You can use Yarrow sticks as a divination tool for an i-ching reading. I am unsure why Yarrow, although it grows everywhere in China and offers a pretty sturdy and straight stick. But in most of my research and reading, Yarrow sticks were the tool for the task. I was excited to harvest some wild yarrow as it grows freely around here (although it seems to be growing worldwide!)
Yarrow likes to grow in sandy rocking soil. It makes it easy to harvest as the root system all comes out. The flower has a strange smell at first. This lovely honey smell comes to you when you smell it a few more times. I read there are a lot of medicinal properties for this plant. Even some that could be beneficial for me. I'll have to investigate further.
I kept the flower dry so that I could try it as tea. I can imagine at one point how you would harvest Yarrow, take the stalk for divination and use the leaves and flower for tea to complete the whole ceremony.
As I prepare for my music Sadhana with the i-ching (you can read the previous post), I wanted to be able to pull different hexagrams at random at first. Another way to do this involves flipping coins, which I thought wasn't poetic.
Using Yarrow sticks is a somewhat convoluted way to go about it, as it takes up to half an hour to create a hexagram. But as I read in a comment on the question, the whole process is meditation. In that meditative state, you can interpret the message the i-ching has for you. I like this perspective; I'll try to see how that goes!
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