Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Yin-Yang Symbol & Taoist Cosmology

I found this really interesting article at She talks about the meaning of the symbol and I thought I'd share part of it here:

What is the meaning of the Taiji symbol?
In terms of Taoist cosmology, the circle represents Tao - the undifferentiated Unity out of which all of existence arises. The black and white halves within the circle represent Yin-qi and Yang-qi - the primordial feminine and masculine energies whose interplay gives birth to the manifest world: to the five elements and "ten-thousand things."

I had never realized how much inherent movement there was in the yin yang symbol until I saw the image posted here on the right. Elizabeth goes on to talk about that movement:

Yin & Yang are Co-Arising and Interdependent:
The curves and circles of the Yin-Yang symbol imply a kaleidoscope-like movement. This implied movement represents the ways in which Yin and Yang are mutually-arising, interdependent, and continuously transforming, one into the other. One could not exist without the other, for each contains the essence of the other. Night becomes day, and day becomes night. Birth becomes death, and death becomes birth (think: composting). Friends become enemies, and enemies become friends. Such is the nature - Taoism teaches - of everything in the relative world.

I also liked what she said about circles within circles, and the interdependence of opposites:

Smaller Circles Within The Larger Circle:
What's great about the Yin-Yang symbol is that the smaller circles nested within each half of the symbol serve as a constant reminder of the interdependent nature of the black/white "opposites." It reminds the Taoist practitioner that all of relative existence is in constant flux and change. And while the creation of pairs-of-opposites would seem to be an aspect of our human software, we can maintain a relaxed attitude around this, knowing that each side always contains the other, as night contains day, or as a mother “contains" the infant that she will, in time, give birth to.

Article by: Elizabeth Reninger


  1. Anonymous2:32 PM

    Hello...thought you shoulkd know, someone's stolen your content:

  2. Hi there ~ Actually, YOU've stolen MY content ~ Please remove this post immediately.

    Or - if you'd care to re-write it, embedding quotes from my essay into it, please do the ethical and legal thing, viz. cite the original author.

    This is really bad form ~ to steal the content of a fellow blogger.

    Elizabeth Reninger

  3. Sorry about that - back in 2008, I didn't expect anyone would even look at this blog - and I was very sloppy about not making note of where I found my information. These days I'm much more careful to cite my sources... now that I'm reworking this blog, updating the images, and etc, I'm trying also to research my original sources and note them where they were neglected.


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