Yin and yang are thought to arise together from an initial quiescence or emptiness
(wuji, sometimes symbolized by an empty circle),
and to continue moving in tandem until quiescence is reached again.
For instance, dropping a stone in a calm pool of water
will simultaneously raise waves and lower troughs between them,
and this alternation of high and low points in the water
will radiate outward until the movement dissipates and the pool is calm once more.
Yin–yang, thus, always has the following characteristic:
yin and yang describe opposing qualities in phenomena.
For instance, winter is yin to summer's yang over the course of a year,
and femininity is yin to masculinity's yang in human relationships.
It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite:
yin–yang are rooted together.
Since yin and yang are created together in a single movement,
they are bound together as parts of a mutual whole.
A race with only men or only women would disappear in a single generation;
but men and women together create new generations that allow the race they mutually create
(and mutually come from) to survive.
The interaction of the two gives birth to things.
Yin and yang transform each other:
like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat,
and every rise transforms into a fall.
Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky
– an intrinsically yang movement.
Then when it reaches its full height, it will begin to weaken,
and eventually will fall back to the earth in decay
–an intrinsically yin movement.
Yin always contains the potential for yang, and yang for yin.
Yin and yang are balanced:
yin–yang is a dynamic equilibrium.
Because they arise together they are always equal:
if one disappears, the other must disappear as well, leaving emptiness.
This is rarely immediately apparent, though, because yang elements are clear and obvious
while yin elements are hidden and subtle.
Yin–yang is not an actual substance or force, the way it might be conceived of in western terms.
Instead, it is a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations
of the natural forces that occur in the world.
It applies as well to social constructions
– e.g. value judgements like good and evil, rich and poor, honor and dishonor
– yet it is often used in those contexts as a warning,
since by its principles extreme good will turn to evil,
extreme wealth to poverty,
extreme honor to dishonor.
Yin is receptive, yielding, negative, and nurturing.
It is associated with night, valleys, rivers, streams, water, metal, and earth.
Yang is active, dominating, positive, and initiating/creating.
Yang is associated with day, mountains, hills, fire, wood, and air.
The concept of "unity in duality" arises in many faiths and philosophies,
from the philosophy of Heraclitus, to the nondualistic philosophies of Hinduism,
Sikhism, Taoism, and Buddhism, to Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and New Thought.
Yin–yang is unique, however, both in its dynamic nature and its broad application to the natural world.
The relationship between yin and yang is often described
in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and in the valley.
Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk,
while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope')is the brightly lit portion.
As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other,
revealing what was obscured
and obscuring what was revealed.
Yin is usually characterized as slow, soft, insubstantial, diffuse, cold, wet, and tranquil.
It is generally associated with the feminine, birth and generation, and with the night.
Yang, by contrast, is characterized as hard, fast, solid, dry, focused, hot, and aggressive.
It is associated with masculinity and daytime
The symbol (Yin-Yang) represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work.
The outer circle represents "everything", while the shapes within the circle
represent the interaction of two energies, called "yin" and "yang",
which cause everything to happen.
They cannot exist without each other.
The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol,
actually gives you a sense of the continual movement of these two energies,
yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything to happen
september 7, 2009