How to phrase your I Ching question:
What kind of questions work best with the I-Ching?
First and foremost -- it is traditional in China to say "please" as part of your question when you consult the I-Ching.
This is an ancient custom dating back to the origins of the I Ching over 4000 years ago. Today, many people tend to ignore this tradition but it's still considered the "correct" way to begin an I Ching reading. The word "please" can be placed at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the question.
Asking the I Ching general vs. specific questions
Many people find their I-Ching readings are most successful when they ask general questions like: "Please tell me about the forces affecting my relationship", or "What are the issues surrounding my job, please".
Experts often approach the I-Ching with an even more general strategy - asking simple questions like: "Tell me about my current situation in life, please". This approach to I Ching readings reflects the tendency of the oracle to offer insight into a wide variety of related, and sometimes unexpected topics. Many related topics may not be anticipated by the asker.
While many people tend to ask very specific questions like "Will Catherine get married to Stephen?", "Will I find true love this weekend?", "Is my relationship really over?" - one must remember that the I-Ching often speaks about the background of a situation, related issues, or psychological states that affect the outcome of that question.
The I Ching is a framework for knowledge
Think in terms of the greater philosophical or spiritual backdrop to a situation, and your readings will be much more effective. While the I-Ching may respond with very direct answers when the future is clear, more often than not, the I-Ching will provide a philosophical framework for you to better understand the situation and predict its outcome.
No one can tell you exactly how to phrase your question. The best approach is to try several kinds of questions and see which I Ching readings yield the best results for you.
iFate uses a custom, modern translation of the I-Ching: Book of Changes which is much easier to understand than older translations found elsewhere.
Can you ask the I Ching the same question twice?
As long as you are not misuing the Oracle, it's possible to ask many different questions about a topic or situation. It is recommended that you ask for insight about multiple aspects or facets of a situation when asking repeat questions.
It is not recommended to ask the same 'exact' question over and over again hoping to get the answer you want. This is considered a misuse of the I Ching, and will yield effective, useless and misleading answers.
However, if some time has passed, and you want to ask the I Ching the same question because your situation may have changed slightly -- this is perfectly acceptable and encouraged.
A traditional "Do not"
It's traditional belief to never ask the I Ching questions about the I Ching itself. While this isn't written anywhere, this belief is widely held among practitioners in Asia. We think it's a good rule to follow.