Yin Yang Meaning

yin yang

The yin yang meaning and symbol date back to ancient China and represent the belief that everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary.

The Basic Philosophy of Yin Yang

According to yin yang philosophy the universe, and everything in it, is both constant and cyclical. One force dominates and then it is replaced by the opposing force. This activity continues constantly and repeats itself over time. Examples illustrating the philosophy of yin yang include:

  • Life and death
  • Heaven and earth
  • Night and day
  • Dark and light
  • Health and sickness
  • Poverty and wealth
  • Cycle of the seasons - Cold to hot

The Yin Yang Symbol

The symbol of the yin yang, also known as the Tai Chi or Taiqi symbol, consists of a circle equally divided into black and white sections by a reverse S-like shape. Within the black section is a small circle of white. Within the white section is a small circle of black. Each of the individual aspects of the yin yang symbol has a significant meaning, as does the entire yin yang.

The Outer Circle

The outer circle of the yin yang sign represents everything in the universe and the universe itself. It encompasses the duality of everything that exists.

The Black Section

The black area represents yin with the following characteristics:

  • Feminine
  • Passive
  • Intuitive
  • Delusion
  • Moon
  • Dark
  • Cold
  • Submission
  • Contracting
  • Downward seeking
  • Downward movement
  • Night
  • Soft
  • Stillness
  • Rivers

The White Section

The white area represents the yang with the following characteristics:

  • Male
  • Active
  • Logical
  • Enlightenment
  • Bright
  • Sun
  • Light
  • Creation
  • Dominance
  • Upward movement
  • Strong
  • Hot
  • Expanding
  • Hard
  • Movement
  • Mountains

The Black and White Sections Together

Together the black and white areas represent the interaction of the energies found in all things. They illustrate the cyclical nature of yin and yang and all that it represents.

The Small Black and White Circles

Located in the areas of their opposite colors, the small circles show that nothing is absolute. In each of the opposing forces there is a small part of the other. In all yin there is yang and in all yang there is yin. This holds true for everything in the universe, for example in every female there is a little male and in every good there is a little evil. Nothing in the universe, or in life, is simple black or white. Each exists in the other and each needs the other to exist.

The S-like Shapes of the Two Areas

Instead of a harsh straight line dividing the two halves, the line is a soft S-like shape with flowing curves. Both sides yield to one another and push into each other illustrating the dependence of each on the other. As yin swells in size and height, the yang begins to emerge. As yang continues to swell in size and height, yin emerges once again showing that each sustains the other in their never-ending cycle.

Yin Yang Meaning: Harmony and Balance

According to Taoist principles, the forces of everything in the universe are in constant motion. As the movement continues, each of the forces of energy gradually changes to the other, yin to yang and yang to yin.

The meaning of the yin yang symbol encompasses harmony and balance within the universe. They exist in everything around us and are the basis of life as nothing can exist by itself. This concept is beautifully illustrated in examples of yin yang art created in many different types of art forms. Yin yang art includes subjects such as:


Yin yang meaning is illustrated in the duality of the many natural occurrences that take place in many aspects of nature. .

Yin Yang Meaning