Hexagram 23 – Mountain over Earth – 5/10-5/14

Po – Splitting Apart
Complexity – Simplicity – Quintessence .:. Codon Ring of Life and Death

Mountain over Earth is the first step of the calendar order from Earth to Heaven. In these next 8 weeks, the archetypal form of the calendar emerges in the slow ascent through Earth, Mountain, Water, Wind, Thunder, Fire, Lake, and Heaven.

This week the energy moves from full yin, to all yin with one yang line at the top. In the iChing this hexagram is known as Splitting Apart. The new emerging yang energy that binds together the two sides of the hexagram figure is fragile. There is too much force for the one line to bind it all together and so the Mountain erodes.

This hexagram may come as an indication that the outside pressures of the world are too much for one to handle alone. To take on negativity directly at this time is not advised. In this time what is counseled is to be still as the Mountain over the foundation of the Earth, to ground our energy, meditate on our eternal nature and cultivate our energy for a later time when a way is open.

Taking time for pause is essential, it is not just passing time. If done with heart and dedication, this time can leave us feeling refreshed, empowered and ready for action. But if we do not pause, and instead choose to tackle the obstacle in our path, we will be left frustrated, exhausted and Split Apart from our true nature.


A simple fear of the mystery and wildness of nature has lead to the great Complexity of our modern world. As we have been Split Apart from our divine nature, and disconnected from a sense of trust in the unknown, the modern human has built massive complex systems of language, finance, understanding, medicine, food additives, etc. all as a way of trying to control the world and each other. The problem of complexity is that no one person can understand it, it branches on and on, into greater levels of detail and specificity, so that a normal person is unable to understand the complex language and rules around the nearly infinite fields of study. Complexity creates many experts in narrow fields of study, but leaves these experts disconnected from each other and the whole. There is a constriction of knowledge and a false sense of being right. There is a propensity to cling to a small fragment of truth and go to battle over it spinning complex terms and logical traps to make their side of the story the right side. The shadow of Deafness 43 influences this shadow, one side can’t stop talking and the other can’t listen. These people talk at someone, rather that talking with someone. Manipulating complex data to be right, rather than seeking truth. There is a Splitting Apart of knowledge into fractured half truths. In this way we create our own suffering. A way through the traps of this shadow is to return to Right Understanding which leads to Right Speech.

Repressive – Dumb – Choked by fear and repressing our vocal expression

Reactive – Fragmented – Can’t stop talking, say the wrong thing, or at the wrong time. Over explaining, missing the point.

There is an arrogance in our culture that to live a simple life is primitive or stupid. The mind loves Complexity because it feeds endlessly on more and more thought. But the gift of Simplicity splits away all the complexities and whittles life down to its purified essence. There is great peace and beauty in the cleanliness of a physical space and an efficiency in communication. Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This gift seeks to Simplify all knowing to its core essence, to connect to the simple truth at its root, and to savor this Simplicity. The mind of Complexity has many caverns and maps, where as the mind of Simplicity has a vast spaciousness and many gaps between. The Insight 43 of clear hearing is able to bespoken clearly in this gift. There is a practical groundedness in this gift, which is good with money, knows the simple truth and lives a beautiful life within its means. In the shadow there is an insensitivity to the flow of conversation causing hurt and confusion, whereas in the gift there is great wisdom and humor and the ability to speak of the hidden mystery with awe.

This siddhi is the perfected, rarified essence at the heart of form. Quintessence is an ancient alchemical term for the 5th element or aether. It is the essential spirit of something, its higher dimensional blueprint, its essence. Therefore this is an alchemical key taking the fragmented knowledge in the shadow and slowly refining it into simpler and simpler truth until all that is left in the end is its Quintessence. This way takes great courage, to be refined over and over in stillness and surrender, Splitting Away layer after layer of impurity and complexity until one is merged with the simple perfection of the spirit. There are two paths that most take in the modern world, the left hand path of knowledge and logic, and the right hand path of art and poetry. Neither path leads all the way back to the source, both come together into the middle path of the mystic where the great duality is digested, the mystery embodied, and the self dissolved over and over again into the rarified Quintessence.

Keys of the iChing .:. Jesse Chesnutt