The darkness is nearly complete. Hold fast.
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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.
The dark lines are about to mount upward and overthrow the last firm, light line by exerting a disintegrating influence on it. The inferior, dark forces overcome what is superior and strong, not by direct means, but by undermining it gradually and imperceptibly, so that it finally collapses.
The lines of the hexagram present the image of a house, the top line being the roof, and because the roof is being shattered the house collapses. The hexagram belongs to the ninth month (October- November). The yin power pushes up ever more powerfully and is about to supplant the yang power altogether.
SPLITTING APART. It does not further one
To go anywhere.
This pictures a time when inferior people are pushing forward and are about to crowd out the few remaining strong and superior men. Under these circumstances, which are due to the time, it is not favorable for the superior man to undertake anything.
The right behavior in such adverse times is to be deduced from the images and their attributes. The lower trigram stands for the earth, whose attributes are docility and devotion. The upper trigram stands for the mountain, whose attribute is stillness. This suggests that one should submit to the bad time and remain quiet. For it is a question not of man’s doing but of time conditions, which, according to the laws of heaven, show an alternation of increase and decrease, fullness and emptiness. It is impossible to counteract these conditions of the time. Hence it is not cowardice but wisdom to submit and avoid action.
The mountain rests on the earth:
The image of SPLITTING APART.
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.
The mountain rests on the earth. When it is steep and narrow, lacking a broad base, it must topple over. Its position is strong only when it rises out of the earth broad and great, not proud and steep. So likewise those who rule rest on the broad foundation of the people. They too should be generous and benevolent, like the earth that carries all. Then they will make their position as secure as a mountain is in its tranquillity.