From the concept of chi, life force energy, comes the duality of yin and yang. Chi is either yin or yang. These cosmic forces help create order from chaos. The yin-yang symbol is an important part of understanding the forces at play in the universe as well as in human nature.
According to Chinese cosmology, in the beginning there was a void, and out of the void sprang forth the duality of feminine and masculine energies, or yin and yang (just like Adam and Eve). These are two opposing but complementary forces. Yang represents Heaven, the Father and the Creative and yin represents Earth, the Mother, and the Receptive.
Yin and yang are dependent upon one another, meaning that both are required for the universe to exist. We cannot know one without the other – for instance, how would we know “light” if we did not know “dark?”
Some Misconceptions of Yin and Yang
An object is neither yin or yang. It is only when compared to something else that we can say it’s yin or yang. For instance, a wood floor is yang (hard) when compared to a carpeted floor (soft). But when compared to a stone floor (hard), the wood floor is more yin (soft).
Neither yin nor yang are “bad” or “good.” Those judgments do not apply in the natural world. What is considered “bad” or “inauspicious” is when yin and yang are completely out of balance.
Right now, our Western culture is out of balance. We are in a phase of extreme yang energy. With the emergence of ancient and indigenous earth teachings, however, I believe that we are in the slow process of moving back into balance.
There is the “tipping point” in which when there is just the right number of enlightened spirits, their thoughts and behavior can raise world consciousness to a new state of balance. Change can happen very quickly.
The symbolism of yin-yang
The yin-yang symbol is packed with information. The S-curve shows the gradual flow of chi transitioning from one state to the other. The symbol can be overlaid onto any life cycle. With the calendar it demonstrates the energy of the seasons. Yang (the masculine) peaks at the Summer Solstice (the peak of the Sun). The seeds of yin start immediately after the peak of yang and grows until the Winter Solstice where yin energy peaks. At this point, yin (the dark) is now giving way to the yang again. Yin and yang also are show the cycles of the day and life spans of all living beings.
The dark and light spots on each side are an important part of the symbol. They illustrate that both yin and yang each contain the seed of the opposing energy within it to allow for the change to occur. This ensures the continuance of the cycles of change. Without those spots of opposing energy, there would be cycle, no movement, no life.
“Chinese cosmological worldview….arises from a dynamic sense of ongoing creativity in the universe within the triad of heaven, earth and humans…a relationship resonance, an alignment of oneself and harmony of one’s society with the patterns of change and transformation in nature. This gives rise to modes of living embedded in ecological design, such as feng shui.” – Stephen Kellert, The Good in Nature & Humanity
The Cosmic Trinity
The resonance in relationship between humanity and nature is of supreme importance. The microsism (humanity) is a reflection of the macrocosm (the Universe). The energy of the Heavens (Yang) is said to flow down to the Earth (Yin) which collects and sends it back up, forming all of life, including humanity. A Cosmic Trinity is formed: Heaven, Humanity (Man), and Earth.
This Trinity, showing the energetic connection between the Divine, Humanity, and Nature, appears symbolically in many world religions – in Christianity as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; in Hinduism, as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the Egyptians, as Osiris, Isis, and Horus.
In this system of energy, it is our duty to remain respectful of what gives us life and to maintain integrity with all we create and destroy. The Chinese believe that, if you harness your environment in such a way it is the path to good “fortune,” which translates to a thriving life:
- If you improve the feng shui of your home, you will impact your outlook and behavior.
- If you improve your outlook and behavior, you improve your destiny.
- If you improve your destiny, you will improve your chances for success and attract your greatest dreams.
In this way, the concepts of feng shui can serve as a guide to achieve health, well-being, and strengthen our inner power, by connecting to both Heaven and Earth.