Tarot vs I Ching | A Complete Guide

  • By: Reece
  • Date: 20 February 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Although more people are familiar with Tarot, I Ching is an older form of divination that can be just as helpful as Tarot at unlocking your subconscious and bettering your life. There are some notable differences between the two divination tools, nonetheless.

Whereas Tarot provides guidance about consciousness awareness and potential life phases, I Ching provides more specific assistance to present problems. More so, Tarot involves much more narrative features, but I Ching is generally impersonal, much like a weather report.

To learn more about the differences between Tarot and I Ching, read on. This article gives an overview of I Ching, explains the differences between Tarot and I Ching, explains which divination tool is better, and delineates how to perform an I Ching reading for yourself.

Let’s get started.

I Ching Overview

tarot vs i ching

I Ching is the earliest divination tool we have on record, and it developed in the East. This tool uses 64 hexagrams that are stacked in a certain way to give you real-life solutions to present problems.

The hexagrams make up six stacked horizontal lines. Each line will represent Yin or Yang, and each line has meaning. You get the whole meaning from the hexagram by reading the lines as one. In this way, you are reading the visual simple structures of the stacked hexagrams.

Much like Tarot reading, I Ching readings can help you find your way out of painful situations, dilemmas, and relationships. Unlike Tarot reading, I Ching helps you with uncovering situations of the present more than issues of the future.

Tarot vs I Ching: What Are the Differences?

Although Tarot reading and the I Ching are very similar, they have notable differences. Sometimes, people prefer one reading over the other, but the differences between Tarot and I Ching can create a complete picture to answer questions about your present and future when used together.


The most obvious difference between Tarot and I Ching is their history. In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin in that Tarot is of the West and I Ching is of the East. At the same time, I Ching is the much older of the two, dating back to ancient China, whereas Tarot dates to medieval Europe.

Closeness to the Reader

Closeness to the reader is another difference between the two, and it is one that frequent Tarot and I Ching users note.

On the one hand, Tarot readings almost feel like a soap opera in that they include a performance of characters that are put in different situations. This creates an incredibly intimate experience that the reader relates to on an emotional as well as intellectual level.

On the other hand, the I Ching is much more impersonal and intellectual. Many compare the I Ching to reading the weather in that it explains force is outside of your control in a very impersonal manner. At the same time, the explanation insinuates how to respond to a situation, much like the weather forecast insinuates how to dress for the day.


The final and most important difference between Tarot reading and I Ching is its purpose.

The I Ching is almost exclusively used for present ordeals that need a present answer. Once again, it may be helpful to compare the I Ching to the weather forecast in that the forecast is most accurate the day of. In the same way, the I Ching is best at giving unbiased and specific responses to whichever issue you are thinking about.

Although some Tarot layouts can be about the present, most layouts relate to future potential. As a result, Tarot readings can help you gain consciousness throughout your various life experiences, as opposed to giving you specific tools for an immediate crisis.

Is Tarot or I Ching Better?

Neither Tarot nor I Ching is outright better than the other. That being said, one is better than the other  depending on your circumstance. If you need immediate assistance for a given problem, I Ching will be the better of the two options. In contrast, Tarot is better if you want a glimpse into your life experiences and conscious awareness.

Thus, the most experienced practitioners practice both Tarot and I Ching, though at different points in their life. Knowing when to use Tarot and when to use I Ching can help you solve present problems while enhancing your consciousness and betterment for your future.

When using both, you will see that neither is outright better than the other, but one may be better suited to your present inquiry than the other.

How to Perform an I Ching Reading

For an I Ching reading, you begin by thinking closely of a problem or situation you need help with. The more focused you are on this issue, the more focused the response will be. Continue to think of the problem throughout the entire process.

Next, you will need to choose a card or text at random. You can even use coins or beads for the selection process. Most people prefer using coins for convenience.

Begin by tossing 3 coins at the same time and recording the heads and tails of each. Repeat this six times to get the six lines of the reading. Then, you will look up your six-line pattern in the I Ching to get the pattern’s meaning.

To interpret your pattern, you can look online. I Ching interpretations are readily available there. You can also purchase your own copy of the I Ching if you prefer a physical book that you intend to refer to frequently.


Tarot and I Ching are both divination tools that can help you unlock your subconscious to learn more about your present and future. Although similar, Tarot and I Ching serve different purposes. Tarot is better for big picture issues that include the future, whereas I Ching is better for specific issues of the present.

Although many people prefer one divination form to the other, neither is outright better. Instead, it’s best to tailor the divination tool based on your circumstance to get the best results.

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