Hexagram Twenty-three—Overthrowing the Old Order

Succession of leadership passes down through the generations. All families, companies, and other organizations have their patriarchs and matriarchs, who were there first. When new generations come up, a time inevitably arrives when the younger generation takes the reigns. The more gentle the transition, the better, but in many instances, change comes with a price.

The first line, yin, shows a person overturning a throne by destroying its legs. The change is abrupt, and carried out without forethought, therefore bringing misfortune.

The second line, yin, shows a person overturning a throne and destroying its frame. This signifies harsh criticism without suggesting a solution, which will bring only misfortune.

The third line, yin, shows anarchy. Individual members of the group act to obliterate the rulers, but in the end one among them becomes the ruler. This is the natural course.

The fourth line, yin, shows one who overturns a throne and injures the person who sat upon it. Unnecessary violence brings misfortune.

In the fifth line, yin, the emergent leader soothes everyone in society and restores order in the palace. This person's actions will bring good fortune in all spheres.

The sixth line, yang, likens the new leader to a decorative wreath of fruit, which is not meant to be eaten. Honorable people rejoice in the new order, while angry people carry on the war within their own households. Their discontent lies within themselves.

Hexagram Twenty-three Commentary

Hexagram Twenty-three offers a blueprint for change. Rather than attacks from outside, like invasions or natural disasters, it addresses ordinary systemic change. In any group, from families to companies to government, the leadership changes as people pass through the lifecycles of youth to middle age, and into old age.

The first line, yin, shows abrupt change. This may be due to discontent in the younger generation, after grievances build up and are not addressed. The metaphor is a person overturning a throne by destroying the legs. A violent transition may cause more problems than it solves. It's best to think things through, and talk things out when necessary.

The second line, yin, shows the heirs to power destroying the frame, or framework of the throne, the seat of power. Instead of cooperating for the good of the throne, they just complain and criticize. If this situation persists, it can damage things so badly there may not be much left to inherit when the older generation retires.

The third line, yin, shows the worst case scenario, where elders neglect the upcoming generation, yet refuse to step aside. Under this hypocrisy it is common for the younger or newer members to rebel, creating anarchy to topple the old regime. Then in natural course, one of the rebels becomes the new leader.

The fourth line, yin, shows a situation where the rebellion begins even though unwarranted. Rebels overturn the throne, injuring the rightful leader. This violence is wrong.

In whichever way change is achieved, the fifth line, yin, shows the most desirable outcome: "the emergent leader soothes everyone in society and restores order in the palace."

The sixth line, the only yang line, explains, even if the new leader is the blessing described in the fifth line, some people will still be unhappy about the changes. They will go off and continue their grievances in their own homes.

To the reader: Most of the hexagrams have at least one line that predicts bad results, but that does NOT mean you are fated to that result. The hexagrams illustrate different attitudes, so study the actions and reactions to learn the attitudes that will lead to better outcomes.

The I Ching teaches you to flow with changes and create positive change from the inside through conscious living. Your future is in your hands. Consult the I Ching for ideas that lead to clear thinking and positive mental attitude. Reading the I Ching helps you take the time to reflect on your attitudes and ideas. Continue asking until you feel positive about your course.

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A note about this interpretation of the I Ching: Nori Muster wrote this version of the I Ching in 1994 and put it online at in 2000. It is also available at Amazon: