After you have performed the yarrow-stick divination, you’ll have a hexagram in front of you. Mentally divide it into two trigrams, the top three lines and the bottom three, and look at the trigram on the bottom. Find it in the list below; this, the inner trigram, indicates your character’s Bagua personality. We’ll examine the upper/outer trigram, which will help describe the character’s circumstances, a little later.

You see that each trigram has a list of trappings, of yin or yang attitude. For each line in the trigram, select a trapping of appropriate attitude (yang trappings for solid lines, yin trappings for broken lines); this trapping shows and tells something about the character. That is to say, it gives you a hook for characterisation, and it also reflects something about the character’s inner life. So, you’ll end up with three trappings; think about how they interrelate. We’ve given you the outward expression of the trappings, but it’s your job to decide what they mean about the character’s head.

Now you have to choose one to disturb. This trapping is in a state of conflict and transformation. The character’s whole attitude is in a process of shifting. As the trapping’s transformation proceeds, it will change its yin-yang attitude and stabilise, changing the character’s inner trigram. Eventually, when the trapping’s change is complete, it will have become a trapping from the new trigram. Mark the dot next to the line corresponding to this trapping, to indicate that it is a moving line. It’s also possible for a moving line to become stilled without changing, but this has certain consequences.

A changing line’s trapping expresses itself in a perturbed or reversed way. For instance, a Li character with “He has a hawk on his shoulder” assigned to a changing line might ride a giant hawk instead, or be a falconer whose falcon has gone missing. It’s good if this expression is problematic somehow, but it doesn’t have to be.

On to the trigrams…

☰ Qian: Heaven

Qian is a rigid, virtuous person. It is direct, strong, and radiant. Qian’s trappings are all yang in attitude.

  • Qian has a book of laws.
  • Qian is the head of a prosperous family.
  • Qian will always accept a fair challenge.
  • Qian carries a lit lantern.
  • Qian’s immaculate honour is well-known.
  • Qian is built like a bull.
  • Qian is a Buddhist priest.

☷ Kun: Earth

Kun is a gentle, devoted person. It is yielding and hollow; thus it contains necessary things within its emptiness. Kun’s trappings are all yin in attitude.

  • Kun has a water jar.
  • Kun benefits from strong family connections.
  • Kun is mysterious; sometimes it is difficult to discern the truth of its words.
  • Kun receives gifts at every turn.
  • Kun is slender but never frail.
  • Kun has a black silver mirror.
  • Kun knows little but is always learning.

☲ Li: Fire

Li is a young person of reason and clarity. Its trappings are mostly yang. Its yang trappings are:

  • Li is educated in the learned arts of reasoning and debate.
  • Li has a hawk on its shoulder.
  • Li has a precious weapon.
  • Li is consulted when a riddle needs answering.
  • Li has an elder sibling and a younger.

Its yin trappings are:

  • Li clings to a person that nourishes it.
  • Li leaves a trail of dramatic memories.

☱ Dui: Lake

Dui is juvenile and joyous. It breaks things in pieces. Its trappings are mostly yang. Its yang trappings are:

  • Dui is known for its loquacity.
  • Dui knows how to take things apart and put them together.
  • Dui throws wild parties.
  • Dui is the youngest member of the family.
  • Dui is a shepherd.

Its yin trappings are:

  • Dui has a surprising cache of resources.
  • Dui knows old-fashioned magic.