What does Yin And Yang Mean? And What Are The Origins Of The Symbol?

Last updated by Susan Taylor

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.

What does Yin And Yang Mean? And What Are The Origins Of The Symbol?
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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.

yin and yang


- The circle symbolizes the universe in which we live. -

The circle, symbol of the universe

First, 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 movement of wisdom.

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.

Yin represents:
Yang symbolizes:
Femininity
Intuition
The Moon
Darkness
The cold
Submission
Stiffness
Night
Weakness
Immobility
Rivers
The white part
Masculinity
Logic
The Sun
The light
The creation
The domination
Conviction
Warmth
Expansion
Strength
Movement
The mountains

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.

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.

What is a Yin and Yang relationship?

Even in a relationship, yin and yang are important. If yin is associated with femininity, yang represents the masculine. It is the balance between these two contrasts that will allow a harmonious relationship. Each one will thus take care not to fall in its extremes, at the risk of involving an imbalance. Well anchored in the polarity of your sex, you know how to transcend the stereotypes, always reducing to play with the codes of the masculine and the feminine. According to your desires and inspirations, and those of your partner. Human sexuality is an unlimited field of sensory, emotional and spiritual exploration as well as a wonderful tool for personal development, as long as it is used as a game, not as an instrument of power. Sometimes connected to your imagination, sometimes to your senses, one day active, the next day abandoned, you always keep in mind that, in the field of desire and pleasure, nothing is ever fixed. Impermanence is the only rule. And the only condition to avoid routine. Your secret: you know yourself well enough (needs, desires) to be able to be more in the exchange than in the "all giving" or "all receiving".

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Article presented by Susan Taylor

Editor in Chief and Astrologist for MyAstroMag - I’ve always been completely fascinated by the world of Astrology and horoscopes. Writing for you and forecasting my exclusive predictions are my main passions.

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