It is a dangerous situation which must not be ignored. Ensure your own safety, in isolation, if necessary, until it is safe to proceed.
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23 – Twenty-Three Po / Splitting Apart
The weight of the Mountain presses down upon a weak foundation of Earth:
The Superior Person will use this time of oppression to attend to the needs of those less fortunate.
Any action would be ill-timed.
This is a situation easily mistaken for Stagnation (Hexagram 12) or Revolution (Hexagram 49).
It just depends on which side you’re on.
During a time of Stagnation, human worms invade to feed on the decay.
During a time of Revolution, oppression is being overthrown.
But in this situation, oppressors are violently seizing power.
Pay special heed when you receive this hexagram, because the oracle is often warning you of a situation of which you are totally unaware.
You are about to be blindsided.
Six in the second place means:
The arms of the throne are split to kindling.
Those closest to the leader are slashed away.
The bed is split at the edge.
Those who persevere are destroyed.
The power of the inferior people is growing. The danger draws close to one’s person; already there are clear indications, and rest is disturbed. Moreover, in this dangerous situation one is as yet without help or friendly advances from above or below. Extreme caution is necessary in this isolation. One must adjust to the time and promptly avoid the danger. Stubborn perseverance in maintaining one’s standpoint would lead to downfall.
4 – Four Mêng / Inexperience
A fresh Spring at the foot of the Mountain:
The Superior Person refines his character by being thorough in every activity.
The Sage does not recruit students; the students seek him.
He asks nothing but a sincere desire to learn.
If the student doubts or challenges his authority, the Sage regretfully cuts his losses.
This is a time of interchange between a mentor and pupil.
Whether you are the teacher or the student, it is a time of companionship along a mutual path.
This hexagram also emphasizes the eternal, cyclical nature of the mentor/student relationship — a mentor is merely a more seasoned pupil, further along on the journey.
A pupil holds within himself the seed of a future Master.