Hexagram #23 is called “Stripping” or “Splitting Apart”. My teacher used to say the image was that of a sagging ridgepole in a house, one that was about to break apart. This is one of the calendar hexagrams, corresponding to the month of November. During November, the last of the leaves are being stripped from the trees as the earth prepares for winter.
This hexagram points to a time when you should strip away all that which has become obsolete or useless, and which no longer serves you. You should remove everything that is not essential, so that what is absolutely essential is revealed. This is an end of an old cycle and preparation for the beginning of something new. You want a fresh beginning, hence the stripping away of everything but what is essential. Things are “splitting apart” because they have to in order that something new can emerge.
The trigrams that make up this hexagram are the mountain over the earth. suggesting that something is hidden within. The nuclear hexagram is #2, the earth or the receptive. This suggests that stripping away what is not essential carries the hidden possibility of receiving something new.
The first changing line advises you to change the things very basic to you by evaluating what supports you. If you ignore the signs of this time, you will not be able to move forward. The second changing line advises you to change things by creating clear boundaries. Again, if you ignore the signs of this time, you will not be able to move forward. The third changing line counsels you simply to continue to strip away what is not essential. The fourth changing line counsels you that by changing things very basic to you, you are slicing close to the heart and risk not being able to move forward. In other words, back off a bit. The fifth changing line encourages you that something very beneficial is waiting, hidden within, and it will be revealed by your stripping away the nonessential. The sixth changing line warns you against going through the motions of stripping away but not making any real changes. You must see things completely through in order to benefit.