Does the I Ching Mention Tea?

The I Ching (The Book of Changes), the oldest Chinese oracle, divination text and philosophical system is said to be birthed and used from ~1150 BCE, around the same time Tea was discovered as a plant medicine. The I Ching uses a system of hexagrams, or six-line figures, to represent and directly speak to different patterns of change within the Seen and Unseen Worlds.

Tea has been associated with the I Ching in several ways throughout history. One of the most notable connections is the use of Tea leaves in divination. In China, Tea leaves were sometimes used as a method of forecasting, in which the leaves were tossed into the air and the patterns they formed on the ground or in a smaller Tea cup, and were interpreted according to the principles of the I Ching and the Wu Xing (5 Phases). This style of tasseomancy varies from European traditions, which do not interpret the symbols using these same esoteric languages.⁣

Tea as a plant medicine has also been linked to the philosophy of the I Ching. Both Tea and the I Ching emphasize the importance of the harmony of Yin and Yang, dissolving and generative energies, and the idea that small changes can have significant impacts on the larger whole. As Tea can shapeshift into a variety of different classifications, flavours, and even impacts change to our physical and subtle bodies, Tea can be seen as an incarnation of the I Ching.⁣

It’s also noteworthing to contemplate how the I Ching references Tea’s spirit and function. In one passage of the text, Kun (坤) the Bagua trigram as well as the hexagram Two ䷁, is associated with the image of a Tea vessel. A Tea vessel is often used as a symbol of the connection between the Earth and the Heavens. The Tea vessel is a receptacle for the Tea – which represents the essence of Earth – while the Steam rising (refer to my post yesterday about Mist) from Tea suggests the Heaven-Earth bond. Tea as a way to step into receptivity, nourishment, grounding, and when we take Tea in, we also become Earth (Kun 坤) embodied. ⁣

Join me on Saturday, March 18 (online and in-person options) and experience the foundation of the I Ching, including the sacred synchronicities of numbers, Yin and Yang mysteries, and the elements according to Wu (ancient Chinese shamanism). Understand how these powerful, practical tools can be used to empower and enhance our everyday life. We will integrate the experience with a Tea Sit, led by the folks at O5 Tea (Vancouver), with prompts by me. Discover how Tea is both a conduit and a container for the ancient mysteries of the sacred and the mundane.⁣

Saturday, March 18, 2023⁣⁣
From 9:30AM – 11:30AM PST⁣⁣
This is a hybrid event⁣⁣
Live-stream with recording
In-person at O5 Tea 2208 W 4th Ave, Vancouver


Hope to see you there!

Mimi Young,
Animist Spirit Communicator