I Ching

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How Many I Ching Hexagrams Are There?

How many I Ching hexagrams are there?

Short Answer

There are a total of 64 hexagrams which make-up the I Ching. Each hexagram is composed of 6 lines. Each line has 2 possibilities: Broken or unbroken.

There are a total of 64 hexagrams which make-up the I Ching.

Each hexagram is composed of 6 horizontal lines, which can be “broken” or “unbroken”. (Unbroken lines are solid, while broken lines have a gap at their center.)

With a total of 6 lines in each hexagram, and 2 binary possibilities for each line, there are a total of 2x2x2x2x2x2 (or 26) hexagrams , or 64 hexagrams in total.

The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching

The 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, shown in both a circular arrangement (outside) and a grid arrangement (center). [Image: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1646-1716]

While 64 hexagrams may seem like a relatively small number of hexagrams, it is important to note that I Ching Readings incorporate the idea of changing lines. The presence of a changing line indicates a state of transformation from one hexagram to a different hexagram.

I Ching #33 changing to I Ching #44

Example: Because the 2nd line (shown in red) is a changing line, hexagram #33 is transforming to hexagram #44. Click for an explanation of this hexagram pair.

Because each of the 64 hexagrams has the potential to transition to any of the 63 remaining hexagrams, there are in fact a total of 4032 possible I Ching transformation pairs.  (Because 64 x 63 = 4032).


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