to Brian Hahn of Iconoguy.
What is a Lucky Honu?
A honu is a Hawaiian sea turtle. We hope our imaginary mascot happens to be full of good fortune.
swimming green sea turtle