Yin and Yang
Easily recognized, most westerners see Yin and Yang symbol as one single symbol or entity meaning balance. On the surface that is true, but the full messages held in this symbol go much deeper than that. The symbol does stand for the representation of balance in all things – from the molecular level to the cosmic, balance throughout everything is called for. But there is so much more!
Let’s take the parts of the symbol and look a little more closely. First, you have the two large teardrop shapes indicating move and change. There is a constant battle between these forces to maintain balance in all things. The swirling design shows the flowing motion of the energy forces that Yin and Yang represent. Inside of each of the swirls is a dot of the opposite color. These innocuous looking dots really hold the true meaning of the Yin and Yang symbol. In each swirl of Yin there is an element (dot) of Yang, and vice versa. Some say that the true Yin-Yang has an endless representation because in each dot within the swirl is another swirl within the dot, and so on to infinity.
The Yin/Yang can also be closely associated with the Western Astrological modes of masculine and feminine energy. Yin is emblematic of what we westerners would consider passive, receptive feminine energy. Negative energy is also believed to be in the realm of the Yin. Yin energy also has the traditional western associations to feminine such as the Moon, water, and the realm of night. Yang is considered to be the active positive energy embodied in the masculine assignment in Western Astrology. In the east and west the male is the probing, reaching, positive energy. Yang is associated with the Sun, fire and daylight.
It is believed in the Oriental Astrology system that by understanding the energy of one’s Yin/Yang, one can better understand oneself. The wise, armed with the knowledge of their Yin/Yang, can avoid pitfalls such as addictive behaviors. The Yin/Yang symbol in it’s entirety does represent balance. It does represent the idea that there is both yin and yang within yang and yin. Its swirling nature, almost as if on the move, is indicative of the ever changing nature of yang and yin energy. The energy flow is not always constant. In Chinese Astrology, the years alternate with the energy of yin and yang.
Whether you look at it as yin and yang or masculine and feminine, this symbol speaks of the inner essence of energies at their most primal – and forceful. It reminds us that there must be balance in all things for if there is no balance we loose control. As depicted the Yin-Yang shows balance at its best. It also reminds us through its association to infinity that part of the balance is the recognition of belonging to the greater cosmos while maintaining the personal self.