The Changes spread

This is a method for creating a hexagram of the Book of Changes with a deck of poker cards. The method was created out my desire to have a more subtle method for creating a hexagram. Sitting in a restaurant or a bus station or waiting for a plane is not the best place to start counting out 50 yarrow sticks on one’s lap. Nor is it the time to grab three coins and start throwing them at the floor.

Typically odd numbers represent a Yang line, the even numbers represent a Yin line. If the result is a 6 it is a Yin line that is in a state of change. If the result is a 9 it is a Yang line in a state of change.

How to use a common deck of poker cards to draw your hexagram. 

  • Odd cards Yang line
  • Even cards Yin line
  • Sixes Yin moving line
  • Nines Yang moving line
  • Joker Yang lines
  • Joker Yang moving line

Find a shuffle you’re comfortable with and that you can repeat over and over and over. Shuffle the cards cut them lay down a card. Shuffle the cards cut them lay down another card above that card. Always work from the bottom up. Shuffle the cards cut them and lay down another card keep doing this until you have six cards in a row.

In closing

To be certain I am not a mathematician. I searched around a bit, and this appears to be pretty advanced statistical math, the likelihood of pulling a Yin or Yang line and the ways those probabilities change as you remove opportunities. So, there was no way to even verify empirically if what my intuition leads me to believe is true. After 20 years or so of pulling hexagrams with yarrow sticks and trying other methods, using the cards feels really natural.