Improved I Ching Tarot Spread

Lately, I have been playing a bit with I Ching, an ancient chinese divination method, which was performed using 3 identical coins (in its simplest form). As a Tarot amateur, I started wondering, “Is there any way to perform I Ching with tarot cards instead of coins?”. I started thinking of it, and I created this method that not only creates the I Ching hexagram needed, but also provides additional Tarot data to answer a specific question.

Be careful though : I consider this spread to be a pretty complicated one :

  • It gives you both a hexagram and up to 12 Tarot cards to understand
  • You need some basic knowledge on how to do an I Ching reading
  • You need pretty good knowledge about Tarot.

It is not suited for beginners, and I believe it is even more complicated than the Celtic Cross spread (which full interpretation is always complex, no matter what you say), so keep it for big questions where you need an accurate answer. My first reading using this spread gave me 7 pages of data and took me hours to understand! (I’m no expert though, even if I’m not a beginner anymore I believe)

With that said, let me explain how it works.

The I Ching reading

Building the Hexagram


First of all, draw 6 cards, one for each line of the final Hexagram. As in any I Ching reading, you build the hexagram from the base to the top, the same way you would build a building. Here’s how you determine the line corresponding to a card :

  • For a Major arcana :
    • if the card number is odd, then the line is young yang
    • if the card number is even, then the line is young yin
    • if the card number ends with 1, then the line is old yang
    • if the card number ends with 0, or if the card is the Fool, then the line is old yin
  • For Minors :
    • For wands : young yang
    • For cups : young yin
    • For swords : old yang
    • For Pentacles : old yin
Yin/Yang Major: card number’s unit digit suit Symbol
old yin 0 / The Fool Pentacles x
young yang 3, 5, 7, 9 Wands ——–
young yin 2, 4, 6, 8 Cups   
old yang 1 Swords —o—

Once this is done, you have your main hexagram.

Moving lines

Draw one card for each moving line. It will help you understand them.

IChingTarotThe green cards should only be drawn if the corresponding line is changing (old yin or old yang).


From now on, everything looks like a classic I Ching reading :

  • Look for the present hexagram in the book.
  • Read the part in the book for each changing line. This spread also provides an additional card for each moving line, to help you understand its context and how it applies to you.
  • Apply the moving lines and look for the transformed hexagram in the book, it represents how things will evolve.

The Tarot reading


As you can see on this picture, this spread has 3 “rows”. How to read the Tarot from this is pretty simple.

  • The bottom line (containing cards 1 and 4) represents the querent’s past.
  • The middle line (with cards 2 and 5) represents the querent’s present.
  • The upper line (with cards 3 and 6) is the querent’s future.

That’s it ! I will add a practical example of a reading I did (of myself) when I have enough time.

I hope you’ll like this method. Feel free to comment to give me any feedback/suggestion/question, and tell me if this works !

The Five Elements 6-card spread

I’m… very surprised that no one has ever posted anything about this spread. It’s very powerful, and can be applied to a wide number of things! I personally use it to understand a person’s moods and emotions…

How it works : I try to link Chinese philosophy and Tarot in this spread, by binding every card drawn to each of the five Chinese elements : wood, fire, earth, metal, water. The last card is, as usual, a synthesis that you can get by summing up the value of all the arcanas that you drew.

Here it is :

The Five Elements 6-card Spread

You can see here on Wikipedia what each element represents. Be careful though : several other websites would replace the Earth’s emotion, Love, by Worries, which is also what I use in my readings.

Here’s how I use this spread to understand a person’s emotions:

  1. The Wood element: I use this to represent the person’s anger.
  2. The Fire element: that’s for the person’s joy.
  3. The Earth element: that’s to understand their worries.
  4. The Metal element: that represents their grief.
  5. The Water element: that stands for their fears.
  6. Synthesis: pretty much the person’s general mood.

Of course, that’s only one possible use of this spread. There are so many other ones!

  • Guessing how intense the person’s mental qualities are
  • Guessing some food’s taste
  • Guessing the rough age of someone
  • Guessing how something looks like
  • And so on…

I encourage you to try this one. It’s pretty powerful, especially to read a person’s feelings!