Yin Yang
moon sun
night day
dark light
cool warm
rest active
feminine masculine
north south
west east
winter summer
autumn spring
right left
introversion extroversion
earth heaven

The Theory of Yin and Yang

The meaning of the characters for Yin and Yang, necessarily, has more than just one connotation. Because yang means the "sunny side of the hill" it corresponds to the day and more active functions. Yin, meaning the "shady side of the hill", corresponds to night and less active functions. Therefore, Yin and Yang can be compared in the chart on the left:

It is also possible to look at yin and yang with respect to the flow of time. Noon is full yang, sunset is yang turning to yin; midnight is full yin and sunrise is yin turning to yang. This flow of time can also be expressed in seasonal changes and directions. South and summer are full yang; west and autumn are yang turning to yin; north and winter are full yin, and east and spring are yin turning into yang.

Yin and yang can also be seen as a process of transformation which describes the changes between the phases of a cycle. For example, cold water (yin) can be boiled and eventually turn into steam (yang).


Everything can be described as either yin or yang

  1. Yin and yang are opposites.
    Everything has its opposite--although this is never absolute, only comparative. However, no one thing is completely yin or completely yang. Each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, cold can turn into hot; "what goes up must come down".

  2. Yin and yang are interdependent.
    One cannot exist without the other. For example, day cannot exist without night.

  3. Yin and yang can be further subdivided into yin and yang.
    Any yin or yang aspect can be further subdivided into yin and yang. For example, temperature can be seen as either hot or cold. However, hot can be further divided into warm or burning; cold into cool or icy.

  4. Yin and yang consume and support each other.
    Yin and yang are usually held in balance--as one increases the other decreases. However, imbalances can occur. There are four possible imbalances: Excess yin, excess yang, yin deficiency, yang deficiency.

  5. Yin and yang can transform into one another.
    At a particular stage, yin can transform into yang and vice versa. For example, night changes to day; warmth turns to cool; life changes to death.