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Yin Yang Symbols and Their Meanings

yin yang symbol Meanings

Yin Yang Symbol Meaning

In a nutshell, Chinese yin yang symbols represent perfect balance. A great deal of Chinese philosophy stems from the concept of yin and yang - opposites interacting and supposedly the seed of all things. For example, some views hold that evil results from an imbalance in Yin and Yang, and good comes from the two being in harmonic balance.

I think the coolest concept behind the yin yang is that it is a great metaphor for all existence. I guess that's more than cool...it's pretty revolutionary if you think about it. Okay, so if I'm going to place such super importance on this symbol, I should probably explain further.

All of life (whether here on earth, or out in space) functions according to Natural Laws. There are several laws that bind us so we and everything else can live, beathe, etc. For example, the law of gravity. Without it, we'd all be chaotically careening about. Not a pretty proposition, especially if you're prone to motion sickness. :o. But I digress. My point is this: There's just gotta be rules that keep us grounded and well-rounded.

One of these rules is the law of polarity. I've written about the influence on the symbolism and the law of polarity here, if you're interested in learning more. Essentially, this law says that for every one energy, there is always going to be an opposite energy. That means for a night, there is a day. For a negative, there is a positive. You get the idea.

yin yang symbol meaning

The yin yang symbol is all about finding unity amidst duality. It's a perfect sign for balance, harmony and moderation.

So back to my claim about the yin yang being the coolest metaphor for existence. This symbol perfectly illustrates the crucial law of polarity. But what about those little dots on each side? Those dots get me jazzed. They talk about wiggle room. Huh? Yeah. The law of polarity can be extremely harsh and rigid. It say there can absolutely not be one side without the other. But the yin yang recognizes an allowance. The white dot in a wave of black says that even in the darkest hour, there exists light (even if not seen). Likewise, the black dot in the wave of white implies there is a dark tinge, even in the lightest environment.

I think this is a very keen concept. Why? Because I'm not much of a Pollyanna. Of course, I believe in positive thinking...and I think affirmations sculpt our lives in positive ways. But I'm not so naive to dismiss the presence of an edge in every moment. I like edgy. I like raw. Like Johnny Cash and his kicks against the pricks. We cannot have elation without a tear of sorrow in the midst of it. Furthermore, no moment is 100% day or night, light or dark, life or death. There are always hues that flavor each moment. In essence...even though polarity is the rule, the exception is that it is not exclusive. In other words, the concept of black and white and all things separated in that matter is not the case. It's just not that cut-and-dry. So the next time you come across the yin yang symbol, pay special attention to those wee little dots in the waves of obsolete, and realize there is no obsolete. It's a very Zen thing, but it's a great concept to meditate upon.

Another keen aspect to this symbol is found in the basics. Circles. They seem pretty simple and unassuming, but the circle is a giant symbol that is incredibly profound. It represents inclusion. It speaks of wholeness. The circle is a symbol of totality. What's more, the circle binds that which it encloses. So whatever is found within the circle is graced with the energy intended with the ring. In the case of yin yang, the circle embraces all things from sun to moon. Learn more about symbolic circle meaning here.

The circle is also a symbol of cycles. This is a powerful symbol that represents the adage: "What comes around, goes around". Or, there is another saying that says something like:

I really like this idea. It reminds us that moving forward is also a process of moving backward. And that, my friends is the crux of the yin yang symbol.

To aid in understanding the properties belonging to each side of the yin yang symbol, here are a few key energies associated with each half of the whole.

Yin

Dark

Yang

Light

Female

Night

Male

Day

Moon

Passive

Sun

Active

Winter

Water

Summer

Fire

Earth

Down

Sky

Up

How Yin Yang Symbols Work

We can employ this symbol to help us understand the duality of nature...the duality of ourselves. Each of us has the capacity to achieve endless greatness. On the flip-side, we all have capacity for extraordinary destruction. Most of us walk that thin line in-between. Most of us straddle that line between being complete jerks to being cotton-candy-cupids. This is what makes us each diverse, unique and dynamic.

yin yang symbol meaning

Not only does the yin yang stand for balance, this symbol can also help us achieve balance.

If we focus upon the yin yang symbol, our consciousness tends to move into a construct. Meaning, the mind must have something to chew on, and mowing on masterful concepts like harmony is a great trick to achieving equalibrium. And why would we want to do that? Because the Greek Hermes Trismegistus was right when he said: "As above, so too below". In order to be whole and content, it's essential to balance the scales of our nature.

How do we do that? Well, the yin yang can be a meditative tool. We can focus on the fine line that separates the black from white. In so doing, we negotiate the polarity of life. This may sound airy-fairy, but it really works. Try using the yin yang as a visual trigger. Focus upon it...specifically, hone in on the mixture that makes the whole, while still staying in balance. The line of separation and the wee dots are anchors that allow our awareness to move into that coveted 'in-between'. The ultimate goal here, is to achieve equilibrium, of course. However, a great side-effect is being in a liminal space. That means we are neither here, nor there. We are neither good, nor bad. This is another way of achieving Zen.

For variety and your meditative musings, the following are artistic renditions of the yin yang symbol. I made these a long time ago when I had an embroidery machine. I wanted to give gifts like t-shirts with these yin yang icons on them as a way of encouraging balance and homeostasis to my loved ones. My designs are based on royalty and copyright free images, so please fee free to use them as you please.



Artistic Variations of the Yin Yang Symbol

chinese yin yang symbol

Classic Yin Yang Symbol
This is the basic yin yang symbol. As mentioned above, this symbol represents the primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe. Depicted as it is, it also outlines the necessity of balance in all things. Check out circle symbolism here.


chinese yin yang symbol

Chinese Lotus Yin Yang Symbol
The yin yang enclosed in the legendary lotus is a particularly powerful and balancing symbol. Buddhists all over the world recognize this Lotus as signifying the holy seat of the Buddha. It is that space of complete wholeness achieved through personal balancing. To the Chinese it symbolizes ultimate purity and perfection because it rises untainted and beautiful from the mud. The sacred lotus combined with the balancing acting of the yin yang make this a perfect point of focus for the body, mind and spirit. More about Lotus meanings here.


chinese yin yang symbol

Yin Yang Eye
An artistic spin on the traditional yin yang, this symbol represents our focus or view of balance - both internally and externally. This is a beautiful symbol expresses your vision for peace and balance. I like this design very much because it reminds me of the inner eye (or third eye). Through this visual gateway, we can see ourselves gaining stability. It's all about focusing ourselves into balance. More about eye symbolism here.


chinese yin yang symbol

Heart Yin Yang Design
Balance in our hearts and love in our lives is truly what makes the world go 'round. This traditional yin yang symbol in the form of a heart reminds us that love is one of the truest and dearest of virtues. The heart is a symbol of the physical, namely, our bodies. But it is also symbolic of emotion. This combined with the yin yang makes for a terrific statement of balance between body, mind and emotion. More about heart symbol meanings here.


I hope you enjoyed these artistic yin yang symbols to get your creative energy flowing. Check out the links on this page for more symbol meanings and symbolic portents. Thanks for reading!

May all your moments be balanced and beautiful.

Brightly,

Avia

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Avia Venefica

About the Author: Avia Venefica has an undergraduate degree with a focus in anthropology and art. She has also been an understudy in several tribal and spiritual organizations around the nation. Avia is the author of several publications concerning esoteric wisdom, and makes herself available for public speaking/presentations on symbolic topics.