The idea for I Ching Online is very simple:
What if you would not need to carry the Book-of-Changes and three Chinese coins with you, but that you just could ask any question any time, at work, with friends or relatives, in an internet café or a hotel, as long as there is a computer with internet connection nearby?
Of course we found several sites that promised this feature, but it never came anywhere near what we were looking for.
You can see for yourself; in DMOZ, the open directory project, many Online I Ching sites are gathered together (including this site IChingOnline).
If we found a site where we could ask a question online, and if we managed at all to understand the often difficult instructions how to get on with the procedure, we saw all kinds of things wrong.
For example, a popular Brasilian site (the I Ching is widespread in Brasil) with a smashing Flash movie for throwing the coins online:
When we analysed the Flash code, it appeared that any Hexagram would always consist of an equal amount of heads and tails.
For the six throws of three coins, there were nine heads and nine tails, mixed together randomly; an entirely wrong algorithm, and limiting the number of possible readings to just a handful.
(Try to compose Hexagram 1 or 2 this way.)
I Ching Coins
Yet, there do exist some very elegant programs you can run on your computer, but you do not always have your own laptop with you.
Actually, we had such a program ourselves, the "I Ching Empower Tool" by Roger Norton and David Miller, a beautiful and very user-friendly desktop program.
Until July 6th 2009, this program was available at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/ homepages/empowertools/, but on that date the Compuserve OurWorld was shut down permanently.
The site was not supported since 1995 and many links did not work anymore.
When we used the freeware version of the program we found a little problem with the algorithm for throwing the coins, because we got far too few changing lines.
(It was not the yarrow stalks method either.)
We never tried the registered edition.
We gratefully used the texts in this program as an initial base for I Ching Online, because they are the best short interpretations of the ancient texts of the Book-of-Changes that we know.
Later we added the original texts.
The classic translation from Chinese was in German, by Richard Wilhelm in 1923.
Richard Wilhelm, born in 1873 in Germany, more than any other, is responsible for opening up to the West the vast spiritual heritage of China, and thus all of Asia.
He translated the great philosophical works from Chinese into German, where they have in turn been translated into the other major languages of the world, including English.
To this day, among the dozens of translations of the I Ching now available, his 1923 translation "I Ging - Das Buch der Wandlungen" ("I Ching - The Book of Changes") stands head and shoulders above the rest.
An illness he caught in China as early as 1910, led eventually to his premature death in 1930.
Since Version 2.0 (see below) for every hexagram and changing line you can click through to the corresponding original Richard Wilhelm translation, rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes in 1949.
Nevertheless, the only way to read these original texts is by throwing the coins and then you can read the text for the particular hexagram or changing line as an excerpt from the Richard Wilhelm translation.
This was done deliberately.
If you want to leaf through these pages, you need a hard copy of The I Ching Or Book of Changes.
When we decided to develop our online webprogram, we had in mind to make it as user-friendly as possible.
The different aspects of the answer; Present, Changing Lines, Future and the separate Trigrams that make up the Cast Hexagram, can be read in tabs.
Special attention was given to the Changing Lines, because if there are two or more, one of them prevails, and the program decides which one, according to a set of rules, explained on theInstructionpage.
From version 3.9 (October 14th 2012), on the (Changing Lines tab of the)Readingpage, you can click on any Changing Line, to read about it.
Until then you could only read about the one changing line that prevailed.
If you have any suggestions, please contact us at .
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If you consider advertising your product or service on I Ching Online, ask for the possibilities at .
We will send you a list with available sizes, tariffs, conditions and some statistics.
Now stylesheets have been upgraded to improve support of RWD.
In version 3.18 (July 20th 2014), again you have one more reason to become a subscribed member.
From now as a paid-up member you have an extra option on yourMy I Chingpage, where you can set a cookie on your current device (in your current browser) that will automatically keep you logged in for one month, one quarter or as long as one year.
This cookie exists until you actively log out or until you unset the cookie on yourMy I Chingpage.
The autologin cookie can be renewed any time you want, also before it expires.
Version 3.17 (July 1st 2014), is again a technical upgrade.
In version 3.16 (March 2nd 2014), suppression of ads has been improved.
From version 3.3 (March 3rd 2012), paid-up members already had an extra option on theirMy I Chingpage, where they could choose to turn off (Google-) advertising on the site.
Now even ads on the Richard Wilhelm- and Zodiac-pages are suppressed.
With this option you can have the site entirely ad free if you wish.
Version 3.15 (January 23rd 2014), is a next step in the project "Responsive Web Design" (RWD for short), to make the same page customized for any type of device, from mobile phones & tablets to smart TV's.
As an unintended result the main menu bars now resemble hexagram lines.
Version 3.14 (December 30th 2013), is a technical upgrade.
Detection of the device that is used by the I Ching Online visitor has been improved.
E.g. tablets can be distinguished from other mobile devices.
Type of device, OS and browser are now combined with screen resolution for adapted lay-out.
For obvious reasons, in version 3.13 (November 23rd 2013), we added a Frequently Asked Questions-page
In version 3.12 (August 4th 2013), the lay-out of the site has been synchronized with our classic version, I Ching Online.Original, that does not have the save-reading option.
This last version 2.11 is of course still available at ichingonline.org.
If you never want to save your readings, and do not visit I Ching Online on your mobile device, you might as well use this basic version of I Ching Online, which has exactly equal functionality, but without save-reading option.
In version 3.11 (March 11th 2013), a kind of mailbox has been added to theMy I Chingpage, where you can read a Personal Note, if you have one.
If you have an unread Note, you will be notified when you log in.
You can keep the Notes in My I Ching, or check the ones you wish to delete and click Delete selected.
There is every chance that this option will never show, when there is no reason for a personal message to you.
From version 3.10 (November 12th 2012), you may have again one more reason to become an I Ching Online member.
All paid-up members now have an extra option to download their readings.
Once your payment has been registered (usually within a day), you will see an extra option Download readings in yourView Readingspage, where you can choose to download all of your saved readings to a CSV-file on your own laptop or desktop computer, for further analyses.
You can open this file in Excel. (Not for mobile devices.)
From version 3.9 (October 14th 2012), on the (Changing Lines tab of the)Readingpage, you can now click on any Changing Line, to read about it.
Until then you could only read about the one changing line that applies to your question, according to a set of rules.
You can still do so, but when you click a changing line, the "primary text" of that line appears, and by pressing theRead original textbutton, you can read the Richard Wilhelm translation for that line.
Clicking this (second) tab again will reset the page.
With this improvement, a wish of many I Ching Online visitors has come true.
In version 3.8 (September 3rd 2012), aTao Te Chingpage has been added.
The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic.
It was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Lao Tzu.
The short text consists of 81 brief chapters, or verses.
Every day we issue a "verse of the day" for contemplation, in two leading English translations, that nevertheless differ substantially.
Perhaps, when comparing the interpretations, the true meaning will emerge.
These 81 verses simply rotate; every day the next number, and after 81, number 1 will appear again.
In version 3.7 (July 30th 2012), the search function on theView Readingspage has been improved.
You can now search for Readings which had a particular Cast- or Transformed hexagram for an answer.
You can combine this with the existing search for questions containing a specific text.
Of course, the stricter your search, the less readings will be selected in your view.
Again you have one more reason to renew your subscription after (or better, during) your trial period!
With version 3.6 (May 20th 2012), the mobile version of I Ching Online is good enough for mobile devices with a full internet browser, like iPhones or Android phones.
Because smartphones have a touchscreen with no mouse-over functionality*, the so-called 'tooltips' (the small 'hover boxes') did not work.
Every tooltip (many hundreds of them in the Richard Wilhelm- and Zodiac-pages), if it had relevant information about the picture being hovered over, has been replaced by a subtitle.
And even for desktops or laptops this turns out to be an improvement.
*) Except for smartphones with Android 4.0+ and a stylus (touch pen), like theSamsung Galaxy Note, which do have mouse-over functionality.
The mobile version of I Ching Online was especially designed for this Samsung Galaxy Note.
Version 3.5 (May 3rd 2012), is a technical upgrade as a preparation for a mobile version of I Ching Online.
Screen resolution is now used for adapted lay-out.
In version 3.4 (March 27th 2012), theView Readingspage has been improved.
You can check all Readings that you want to delete, and click Delete selected to remove all checked Readings at one go, instead of having to delete them one by one, as before.
From version 3.3 (March 3rd 2012), you may have one more reason to become an I Ching Online member.
All paid-up members now have an extra option on theirMy I Chingpage, where they can choose to turn off advertising* on the site; not only for mobile devices, but for all platforms.
Nothing wrong with ads, but if you just dislike them, or when you log in with your smartphone and find them annoyingly interfering with buttons, you can choose to view the site without ads.
Once your payment has been registered (usually within a day), you will see an extra option Display pages in yourMy I Chingwhere you can choose Without Ads.
*) Except for the Richard Wilhelm- and Zodiac-pages.
From version 3.2 (February 21st 2012), when you have entered your question and click theContinuebutton, a new window opens with a separate page for throwing the coins.
(Throwing the coins used to be done at the startpage.)
Entering the question and casting the coins have been separated, in preparation to a mobile version of I Ching Online.
In fact this change makes the site more adapted for smartphones already.
(F.Y.I.: The major problem for some mobile browsers was the combination of "manipulating visibility" and using "absolute positions".)
Please have some more patience for a truely mobile version.
In version 3.1 (September 19th 2011), an extra function has been added where you can edit your past questions and save the reading again.
(For example, if you want to correct a spelling error, forgot something, or you want to add some note to the question.)
On theView Readingspage, a question can be edited when the Edit question or delete reading: checkbox is checked.
If checked, next to the now editable question appear two options.
Save changes: Delete:
Version 3.0 (September 2nd 2011), is a complete metamorphosis!
Now it is possible to keep a record of past readings, with a personal login for members.
When you ask a question and read the answer, aSave readingbutton appears, to save your reading.
When you are logged in already, your question is saved instantly, giving you a confirmation.
If not logged in, the Login screen appears, and after giving your credentials the reading is still saved.
To log in, you must be a member.
In the login screen aRegisterbutton invites you to become a member, if you are not registered yet.
After filling in the details and accepting the terms and conditions, you are a member, and your reading is finally saved.
The first three months of your membership are free.
During this free trial period you can make a membership payment for half a year ($12) or for one year ($18).
Your paid membership begins three months after your registration.
When you are a member, in every screen two more menu-items appear:My I ChingandView readings.
InView readingsyou can leaf through the pages with your readings, and search for particular questions and answers!
InMy I Chingthere is an option, especially for smartphone users, not to be plagued by ads!
(From version 3.3 this option works for all platforms; not only for mobile devices.)
Mobile devices are recognized, and the most annoying ads (those that sometimes interfere with buttons or text) have disappeared from your smartphone screen already, but once you are a paid-up member, you have an extra option to turn off advertising on pages with buttons.
Plus, you can change your personal details and settings inMy I Ching, including time zones, and see the payments you have made so far.
Your info is secure; no credit card numbers are stored.
On this same page there is a PayPal button to make a membership payment, but you can use the PayPal donation button too: a donation is considered a payment for a subscription as well. (Even donations made in the past, if they were at least the price for half a year, or for one year subscription!)
[These payments will be entered manually at first, so have some patience; they will show in several days, and the expiration date of your subscription will by then have been adjusted accordingly.]
In future versions new functionality will be added for "members only".
Version 3.0 bèta (July 25th 2011), has been tested by a panel of 50 volunteers.
Thank you all very much!
Version 2.12 (July 1st 2014), is the last version without the option to save your readings.
It is the same technical upgrade as version 3.17.
Version 2.12 is still available at ichingonline.org.
With version 2.11 (August 12th 2013), the I Ching Online.Original has been moved physically to a different host.
In version 2.10 (August 4th 2013), the lay-out of this I Ching Online.Original has been synchronized with version 3.12
Version 2.9 (October 23rd 2011), is without the option to save your readings.
If you really have no intention of ever saving a reading, you'd better use this version. All texts are exactly the same, but it is 'static', and should load a bit faster.
This I Ching Online.Original is still available; just type ichingonline.org in the address bar of your browser to visit this 'original' site.
Remember though, that once you get a miraculously appropriate reading, you will then NOT have the possibility to save it instantly.
The only thing you could do then, is to copy the question, go to version 3, paste the question, click Continue and click Throw coins by hand.
Then fill in the hexagram you got, click Read, click Save to save your question, and click Register in the Login screen to become a member.
Your question with corresponding reading will then be saved after all.
In version 2.8 (February 20th 2011), an extra page was added where you can have your Chinese Zodiac Sign calculated.
When you click the image of the sign, a new page pops up with the most salient traits that are attributed to the sign, and which description can be remarkably accurate.
You can read as well how the sign relates to other signs, to which you can click through.
Version 2.7 (October 24th 2010), was a technical upgrade (as version 2.3), in preparation to added functionality in the near future.
Again the engine to throw the coins, visualize casting them six times, and display the answer in different tabs, has been rewritten completely.
Casting the coins and showing the answer have been separated, as necessary preliminary work for new features to be added to I Ching Online.
When you click theReadbutton, a new window with the answer opens; for the rest everything works the same as ever.
The new feature has an unintended advantage: when youThrow coins by handand clickReadwhen done, the window with your cast filled in does not disappear.
After reading the answer, you can still change the pattern and clickReadagain.
Repeat this as often as you like.
Version 2.6 was released on October 10th 2010 (indeed, accidentally 10-10-10), in which again an improvement was made to the Site search.
The reason for the change was the announcement by Google that for the old Site search code, support would be discontinued in a short while.
As always, when something is lost, something better takes its place.
You can still enter a search term and click theSite searchbutton on the left of the page, to search all the pages of I Ching Online, including the Richard Wilhelm texts.
The only difference is that the radio-buttons to choose between searching I Ching Online and the entire internet, have disappeared.
Instead, when you press theSite searchbutton, a new page opens with the results, where you find aCustom searchbutton below the results.
Here you can search the rest of the internet if you did not find what you were looking for.
The text area is already prepopulated with your Site search term, but can be changed.
In version 2.5 (May 22nd 2010), to all Richard Wilhelm texts; hexagrams and changing lines, have been added relevant illustrations.
Of course, anytime we find a better picture for some subject, we'll replace the old one, but for now the entire text is illustrated.
Version 2.4 (December 13th 2009), has some extra features when you read an original Richard Wilhelm text.
Instead of one new window that opens for the Richard Wilhelm page, three different cascading windows will open, resp. for the Cast Hexagram-, Changing Lines- and Transformed Hexagram pages.
This has been done for (Windows) Safari and Chrome users, as in these browsers, if the same window is opened the second time, it will not be on top of the last window, but remain hidden in the background.
Furthermore, the question you entered (if you did) before throwing the coins, is repeated on the Richard Wilhelm page, so that you can tell to what question is the answer.
In addition, the Cast- and Transformed Hexagram page will show you whether it is the Cast- or Transformed Hexagram as an answer to your question, because now you can have both pages open.
Version 2.3 (December 6th 2009), was a technical upgrade, in preparation to added functionality in the near future.
Apparently, the site hardly changed, at least visibly, but in fact the engine to throw the coins, visualize casting them six times, and display the answer in different tabs, has been rewritten completely.
This was done as necessary preliminary work for intended new features that will be added to I Ching Online.
In version 2.2 (January 8th 2009), a major improvement was made to the Site search.
Since then, a proper Site search is made possible, by allowing Google to index the Richard Wilhelm text-pages.
If you want to read a Richard Wilhelm text again for a particular hexagram or changing line, use theSite searchbutton on the left of the page.
For example: type in hexagram 38 line 3, leave the radio-button checked for IChingOnline(*), and click theSite searchbutton.
A good chance that you find the page with the Richard Wilhelm text for hexagram 38 and the third line changing.
Or use any headword you remember, if you have forgotten the hexagram number.
(*) The radio-buttons were removed in version version 2.6
A slight improvement to the great leap of version 2.0 was made with version 2.1 (July 23rd 2008).
At the bottom of the Trigram tab now is aCustom searchbutton.
Pressing this generates a Google custom search for the literal question you typed in.
For this button to appear, you must have typed at least some valid characters.
The Custom search result page is not the same as when you had put the question to a normal Google search page, because the result is customised for people like you; interested in Eastern studies and I Ching.
Use it for getting inspiration, the results can be amazing!
Since July 19th 2008 we have I Ching Online Version 2.0, with the original Richard Wilhelm translation integrated in the tabs for the Cast Hexagram, the Changing Lines and the Transformed Hexagram.
If applicable, at the bottom of the tab appears aRead original textbutton.
By pressing this button you can also read an excerpt from the original Richard Wilhelm translation for the particular hexagram or changing line.
Since January 12th 2008 we have I Ching Online Version 1.1, with a new feature for throwing the coins, which is described in detail on the instruction-page.
Before then you could only cast the coins virtually.
Nothing wrong with virtual coins, but if you insist on using your own real metal ones, you can do so now, by pushing theThrow coins by handbutton, and fill in the result of your cast by flipping the coins on the screen.
The coins turn around when you click them.
When done, theReadbutton works as ever.
The new feature comes in very handy as well, when you want to read back a former reading.
When you remember the pattern of lines, you can fill them in later, and see the answer again.
Of course, the oldThrow coins virtuallybutton still works the same.
October 1st 2007, I Ching Online Version 1.0 was launched, hosted with Hostgator in Texas and with very basic functionality.
In the early morning of July 1st 2007, the idea for I Ching Online was born in a dream, and this same day the domainnameichingonline.netwas registered with the Dutch registrar Dootall.
It took several months developing before the first working prototype could be demonstrated.
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