The yin yang meaning and symbol date back to ancient China. The symbol represents the belief that everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary.
The Basic Philosophy of Yin Yang
According to yin yang philosophy, the universe and everything in it are both constant and cyclical. In this infinite cycle, one force dominates and is then replaced by the opposing force. Examples illustrating the yin yang philosophy include:
- Life and death
- Heaven and earth
- Night and day
- Dark and light
- Health and sickness
- Poverty and wealth
- Cycle of the seasons from spring to winter
- Cold and hot
- Positive and negative
The Yin Yang Symbol
The symbol of the yin yang, also known as the Tai Chi or Taiqi symbol, consists of a circle equally divided into black and white sections by a reverse S-like shape. Within the black section is a small circle of white. Within the white section is a small circle of black. Each of the individual aspects of the yin yang symbol has a significant meaning as does the entire yin yang.
The Outer Circle
The outer circle of the yin yang sign represents everything in the universe as well as the universe itself. It encompasses the duality of everything that exists.
The Black Section
The black area represents yin with the following characteristics:
- Female: This energy is the opposite of masculine (yang) energy.
- Passive: Yin energy is restive and receptive.
- Intuitive: The inner sense of understanding life and its nuances resides in yin energy.
- Creative: The yin energy builds up and bursts forth with creativity that motivates yang energy into action.
- Moon: The phases of the moon and movement of the moon affect the yin energies on Earth.
- Dark: The darkness represents the all the expression of yin energy.
- Cold: The lack of light in darkness brings cold. Coldness becomes a respite from heat in light.
- Submission: Yin energy provides a balance against aggressive yang energy.
- Contracting: The ever expanding energy of yang is reined in when balanced with yin’s contracting force.
- Downward seeking: The yin cycling part of chic energy always seeks a downward movement.
- Downward movement: Yin energy moves downward in preparation and building up of energy transforming into the rising yang energy. This is the perpetual cycle of chi.
- Night: The absence of day brings the bold and darkness of night; a time of rest.
- Soft: Yin energy is soft, making it flexible and capable of bending and giving.
- Stillness: With the downward movement yin energy becomes quiet and still.
- Still water: Yin energy rests in lakes, ponds, deep waters and only in ebbing tides.
The White Section
The white area represents the yang with the following characteristics:
- Male: Yang is the male energy of chi energy and the opposite of yin (female) energy. Together they complete a balance of chi energy.
- Active: Yang energy is powerful and energetic. It is the energy of creation.
- Active water: Yang energy drives currents in rivers, streams, oceans and the rising tides.
- Logical: Yang energy resonates with the logical mind that tempers the creative mind.
- Enlightenment: Yang energy motivates and inspires to understand and reach enlightenment.
- Bright: A property of the light is its brightness that illuminates the dark.
- Sun: The movement of the sun affects the yang energy on Earth.
- Light: The light follows the dark as night gives over to day.
- Creation: Yang energy is movement and burst forth with aggressive energy.
- Dominance: The yang energy dominates in its strength and massive force.
- Upward movement: A product of the downward movement of yin energy, yang energy blasts upwards.
- Strong: The opposite of yin weakness, yang energy lifts away from yin energy towards fullness.
- Hot: The friction of movement generates heat.
- Expanding: As yang energy bursts free of yin energy, it grows in its upward movement, forever expanding.
- Hard: Where yin is soft and flexible, yang energy is hard and unbending.
- Movement: Yang energy moves upwards and expands.
- Mountains: The mountains rise up from the earth just as yang energy.