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I ching

Po (Split Apart)

I Ching Hexagram 23
Po (Split Apart)

Action: Regenerate

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 2: Receptive: Yield

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 43: Determination: Breakthrough

All of life will not change you;
it unfolds as a way to unmask you.

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and
chisel and complete a character. – Goethe

Reading at a Glance: There are times when disintegration or letting go is the only pathway to regeneration. Po is a message about how things become stronger by removing outgrown elements. Pruning a tree allows its branches to become more luxuriant. In this situation there is a need to release what is outworn or which no longer serves you so that you can return to a path that is more fulfilling. Sometimes you have to separate aspects in your life in order to achieve balance. A relationship that is in this stage can reach an impasse where either release or renew is at play. It can no longer operate within the unhealthy dynamics of the past. Similarly, a relationship reaching a commitment phase can also become more stressed as each partner examines the other more acutely. Like Autumn, leaves are stripped away in preparation for the rebirth of Spring. When familiar landscapes die away it can be frightening, however this is how nature moves toward the next cycle. The time requires patience ~ where emptiness can be returned to fullness. Some type of overhaul is taking place so trust the process. The time requires great courage as you wait the situation out ~ without acting ~ until the way becomes clear. What a delightful lesson in patience! Where Breakthrough would have been a time to push through the difficulty with action, now you must acknowledge that there is little you can do to change events other than to let go and open to the inner experience. The hidden influence of K’un shows a need to respond inwardly while awaiting for the change to complete its cycle outwardly.

seedlings growing from ground

When the seed



breaks away

the protective covering.

“The Mountain rests on the Earth: the image of splitting apart.” Po reflects how feelings must break through the firm ideas that are rooted above. Nature does not remain stagnant and brings rain after a time of oppressive heat. Too much thought and life returns you to your feeling nature. Too much feeling and life brings you back to logic. Whether manifesting as emotional, logical or spiritual awareness, in actuality it is only one mind seeking balance.

Too much of anything and nature brings forward opposite energy. Like the high and low pressure systems that bring change in the weather, emotions rise to reinvigorate your internal atmosphere. Sometimes we must lose something before we understand its value to us. While we may not be able to hold onto what is being removed, we will proceed more cautiously in the future to avoid losing it again.

Relationships exploring love and adventure can take on a more somber tone when commitment is in the air. Splitting apart is how life separates the necessary from the unnecessary, whittling away the husk until only the germinating seed remains. "Nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists." In the image of carving, pruning or being ‘split apart,’ your feelings are being brought to the surface. Like fruit that has fallen to the earth, the seed can only take root when its protective covering disintegrates.

You may understand that change must come, while clinging to the illusion of what you need. During the time of splitting apart, you will discover new life stirring beneath the mind’s abstractions. Sincerity is the stirring of your authenticity. It is something, which is shaped by feelings, not mind. The mind may be looking for a Breakthrough ~ but opening will occur in the heart.

Feelings make life valuable and without them, you will be forced to ‘turn back’ and become open again. If feelings of fear have created a situation that moves toward Splitting Apart, we learn that fear can only lead to decay. It takes unconditional love and care to keep anything thriving. The time is bringing the intangible to expression and sometimes it has little to do with logic. Like dreaming, we are often exploring the exact opposite of what we believe to be true about ourselves. Why? Because the day is spent defending mindsets and the night dissolves them. In dream analysis it is sometimes more important to understand the feeling that the images conjured up ~ rather than attempt to understand the symbols.

Po reveals how sensitivity funds the urge for transformation; it is not an intellectual endeavor. Splitting apart is your willingness to remain compassionate in all you do.

The ancient text seems to suggest that our normal perspective has everything backwards. Conflict makes us defensive, although it comes to break our protective covering; the unnecessary blockages we create will merely evaporate when we become open. You may defend your concrete perspective when approaching others even while they have come to help you let it go. All of experience presents you with a mysterious mirror that reflects the well-being of your inner world.

Following the energy of life becomes a profound exercise in learning to overturn your mindset. Splitting apart is how the protective covering of the past is removed so you may grow to meet the future. The same hand that is forced open to give will now be open to receive. Whatever it is, let it go so that your inner garden can be cultivated. Allow the way to guide you toward the appropriate path.


During winter 10,000 seeds lay dreaming = become the landscape of spring. With no changing lines, Po can be a message that after holding on to the past you might explore a new way of moving forward. An intense transformation is at work and the situation allows for shedding of old patterns and beliefs. The hidden influence and lower trigram of K’un or submission can suggest that deterioration from pushing your way into the world is giving away to a natural rebirth where you blossom from the inside out. There is not much you can do in this situation other than become receptive to what the events can teach you while the change is upon you. Being benevolent or submissive to others might help. Trust that whatever is being removed is making room for something more fulfilling to grow in its place. Open yourself to this opportunity for renewal.

Line 1:

The leg of the bed is split = those who persevere are destroyed. Changes to (27) Nourishing Vision. Seeking nourishment through others rather than real sustenance can erode your self esteem as you place yourself in a disempowering situation. In dreams, the bed symbolizes ideas we rest upon and the leg refers to support so change comes to a foundational level of your thinking. The support offered may have led to disappointment as disempowerment or manipulation undermines the situation. A change is happening that will lead to balance in relationships. The good news is that the old situation can no longer erode your sense of self worth. Be patient while clarity emerges. Relying on the opinions of others can only confuse you.

Line 2:

The bed is split at the edge = those who persevere are destroyed. Changes to (4) Youthful Folly. Something is being removed because of separation. Don’t attempt to force the status quo because you are no match for the forces of change. To succeed, admit that your need for protection or boundaries may have sacrificed union. Take a non prejudiced outlook willing to see what must change within. Normal avenues of advice can be misleading however, a sensitive and innocent outlook allows for a rebirth in your thinking. Allow a child to be your teacher.

Line 3:

Breaking ties = one splits with those who are leaving, no blame. Changes to (52) Keeping Still. You may need to create boundaries, leaving a difficult situation or relationship. Others may be going in a direction that isn’t right for you but this may bring greater clarity in recognizing the one person or group that does support your vision and you may declare your loyalty. Do not be influenced by fear because this is a necessary step in finding greater fulfillment. Stillness allows for greater clarity in making a decision.

Line 4:

The bed is split up to the skin = no choice but to embrace change. Changes to (35) Progress. The good news is that the situation cannot get any worse. The bad news is that you must make changes and cannot ignore the deterioration of this situation. Don’t pretend that nothing is wrong. Holding to the past can only trap you and erode clarity. This is a very difficult time so take the time to nourish the heart while you wait for the sun to rise again. However, Progress ensures that things are changing for the better.

Line 5:

A string of fishes = favor comes as a gift. Changes to (20) Contemplation. A difficult situation is improving because you gain support. A favor once bestowed is now returned as others Contemplate your character and find no flaws. Since you are recognized for being blameless this helps your position however you may need to make a sacrifice. This is a line showing how your generosity in the past comes to serve you in the present.

Line 6:

The highest fruit uneaten = the good are carried and the evil lose a home. Changes to (2) Receptive. The uneaten fruit of a tree has the opportunity to become a new tree. When we have no agenda life leads us where we need to be. Those who let go find reward, while those clinging to their attachments become lost. Difficulty is stripped away but the generous and open spirit is the remaining Yang at the top after all else is removed. At such times the spirit becomes visible allowing you to reach the fruit that hadn’t been considered close enough to reach. Through sacrifice the spirit becomes manifest as fruit. Through generosity you obtain the love and respect of others.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 23 unchanging Hexagram 23.1 Hexagram 23.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 23.2 Hexagram 23.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 23.3 Hexagram 23.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 23.4 Hexagram 23.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 23.5 Hexagram 23.5.6 Hexagram 23.6