Understanding Yin & Yang: A Philosophy of Balance

Posted on August 12, 2019

Yin and Yang are terms that many people have undoubtedly heard before, but how many of us know their true meaning or what these two words mean?

What is the Philosophy of Yin & Yang?

In a nutshell, Yin and Yang is the belief that all things contradict one another and yet they cannot exist without each other.

We see this every day in its most basic form: Day (Yang) and Night (Yin), or Masculine (Yang) and Feminine (Yin).

The two may be very different and yet they need each other in order for everything to harmonize and achieve balance. Take Day and Night – if there was no Day, how would the planet survive without the sunlight that appears during Day? If there was no Night, how would the world survive without a break from the blazing sun?

Some other examples of Yin and Yang are:

  • Yang: White, light, south, fire, active, heaven.
  • Yin: Black, dark, north, water, receptive, earth.

When it comes to Good and Evil, we would say that Yang is Good (harmony) and Yin is Evil (disharmony). But Good and Evil are not as easily defined as, for example, Night and Day, because so much subjectivity come with them, stemming from what we like and dislike, what we fear and don’t fear.

Take a tourist who wants only Sun and a farmer who wants both Sun and rain. One is not necessarily evil, but evil may be created because of this lack of conflict. Furthermore, Taoists (from which Yin and Yang originated from) believe that all evil stems from imbalance.

If you look at the symbol of Yin and Yang (which look like two little curled tadpoles) you will see that one is white with a black dot inside it and the other is black with a white dot inside it. This represents the fundamental message of Yin and Yang: that in order for us to live in a state of equilibrium, we must find a way to live with peace and harmony, free from aggression or fear. By doing so in our own individual personal lives and by reconciling our own fears and negative thinking, we can then project this same harmony into the world, which is ultimately what Yin and Yang is striving for.

The important thing to remember about Yin and Yang is that neither are absolute or mutually exclusive – they depend on one another. A world without either of them is a world that would cease to exist. Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, summed it up very well when he said:

“In all chaos there is a cosmos

In all disorder a secret order.”

Yin & Yang in Chinese Astrology

Yin and Yang is the basis of Taoism and a guiding principle in Chinese philosophy. Its roots go very deep, therefore, in areas of Ancient China, such as Feng Shui, medicine and Chinese Astrology.

All of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac are represented by Yin or Yang. This does not mean that any one animal is better than the other; it only means that six of them encompass qualities and energies that are Yang-related and six encompass energies that are Yin related – achieving perfect balance within the Zodiac. The list of Yin and Yang animals is below:

Yang Chinese Zodiac Animals:

Yin Chinese Zodiac Animals:

So, what makes some of these animals Yin and others Yang?

Let’s look at the Dragon. The Dragon represents the masculine, boldness and extroversion. Its dynamic spirit and powerful wings mean it spends a lot of time flying high in the sky, searching for lands to conquer and places to rule. (Not to say all Dragon people behave like this, of course! But this is the basic fundamental energy of the Dragon native.)

Now let’s look at the Tiger, a Yin sign. The Tiger’s fundamental energy is one of patience and purpose, very similar to how a tiger in a wild must employ great patience when stalking their prey. Outwardly, Tigers are passionate and powerful just like the Dragon, but their internal energies are very different. A Dragon’s deepest energy can be fiery and destructive, while the Tiger’s is steady and grounded; therefore, the Dragon’s energy can be tempered by the Tiger’s energy, hereby creating the perfect balance of Yin and Yang.

Yin & Yang in Western Astrology

In Western Astrology, a similar concept applies. Yin and Yang Western Zodiac signs are listed below:

Yang Zodiac Signs:

Yin Zodiac Signs:

Knowing the Yin and Yang sides of your Western Zodiac sign is a good way to understand compatibility between you, loved ones and potential partners. Strong attractions may arise between Yang signs and Yin signs due to their differences – the differences can make or break. If they make, then the relationship between the two can produce one of the most powerful, steadfast relationships the individual will ever experience.

Yin signs tend to be quieter and more introverted, enjoying the same type of music and activities as other Yin signs. An emotional connection tends to be relatively strong.

Yang signs are usually quite sociable and have many friends. They enjoy the company of other Yang signs due to easy-flowing conversation and like-mindedness in many areas.

Conclusion…

Yin and Yang is an ancient concept which has been taught for many centuries and has now spread all across the globe. With the difficulties mankind faces and the further challenges that face us in the modern era, understanding Yin and Yang today is more crucial than ever.

Only by bringing peace and harmony to our own lives can we achieve the much-needed balance that is necessary, both as individuals and in the world as a whole.

Related Article: The Masculine & Feminine in Astrology

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Sarah Brownlee is a harmonious Libra Sun, Conflicted Scorpio rising, and a Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac. A whirlwind writer with a passion for Tarot cards and Astrology in all forms… Read More »

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