I Ching diagrams explore ideas, theories, and relationships between hexagrams. They also can be used to help find or memorize hexagrams. As with all I Ching charts, regardless of era, make sure to watch for errors! Click on each diagram to see larger image.
Traditional Hexagram Order — The “King Wen” or “received order” of the I Ching hexagrams, in use for at least 2300 years, and used in most I Ching books. In it, each hexagram is paired with its inverse, except in eight cases where the hexagram is symmetrical; those are paired with their opposites. However, beyond the pairs, the logic behind the hexagram order is a mystery. The linear format (above) reads from left to right. The circular format (left) reads from “twelve o’clock” clockwise. (Note in the circular chart, a few situations in which two hexagrams are jammed into one position; also, the axes drawn in the middle do not appear to line up or divide the order in any significant way.)
Received Order “condensed view” (linear)—The hexagrams in the traditional order, but with invertible hexagrams sharing one figure with its pair (e.g., Hexagrams 3 & 4). The eight symmetrical hexagrams each have their own figure. This “condensed view” (as it is called by Larry Schulz) has been used to show how the I Ching’s uneven division into Part One (Hexagrams 1-30) and Part Two (Hexagrams 31-64) can be reconciled into eighteen “seats” each. In this linear version (above), Hexagram 1 is in the upper right of first row. Read leftward to reach Hexagram 30. The second row features Hexagram 31 at the right; read leftward to reach Hexagram 64. (From Hu Yigui.) In the circular condensed view (left), Hexagram 1 is at the bottom; the order continues counter-clockwise to the top of the chart to reach Hexagram 30. From there, go back to the bottom of the chart to find Hexagram 31, and follow clockwise to the top to reach Hexagram 64.
Fuxi Chart — The hexagrams arranged into a logical grid by trigrams, in a combined circular and square format, attributed to Shao Yong of Song dynasty. Because of its logical structure, the Fuxi chart is very useful for memorizing the hexagrams.
The Nuclear Hexagrams are formed from the inner four lines of your primary hexagram to form a new hexagram. This is used as a means of further exploring a hexagram reading. Nuclear hexagrams are formed by using your primary hexagram’s lines 2–4 for the bottom trigram, and lines 3–5 for the upper. By this procedure (and the quirks of permutations), there are a total of sixteen nuclear hexagrams possible. The procedure can even be done a second time; the result of this will be one of four “core” hexagrams (1, 2, 63, 64). This handy chart shows the nuclear hexagrams arranged in a circle (from Qian Chengzhi, Qing dynasty). Around the outside are the sixty-four I Ching hexagrams with their names, arranged by lower trigrams (in the Fuxi order). The second ring inward are the nuclear hexagrams. The third ring repeats the process, yielding the four “core” hexagrams.
The “Thirty-six Hexagrams Transform into Sixty-Four Hexagrams Chart” highlights the Eight Opposite (symmetrical) hexagrams, with other hexagrams displayed in condensed form with one graphic serving two paired hexagrams. Hexagrams 1 and 2 are on the right; the received order continues in top-to-bottom columns from right to left (note that each paired set reads from right-side-up to upside-down). This was created by Wang Shi 王湜 in the Song dynasty (reproduced in Zhouyi bagua tujie, p. 183).