Before I share the I Ching Trigram Tarot Spread, I want to share briefly how I came to study the I Ching. About ten days ago, someone emailed me in response to a newsletter survey about the content in the newsletter. This person suggested that I share information about the I Ching. I had to respond truthfully: I don’t know anything about the I Ching. But clearly, a seed had been sown that day. A couple of days later while doing Qi Gong in the garden, the thought that I need to start learning the I Ching popped into my mind. The thought wouldn’t go away and I knew it was from Spirit.
As soon as I decided to start learning the I Ching, I also decided to document my learning journey in a semi-orderly fashion. That way, anybody who is interested can follow along and find some useful resources for beginners. This is certainly one way of learning together. It’s a form of remote learning that allows the books to be the voice of the Master and the rest of us the joy of being at the same phase of the journey. My own notes are just a document of my trials, errors, ups. and downs during the journey. If this sounds like a fun journey to be on together, please follow my lisafrideborg.substack.com posts.
Substack is now also where I host my newsletter as of last weekend. But I won’t be emailing all my I Ching posts out since I post more or less daily at the moment (nobody likes to have their inbox spammed). As usual, the newsletter will continue to go out once (at the most twice) a week. If you want to read my substack I Ching posts, you’ll have to look them up!
Tarot and I Ching?
I’m in no way unique in having the idea of combining the Tarot with the I Ching. I know that many others have gone down that path before me. But perhaps not many have created Tarot spreads specifically to use with the I Ching trigrams, hexagrams and changing lines?
Today, I started my flashcards journey with the first of the trigrams, Quian/Heaven. As some of you will already be aware, a combination of two trigrams makes up one of the 64 hexagrams. Getting to know the eight trigrams or ‘building blocks,’ aka Bagua, I thought it might be interesting to look at how the energy of Quian flows through me and how I can best work with this energy here and now. I will use the Tarot to answer these questions.
I do realise that no trigram energy flows independently through the human form. However, here I seek to isolate the expression, to the best of my ability and with a bit of help from the Tarot. My hypothesis is that the human body is the microcosm of the Bagua macrocosm.
Tarot Clarifiers for I Ching
Having already tried to read on the Tarot by using a Hexagram for further insights, I have come to the conclusion that this does not work as well. For further insights, you want to move smoothly from a general understanding and into the specifics. Working with the I Ching to clarify a Tarot card or Tarot reading seems to have the opposite effect. Or at least it does when you are much more familiar with the Tarot than with the I Ching.
So this brings us to my first ever Tarot spread creation for the I Ching, the Trigram Tarot Spread. This Tarot spread is to be used specifically for study purposes and to get to know the energy of each Trigram. I hope to create spreads for the hexagrams and changing lines as well. The hexagram Tarot spread(s) will be more for looking more deeply at possible divinatory meanings.
I Ching Trigram Tarot Spread
I Ching Trigram Tarot Sample Reading
The sample reading above is for the trigram Qian, aka Ch’ien (referred to as Force by Karcher). This trigram represents heaven and the regulatory organs of the body such as the nervous system, breathing apparatus, and dermis. In the I Ching Workbook by R.L. Wing, I learn that Ch’ien corresponds with the sky, daytime, creative energy, early winter, cold, ice, father, oneness, firmness, strength, light and the head/mind.
I’m trying to look at the cards above without judging but the mental tension I’m experiencing is there for all to see. Interestingly, in terms of Ying and Yang, we have a 50/50 distribution between three Elements. However, Yang is only reflected through the Element of Air. Fire is missing. Of course Yin is reflected through the presence of Cups and Pentacles.
The only Major Arcana card present is The Fool. Equally, only one court card is present: The Knight of Swords, my birthday courtier – ruler of the third decan of Capricorn and the first two of Aquarius.
So, let’s look at what each card has to say in turn.
I Ching Trigram Tarot Reading about Qian
- How the energy flows through my mind – 3 of Swords: There is a sense of separation. If this energy represents father, this could explain the presence of the 3 of Swords here. My dad passed away in 2014. This also feels like a bit of a creative block which has its roots in a tendency to isolate myself.
- How the energy flows through my body – 4 of Cups: There is stagnation, not enough movement for this energy to flourish. A sense of apathy keeps me from being the strongest and most creative version of myself.
- How the energy flows through my soul – The Fool: I like to dwell in potentiality whereas Qian likes to take action. There is a sense of innocence that allows me to be moved into a new adventure every now and again. It’s unpredictable.
- How to improve the flow through my mind – Knight of Swords: Detachment. ‘Ice, ice baby!’ Finding the strength to move forward based on striving to do what is for the Highest Good.
- How to improve the flow through the body – Ace of Pentacles: Stay grounded and start a new exercise regime.
- How to improve the flow through my soul – 7 of Cups: Decided what my Holy Grail looks like and fix my mind on obtaining it. This will eradicate erratic behaviour. I guess this is about finding my ‘Big Why.’
- My blind spot – 5 of Swords: How easily I’m tempted by conflict which in turn pulls me into drama that I don’t really want or need in my life.
- How this energy is reflected back in my surroundings – 8 of Pentacles: Hard work, attention to detail, and discipline yield results. So the strength to do the work is there but perhaps not much strength is left over to deal smoothly with the issues above. Something to ponder.
This reading actually provided clear, relevant, and succinct guidance. I must admit, I wasn’t sure how it would work since I’m mixing modalities. But I believe that if you use and familiarise yourself with one system of divination that can only be helpful for when you learn the next. The same principle as for languages and that is where the analogy ends. You wouldn’t necessarily mix French and Russian or use Russian to interpret French… but you catch my drift!
Deck used: The Wild Unknown Tarot (affiliate link)