Frequently Asked Questions

What is the i-Ching?

The basics can be found here. The i-Ching is an ancient Chinese oracular system which some people also use for fortune-telling. It has a structural component that seems to deal with process -- or more specifically, with change. i-Ching roughly translates as "The Book of Changes." The i-Ching consists of "hexagrams." Each hexagram is a set of six lines. Each line is either solid (yang) or broken (yin). There are 64 possible combinations.

What is King Wen's sequence?

Virtually all modern editions of the i-Ching arrange the hexagrams in the same order, numbered one through 64. This ordering is called King Wen's sequence. The hexagrams are arranged in pairs. Each member of the pair is the inverted form of the other. Some of the hexagrams don't change when you turn them upside down, in which case the other member of the pair is its "complement" -- its yin-yang opposite.

Why is King Wen's sequence numbered in the order it appears?

That is the question this site seeks to answer. There is no apparent structural logic to King Wen's sequence as a whole. Although you can find many interesting aspects to its structure, there is currently no explanation for why it's ordered the way it is.

What are the squares?

For various reasons, it can be useful to arrange the 64 hexagrams into 8 x 8 squares. Virtually everything on this site revolves around 8 x 8 grids like these. Part of my operating premise is that King Wen's sequence is meant to be viewed in an 8 x 8 grid.

Is King Wen's sequence binary?

No. The hexagrams can be read as binary numbers, but the binary ordering is different from King Wen's. This crops up in various places on the site, where I have found reason to compare the King Wen numbering to the binary numbering and/or arrangement, also known as Fu Xi.

Don't Understand The Diagrams?

What exactly are all these charts with lines and arrows that you are posting?

It's not as complicated as it might look.

I began this project with a theory -- that the secret of the King Wen ordering might be fractal or visual in nature, and that the way to illustrate the pattern was visually rather than trying to hack it out of the sequential list of hexagrams.

So here's what I do. First, I take some traditional or otherwise structurally interesting arrangment of the i-Ching, such as the Eight Palaces arrangment, which is an 8 x 8 grid. I look at the grid with the hexagrams identified by the King Wen numbers. So for the Eight palaces, you get a grid like this:



Then I will try to graph the King Wen pairs (or the whole sequence) onto the new grid. So in the case of the above, for instance, I would start by finding the No. 1 hexagram in the King Wen sequence and draw a line to No. 2.



I keep doing this until I've connected all the pairs. Then I look at the diagram for interesting features. In this case, I got something that looked like this:



I will plug notes about things I find interesting, such as in the above drawing, in which all the diagonal lines pass through either Hexagram 11 (Advance) or Hexagram 63 (Already Completed).

Sometimes, if the result is sufficiently interesting, I will go back to the original King Wen sequence laid out as an eight by eight grid and lay something from the experiment back into the original. In the case below, I have highlighted the pairs that are the result of vertical lines in the diagram above.