People often ask what the Taiji symbol means. (The Yin Yang symbol) For starters, it represents the dynamic duality found in our bodies and in nature. We’ve all heard that “opposites attract” which is true, but sometimes one side just keeps bringing in more of the same side (as some call toxic relationships) which will cause an imbalance. An imbalance from an acupuncturist’s point of view is called an illness.

The symbol also has a dot, or seed, of the other inside itself. This represents that although they are different, they are not inseparable. If there was no dot, this would mean death. The separation of Yin and Yang ultimately means death because one cannot function without the other. To help bring some more light on the subject, from Giovanni Maciocia’s The Foundations of Chinese Medicine:

“The concept of Yin-Yang is probably the single most important and distinctive theory of Chinese medicine. It could be said that all Chinese medical physiology, pathology and treatment can, eventually, be reduced to Yin-Yang. The concept of Yin-Yang is extremely simple, yet very profound. One can seemingly understand it on a rational level, and yet continually find new expressions of it in clinical practice and, indeed in life

The concept of Yin-Yang, together with that of Qi, has permeated Chinese philosophy over the centuries and is radically different from any Western philosophical idea. In general, Western logic is based upon the opposition of contraries, which is the fundamental premise of Aristotelian logic. According to this logic, a pair of contraries (such as “The table is square’ and “The table is not square’) cannot both be true. This has dominated Western thought for over 2000 years. The Chinese concept of Yin-Yang is radically different from this system of thought: Yin and Yang represent opposite but complementary qualities. Each thing or phenomenon could be itself and its contrary. Moreover, Yin contains the seed of Yang so that Yin can transform into Yang and vice versa.

…Yin and Yang are essentially an expression of a duality in time, an alternation of two opposite stages in time. Every phenomenon in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and bases, and the alternation of Yin and Yang is the motive force of its change and development. Day changes into night, summer into winter, growth into decay and vice versa. Thus the development of all phenomena in the universe is the result of the interplay of two opposite stages, symbolized by Yin and Yang, and every phenomenon contains within itself both aspects in different degrees of manifestation. The day belongs to Yang but after it reaches its peak at midday, the Yin within it gradually begins to unfold and manifest. Thus each phenomenon may belong to a Yang stage or a Yin stage but always contains the seed of the opposite stage within itself.”



Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text. Edinburgh. Elsevier.
Taiji photos from pixabay.com


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