Yin and Yang

The "Yin and Yang symbol" or the "Tai chi symbol" is very well known and widely used. It even appears on the Flag of South Korea. But how many of you know where this symbol stems from. The Chinese have a creation story that demonstrates the symbology of this ancient symbol.

In the beginning was the "Nothingness" - "The Great Void" The Chinese call this the "Wu Ji", it is the cradle of all life and wisdom in the Universe. The Wu Ji is depicted as a circle, which represents the "all encompassing". Within the Wu Ji there springs existence and that is symbolized by a dot within the circle. This is now called the "Tai Ji" - the great limit within the unlimited. The Tai Ji is the boundary that encompasses substance and matter in the universe.

From the "Tai Ji" the Yin and Yang where formed. These are the dual forces that are in a constant state of change, movement and interaction. Yin and Yang is the relationship between two complimentary opposites, together they make a whole and are balanced. Night and Day, Male and Female, Active and Passive, Fast and Slow, Hot and Cold, are examples of the relationship of Yin and Yang. Yin governs the Earth, and all that is negative, female, dark, soft, cold, and still. Yang governs Heaven and all that is positive, male, light, hard, hot and moving. It is represented by the moving line of interrelation between Yin and Yang, also known as the Tai Ji (or Tai Chi) symbol, each side also has a dot which represents a piece of the other. Yin contains a small amount of Yang (black with a white dot) and Yang contains a small amount of Yin (white with a black dot). This means that in any circumstance there is always a possibility of change. Where there is darkness there is always a hint of light. When the Tai Ji symbol shows Yin on top, Yang will be rising. When Yang is on top, yin is rising.


In Feng Shui the mountain which is unmoving and still is called Yin. The rivers and seas which contain active moving water are called Yang. Hence we have the mountain star (Yin) and the water star (Yang).


The interrelation between Yin and Yang gives rise to the 5 bodies of Qi, known as the "Five Elements" Yin and Yang are represented in the classic Chinese text the "I Ching", as a whole unbroken line
(--- yang) and a broken line ( - - yin). This is a binary number system as a whole line represents one and a broken line, two. So it follows that all odd numbers 1,3,5,7,9 are Yang and all even numbers 2,4,6,8,10 are Yin.

From this arrangement of "single line" and "broken line" the 64 Hexagrams where formed.



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