The Yin Yang symbol is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. However, even though so many know its name and its general interpretation, so many people have no idea of its origins or its deeper meaning.
The Yin Yang can be traced back to Taoism/Daoism, a Chinese religion, and philosophy. The earliest Chinese characters for yin and yang are found in inscriptions made on “oracle bones”, the skeletal remains of various animals used in ancient Chinese divination practices at least as early as the 14th-century B.C.E.
It all started when the Chinese began observing the sky, by determining the placement of the sun, moon, and the little dipper, they determined the 4 directions. The direction of sunrise is the East; the direction of sunset is the West; the direction of the shortest shadow is the South and the direction of the longest shadow in the North. At night, the direction of the Polaris star is the North.
They noticed the seasonal changes. When the Dipper points to the East, it’s spring; when the Dipper points to the South, it’s summer; when the Dipper points to the West, it’s fall; when the Dipper points to the North, it’s winter.
This is when it starts to get very mathematical and quite confusing. To sum it up, the Chinese realized that our universe was series of numbers which were all perfectly divisible and equal. This is when the Yin Yang first began to appear.
It is essentially a model for how all of life on earth, and how all material of the universe functions. It represents the 4 seasons:
The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows, femininity, and the moon
The yang, the light swirl, represents the sun, brightness, passion, and growth.
But even deeper than that, it represents our very own human life and consciousness. Notice how each side has a seed of the opposite color, this is a very important key to the meaning of the symbol. Many believe the symbol means opposites. Black is opposite of white, white is opposite of black. On the contrary, in this meaning, it is all relative to each other. Meaning, that without the dark, there would be no such as thing as light, and vice versa. They rely on each other in order to become reality.
In this belief system, the universe is made up of various wavelengths of energy, vibrations, and matter. These all behave differently from one another. This also applies to Yin and Yang, You can be a yang vibration or a yin vibration. For example, when you feel anxious, hectic, or chaotic, you are in a Yang state, and eventually, you will become tired and eventually return back to Yin.
In China, Villages facing the sun are named using Yang for example, “Liuyang” or “Shiyang”. And villages that are in shady spots are named things like “Jiangyin”
Yin is the brakes and Yang is the Gas
Yang is the crest of the wave, and Yin is the trough
We can apply this concept to our lives very easily. The most fundamental lesson to learn from the Yin Yang symbol is to surrender to the balance. The universe is constantly in flow, sometimes you are Yin sometimes you are Yang. Do not try to force it, either way, Always try to remain in balance and connected to the flow of your life. When you feel energized and productive, take full advantage of that energy source, however when you become tired, do not fight this, this is the universe sending you a message. Life is a balance between light and dark, work and rest, self-care and the care of others.
The next is to understand that without the dark, there cannot be light. If you are going through hard times, or dark feelings, it can become very hard to see the bright side of your situation. It is important to remember that without feeling pain, we would never know true joy. Try to embrace whatever energy state you are in, when good times are upon you, relish in them when tough things come up, you can be confident in knowing that the pendulum of the universe will always eventually swing back.
And just as you can see in the symbol, there is also always a little bit of Yin in the Yang, and Yang in the Yin. Try your best to be aware and search for these hidden energies or signs. Even within chaos, there can be calm, and even in stillness, there can be energy.