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The Image of Mountain over Earth

I Ching image Hexagram 23 lines

Image for hexagram 23, Splitting Apart

This is the time when part of the self separates
from the known environment.
The falling away may bring you to form a new connection.
Whether splitting or a new joining, this is a transformative experience.
When the split happens there is no guarantee.
The falling away could result in total disintegration
or a path leading to a new beginning not yet imaginable.
At such times we cannot chose the outcome.
This event is the end of the known or may lead to a turning point of new life.

image hexagram 23, splitting apart, line 1

Six in the first place

Splitting Apart is all about the symbolism of the bed.
The floor under the bed has become corroded
causing the leg of the bed to split.
This event can point to one’s foundation being destroyed.
Life often begins and ends in a bed.

I Ching hexagram 23, Splitting apart, line 2

Six in the second place

The frame of the bed continues to break apart.
Where are your friends?
Question your beliefs.
You may need a new point of view.

Image hexagram 23, Splitting Apart, line 3

Six in the third place

A break happens beyond our control.
What can we do? There is no one to help.
We remain strong by not identifying with the event
of splitting apart.

Image, I Ching hexagram 23, line 4

Six the fourth place

The Bed is destroyed.
Have courage. Let it go.

Image hexagram 23, Splitting Apart, line 5

Six the fifth place

Receive help from feminine energy.
A big change is happening.
This is the end of a cycle.
The approaching new time can be life changing.

Line 5 changes to Youthful Folly

Image - I Ching hexagram 23, Splitting part

Nine in the last place

The final stage of splitting apart brings new life.

Line 6 changes to The Receptive


Thoughts about hexagram 23:

When consulting the I Ching people usually don’t like receiving hexagram 23, the dreaded Splitting Apart. In reading Blofeld, Ritsema/Karcher, Shaughnessy, Cleary, Legge, Wilhelm/Baynes, Alfred Hauang and more, some of the titles are, Peeling Off, Decay, Stripping Away, Intrigue, Deterioration, Collapse, Fracturing, Tearing, Disintegration, Unraveling, Falling Away and Parting.

The Judgments say, “It does not further to go anywhere,” or “It is not advantageous to make a movement in any direction what ever.” Ritsema/Karcher say, “This hexagram describes your situation in terms of something outmoded or worn out. It emphasizes that eliminating what has become unusable is the adequate way to handle it.”

Legge has an interpretation that points to my thoughts on this hexagram. “Decay has begun at the bottom and crept upward. The hexagram symbolizes the ninth month . . .”


The specific image is that of a bed and its occupant, and the symbolism describes the attempts made to overthrow him. The lower trigram of Docility and the upper trigram of Keeping Still suggest to the superior man of line six how he can best deal with the prevailing circumstances. The situation is not hopeless—winter is followed by spring, night by day, and the waning moon soon grows full again. So will it be in the course of human affairs.


Katya Walter in her book, The Tao of Chaos, discusses the similarity of the character for I Ching the DNA structure. “This patterning organizes the very code that builds us, the DNA that shapes our bodies, bone, muscle, and skin. And it organizes our psyches too.”


Martin Shonberger in his book, The I Ching and the Genetic Code discusses the similarity of the character for I Ching and the DNA structure.

Excerpted from his discussion:

I Ching character by Martin Shonberger“This sign has a curious look about it, like the germ of a plant, an embryo, perhaps even a ghost, a “Bodiless head” freely floating. And then we turn to the diagram of the DNA with the code written on the “rungs of the ladder”, 8 rungs through 360 degree = 1 whole story of the “staircase”. Is there one underlying pattern here?

The electron micrographs already available of the double helix reveal an astounding similarity to a perpetually continued I Ching symbol. With its four rungs, the I Ching symbol looks like the head of the DNA “snake.” The principle of one turn with four rungs per half story is the same. In other words the “ghost” symbol as a drawing is identical with the model confirmed in the electron microscope! . . . The written sign which is at the same time the visual image of the DNA double helix is an idea as absurd as it is informative . . . what is so astonishing is that the regular light and dark masses of the I Ching symbol complementing each other in a polar pattern suddenly, like a picture puzzle, produce a second, identical but contrarotating I Ching counterimage, just like the contrarotating spiral in the DNA code with the unvarying complementary pairs of bases A -T and C – G.

My perspective on hexagram 23

 Over the past 40+ years of asking the I Ching for counsel, of course I have received this hexagram. The result of the “splitting” was not always the negative experience that all the I Ching interpretations say it is. Sometimes splitting apart has been a good thing.

 I have made my point that the I Ching has a similarity to the structure of our DNA. My interpretation for hexagram 23 is that it could be the time when we split off a part of our self, to join with another similar but unique event that creates a new and transformational experience.

 I don’t argue with what the wise ones have said about this hexagram. My view could only be possible after Watson and Crick discovered DNA in 1953. My perspective is to add to the meaning of hexagram 23, not to eliminate all the previous ones. Considering the fact that the I Ching originated more than 3,000 years ago when there was no knowledge about the science of genetics, hexagram 23 is an amazing “synchronicity.”

 Besides the fascinating correlations between the structures of the I Ching and the DNA code for humans, hexagram 23 seems to exemplify that moment when the sperm is on its way to unite with the egg to form the 46 chromosomes for a new human. Interesting that hexagram 46, Earth over the Wind and Wood is Pushing Upward.

Ritsema/Karcher: “Earth center giving-birth-to wood. Ascending. . . [Actualize-tao: …ability to follow the course traced by the ongoing process of the cosmos… Linked with acquire, . . . acquiring that which makes a being become what it is meant to be.]”


Is it coincidence or a synchronicity that Britain voted to Split apart from the EU on June 23rd?

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5 Comments on Hexagram 23 • Splitting apart • Po

  1. […] Hexagram 23 • Splitting apart • Po […]

  2. Katya WalterNo Gravatar says:

    I agree that Hexagram 23 can feel tumultuous, even terrifying, while it is happening, because it’s such a big change, but ultimately it can invariably become beneficial if it is handled well.

    • Adele AldridgeNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Katya. Most people hate getting the hexagram Splitting Apart. Sometimes, depending on the changes, the split leads to a new “birth” situation.

  3. IanNo Gravatar says:



    On the edge of a cliff

    The mountain rising high, proud ,steep
    Shifting sands hidden beneath

    Grace and favours, gone too far, EU, Brexit.

    So I guess,
    Now , for now ,

    We can have a drink !

    Ian , UK

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