What does Yin And Yang Mean? And What Are The Origins Of The Symbol?When we think of the philosophies and beliefs from the East, we often think of the well-known symbol of Yin and Yang. This notion is represented by a well-known black and white circle, yet although we may have seen it hundreds of times, its meaning isn’t always clear. So, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at where it comes from and what it actually means.
The symbol and meaning of yin and yang dates back to ancient China. It is in fact used to represent the opposing and complementary forces present in this world.
The origins of Yin and Yang
The history of the Yin and Yang philosophy is unfortunately not very widely known. Legend states that the Yin Yang philosophy appeared with the Chinese thinker Zou Yan in the 3rd century BC. The latter is moreover attached to the school of Yin and Yang. It will have an impact on the development of Taoism in Asia but also on science. It is then not surprising to see that the symbol is found in one of the oldest books of Chinese medicine, the Huangdi Nei Jing Suwen. As a relatively old sign, it has survived through the centuries without losing its universal meaning.
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Yin and Yang is actually a symbol of harmony
The Yin Yang is formed of two parts: a black part with a white dot in its roundness and a white part with a black dot in its roundness, all in a circle. It is essential to understand that the concept of this notion is understood in its entirety; that is to say that it cannot exist without the circle. Indeed, the black part, the white part and the points all form one. Let us decode together the symbols which compose it.
- The circle symbolizes the universe in which we live. -
The circle, symbol of the universe
First of all, the circle symbolizes the universe in which we live. This universe is moved by opposing forces, which by contrasting, make it evolve. The circle then signifies the perpetual movement of the world, due to the energies, the two black and white parts. Yin Yang must therefore be considered as a wisdom of life in movement.
The inside of the circle, joins two opposite and above all complementary sides
Yin and Yang are to be taken as parts of a whole. According to Chinese cosmology, the Yin, (the dark part) is associated with darkness, water and rivers. Globally, we can see it as negative. The white side on the other hand is more positive. Indeed, the Yang, is associated with light, the sun and the earth.
The white part
The two little black and white dots remind us that "things are never all black or all white". The balance of the world requires both parts of the notion.
How do Yin and Yang transpire on a daily basis?
Yin and Yang can be found in many components of our daily life:
- Day and night;
- Waking up and sleeping;
- Water and earth;
- The countryside and the city;
- Joy and sadness, etc.
Everyday illustrations are numerous and take many forms. In decoration for example, Yin and Yang are one of the bases of Feng Shui; a decoration method that leads to well-being at home.
"One cannot see light without shadow, one cannot perceive silence without noise, one cannot attain wisdom without madness."
- Carl Gustav Jung
Yin Yang Mandala
To use this universal symbol, and to apprehend it in its entirety, its forms, its opposites, etc., we propose a Yin Yang mandala.
The important thing is to understand that the philosophy of Yin and Yang invites everyone to find balance, more particularly an inner and personal balance made of our inner energies. It is by harmonizing them that we arrive at serenity.
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